~Monday, March 28, 2011

Not a Love Song

Growing up, I always thought there were two kinds of songs. There were the religious, let-us-break-bread-together-on-our-knees kind, and there were love songs. I remember sitting cross-legged in front of the TV and watching an episode of Double Dare on Nickelodeon. Mark Summers was interviewing the kids before the game started. He approached one girl with long brunette hair. He looked at his note card and stated that the girl wrote songs in her spare time. He asked her if they were love songs. I frowned at the TV. Weren't they all love songs? The girl blushed, embarrassed, and said yes.

Despite 24 years spent enmeshed and working intimately in the English language, despite A's in Old English Poetry, Middle Welsh Poetry (yes), Seventeenth Century Poetry and Twentieth Century American Poetry, I still have a difficult time reconciling that there are songs that are not about relationships. After all, even all those Hosanna in the Highests I sang growing up were about man's relationship and love for God. Come on, Mark Summers, what other kind of songs are there?

Rolling Stone often publishes articles analyzing rap lyrics, detailing which rappers are currently battling. Those articles always blow my mind. I am nothing if not trained to take the English language and break it down into subtext and I can't figure out rap lyrics. Similarly I once read that Sara Bareilles penned the song "Love Song"—which I had thought was about a man—was in actuality a veiled reference to her producers about her struggle to produce a marketable love song. Once again, mind = blown.

Sunday I slipped on my barefoot trainers and ran along the river. It was cold and wet, but I needed a day to be alone with nature. I programmed my iPod shuffle to play Mumford & Sons. I had not listened to the band since I had been dumped; it was time to conciliate my relationship with them again.

I jogged down the path with the river to my right. The water level was high with the recent rain. The traffic on the trail was light, but people were still present. Mumford & Sons began to softly croon and I was okay; I didn't think of Valdosta and cry like I imagined I would have if I had kept the album close to me after the relationship. I heard the tinkling of the banjo and watched the Chattahoochee River. I smiled. It was all so very Georgia.

"Awake My Soul" was playing. As with any good song, when the tempo increased, I pushed myself faster. I could feel the pebbles between my toes, hear the steady whoosh of the river and feel the cool air stab my lungs like tiny sewing pins. "Awake my soul," he kept repeating, his voice becoming stronger and stronger with the actualization of the sentiment. I did feel awake.

And for the first time, the song wasn't about Valdosta or any boy for that matter; it was about me. And it wasn't a love song.

Or maybe it was.

~Thursday, March 24, 2011


Several of the boys I had been out with recently noted the absence of my father in my stories. They ask if I'm close with my family and I respond, "Yes, I visit my mother often because she needs me." They ask how I spend the holidays and I say it's just me and my mom and we don't really celebrate anymore.

Eventually my date will shift uncomfortably in his chair and shift his glass. "So, uh, what about your father?" Meaning, is he dead?


My father called me last night. He inhaled sharply, excitement bubbling from his voice, "Your stepmom and my wedding anniversary is tomorrow. It's been 25 years. That's a long time!"

He wants me to share his enthusiasm, but all I can think is, Wow, 25 years since you woke me up out of bed in the middle of the night and told me you were moving out of the house. It's been 25 years since you told my mom you were a cheater, and always would be a cheater. Yet you found another woman with other children and managed to stick around for them. No, I can't share your excitement over your big accomplishment, daddy.

I remember my mother crying at the top of the staircase with my brother. I was too young to understand. I remember my father telling us the new woman needed him, "She wears polyester clothes and doesn't own a vacuum cleaner, for God's sake!"

Because it was the mid-eighties, courts relegated my father to every-other-weekend access. I saw my father 52 days out of every 365. Fourteen percent of the time.


My father, who is not a movie man, declares Doctor Zhivago his favorite film of all time. He is not quiet about this opinion, speaking of it often and nonchalantly. As I think about it now, it almost seems he works it in conversation. What are we watching? Some dumbass movie? My favorite is Doctor Zhivago—great love story. I used to think he said it because it was probably the only movie the man had seen.

In an effort to feel closer to my father, I watched the film several years ago. For three hours I watched my father's favorite love story unfold: a man who leaves his wife and child to live with another woman and raise her child. All of a sudden, the reasons why my father loved this movie so much became apparent. And I grew sick to my stomach.

