On Being an Enigma

imagesI am comfortable in the fact that people do not fully know or understand me.  There are those who like to believe they do, well-meaning friends who like to say, “Come on, I know you better than that” when they think they can detect my mood and wish to draw me out and comfort me or force me into banter when I wish to remain silent.

I know myself better and will recover in my own time.

I realize that most people mean well.

Still, the most interesting of all is the stalker who continues to harangue, harass, and darken my life pretending like she knows what I mean whenever I write something when she knows nothing about my life, has never actually spoken to me, and knows zero about my life.  Her constant threats, emails, and illegal behavior of breaking into my online accounts and calling places pretending to be me is laughable and only goes to prove how small her life is.

The very fact that she is so consumed with what I am doing all the while I think very seldom of her goes to prove that I am an enigma to her and she is a transparent manipulative crazy nut just like she appears to be.

Interesting.  Disturbing.  Funny.  But, at the same time, not even a microscopic piece of dust in the cobwebs in the furthermost corner of my mind.

No, when people say, “Come on, I know you better than that,” they truly do not.  They have no idea what I intended.

The Fork in the Road

fork in the roadTypically, I am not given in to whimsy, but the other day I was walking to Starbuck’s to work and I saw a fork in the road.  Literally.  Well, it was off to the side, but it was actually a fork.  I smiled to myself as I thought about the meaning of seeing a fork in the road at this juncture of my life, a time when things are so chaotic and messy.

I am not one to snap endless pictures, probably another one of my “flat” features, so I walked by the fork that day; although I was still thinking about it the next day.

Seeing it still in the same place when I walked to get my daily chai tea, I decided to take a picture.

The forgotten fork sitting amongst the dirt and pebbles with little tufts of grass struggling to grow in the harsh Nevada weather, trying to figure out if it is winter or spring, has caused me to consider my path.

Do I go left, or do I go right?  Or is there another path somewhere down the middle?

“You can’t go Home Again”

Vincent Van Gogh's "Bedroom at Arles"

Vincent Van Gogh’s “Bedroom at Arles”

They say “You can’t go home again”, and I think they are right (well, whomever this proverbial “they” might be).  However, I think you can reinvent what home can be defined as.

Whenever people are making small talk, the inevitable question arises, “Where are you from?” I always answer the same, “I am not really from anywhere.  My family moved all over when I was a kid and I lived in 53 places and attended 15 different schools before I was 15.  I lived in Arizona, Wyoming, New Mexico, Utah, and Nevada as a child.”  Granted, it was probably more information than they were looking for; it was, essentially, small talk.  Nevertheless, I would ignore the bored look on their faces and continue, “As an adult I have also lived in Washington, Texas, California, and Oregon, and then back to Texas.”

Having no idea why they would engage me further, most would ask me, “So, where do you consider ‘home’?”

Often I would pause before answering, “I guess that would be Reno, Nevada.  I lived there longer than I lived anywhere else, and it was the last place I went to school.”

Returning “home” is not as one would imagine where you visit the familiar and are welcomed by family and friends and visit your childhood home.

The Biggest Little City in the World is entirely different from when I was a teenager here; the days of me cruising up and down Virginia Street in my beloved ’57 Chevy are over, I am no longer a teen with a classic car, and they have outlawed cruising entirely.  Downtown looks old and depressing with locals dragging the sidewalks like zombies amongst the dilapidated and empty buildings; the economic downturn hit the area hard.

I have no friends from high school, having had few to begin with, and not keeping in touch with (or falling out with) the few I had.  My family is mostly here, but is so dysfunctional I might as well be here alone.

There is no childhood home, as we rented a duplex for the few years I lived here with my family.  Eventually, my parents bought a home they owned for 20 years or so, but we sold it to pay for my mother’s attorney when she killed my father.

Other than my evening of “emotional cutting”, I am reluctant to return to my regular haunts of years past; there are too many memories, good and bad.  I have a tendency to get mired down in the pain, but if it is not in front of me constantly, I can suppress it and pretend it never existed.

Time to Reinvent

I have reconnected with a friend I worked with during my second “homecoming” (this is my third).  We have reinvented a friendship that exists in the present; we are the only two involved and there is nobody from our past to stir up trouble and create a triangle wherein they create drama.

For the first time, I am living alone; granted, the apartment is not ideal.  It is smaller than most hotel rooms I have ever stayed in, and the neighborhood is less than upscale.  Very much less.  Nevertheless, I am alone and I can write to my heart’s content; the goal of this exercise.

