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.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Art

It’s the art of living everywhere and living nowhere.

That’s what my mama said today when I told her that I don’t want to renew my license plates in any other state but Colorado because it’s too much trouble.

It’s the art of being numb enough to feel nothing.  And leave everyone so that you feel nothing.

That’s what I told myself when I left Aspen, the first place that I ever did anything for myself, to go out into the Great Unknown, to find God knows what.

It’s the art of taking a deep breath and moving on.

That’s what my best friend told me the first time that my heart got broken.  And we sat together in the park.  And I looked at him.  And I felt a spark.  And I knew that’d we’d never be ok.  But that it’d be ok.  And that, by a simple twist of fate, it’d all be ok. 

It’s the art of knowing when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em. 

That’s what I told myself when I decided to turn my back on that little something real that I’d found.  Because I felt like it was a crime to feel too much at any one time.  And I told myself that we’d meet again with a simple twist of fate.  If not here, then on the other side.

It’s the art of telling a lie.

Just tell me a lie.  If it’s true. He woke up and she was gone.  He got up and put his clothes back on.  He got up and saw the note she’d left.  He got up and saw the simple twist of fate.

And I think about it every night when I’m wrapped up in his arms.  

Monday, September 20, 2010

Cliches on Pedestrian Love

“Hello baby welcome to the world.  I’ll me be your hideaway girl. Come on baby let your light shine down.  You’re the best I ever found.”  ~Jimmy LaFave

Clichés on taking a risk.

If you don’t take a chance, you don’t stand a chance.

The road less travelled has made all the difference.

All you need is love.

Everything happens for a reason.

If it’s meant to be, it will be.

* * *

And all clichés aside.  Here I am.  Alone.  Finishing off a six-pack of Bud and a bottle of red and a tin of Cope.  So fuck that.

And here’s my own cliché on love and life.

Life is fucking hard.  Love is even harder.  You can’t control who enters your life or who you love.  But you can control whether or not you run away.  And all I’ve ever done, or wanted to do, it run.  Run far, and run fast.  And for the first time in my life the tables are turned.  And I decided to stay and fight the proverbial good fight.  And he decided to throw in the proverbial towel.  And I realized that I can throw in the towel and run.  But that it won’t make a damn bit of difference in how I feel.  Or in how I hurt. 

And fear is a fundamental and unavoidable roadblock in life.  We have so much fear as a human race that we forget what living is.  And what love really is.  And what the truth is.  And we succumb to those fears.  And we eat healthy.  And work hard.  And stay busy.  And eat good food.  And drink heavy.  And we forget.  At least for a moment.  Those great fears.  And those great loves.  But fuckin’-a at least we don’t hurt so bad it feels like our heart is being run through a shop vac. 

So yeah, I get it.  I know what it’s like to feel scared.  Scared that you won’t measure up.  To what others want for you.  To what you want for yourself.  Scared that you might have found someone worth the good fight.  And to be scared that you don’t have the good fight in you.  And to be scared you’ll get hurt.  And to be scared that you don’t know where it’s going.  And to be scared you’ll lose a part of yourself if you give into what your heart and soul are telling you.  And the piss-poor judgment of a knee-jerk reaction is to call it quits.  And say it’s been real.  So, in the nicest possible way, fuck off.  Because I’m too scared to deal with the reality of the situation.  And here’s where somehow each and every two-cent cliché makes sense.

But here’s where the unfortunate truth comes knocking on the door to crash the party.  And where those clichés come into play.  And as an expensively-educated, philosophically-minded Kantian-wanna-be I resent my submission to, hell my slavery to, pedestrian clichés.  But here I am.  Stuck.  Drinkin’ cheap beer. And chewin’ cheap tobacco.  By myself.   Wondering if it is more important to love or to live.  And wondering if, by some miracle of the simple-minded and eternally-hopeful, it’s possible to have both.  To love and to simultaneously live the life I’ve always dreamed of.  And I’m fucking, beyond-my-mind, crazy, out-of-control, terrified.  I’m terrified of what it might mean to admit to myself that I have feelings for something, for someone, outside of myself. 

And I choose to ignore it.  Or at least to rationalize it.  To not throw in the towel until I’d decided, by my incredible and expensively-acquired powers of deductive (or inductive) reasoning, that it was rational to pursue.  But the unfortunate part of this situation is that I can’t control what the other variables enter into my calculus of love.  And I suppose that’s where philosophers of the great, dead, white, Western tradition have failed time and time again.  Because there is no rational or reasonable explanation for putting yourself in a situation of certain and eminent peril and heartbreak.  No other animal willingly enters into a situation in which it is certain to fail.  To hurt. Hell, to die and painful and unreasonable death. 