For I was Sasha.

~Tuesday, March 22, 2011


This is the dawning of personal belonging...
This is the eve of “I don’t believe”

This is me; I love myself
Yeah, fuck everyone else
I don’t need nobody’s help
‘Cause this is Love 2012
--3Oh!3, "Love 2012"

I think I'm done. Dating for now, that is.

In hindsight, this date and this date affected me more than I'm willing to admit. The Dating Man has me down. I'm disheartened. I'm jaded. I find myself approaching new matches and new dates from a place of fear instead of a place of hope. When someone initiates contact with me, I squirm, close one eye at the screen and peer through my fingers as I wait for the picture to load. Please let him not have a facial tattoo/man purse/front butt. Please let him not be creepy/live in his big rig.

My heart has become fickle. My missile-seeking baggage radar is on alert. My guard is up.

The last guy I was communicating with initiated a phone call instead of just meeting. I've since learned to just sit in silence and let guy do all the talking and, in the process, disclose his baggage. He told me he moved from Florida "to get away from a bad situation." Mmm hmm. Without prodding, he told me his lung spontaneously collapsed because he smoked too much weed and cigarettes. (The cigarettes were easy to give up; the weed was not.)

I remained silent on the other end of the line. "Oh! Uh huh."

After his 3-week hospital stay, he then gained 30 pounds (from not smoking pot) and not exercising (because of the self-inflicted lung problem) and I'm hearing all of this on the phone before I even meet the kid.

And look, I know my past isn't a basket of glittery kittens, but at least I know to ease into the ugly. If someone says, "Tell me about your past relationships," I'll respond with "I've had past relationships, but I'm here with you now." What I won't say is I lived with an alcoholic who pawned my shit, took a shit in my car and treated me like shit when he was drunk, which was all the time. When I was in therapy, my therapist told me there is such a thing as being too honest. Ease them into that kind of ugly. I never spoke a word of it to Valdosta.

If this blog were a movie, the scene would look like this: I'd be standing by a large round table, still as stone. Hands shoved in my jeans' pocket; pink Converse shoe rolled to the outside of my stance. Behind me people would be passing me in fast-forward speed. Everyone is bustling and I'm stuck.

I'm surrounded by people, yet I'm lonely. I see Jenna and Schmoozer each up to three times a week. I've received a very concerned e-mail from Government Mule that's gone unanswered. It's like the more people I'm around, the more amplified the loneliness becomes.

The only thing I can think of to rectify the situation is to perform an -ectomy on what's causing my unhappiness. And that's dating. Getting dressed up and feeling hopeful and putting myself out there time and time again is, in fact, not bringing me closer to love. It's depleting my resources. It's depleting my tolerance, my spirit and the things about me that I love.

So the thing I've decided to do is to perform a love-ectomy and instead love me. If you thought this blog was naval-gazing drivel before, you just wait. It's about to get uncomfortable up in here.

~Monday, March 21, 2011

Date #14

"So tell me about the new date," asked Schmoozer.

I was seated in a booth at a bar on Saturday afternoon. I had just finished with my first kickball game of the season with the new team I had joined. Schmoozer and Swayze had met me for post-game beers.

"I'm hopeful. He's in his early thirties, dark hair, 5'11"," I gave a fist pump over the height. "Strikes me as an Apple geek, which is hot."

"What does he do?"

"He's an engineer."

"Eww," said Schmoozer.


"You know what that means?"

"Socially awkward," we both said at the same time.

"We'll see. The only thing that bugs me is that he misspelled 'restaurant' in his e-mail to me."

"Omigod, Sarah," he sighed.

"No! What bugs me is that it wasn't even a typo like 'restuarant.' He spelled it 'rest-er-aunt.'"

Swayze finally spoke up. "I may not be a great speller," he said, "But I'm smart enough to use a browser that has spell check on it."

I pointed at him, "Exactly! That's my point. I mean, what if this guy uses Internet Explorer?"

Schmoozer shuddered and leaned back from the table. "Yeah, that'd be a solid reason to not date him right there," he agreed, laughing.

I never did find out what browser Date #14 used. We met at the resteraunt of his choosing, which happened to not even be open that day. I said it was okay. It's the South and it's the Bible Belt and you never can tell what is or isn't open on Sundays. I followed him a few blocks to another tapas resteraunt.

