January 30, 2009

Veracity, candor, and uprightness

According to my lovely friend and regular blog reader Becky, I am an honest person. To commemorate my honesty award, I am supposed to tell ten secrets. (How is that part of it an award? Shouldn't anyone who reads this be writing to tell me their secrets to reward the ones I've already told? I mean, I've certainly gone into topics through the writing of this blog that would make some people's hair curl.)

I've given a fair amount of thought to the topic of honesty. I've considered different ways of being honest, different levels of honestly, various motivations for honesty. Recent experiences with honesty have been, well, HEART-WRENCHING. I have lots of questions about honesty, such as:

Is it advisable, desirable, or even possible to be honest in every situation?

Can anyone else handle my complete honesty and, for that matter, can I handle theirs?

How much honesty is too much? That is, when does it become a detriment?

A friend once told me he really admired my honesty and ability to be humble; he said he thought it was admirable that I didn't mind looking bad in front of others. I wasn't quite sure how to take that compliment.

Anyway, all my rambling about the topic aside, here's some more honesty. Enjoy.

1. My Room 101 fear is being buried alive.

2. I've always had one foot out the door, and I'm not sure how to change that.

3. I seem to feel everything REALLY INTENSELY or not at all. It's exhausting--I know it is for me, and I imagine it must be for the people around me.

4. Eight

5. I've always wanted a pair of penny loafers with shiny copper pennies in them. I don't care if it's dorky.

6. Yesterday my boss asked me if I was on my meds. *gulp*

7. Somehow I know with every fiber in my being that I will write my book. I can't say when, but I know I will write it.

8. I worry that I will never have children. For whatever reason. I've always promised myself that I would not allow that to be dependent on another person--that I would do it by myself if that's what it took. I hate to admit that this will probably ultimately end up being the situation. It's a lonely and sobering thought.

9. When I was in third grade, I was so ashamed that I'd dramatically outgrown my shabby and dingy winter coat that I went an entire winter without it. I hid it so no one would find it, and I pretended I was never cold.

10. I pretended it didn't really matter to me, but it did.

January 29, 2009

Miscellaneous assortment

1. Yesterday I decided I liked coming to work the morning after I'd gone to sleep with my hair wet, because it makes it stick up in interesting ways. Today I would like to reiterate that. This morning I was eager to see what it had done. I awoke to the front of my hair resembling a cross between the cowardly lion and a fashion model. The back looks like an elderly chihuahua's ass.

2. I heard the most hideous and trite phrase ever put into words as I was getting ready for work. On a commercial break during the morning news was an ad for that Benjamin Buttons movie. One review said that it captured "the poetry and pain of life." Terrible. Just terrible.

3. I was listening to a congressman on NPR this morning saying, "Americans need us to take action. They don't want us sitting around like little boats around the dock. They want us to go out to sea where the big ships are." I found this indescribably funny.

4. A couple mornings a week I stop at 7-11 to get a cup of coffee before starting my commute. [Stop laughing! I love the good stuff as much as anyone else, but Philz and Blue Bottle and all those places aren't beating down my door to sponsor me, so...]


There is a man who works in the mornings that I just love. I always laugh because he tries to give me the special deal every single time I'm in there. It seems that in the morning if you buy a coffee of a certain size you can get two free taquitos. I always shudder at the thought of this and vehemently decline, even when he reminds me, "They're FREE! What a deal!"

Irrespective of his taquito pushing, he's such a sweetheart. He asks each and every customer with genuine interest how their morning is going and listens to their responses. He wishes everyone a safe drive to work and a good day. In front of me this morning, there was a homeless man buying a soda and carefully counting out pennies and nickels to put on the counter. While he was waiting, the cashier said to the man encouragingly, "It's going to be okay. Things are going to be okay. You just keep working at it, alright?"

At that moment I loved him.

January 27, 2009

A new kind of spam

Alternative titles to this blog:

Strangely appropriate timing
Get it while it's hot, boys

I *just* got this email message:

Ave, dear!

If I had to choose between loving you and breathing, I would use my last breath to whisper 'I love you ' I am a very warm and friendly person with a good sense of humor. I am passionate and complex. I give freely of myself and I am always ready to lend a hand to someone who needs me. I am strong and independent and no matter how bad things get I am always looking for that silver lining. I still believe in true love and I believe that life is magical and I don’t sweat the small stuff. I’m very spontaneous and adventurous and I love the outdoors. I believe strongly in family and celebrating tradition. I'm looking for man who has similar interests. Looks, race, religion, size, and age don't matter to me. I look for what’s in the heart, not the outside. I'm looking for a man with a big heart and which is sweet. I don't like them to be cynical, I don't like attitude, sarcasism is ok. I'd like a man to be honest, a man who is warm hearted, understanding, loyal and patient. Drop me a line http://affairsamour.com/7811/

Looking forward to hear from you soon
Alexy G.