Fuck yeah humans.

So I’ll toast once again to you.  To what might have been. And come on and pick me up because I just came to say goodbye love.  Good luck out there.  Hopefully I’ll see you again.  If not here, then on the other side.

Meditations With A Malbec

What do you do when you find the thing, at least a part of the thing; you’ve been looking for all your life?  If you’re me, you run.  You run far and you run fast.  You come to two proverbial roads diverging in a yellow wood and you take the one more traveled. It’s well worn and safe.  And you’ll never know if the other one, the one tangled with twisted branches and menacing shadows, would have made all the difference.

And me of the golden reputation.  The one who’s never home and never lonely.  The one for whom men supposedly fall so fast and so hard for that I’ve got nothing to worry about.  Ever.  Me of the golden reputation.  Me the breaker of hearts.  Me the taker of numbers.  Me.  The one who is alone.  And lonely.  Again.  With a fancy wine glass and bottle of Argentinean Malbec for company.  I toast to that.  The loneliness.  And drinking alone.  And nobody knowing all of theses emotions are dripping from each and every pore of my body.  It’s a good glass of wine.  Rich and complex.  Or so they say.

But I toast to the loneliness because the loneliness sneaks away, tail between its legs, with the first brush of morning.  The hurt does not.  And so I choose the well-travelled road.  The one most of us choose.  The one void of risk and thus, void of pain.  I could elect that road less travelled.  I could tell him how I feel.  For that matter I could tell my entire world how I feel.  But I digress.  I could tell him what I want and what I think about and what I dream about.  I could have the courage to show him this.  And they tell me that road less travelled would make all the difference.  And I raise my glass to that bullshit and say fuck that.  I’ll take the high road and avoid the hurt and pain that tears a body into so many confetti bits that a fraud artist couldn’t glue them together again to make a cohesive whole.  That kind of hurt means that one is never whole again.  And once again, I say fuck that.

And the one thing I want more than anything in the world is a connection.  To someone.  To something outside myself.  To something bigger than this.  And I have no one to call.  They’ve either told me they won’t speak to me.  They’ve cut me out completely.  Or they’re too busy.  Or they don’t understand.  Or they just don’t care to talk at this hour.  And why.  Because I’ve systematically eliminated everyone from my bubble of personal space in order to replace said bubble with an armored car of nothingness. 

But at least it’s safe. 

I’ll drink to that.

It’s a good bottle of Malbe.  Or so they say.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Welcome To Wonderhell

I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole.

Into a wanna-be-hippie, thoroughly yuppie, always organic, sustainably designed, yogic, suburban Wonderhell.  And I can’t get out.  And like Alice in the rabbit hole, I’m not certain which direction I’m going, or which direction I came from in this suburban strip mall of a yuppie’s wet dream. 

Yesterday I got lost in a parking lot.  While driving.  Today I got lost in a pedestrian mall.  Just another day in the life of Wonderhell.

Everywhere I look there’s wannabe hippie, yuppie scum, trustafarians buying local, eating organic, riding cruiser bikes and cursing corporate America.  All while failing to see that their yippie wonderland was created by The Man himself.  And that trust fund they’re dipping into, and the Range Rover they’re driving drips from the power teat of capitalistic mass consumption. 

And don’t get me wrong.  I’m all for glutonistic mass consumption and corporately manipulated consumer greed.  And these yippies have some great ideas about how to put a feel-good, green spin on the old favorite known as greed.  I relish the fact that within one square mile I can shop at Prana, North Face, Mont Bell, Patagonia, Volcom, Smith, Whole Foods, assorted local/organic coffeehouses and sundry local/organic/sustainable/biodynamic/natural/vegan/vegetarian/ethnic/over-priced establishments of wining and dining.  But unlike the yuppies, posing as local/organic hippies, I fully admit to the fact our world is inherently driven by consumer desire and homogenous mass consumption. 

After all Wonderhell, in all of it’s green-designed, bamboo-floored, solar-paneled, prefabricated housing greatness, is a lesson in the homogeneity of an age-old phenomenon knows as Keepus Jonses, or, alternatively, “keeping up with the Joneses.”  While these ideas, from organic food, to green housing, to trendy locally owned boutiques selling adorable sustainable paper products and BPA free water bottles, seem progressive, unique, interesting and even cutting edge, they are in fact nothing more than a 21st century rendition of the Joneses.   It’s a new spin on the 1950’s post-war society that demanded a college education, a grey flannel suit, a split level ranch in a growing suburb and a glowing Barbie doll called your wife, of every 20-something white male in America.  It was, after all, the American dream. 