And it just wasn't a match. Nothing good or bad happened. I wasn't particularly attracted to him, which I felt horrible about since I initiated the match. He had one of those really awkward smiles which I found off putting. Initiate hate mail here, but the bottom line is the smile wouldn't have mattered if I had liked him; instead I'd be writing about how endearing it was. But he did not reveal any significant medical problems such as spontaneous lung collapse from drugs or rashes from direct sunlight.

He did, however, frequently mention an ex-girlfriend. After a couple of name droppings, I finally asked about her.

"We were together for six months and she dumped me six weeks ago, saying that if deeper feelings were to develop, it would have happened by now. We still talk... but... no, I don't think I'll get back together with her."

"Wait. You were with her until six weeks ago?" I asked.


"We were matched by eHarmony in November. You had an active profile during your relationship?"

"Yeah, I got into a relationship with her one month into my year-long membership." He paused, "I didn't check it."

Sure. I buy that.

But it was a nice enough time. I can sit and talk with anybody about anything, which is what I ended up doing. It just wasn't for me.

~Friday, March 18, 2011

Quantified Self

Quantified Self is a website where self-trackers—people who record and look for patterns in the empirical data of their lives—post their findings.

I've had six boyfriends so far in my life, with the average length of relationship being 14 months. The median is 12 months. Two out of the six—a full 33 percent of all of my romantic entanglements—had the last name of Wilson. And no, they weren't related.

My average span between boyfriends is 7.4 months. (The median is 4 months.) According to my own empirical data, I fall into 3 patterns between boyfriends, I move on at 0 months, 4 months or 12 months. Considering my last relationship was 10.5 months ago, that means I am 1.5 months away from my next boyfriend.

I've been single 41% of my adult life.


Isn't that something?

~Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spring Forward

With daylight savings time change, the running trail also switched from night to day. Whereas the after-work crowd was hot but sparse, Monday the trail was a bounty of beautiful, beautiful men.

Jenna and I hit a lazy jog and worked our way through just 2 miles of the course. Since she's officially in a relationship with Government Mule (she accepted his Facebook relationship request last week), I claim dibs on all the pretty boys.

We've developed a pattern: run with one earbud in, leaving the other ear open for commentary. I adopted the ancient Roman gladiator method of ranking the runners: a solid thumbs up when one passes us.

"I've been thinking," I puffed. "I'm not a good enough runner to be approached by one of these guys; it's not like he's going to slow his pace and sidle up next to me and say, 'Nice form.' I think the only shot I have is to fake an injury."

"Ha!" she laughed. "You know that fire station in front of my townhome? My friend told me to lay in their driveway with an 'injury' to get the firefighters' attention."

Another yummy one passed us. I stuck my thumb up.

"Maybe you should push me down. Make it look more realistic."

"She was beating me!" Jenna faux exclaimed.

Just then, the yummyest one I've seen by far passed us. I crossed over in front of Jenna and came to a dead stop. "Push me down!," I hissed. "Push me down!"

Jenna bumped into me as she tried to stop. She broke out into a fit of giggles. "It's too late! It's too late! He's already in front of us!"

"Yeah, my luck that guy would stop to help me."

Approaching from the other side of the woods was a middle-aged man walking with a full-size Macaw perched on his shoulder. The parrot was so large that its tail feathers trailed all the way down to the man's knees. As we passed them we crinkled our noses, not from the stench of the bird, but from the sheer amount of cologne the man was wearing.

I'm looking forward to spring.

~Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Date #13

Last week Schmoozer and I were rained out of our scheduled run. Instead we met at a local pub that's sandwiched in between our office buildings. I found myself singing for my drinks in the form of bad dating stories. Schmoozer scored himself a deal; it was $1 well drink night.

He tipped his pint glass towards me in a toast. "You have the best stories."

"I'm giving up dating for Lent."

"No! But what about the stories?"

"Subscriptions to these dating sites cost money. You want my stories? Sponsor me."

Last night I went out on a date primarily for the story. When I stepped out of the shower and wrapped my hair in a towel, I knew I wasn't going to meet the man I would marry.