On connection, or lack thereof

Yesterday in the middle of my work day, I felt the need to express myself. I didn't know quite where to put what I needed to say, so I posted my words on Craigslist for whomever happened to stumble upon them to read. My post said:

I’m trying.

I’m trying to regroup and put a smile on my face and shrug and laugh it off. When people sweetly display righteous indignation and anger on my behalf (e.g., “What an ass!”), and when they offer words of support, comfort, and encouragement (e.g., “You don’t need him! You’re amazing and don’t you forget that for a minute!”), I laugh and thank them and put on a brave face. I pretend I’m wearing my big girl pants.

But the fact is I’m tired of being brave. And these pants never felt like they fit quite right anyway.

I have amazing friends and am building my career. I am busy and I have goals and I am going places. But sometimes I just need to be held.

I’m tired of feeling lonely.

I am tired of longing.

I’m tired of brushing myself off and working up the courage to try again.

Alright. So it's a bit of a forlorn message, but I just needed to say the words to SOMEONE. I was amazed by the responses I started getting.

Some people wrote to me to say, "Don't give up! Keep going!" Others wrote to say, "Me too." Many, many wrote to describe their own feelings and thoughts on the subject, from someone undergoing a male to female sex change and learning who her friends really are to someone who loves a girl that already has a boyfriend but continues to string him along.

Many men sent me their pictures and phone numbers, too.

It just seems a shame that--as many people as there are in the world and as many different kinds of people as there are in the world--anyone should feel lonely if they don't want to.

January 26, 2009

I still love love!

To all the people out there who keep on hoping and looking and trying despite the odds: you are amazing!

Recent Craigslist Missed Connections examples...


I was walking on Clement Street a little before 6pm on Sunday. I was wearing a navy coat with a high collar. I shrugged and sighed. You were coming the opposite way and you smiled at me. Tall, short hair, cute smile (loved that smile!)... Wanna share a cup of coffee ?

* * *

Where did you come from? What are you?

I looked into your eyes and I couldn't even breathe. I saw you on the Muni a couple of weeks ago. You were wearing a black sweater, black boots, blue jeans, your hair was kind of pulled up, and a hand full of books. You got off at SFSU...

* * *

hi...i was walking out of my building with a friend and you were walking in front with your whole foods bag. i just thought you were really pretty so i'm taking this long shot that you'll look here. :)

* * *

come on. you knew i was smitten with you.

oh to have the upper-hand....

January 24, 2009

January 22, 2009

Thirty two

I like to write a blog on my birthday that reflects what I've been thinking about and what I've been doing. This morning I read over the entries from my 30th and 31st birthdays.

My life has changed in leaps and bounds. At times, the speed was dizzying but (sometimes) because I didn't have the thing I wanted most, it seemed to be just more of the same.

I have tried my best to document my journey...partly for me, partly for you, and partly for the me and you that would someday be.

Lost yet?

I hope not. Because, for once, I am right where I want to be. At this moment, at least, I am not looking back, and I am not looking ahead. I am right here.

At this moment I am so happy.

At this moment I feel incredibly loved.

At this moment I know that the waiting and the searching and the hopefulness were actually leading towards something.

Sometimes the moments that change your life the most feel ordinary and fairly uneventful and it is only in hindsight that their import becomes apparent; other times they knock you on your back and you are left breathless and trying to regain your composure.

The terrain between where I was a little over three weeks ago and where I am right now is almost unfathomable. Thank God.

My eyes are open. I'm breathing deeply. All those feelings over the past three years that I was supposed to be paying attention...? I'm so glad I was.

Waking Life


Now Lady Gregory was Yeats' patron, this Irish person, and though I'd never seen her image, I was just sure that this was the face of Lady Gregory.

So I'm walking along, and Lady Gregory turns to me and says, "Let me explain to you the nature of the universe. Philip K. Dick is right about time, but he's wrong that it's 50 A.D. Actually, there's only one instant, and it's right now, and it's eternity. And it's an instant in which God is posing a question, and that question is basically, 'Do you want to be one with eternity? Do you want to be in heaven?' And we're all saying, 'No thank you. Not just yet.' And so time actually is just this constant saying No to God's invitation. That's what time is, and it's no more 50 A.D. than it's 2001. There's just this one instant, and that's what we're always in."

