Disclaimer: The following in about 92% true. This is based upon the inadequacy of my own memory, varying levels of insomnia-induced confusion and personal tendencies towards hyperbole. Please don't take any of it too seriously - the stories, yourself or life in general.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Knights In Shining Xterras

What’s it all about?

We keep trying to answer that question.  And amidst angry screams, and bruises, and mean words I figured it out.  I wasn’t focused on the asshole who wouldn’t leave me alone.  Instead I was focused on the fact that they came.  My friends really came and saved me.

Cue the superhero music and the galloping horses.  I found my own knights in shining armor.  Apparently, they really do exist. 

Or at least knights in shining, silver Xterras do exist.  But in the future, I’d be much happier if they showed up with great fanfare, shining swords, galloping white horses and maybe a tight, Spandex superhero cape or two.  But I guess I’ll settle for a dirty SUV.

And that’s why it’s here in this petit hamlet of mountain-towness, that I learned that they (whoever the ambiguous, ubiquitous “they” might be) are right when they say that you always find out who your friends are.  Friends are not so self-involved that they can’t even pick you up from the hospital.  Friends are not so cruel that they think nothing of sharing personal tidbits with an entire city.  Friends don’t tell you that you’re beautiful and wonderful, while following with the fine print that this is true only insofar as you play their game by their rules.

Real friends play your game even when they don’t want to.  They are civil to the assholes you choose to date.  They roll their eyes patiently at each harebrained scheme you cook up. Even better, they come along with you when you execute it.  They walk, or rather carry, you home when you’ve had too much to drink and are a crying hot mess blubbering about past loves and future lovers.  They tell you when you’re being a bitch, they tell you when your clothes make you look like a five-dollar whore.  They tell you when the most recent love of your life is actually a lying asshole.  And they stand by you when you stubbornly ignore their advice.  And no matter what, they ride in and sweep you off your feet when you least expect it.  When you’re most lost.  And when you desperately need a knight in shining armor.  And that’s what it’s all about.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Red Headed Sluts

I’ve always said, you gotta know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em.

One of my best friends decided to fold ‘em today.  He gave it his best shot though.  And lesser men would have walked away from the trouble of it all a long time ago.  Speaking of shots, ours used to be the Red Headed Slut.  Red Headed Sluts put the poor guy in the hospital one night.  It was our silent little side joke of a toast to me.  The sweet-at-first, burns-on-the-way-down, makes-you-act-insane, one ounce glass of trouble that I am.  Funny how one little glass of Jaeger, Peach Schnapps and cranberry can embody me so well.  Sweet as a peach when I want to be.  Sour as an unripe cranberry at times.  And crazy as a bottle of Jaeger.

Problem was, he was crazy too.  And if you’ve ever played with the like-charged sides of a magnet you know that the poles never come together.  They just dance around on the table in this crazy dance with no rhyme or reason. 

And so we fell to bits and pieces. 

And then all the king’s horses, and all the king’s men put us back together again.  As friends.  And despite the reigning idea that a person with a penis and a person with a vagina cannot ever, under any circumstances, be just friends, we did it.  We defied the laws of the universe.  And somehow neither of us – and no one is going to believe me on this one – ever wanted to have sex with the other.   Never.  Nada.  Nope.  Nothing.  We truly had found a cure for sexual tension between men and women, and were on our way to creating the best friendship known on Earth.  How great is it to have a member of the opposite sex to consult on relationship issues who really, truly doesn’t want to get you naked?  No ulterior motives. 

But then Life road in on her Wicked Witch of the West broomstick and got in the way again.  Life has a way of being a bitch like that.  Just when the party’s gettin’ good and the bar is hoppin’ life turns on the lights and it’s last call closing time.  Every time you think you’ve got it all figured out, she changes everything.  And that’s why you have to learn to roll with the punches.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Because in twenty-five seconds it could all change.  Like it said, know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em. 

And for various and sundried reasons he left.  He folded on the friendship.

So tonight at the bar I’m drinking Red Headed Sluts.  And toasting to us.  Because we defied all logic and stereotype and proved that men and women (hell even ex-lovers, ex-husbands and wives, ex-boyfriends and girlfriends) can, if they get over themselves and their petty issues, actually be friends.  And can do it without wanting to do dirty things to each other.  And more than one person has told me that we gave them hope and that we gave them something to believe in. 