I had been on the fence for quite awhile regarding Date #13. His profile picture was a story in and of itself: he was wearing a blue Oxford and was sprawled across a plush leather chair, glasses lowered to the tip of his nose and an empty wine glass in his hand. It looked like an audition for Masterpiece Theatre. But men also post pictures of themselves in front of the bathroom mirror, so this was an improvement, right?

He wanted to talk on the phone before meeting, of which I'm not a fan. The phone conversation was littered with non sequiturs: I told him where I lived and he responded that he liked to go hiking.

"Let's meet for coffee. How about the Barnes and Noble in [metro suburb]?"

"What?" I shrieked exasperated. "You want me to drive 20 miles for a cup of coffee?"

"I thought you lived in [metro suburb]?"

I was very unimpressed. "No," I said flatly. "I live downtown. I said so earlier."

He doesn't acknowledge his faux pas and just keeps going, making plans. "How about Tuesday?"

"I think I have plans on Tuesday. My calendar is at work, but I know next week is a busy week for me. I have a 5k, hockey game and painting class all scheduled."

Meanwhile, he's talking over me, as in talking while I was talking. Just kept making plans even though I was clear I wasn't sure I was available. "At the mall? 8 pm?"

I've never been on a date at a mall before. Not even back in 1993. Our plan was to meet at Starbucks. And because this is a modern-day Starbucks love story, I was waiting at one Starbucks at the mall and he was waiting at another Starbucks at the mall.

I got in line and made my purchase: tall mocha frappuccino, skim, no whip. The guy behind me in line was attractive: early 30's, dark hair, khakis and Adidas jacket. My coworker encourages me to go out on all dates. "Who knows who you're going to meet while you're out? Maybe the guy at the next table..."

This was the guy she to which she has obviously been referring.

Could I? Could I hit on another guy while waiting for my date to locate the other Starbucks?

I turn around, "Long line, huh?"

"Yeah. I didn't think so many people would want coffee at 8 o'clock on a Tuesday."


"You normally drink coffee at this hour?" he asked.

I opened my mouth to respond when a guy approached and I crossed all of my fingers and all of my toes that it wasn't my date. He stood a little too close to me, invading my personal space, and waited a beat before introducing himself.

And this guy was hideous. I try to keep an open mind about people. I didn't say anything about the gross little turd who worked in sex toys, but there was no saving this one. I was a victim of the bait and switch again! It was like someone took his profile picture and ran it through one of those Photoshop style layers that swirls the head and I was left with the whorled mess.

Adidas Guy took one look, smirked and left. Oh god.

I opened my mouth to just say No, thank you and leave but I couldn't. Oh god.

Oh god. Oh god. Oh god.The mall closes in an hour, I kept repeating in my head.

We sat at those crappy little Starbucks café tables. He leaned towards me with his arms outstretched across the table, his drink sitting next to mine. Even from the other side of the table, he was invading my personal space. I leaned back and crossed my legs at the thigh.

"This week is going by slowly," he said.

"Well it is Tuesday, so I guess."

He picked up his grandé frappé, extra whip with caramel drizzled on top. "I had Pop Tarts for dinner. I don't really eat well."

"I can see that. I guess that makes sense why your cats are named after candy."

"What did you have for dinner?"

"Steamed chicken with broccoli and red peppers."

He asked me another question but instead picked up something and started playing with it. I specifically didn't answer.

"Sorry, I'm not being rude; I'm just adjusting my insulin pump."

My stomach turned over. He's adjusting his insulin pump at the table on a first date. I don't know because I don't have an insulin pump, but I would think manners would have him adjust it in the previous five minutes before he met me, knowing he was going to get that beverage. Or if there was an indicator that needed attention, he'd get up from the table.

I stared at the wire and then my frothy frappuccino that I just spent four bucks on. I know enough about the mechanics of an insulin pump that I'm imagining it in my mind. I pictured the box pumping insulin through a catheter inserted in the stomach as the same consistency as my frappuccino through the straw in my mouth. My stomach flipped over again. I'm nauseated.

"So an insulin pump. You must be type 1," I said.


"It's a difficult disease. But the Pop Tarts and the large frappé—You say your favorite food is 'Pizza Hut'— is all that good when you're a type 1 diabetic?"

He chuckled. "I guess not, but imagine what I would look like with less fat." He pinched his skinny arm. "I need all the fat on the stomach I can get because I need it to absorb the insulin. Sometimes the skin on my stomach hasn't healed yet when it's time to move the pump."