And this Leave It To Beaver Stepford is not as far away as we yippies would like to think.  The homogeneity of Stepford went green, started shopping local and buying organic and before they knew what had hit ‘em they were conforming once again.  In an effort to rebel against The Man (their parents) and change the world (Stepford) they simply replaced the old forced conformity with a newer, more politically correct, yogic, organic version.  They put their Wonderhell in a myriad assortment of towns which allowed them to maintain the “healthy and active” lifestyle mandated by the dictator of Wonderhell. 

And while I thoroughly appreciate the convenience and benefits of suburban Wonderhell I’ll take urban Clusterfuck or country Redneckville any day over this homogenized and vacuum-sealed playground for the yuppies, the yippies, the hippies and everyone in between (at least everyone that fits in between the borders of the spectrum of conformity dictated in the Wonderhell Bible, aka, Stuff White People Like, aka Stuff Yuppies Like, aka Stuff People From Boulder Like).  Because, despite their shortcomings, these places have a certain degree of authenticity that is irreplaceable and unable to be prefabricated or designed.

So until I find the little door (or was it the giant door) out of Wonderhell, you must excuse me because I’ve many commitments to keep when in Rome, if you will.  I’m off to Whole Foods before I go to yoga and then I’m due at a dinner engagement at a trendy-chic, local-organic yuppie wining and dining hole.  Namaste.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

More Life Lessons In The Valley of the Sun

1.  A Subaru is not made to ford rivers.

2.  Don’t buy sex toys from people in Shoshone. 

3.  Or from people named Bobby Crystal.

4.  Naked in the woods smells like campfire and Budweiser.

5.  Always mark your spitter.

6.  Life is all about goals and limits.  “What do you want to do tonight?” “Get drunk.” “Goals are important.”  “But not blackout drunk again.”  “Limits are important too.”

7.  You don’t lose your girlfriend, you lose your turn.

8.  Trying to charm a Red Bull girl out of a can of Red Bull is like trying to charm a stripper out of her bra.

9.  Men with airplanes apparently don’t exist.

10.  Friends in Xterras do exist.

Coffee, Hike, Shower, Shoot

"Let's get coffee, then hike, then shower, the go shoot."

We discussed our afternoon plans while our pedicures dried.

And I realized that I'm a little bit of everything all rolled into one.

Everyone here thinks I am a crunchy, granola, hippie who spends my days climbing mountains and drinking out of a Nalgene while driving a Subaru with a carabineer on the keychain.    But everyone from Cleveland thinks that I would never dream of living in a place without granite countertops.  Or wearing anything but trendy, overpriced denim and Stuart Weitzman heels.  And everyone from college thinks that I am an academic snob who spends my night in a book and my days pondering the meaning of life.  They think I’d never be caught dead in a bar past 10 PM.  And everyone from Ketchum laughs when they read that on their iPhone while watching me throw back Jager shots and pound Budweiser.  And get pedicures.  I like to chew Copenhagen.  And drink girly martinis.  I like to get muddy.  And go shopping for overpriced denim.  I like to drink PBR in dive bars.  And get all dressed up and spend too much on wine and dinner at fancy restaurants.  I like the Beastie Boys.  And Brahms.  And country music.  I like to hike (a lot).  And spend all day laying out and getting third-degree sunburns.  I like to drink coffee (a lot).  And wake up too late.  And stay out too late.  And watch movies.  And go to bed early.  And cuddle.  And be NC-17.  I like a good piece of gossip.  And a good conversation about world politics.  I like to read US Weekly.  And Ayn Rand.  I believe in God.  But I haven’t been to church since Christmas.  I hate wasting my days.  And there’s nothing I love more than an afternoon spent drinking beer in the sun just wasting away the afternoon.  I like to travel.  And I’m a complete homebody.  I love nice houses.  And sleeping in my car.  Or on a stranger’s couch.  I like dating.  And I am a serial monogamist.  I’m not sure I believe in marriage.  But I believe in happily ever after.  I am terrified to love people.  And more terrified not to.   I am a crunchy-hippie, redneck, fashionista, academic who likes pricey wine, nice clothes, cheap beer and getting dirty in the woods (take that how you will). Like most people I’m not to be defined by one nice adjective.  Unlike most people, I stand up for this right.  I’m a square peg in a round hole.  And so far this Valley of the Sun is the closest I’ve come to finding a place that lets me just be me.