My days are filled with working out, going to Starbuck’s for an internet connection, interviewing people to write about, and learning about life by myself.

So, while you cannot go home again, I have decided to reinvent what home is to me… it is wherever I happen to be at the time.  For now, it is here, at Starbuck’s on a lonely corner downtown.

Emotional Cutting

Emotional CuttingI am an emotional cutter.

I spent yesterday haunting the places we used to love; feeling his spirit, sensing his smile, knowing his warmth, and missing him more than ever.

At first, when I went into The Silver Peak, I felt a vague sense of familiarity; we had been there so many times before.  We would sit on the patio and laugh across the table over plates of hummus, pita bread, olive tapenade (although, truth be told, he hated the olive tapenade), and endless glasses of white wine.  We hosted co-workers through crises, drunken spiels about their love lives, and the odd quirkiness of their personalities.  The Silver Peak was our place.

However, last night was entirely different; it was cold and crisp.  The tables that usually graced the sidewalk were packed away and completely out of sight; I sat at the bar alone and ordered the chicken tacos, not the Greek Sampler.  I ordered a Malibu Press, my current signature drink, instead of “our” bottle of white.  The crowd was entirely different, too; it was younger, hipper, or was I just feeling so damn old that I they appeared young.

I passed the time talking to the bartender and two young men at the end of the bar; they confirmed the crowd was altered.  Years before, the establishment was filled with lawyers and professionals from the downtown office buildings; now, artists, beatniks, and tourists filled the restaurant and crowded the bar.  Nevertheless, it did not matter, it was not my place anymore, I was infringing on a memory, and I was a ghost.

My quest to torture myself did not end with one slice across my flesh; I walked up the street and meandered through the smiling vacationers, sinking into my memories.  I paused in front of Rum Bullions, picturing him sitting with my daughter on her 21st birthday, smiling, laughing, and socializing.  The overhead music was Nickelback, some sentimental song that always makes me think of him; I stood frozen in front of the giant mining structure in the middle of The Silver Legacy.  Would the pain ever end?

Apparently, not anytime soon; I walked into the last place I should have been, Bistro Roxy.  I sat at the bar and ordered one of the 102 martinis they have on the menu; it was all I could do to choke back my tears as I sat swirling the sweet liqueurs mixing in my glass as I listened to the piano thinking of him.  The crowd was fun and lively, but it was too old, it was not our crowd.  The drink was the same, too sweet, too sticky, too expensive; he would have known which one to order for me… he always got it just right.  But the rest of it was all wrong; the people were too old, the bartender was too dull, my mood was too dark, and he was not there.

I should not have gone there, to our places; but returning to a town where we fell in love, there is not one place without his fingerprints, his smile, his smell, him.

The cutting continues today as I listen to Pandora… Michael Buble, Nickelback, James Blunt, even Trans-Siberian Orchestra (in February?) all so diverse, but each one of them is us, is him.

Come Fly with Me

airplane

It is that time again… time for another plane trip and another bout of paranoia.

Do I have anything left to confess?  Oh, my closet is full of so many skeletons I could charge admission during Halloween… but for the simple stuff…

For those of you that do not know, each time I travel by air, I am certain I am going to die and I want to purge myself of little bits about myself so I can be remembered.

***

I do not get mean girls.  If you do not like somebody, simply move on.  Is it that you do not have anywhere else to focus your energy, so you beat up on people you see as weaker?  Or is it just low self-esteem?  Either way, get a hobby.  Honestly.  The mean girl card is so overplayed it is time to leave it behind.  If you are a mean girl, you know who I am talking to; if you are being affected by one, hold your head high and walk on by… they do not get it.

***

Even though I am a super picky eater, when I find something I like to eat, I can eat it day after day and I truly do not mind at all.  I have eaten spaghetti for dinner four nights in a row, and it has not bothered me in the least.

***

I do not think food and sex is erotic are provocative in the least.  In fact, quite the opposite; as soon as I am finished eating, I feel the need to wash my hands and douse myself with body spray so I do not smell like food or have any food smells near me whatsoever.

While I love food, cooking, and eating… mostly; I do not think it belongs in the bedroom or in an erotic setting.

Not judging… just confessing.

***

I drink far too much, especially coming from a long history of alcoholics.  I cannot recall the last time I was drunk, but I drink every day.