And you didn’t really fold on us.  Real friends are always there.  When you really need it most and when you expect it least.  If you ever need picked up at the hospital, bailed out of jail, swooped from the drunk tank, saved from a bar fight, or scarped off the floor when your whole world comes crashing down around you, a real friend will always be there.  And I’ll always be there.  And he’ll always be there. And he got me through the tough stuff.  And now I’m ok.  And that’s what friends do.  They make it ok again when you think it can’t be.

So I’ll say it again. If, at the end of this long and twisting road of sex, drugs and rock and roll, we meet again, I’ll be there waiting for you with a six-pack of Bud and a bag of stories.  And we’ll toast to the good times, and the bad times, and the tears, and the laughs.  And just remember that I’m never too far away.  And I’m always here if you need a shoulder or a shot to get rid of your tears.  Just remember; always know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em.  

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Metaphysical Musings on Love, Loss and Life (In the Valley of the Sun)

On an airplane to Cleveland an old man, a laid-off Ford autoworker started talking to me.  He smelled like Skoal and his voice was itchy, like Velcro.  I didn’t ask for advice, but he felt compelled to give it.  And it has stuck with me ever since.  He said, “Find someone to love.  And live everyday as if it was your last.”

So here’s my half-assed effort at honesty.  If you’re reading this, that means I got the courage up to send it.  So congratulations to me.  I don’t really know how to start.  So I’ll just say it.  I met someone.  I wasn’t looking for it.  I wasn’t expecting it.  It just hit me.  He said one thing and I said another and the next thing I know, I wanted to spend forever in the middle of that conversation.  He’s slightly crazy, and highly neurotic.

And he’s you.  And he’s nothing like you.

And I don’t know what’s going on with us and I don’t know how to be with you.  And I know that you sure as hell don’t know how to be with me.  And that scares the shit out of me.  Because it’s a big, bad world out there, with lots of twists and turns and hurt.  And people have a tendency to blink and miss the moment.  The moment that could have changed everything.  And I guess that’s the leap of faith we all have to take at some time.  Into that great unknown that could make all the difference. 

And that scares the shit out of me too.  Because I can’t be with you but I’m scared that if I’m not we’ll get lost out there. 

So big deal.  I fell in love.  You touched a place deeper than I thought anyone was capable of reaching.  And I thought you were my soul mate.  And you probably were.  But the problem is that people think that your soul mate is your perfect fit, and that it’s forever.  But a true soul mate is nothing more than a mirror.  The person who shows you everything that’s holding you back.  The person who smacks you hard across the face so that you finally realize who the fuck you really are.  They are the person who wakes you up so that you can change your life.  A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. 

But to live with a soul mate forever.  No way.  Too painful.  Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another later of yourself and then they leave.  And thank God for that.  Because your purpose was to shake me up a bit, drive me out of a relationship that wasn’t good for me, tear apart my ego a little bit, show me my obstacles and addictions, break my heart open so new light could get in, make me so desperate and out of control that I had to transform my life. 

And thank God for this wonderful asshole of a soul mate.  He taught me that I’m stronger.  Stronger than shit.  I learned that I have the strength to defy my own expectations.  I have the strength pick my carcass of a self back up after the biggest blow of my life.  I learned that I can go places.  And it’s because I had nothing left to lose.  And that’s freedom.  And since it couldn’t get much worse, I might as well sack up  and jump of that huge old cliff of terrifying into the abyss of unknown.  And holy shit guess what?  I came out on top.  And I learned that everyone hurts.  And everyone has been fucked over.  And everyone has baggage.  And bull shit.  And I’m not alone.

That was your job.  To show me who I really was.  And to force me to stop being this asshole that I wasn’t.  And you rocked the shit out of it.  And now it’s over.  And at times it might seem like a cruel and sinister world.  But really, what might appear to me a series of unfortunate events is really the beginning of something grand and extraordinary. 

So good luck out there.  If I see you at the end of it all, I hope you come bearing a six-pack and a bag of good stories.  If not, I guess it just wasn’t in this deck of cards.   Just remember, always know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em.