Oh god. Considering I was nauseated before he mentioned that he had open skin wounds on his abdomen, I can't imagine him saying that to anyone and she'd still want to see him naked. I tried to sip my frappé but I was seriously trying to fight back the vomit.

I thought about a news article someone sent me in preparation for the date. Date #13 was an Auburn man, "So Auburn football. Armed robbery." Luckily we rode out the rest of the time talking SEC football.

As soon as the Starbucks in the mall flicked its lights off at 8:45 pm, I stood up. I had never even taken off my coat.

He nodded to my zebra-print stilettos. "Nice shoes. That's one perk to being a girl; you get to wear pretty shoes."

I wasn't sure how to take that statement. I thanked him.

"Tomorrow's Hump Day," he said.

I couldn't even hide my annoyance at that expression. I turned around. "Nice to meet you!" gave a shoulder hug and crossed the street to my car and spent the rest of the night gagging.

~Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bug off

I just screamed "SON OF A BITCH!" at the top of my lungs in an open office plan.

S just friend requested me again. It had been two whole days since his last contact. I have not acknowledged his existence since he threatened me in October 2009.

Cockroach, I tell you.

~Monday, March 14, 2011


Around midnight after another epic Friday happy hour, I was shuffled into the parking lot and ordered in someone's car. I fell down in the grass only to stand up giggling and fall down again. It had been one of those nights.

The girl driving the car I met through dodgeball. I don't know her very well—it turned out I had been pronouncing her name wrong all evening—but I buckled my seat belt. Vince climbed in the hatchback of her Beetle and laid down, mumbling that he was being kidnapped. Only we kind of were. The plan was to go to Harvey's house, but the girl driving wanted to go to another bar.

We ended up at our dodgeball league bar. I stumbled into the small room that makes up the bar. I tugged at her shirt, "It's midnight and it's not a game night; we aren't going to know anybody. Heeeey!"

As soon as I said that, we ran into a guy on another team, one that I've befriended over the past season. He was standing with two other guys that I didn't recognize.

"Are your friends single?" I blatantly asked.


"For real?"


"Then come back to Harvey's. We'll play beer pong."

"But we only know flip cup!" he protested.

"It'll be fun!" I promised.

And just like that the boys left and picked up a case of beer and met us at Harvey's. I was surprised at the ease the situation transpired. I asked if they were single and they said yes. I asked them to leave a bar and go to someone's house that they didn't know and they said yes. The entire conversation took less than five minutes.

Harvey's husband set up the beer pong table and I played the two single guys with the girl who drove me around town. I won.

Just as quick as the boys decided to come to Harvey's, they decided to leave. The guy I did know thanked me over and over and said he had my number and he'd be in touch. Sucks for me that he was the married one. After they left, I received more texts about what a good time they had.

My phone rang. I didn't recognize the number, but I picked up the call, hoping it was one of the single guys I just met.


It took me a beat to place the voice. It was Christopher.

"Oh. hey."

He tries to casually start a conversation. My replies are terse.

"What's that noise I hear in the background?" he probes.

"I'm at a party."

"No, you're not. Where are you?"

"I told you. I. am. at. a. party."

Harvey hears my lowered and curt tone and turns around. Who is it? she mouths, silently.

Christopher, I mouth back.

"Hand me the phone," she says with her arm extended towards me, palm up.

I place the phone in her hand. She hangs up on him. Immediately the phone begins ringing again.

This is too much. The cute, single guys who boosted my ego had left. The one I don't want is calling. I'm drunk.

I left the ringing phone in Harvey's possession and ran upstairs to the spare bedroom. I flopped down on the bed and tears started rolling down my face. Stupid, nonsensical, drunk tears. I could hear Harvey talking on the phone downstairs and everyone laughing.

"No, you're drunk!" she shouts into the phone. "Fine, then say 'bank statement.'" Everyone cheers.

A few minutes later, I watch Harvey tiptoe up the stairs and peek into the bedrooms until she finds me. She crawls on the bed next to me and hands me my phone back. "I programmed the number as Do Not Answer so you won't accidentally pick it up anymore." As if to illustrate her point, Christopher begins calling again. She shows the phone to me, "See?" Then she hangs up on him. The phone rings again, and she hangs up on him again.