Then she tells me that actually, this is the narrative of everyone's life. That behind the phenomenal differences, there is but one story, and that's the story of moving from No to Yes. All of life is like, "No thank you, no thank you, no thank you," then ultimately it's, "Yes, I give in, yes, I accept, yes, I embrace." That's the journey. Everyone gets to Yes in the end, right?

— Richard Linklater, excerpt from the movie "Waking Life"

January 20, 2009


This is the part of me that needs medication.
This is the part of me that believes in heaven.
This is the part of me that thinks outer space is all dead.
This is the part of me that wishes it was with it.
This is the part of me that's trying to be funny.
This is the part of me that loves my parents.
This is the part of me that thinks that ants are cavemen.
This is the part of me that thinks all humans are ants.
This is the part of me that learns from sitcoms.
This is the part of me that means nothing.

And I don't know.
Well, I could go away and you could wish that
I had stayed or just stayed gone
And I don't know.
And I don't know at all.
So, out of the context and into what you meant.
And you know your reasons.
You don't know who you are but you know who you want to be.
I don't know.
So you go to the library to get yourself a book
and you look and you look
but you didn't find anything to read.
And I don't know at all.

Left all my kinder parts rusting and peeling
That guy was complaining as he looked at the ceiling.
My nose isn't that big;
It looks nothing like me.
We're all doctors trading sadness for numbness
Grass looks much greener but it's green-painted cement.
The mayor's machines are there cleaning the pavement.
You can't make dirt clean so we'll just lemon scent it.

(Thanks for reminding me to go back to this song, M.)

Items 764 and 1,988 on the list "Ways to Stick It to the Man"

Apparently, Bush St. has been renamed Obama St. in San Francisco. An amusing idea, but it seems sort of inconvenient for the businesses on that street...

Too bad the proposition to rename the Oceanside Water Pollution Control Plant to the George W. Bush Sewage Plant didn't pass.

Voicemail transcript

Here's one of my favorite voicemails ever. It was left by S. The context is that I almost never check my voicemails and, knowing this, he sometimes leaves them just so I have to listen to them later.

S: BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP. So this is one of the messages that you're not going to check for, like, five months and then you're going to be like: what the fuck is some sociopath doing...BEEPING...into my fuckin' voicemail? And, I don't know, I don't have an answer. I...I just wanted to do it. So, you know, your phone beeped at me, I beeped at your fuckin' phone. And, to be fair, it's not even your phone, it's your voicemail, which isn't even, like, really connected to your phone. It's, like, somewhere else in, like, some fuckin' satellite call center bullshit.

But um...I don't know exactly what it is...I wanted to see how you were and how your weird drink thing or whatever went on, shit, Saturday? Is that when it was? I don't...I don't know. All the days blend together when you're unemployed. It doesn't fuckin' matter...anymore...what day's what.

But, um....you know, I...I will...I will assume that we have talked since...in the time in which in between...I can't even fucking complete a sentence now...in the interim time in which, uh, I left this message and you've checked it because, once again, you won't check it for seven years. Um...I may be dead by then, I don't know. Who knows? Maybe. I'm not even sure.

This could be a very eerie and touching moment for you where you, like, cry because I have since passed on and you miss all the wonderful mix compilations cds that I made for you. Um...but, you know, who knows? Anything could happen. That's the point, I guess.

Um...so, I'm going to assume that you're doing well and that someday in the near future you'll call me back. And, um...I'm just gonna hang up the phone now so, you know....BOOSH...[hangs up]

January 19, 2009


Obamicon Amie

"Maybe an ocean is found in a lake; maybe exceptions to this could be made."

Here I am

Because variables lurk in the wine
Because the bed’s warm when it’s cold out and that’s a good sign.
It’s never ever gonna feel right to pull the latch back again.
The dust you kick up is too fine.

January 15, 2009

What about dealing with the consequences after breakfast?

Alice laughed. "There's no use in trying." she said. "One can't believe impossible things."

"I dare say you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

- Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There, Lewis Carroll

Today everything feels too small:

this cup of coffee, this desk, this office, my bank account, the amount of time I have to do things I enjoy as compared to things I have to do, the open space in my brain, the topics of my dreams, my capacity for rational thought, the constraints associated with sanity, my vocabulary to describe all of this…

January 13, 2009

I have discovered...