***

I feel like I have been a better friend to the people in my life than they have been to me, and it hurts.  I try to let it go, but it is hard.  I feel selfish and small when I dwell on it.

***

I am going to be back in the area where most of my family lives (mother, sister, brother, children) for at least four days, but I will not be seeing any of them.  While my children will not know because they could care less, the rest of my family does.  Still, I will not be seeing any of them.  Knowing that I do not know when I will be back in the area, it does not feel good that nobody has the time to see me; but, I have to “suck it up”.

***

So goes another trip out of town.  I will be returning soon…

Met My Old Lover in the Record Store

imagesRemember the song about the man who saw his high school girlfriend in a grocery store and he waxed poetic about their relationship.  The song has been remade hundreds of times; no, not literally, but figuratively.  Everyone looks back at their past during troubled points in their life and yearns for a simpler time, or thinks about a lost love and wonders “what if”.

Those are precisely the reasons I have never joined any social networking sites; I have not wanted to be found by anybody wanting to reconnect with me, nor I them.  I have never been curious about anybody from my past.  I have lived a very cyclical lifestyle; aside from family that I am bound to by DNA, there is nobody in my life that was here 10 years ago; three people that were here 5 years ago, and only one that I speak to or see regularly.

If I had any desire to know people from my past, or they me, I am assuming we would have continued (or even started) a friendship while we were in high school, which is where I assume most of the connections on these sites begin.

However, due to a very recent career move, I was required to join several of these dreaded sites; I reluctantly agreed, but made no move to advertise my presence.  I simply signed up and existed.  All was well until approximately a month ago when I received a “chat” message from somebody:

“Wow, I loved your work on that piece.” Him

“Thank you.  I appreciate you following.” Me

Mindless banter regarding my work.

“So, do you still have that ’57 Chevy you used to drive?” Him

A few minutes of stone silence on my end.

“Uhmmmm…” Me

“Are you still there?” Him

“Yes, I’m still here.” Me

“Don’t you remember me?”  Him

“No, not really.  I apologize.” Me, completely clueless as to who I am chatting with.

“We used to date, in high school.” Him

“Oh.  We did?  I am so sorry.  I guess I dated a lot.”  Me

“Lol” Him

“So…” Me

“You used to drive a ’57 Chevy BelAir.  You lived in the ghetto, remember?” Him

Yes, I am thinking, I know who I am, who are you?

“We dated for like three months, junior year.  I don’t remember why we broke up; but I remember making out like crazy, until my jaw was sore.”  Him

“Oh, yeah, now I remember you.” Me, still having no clue, but trying to be polite.

The banter continued for a few hours that night; he told me how he was unhappy in his marriage with his wife of 10 years, how he had lost his passion for life, how life was basically dragging him down.  He was nostalgic about our relationship and wondered about me all these years; he was happy to have finally found me and hoped I was doing well and was happy.

We ended our conversation that night wishing each other well; I told him that I hoped he would find peace in his marriage, but that I thought he deserved to be happy, I believe everyone does.  He thanked me for some advice I gave him and we said good night.

For the next few weeks, we said hello in passing, wishing each other a happy holiday but nothing more.

Then, a few nights ago, the inevitable happened; he said hello and we chatted for three hours.  He opined how unhappy he was with his wife, and asked when I would be in town again.  When I told him I would be there next week for work, he asked if we could go to lunch because he wanted to say some things he never had a chance to say in high school.

I asked how his wife would feel; he said he did not care anymore about how she would feel.  I told him I was in a committed relationship; he said it was all right with him, he still needed to say what was on his mind.  My heart ached for him.

He remembered why we broke up; he admitted that he had been a virgin when we were in high school and that he feels I wanted more.  I confessed that I was a bit “fast” in those days and gave myself away far too often and to too many people; like the tacky country music song lyricizes, “looking for love in too many places”.  However, it made me remember him.

As we ended our conversation again, I realized how dangerous these sites and this new genre of communication can be.  I longed to tell him that if he put those three hours of chat time into his marriage, imagine what he might get in return; but I did not want to judge or imply.

He is holding onto a memory of a girl that no longer lives; maybe she never did…  But each time somebody sits behind their keyboard and holds out hope searching for a lost love from high school from 25 years ago, they can only be looking for memories.  It is like pulling out a dusty old scrapbook and looking at photographs, the pictures are static, they cannot change; time has passed, things change, people change, but the photos are the same…