"He kept trying to tell me how much money he was making, but he was slurring the whole time," she said.

I sniffed.

She motioned towards the window, "Those curtains came with the house. Aren't they ugly?"

"Mmm hmm."

Another pause. "This is going to be the baby's room."

Great. I was lying on the bed drunk and crying in the baby's room. I tainted the baby's room with my bad ju ju.

"It's the farthest room from your bedroom," I tried.

"Are you kidding me? Do you think I want to be woken up in the middle of the night?"

I began talking. About everything and anything and nothing at the same time. I've spent so much time putting on a brave face that I just needed a release, even if it came through hard liquor and beer pong. Harvey listened silently, knowing that it didn't really matter what I was saying, just that I was saying something.


Yesterday I logged on Facebook to discover that S has now sent me friend request #3.

I had this huge accomplishment over the weekend. I got up and ran the race and finished in a respectable amount of time for my first attempt. I've felt so much personal growth over the last year and it's exhausting to constantly battle the roach infestations that are my sleazebag ex-boyfriends.

My ex-boyfriends are cockroaches. Where there's one, there's usually another one lurking nearby. Just when you think you got rid of them, they come back stronger than ever. They're nocturnal, vile and they'll outlive us all.

~Saturday, March 12, 2011

5k Results

Final Time: 39 minutes

Rank: 125 of 360

~Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Run of the Mill

Jenna, Schmoozer and I have been meeting at the running trail along the Chattahoochee River three times a week. The after-work crowd is sparse compared to the Sunday-morning crowd; however, the ratio of hotness among the runners is greatly increased: only the fit and tasty hardcore runners are out on a Monday night at dusk.

Jenna and I maneuvered around the mudpits that had formed with the recent rain. We leapt through puddles, sometimes landing with a squish and a scream of "Ew!" Schmoozer had run ahead: he ended up running 4.9 miles in about the time it took me to run 3.3. While we were doing sprints, I called ahead to him,"Why didn't you run like this when we played kickball?!"

He shouted from over his shoulder, "I had to get on base first!"

It wasn't long before Jenna assured me to keep running and let her fall behind again. Over the last two weeks, all of us improved exponentially on the running trail. I've learned that I can run outdoors and finish and no, my lungs won't actually explode. I'm excited for the race this Saturday.

I heard footsteps and looked over my shoulder. It was Schmoozer coming up on the inside. He slowed down to my pace and I felt his fingers in the notches of my spine, gently prodding me forward. It was a completely platonic gesture, but it's the most I've been touched in months; I couldn't stop myself from being thrilled at the intimate contact. I obeyed and pushed myself harder than I thought I could do. My breathing got heavy.

"Just to those benches up there," he nodded.

"No, the mile marker behind it," I puffed.


I am stronger than I think I am. I need to remember this.

Schmoozer then branched off on another portion of the trail, adding more distance to his run. It was becoming dusk out and I wondered at the safety of the three of us alone on different portions of the trail. It would be the kind of story that Dateline would cover: Not-fast runner disappears in woods. There used to be a serial killer in the city in the early 80's and he'd dump the bodies not far from where we were at. The police actually found him by staking out the highway bridges that cross over the Chattahoochee River and literally wait for a splash from when he dumped a body. It was all very high tech then.

I saw the end of the trail, marked by a single lit lamp post. I was the first one there. I coughed and sputtered and heaved. I leaned over the water fountain and ended up drooling in it. I drank until I belched loudly and then collapsed on a bench with my knees splayed open: I was the picture of femininity.

A few minutes later I heard foot steps in the dark; Schmoozer was approaching. I stood up and cheered and clapped like it was the end of the 5k race. He paced in front of me and coughed and sputtered and heaved, exactly like I had done minutes earlier. I felt better.

Jenna soon followed, pounding the trail so hard that it sounded like horse hooves.

"We'll meet again Wednesday and then no more running before the race," Schmoozer instructed. "And eat pasta Friday night."

It feels good to be a part of something. All of my life I've been a WASP: my connection to things come in the form of white wine spritzers. I've never really felt like I belonged to anything. Until now.

~Friday, March 04, 2011

Date #12.2

Refill your coffee, settle in and brace yourself. This is going to be a long post.