Life Lessons Learned In The Valley of the Sun

So here I am.  Sitting on my roof.  At midnight.  Watching a full moon set over the mountain.  Drinking a PBR.  And chewing Copenhagen.  Wearing $130 yoga pants.  Tying on a MacBook Pro.  The eternal walking contradiction.

And I’m thinking that I’ve learned a few things in the Valley of the Sun.  And that I’m going to miss this place. 

I’ve learned what I want in a place.  And a person.  And life.  I went on a hike today (go figure) and sitting in a glaciated valley, on the shore of a Forest Service Jeep turquoise alpine lake, with pristine pines and grumpy rock outcroppings surrounding me, I felt home.  Finally.  I never thought I’d be able to get out of small-town Ohio and do this.  I didn’t think I had it in me to say fuck you to the path that had been preordained for me from birth.  But I did.  And here I am.  I have learned, this summer in particular, that I want authenticity, and honesty, and happiness, and love.  And that I no idea what those words mean.  Nor do I put much trust in words.  As one who deals in words, I know how shifty they can be.  But At least I know that I want a clear blue sky, and a cold beer, and someone to hold me at night, and a friend’s shoulder to cry on, and a buddy to laugh with.  And to make a difference to someone. 

I learned that no one can be trusted.  But that everyone should be loved.  My mom raised me to believe in the good within everyone.  And I took that to heart.  I have this pernicious tendency to fall madly in love with everyone I meet.  A lot like Maverick.  Maybe that’s why he and I get along so well.  But I digress.  And through several dead ends.  And a couple of ugly situations.  And one new chance.  I’ve learned that while everyone should be loved, not everyone should be immediately and inextricably fallen in love with.  Jumping head first off a cliff is a lot of fun.  Jumping head first off the cliff of in-love is also a lot of fun.  And really dangerous.  I’ve learned to take it slow.  Give it a chance.  And ride the ride for all its worth.

I learned who the good people are.  They are the one who rescue you in the middle of the street, in the middle of the night, in the middle of a fight.  They are the one who listen to you sob about issues that have nothing to do with them but that you just needed to tell to someone.  And keep it a secret.  They are the ones who don’t judge you through each new “I-swear-this-is-the-One” guy you meet.  They are the ones who teach you to fish while drinking red wine.  They are the ones who drink beer on the roof with you.  They are the ones who cry with you in 101.  They are the ones who jump naked into an alpine lake with you just because.  They are the ones who don’t take bullshit.  And give you lots of bullshit.  And call you out on your bullshit.  And love you anyway.  They are the ones turn out not to be snakes. 

I learned that I can’t settle down.  And there’s always the naysayers who say that you have to.  Or that you will someday.  Or that you’ll grow out of it.  Or that it’s just a phase. Or that back when they were my age (whether that was two years ago or fifty years ago) they did the same thing.  And I’d like to know when this magical time is that I’m expected to settle down with a husband, 2.5 children, a Golden Retriever and a respectable house.  When I settle down it’s going to be on my terms, like everything else I do.  It’ll be with a man who has the wanderlust as much as me.  And wants rippin’ skier, mountain babies.  And with a cabin in the mountains, a house on the beach and an apartment in Johannesburg.  And somehow I’ll get there.  By taking the roundabout, crazy-winding, tangential, long-way-around path that I always take.  Sorry Dad, I know that kills you.  But I promise I’ll be alright.

But as usual in my life, it’s time to get going.  And time to move on.  Because there’s a too vast world out there.  Vaulting us on to the next great venture beneath the skies.  And that’s why my car is always stuffed full of shit in the trunk.  I’ve always got hiking shoes.  And a yoga mat.  A wine key.  And high heels.  A sleeping bag and a backpack.  Sweat pants.  And shorts.  And a map.  And I’m always ready to pick up a leave when things get too heavy, or too boring, or too dull.  Or when the wanderlust bites me and tells me it’s time to go and see what’s over the next rise and around the next bend.  And I’ll miss the old places and the old people like hell.  And they’ll always have a place in my heart.  But what I’ve really learned is that I will find those people and those places everywhere.  Because everyone has a little bit of everything in them.  And everyone is worth knowing.  And worth loving.  And I’ve got lots of places to see.  And beers to drink.  And strange foods to eat.  And people to love.  And leave.  And meet again at the end of this crazy journey we call life.

I love you all.  Good luck out there.