...that my greatest weakness seems to be those who are skilled at writing articulate letters full of wit, quotations of any kind, and good grammar that stimulate my mind and fuel my own urge to write. Numerous close friends of mine already fall into this category. And recently I may have just found one of the very best.

January 7, 2009

A memory

One humid summer afternoon when I was six years old, I was playing with my neighborhood friends Traci and Beau. Traci and I were the same age, and Beau must have been about four.

We were sitting on Beau’s front steps, pondering what to do with ourselves. “We could play hide and seek,” I suggested. We agreed that it was too hot for so much running. Traci suggested we play Barbies.

“My dad said I’m not allowed to play Barbies with you guys anymore,” Beau muttered.

While we were mulling over our options, the mailman arrived and handed Beau his family’s mail. On top was an envelope from Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes with bold, capitalized words saying, “CONGRATULATIONS! YOU’VE JUST WON 10 MILLION DOLLARS!”

We instantly flipped out.

“Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, YOU’RE RICH!” Traci and I cried, hopping around excitedly. Beau sat in a daze for a moment as this knowledge sunk in, and then he was jumping up and down with excitement as well.

We immediately began to make plans for the money. Traci and I practically fell over each other shouting out suggestions for how it should be spent. “You can build the biggest tree house in the world!” I cried.

“You can buy your own plane!” Traci added.

“You don’t ever have to go to school again!” We were both envious of this.

Beau happily joined in the planning and, because he was a sweet little boy, said, “I’ll give you guys some money, too!” We all danced with joy.

Too impatient to wait for Beau’s mother to get home so we could break the news to her, we ran inside Traci’s house to tell her mother about the Corbett family’s new-found fortune. She laughed and broke the news to us that everyone got those notices—that she’d gotten them in the mail, too—and that it didn’t actually mean anyone had one 10 million dollars. And…just like that…we were crestfallen. Our plans for trampolines and brand new bikes and an endless supply of Doritos were gone.

I would give anything for five minutes of such pure, unadulterated joy again.

January 2, 2009

You did, you had, you were.

You ate green apples.

You wanted to explore.

You took for granted the grass beneath your feet.

You stood for hours.

You peed in your snow suit.

You spilled the beans.

You petted the squirrel.

You told him, "No."

You threw rocks.

You hid your face and peered out from between your fingers.

You slid down the stairs.

You tried on her lingerie to imagine what you would look like as a woman.

You pretended your hands were your friends.

I dreamed about how it felt when my feet left the platform.
I dreamed of the sound my back made when it broke.
I dreamed I was a little girl in my grandpa's arms.
I dreamed of you.

Bits of recent conversations 2

(sitting in an all-night diner)

A: When I was somewhere in the vicinity of 10 years old, my uncle--the one who came out here recently and at that time he must have been, oh, 21 years old--my uncle and I were sitting in Bonanaza--a family steakhouse chain in the southeastern US; you don't have them here do you?

S: (shakes head)

A: Anyway, we were sitting there eating and there was this elderly couple--probably about 90 years old--sitting nearby. They weren't talking to each other. They were just eating and looking around absently. They didn't seem unhappy or anything, just...content. So my uncle looks over at them for awhile and says, "Look at them. They've probably said everything there is to say to each other. Now they don't even need to talk because they know each other so well. I want that." I thought it was so interesting that he said that, even when I was only 10. I mean, you don't hear a lot of 21 year olds say things like that, you know? I'm sure he doesn't even remember saying it.

S: (nods)

A: I doubt that he even...[pauses and lifts nose and sniffs the air in the diner]...oh my God! Wait! [continues to sniff] That smell, do you smell a lady? Like a lady's perfume?

S: (shakes his head)

A: Who was it that just walked past me? That busboy over there?

S: (nods)

A: He smells like my grandma! I mean, I'm sure that's not a compliment from his perspective, but he does. He smells like my grandma's perfume. How funny: I was just telling a story about one of her kids and now I smell her.

S: (sits in silence)

A: You know, I don't know what's going on in your head when you don't say anything. Do you just sit there and think about how crazy I am? It must be interesting to sit there and just watch me talk endlessly about the weirdest things.

S: It's like watching a one woman tragedy unfold before me.

* * * * *

M: [nods toward S. and says in a whisper] He has a crush on you.

A: No.

M: Yes, he does. I could tell as soon as he got in the car.

A: No. We're really good friends. Maybe you're not used to seeing that between a man and woman?

M: He has a crush on you.

A: We tried that already and it didn't work.

M: Oh.