Last night I had my second date with Date #12. My enthusiasm for the date waned when he sent up the entire date via e-mail. We've gone out before, he has my phone number and he's called me before, but he sends me an e-mail asking if I'd like to get together this week. I respond in the affirmative, thinking he would follow it up with a phone call to make plans. No. I get an e-mail about the activity, an improv show. I send another affirmative e-mail back. Then he sends another e-mail asking if I would like to eat beforehand. It took about 10 e-mails over the course of 2 days to firm plans that could have been made in a 2-minute phone call. The last e-mail hints that I am to meet him at the restaurant and there is no date confirmation made within 24 hours of the date.

I show up on time. I walk up the street and notice that there is now a digital parking meter where there didn't use to be one. There is a guy standing in front of the meter exasperated. He's cute with a fauxhawk and I notice we have matching cars. He looks at me, "I'm sorry I'm taking so much time, but I've put four different credit cards into the meter and it says, 'Card not read.'" He sighs and jambs a Mastercard into the meter and a receipt prints. "Good luck," he tells me.

I try my Wells Fargo card. Card not read. I try my Mastercard. Card not read. I try each card two more times. Card not read. I fish a five-dollar bill out of my wallet. Take your cash. Transaction cancelled. I have now tried three forms of payment in good faith to this meter. I go back to my car and start fishing out change I use for toll money. Fauxhawk returns to his car and sees me. "Hey, I just saw the meter maid drive away if it makes you feel any better." I thank him, shove in $2 of change which buys me an hour at the curb.

Now I'm 10 minutes late. Date #12 already grabbed a table. I thought it was strange that he chose a table outside in the dark when it's less than 60 degrees outside. I'm thankful I brought my coat and button it up. The very first thing I do when I sit down at the table is tell him about the parking meter. "When dinner is over, I have to go back to that meter and try again. I can't just leave my car there like it is."

"Well I found cheaper parking," he says simply. "You know I have to be careful about where I park." I think back to why. That's right. Because his 20-year-old pickup truck doesn't go in reverse anymore.

"Have you gone out on any other dates since I last saw you?" he asks.

I think back. "No, I was out of town. Remember?"

"I had one. It was bad. All we did was talk about school and work. I mean, I can talk about school and work with anyone, I don't need a date to do that."

"I'm sorry," I say automatically, realizing I'm consoling him on his failed date with someone else.

Date #12 checks his watch. I'm still eating my po' boy. He gets up and leaves the table to hunt the waiter down to grab the check. The service wasn't bad, Date #12 was just antsy about the time. He'd count down the time every five minutes. "We have 20 minutes. We have 15 minutes..." It's a good sandwich. I munch away while he leaves me alone for a second and third time to give the waiter his credit card and to sign the slip. He's visibly anxious and his body stiffens over the time.

We walk down the stairs and he looks at me. "Do you really need to go check your car?" he asks. He's tense.

Once again I feel the need to console him. "Um, no, it's okay. You don't want to be late," I say. I behave like the good little woman I'm supposed to be. I'm agreeable and put his needs above my own. He just looked so upset.

"Good," he says, relieved.

We walk to the improv house. Inside he asks if I would like a beer. I answer in the affirmative. We stand in line. The house lights blink and Date #12 turns and looks at me. "We don't have time; we have to go sit down now," and he gets out of line and enters the seating area. Just like that.

I sit beside him. He rests his hands on his knees. We don't say anything. As the show progresses, he doesn't really laugh. His hands are still on his knees. I take a minute and ponder whether he has Asperger's Syndrome.

The house manager asks for suggestions. My suggestion is used. Date #12 doesn't acknowledge me in any way.

We walk back to my car. "Have you told your friends about me?" he asks.

"Yeah," I say casually. "They know about all of my dates, good and bad. I have nothing to hide."

"I haven't told my friends about you because I don't want to jinx it."

I remember feeling that way when I was younger. I'm in a different place now.

I approach my car slowly. There's a ticket on it. Parking tickets in the city costs $25. Considering my recent credit card bill, that's a lot of money. All of a sudden, I'm angry. I'm beyond angry and I'm trying to hold in my rage. I told him at least three times at dinner that I needed to go back to my car. I didn't want to be a bitch and I let this guy's emotions talk me out of standing up for myself.

"That sucks," he says casually. No I'm sorry. No I should have let you check the meter when you were so concerned. He doesn't care; it doesn't affect him.

He goes in for the hug. I'm still holding the bright orange ticket in my hand and I'm trying not to let my head detonate off of my body. I force a smile.

"I would like date you exclusively," he says to me.

I check his eyes for the punchline. It isn't there. The guy who went on another date and told me about it, the guy who hasn't even kissed me, the guy who has shown me less compassion than I've shown him, wants to be exclusive after two asexual dates. He asked me to be exclusive as I'm shoving the ticket in my purse. I can feel the blood course through my body.

There was a long, uncomfortable silence as I process this. Yeah, that just happened. "Ha, well I'm not ready for that."

I'm puzzled. Date #12 has two years of school left. He told me he's neither looking for a wife nor to settle down, yet he wants to be exclusive in record time.

It's the exact opposite problem I had with Valdosta. I laugh at the irony.

~Thursday, March 03, 2011

Retail Therapy

I just got my credit card statement for the billing cycle following me getting dumped. From what I can tell, getting dumped cost me about $400.00.

  • $35.00 in random crap from Amazon. I think it included a season of How I Met Your Mother because if I can't date, then I can at least watch it on repeat.
  • $125.00 spent online buying new knitting needles and yarn to help ease my path into becoming a scary spinster.
  • $125.00 buying new workout gear to help prevent me from becoming an ugly, fat, scary spinster.
  • $120.00 in clothing in case there's hope for me yet.

Normally I rack up about $300 – $500 in credit card charges a month and pay off the entire balance. This month, my credit card statement was $880.00. It arrived in an envelope padded so thickly that I haven't seen one like it since I got accepted to my university. Ouch, ouch, ouch.

If anyone needs to find me over the next month, I'll be sitting on the couch in my apartment with the lights off.

~Tuesday, March 01, 2011


Sunday morning Jenna convinced me to get up and run a 5k with her. We met down by the Chattahoochee River where there was a flat gravel path that ran alongside the river that separates in the inside of the city with the metro area. It was 20 degrees cooler than it was at the beach but my skin felt hot from the sun.

I'm in week 6 of my Couch-to-5k training. The real race is in two weeks. The entire group of friends is running and I'm surprised at how seriously everyone is taking it; I'm not the only one training.

Jenna knows I'm nervous about the race and promised to stay by my side. Only when we passed the first marker and started jogging, I heard her breathe harder and harder until she fell away from me, shouting to keep going. This girl ran a 5k every month last year. I kept going, even speeding up in the thrill of being able to run.

Guy with Rib-Cage Tattoo passes me. He's cute. And then I notice that every third or fourth guy I pass on the trail is checking me out. I had no idea that the Sunday morning running trail was such a meat market. Goodbye, treadmill!

That was the exact moment I learned about pacing. I heard the warnings, but now I was on a narrow wooden bridge crossing a marsh wheezing and out of breath. I lifted my arm above my head to stretch out the side cramp that was rapidly forming.

Guy with Rib-Cage Tattoo passes me. Again? Maybe he is running a shorter loop, otherwise he's running three miles to my every one. I'm not going to let Guy with Rib-Cage Tattoo know that I have a cramp, so I lower my arm and take off in a slow jog until he is out of sight. I walk. I walk farther than I should have walked.

Eventually I pick back up in a slow jog. I run against my shadow, noticing my form looks like I know what I'm doing. Whereas my mind wavers, my body remains confident; I'm stronger than I think I am. I need to remember this. I think back to Peter Pan chasing his shadow and I realize I'm doing the same. I smile.

I think of a poem I read years ago:

How do they do it, the ones who make love
without love?...
They do not
mistake the lover for their own pleasure,
they are like great runners: they know they are alone
with the road surface, the cold, the wind,
the fit of their shoes, their over-all cardio-
vascular health--just factors, like the partner
in the bed, and not the truth, which is the
single body alone in the universe
against its own best time.

I am alone, but I'm running, moving forward. I have nothing to do these days but compete against my own time. Guy with Rib-Cage Tattoo passes me yet again, but this time I don't care.

I see the end of the trail and pick up into a full run. Jenna's waiting for me.


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