Everything That Happens to You Is On You

A while back I blogged about a man I was calling Yoga Jones. He was the one who complained about how it is just as miserable to be in a relationship as it is to be alone.

Yoga Jones and I spoke again recently in which he asked me about “tertiary relationships”.

Me: What in hell is a tertiary relationship?
Yoga Jones: You know, where your significant other just isn’t that attractive so you have to find someone else to take care of business.
My internal monologue: That’s literally cheating. Stop it with your middle class white boy word creation. You didn’t invent a new concept of relationships. No.
Me: I would be against that on principle.
Yoga Jones: But monogamy is literally a made up human construct.
My internal monologue: So is fast food and flag football and your paycheck and you seem to love those.

And at about this point my brain exploded. I found out later he had cheated on his girlfriend over the weekend and was basically trying to get me to help him feel better about it.

I am the friend who will help you feel better when you gain ten pounds. I will stay up late to help you study and proofread anything you need proofread. I will tell you when those jeans make your butt look less like the object of affection of any nearby large snakes and more like a pancake.

But I am not going to make you feel better for cheating on your girlfriend because she isn’t hot enough for you. I am not going to tell you it’s okay to hurt other people. Not telling someone that you did something wrong is not the same as not doing something wrong. “I wouldn’t want to tell her the truth because then she has to carry the guilt” is not an excuse.

If you aren’t happy, leave. Don’t break someone’s heart because you aren’t mature enough to be honest.

Is It Wrong to Hope a Couple Breaks Up During Wedding Planning?

Have you ever met someone who, when they told you that the engagement ring their fiance picked out was chipped and had to be sent back, you immediately suspected that it was all a lie and she demanded he get another one because the rock was too small?

These suspicions of insanity of this creature are not out of the realm of possibility. This is the same person who, upon realizing my romantic interest in the man who turned her down for a date in high school, made up elaborate lies about him that I only discovered four months later. She also tried to keep apart her own brother and the girl he liked through equally ridiculous lies. Thankfully Liebling and I got together in spite of her efforts, and her brother is happily married to his lady, who is one of my best friends.

Yet somehow, despite the herculean effort it must have been, she has somehow convinced this guy that she is an actual human being with a soul. Despite the fact that she nags him constantly, is hated by his entire friend group, and has already (not two days after the engagement) begun bullying her own mother about the wedding, he has decided he would like to spend the rest of his life with her.

I am appalled, kittens. And there is simply no way to tell someone that the person they are marrying is probably not even a person under any moral classifications. And I am a stubborn thing and have tried it before, believe me.

I think at the end of the day it comes down to experience. The aforementioned pair is suffering from First Relationship Syndrome. You don’t think Hershey’s chocolate is bad unless you have had other chocolate. But you put a Toblerone in that Hershey-gobbling fool’s hand and they will see the light. You have to meet people. See what the world has to offer. That is my advice to any and everyone. Don’t marry the first person you date, don’t buy the first car you drive, and don’t drink that entire bottle of whiskey just because it is the only thing in your pantry.

And don’t forget the Spice Girls — if your friends would rather leap off your balcony than spend time on it with your girlfriend, you probably shouldn’t marry her.

Unlikely Substitutes

This morning I found myself staring helplessly at the shelf in my fridge where the coffee creamer belongs. Coffee creamer, the second most important item in my godless morning ritual. Or in my case, the serious lack of coffee creamer.

I did the thing where you shut the fridge and open it and try to magically conjure coffee creamer. Liebling walked in to see my dead morning eyes looking more forlorn than usual.

“We don’t have any coffee creamer,” I whimpered. He looked over my shoulder as if it was possible I was just crazy enough to miss it. Then he nodded his confirmation.

I did the shut the fridge open the fridge thing again. I seriously considered adding Nesquik. I opened the freezer. Frozen chicken, ice, some frozen dinners, and ice cream.

A small hopeful alarm went off in my brain. “What if I used ice cream?” Liebling frowned at me. I frowned in a thoughtful sort of way.

This was not vanilla ice cream, to be clear. It was Girl Scout Thin Mint ice cream and had actual chunks of cookie in it. I did it anyway. I drank my coffee a la menthe with the kind of glee that can only be achieved by sleep deprived Monday-night-drinkers who have achieved new depths of depravity. Liebling pointed out that it tasted  “horrible in its own unique way” but I think he was just jealous of my cleverness. I could be wrong.

I clearly have no shame.

This Town Smells Like Black & Milds, Tastes Like Cheap Moscato

Returning to your old stomping grounds is a strange kind of nostalgia. This weekend I picked up a friend and we drove down to my alma mater to visit my sister and her roommate. Our friend had never been to the campus before so we took him on a tour of sites I remembered from my days: favorite bars, used bookstore, trees; and new ones: clothing stores and esplanades and wine bars and different trees.

I love that school and I love that city. I bought myself a sweatshirt with the university logo and I bought enough books from my favorite bookstore that my shoulder was bruised from carrying the heavy bag back to my sister’s dorm. But I don’t miss walking outdoors to get non-microwaved food or homework or worrying about the future. It was just a wonderful visit with wonderful people. I loved my time there but I know I don’t want to go back.

It’s nice to know that sometimes there is such a thing as closure. Though I am a little bit sad this is the last year I have a reason to attend the Halloween festivities.

Deep Dish Pizza and a Company Credit Card

I went to Chicago this past weekend for a conference for work. After flight cancellations and delays, my co-worker and I made it into the city well after dark and strolled around looking for food and liquor, and we weren’t very concerned about the food.

After a lot of walking, mediocre calamari, a too-sweet Old Fashioned, and a lot of wine, I found myself in need of the facilities. This sounds like a relatively easy task. Drunk girl has to pee. But this drunk girl managed to find herself in a bathroom with a floor to ceiling door that got jammed behind her.

At first I thought oh God, I am literally too drunk too open this door. So I spun the knob both directions, tried to crawl underneath, realized there was no way I was going to fit this pinup body under four inches of door, and ended my attempts by slamming myself into the door a la insert-action-hero here, but drunk strength must not exist because I only ended up hurting myself.

I was finally rescued after a tense five minutes when another girl came into the bathroom and got an employee to wiggle a key in and unjamb the door. This is not the first time I have been inadvertently stuck and rescued from a bathroom. I sincerely hope it is the last.

The next nights were much more relaxing, more of a seafood-eating, hotel-lounging, wine-drinking sort of thing.

My final night in Chicago was a delight as I got to visit with an old co-worker/friend whom I just refer to as the Doctor, and his beautiful girlfriend, whom we will call the Nurse. The Doctor was a co-worker I was terrifically excited about as he was intelligent, cutting, and funny, and that is a trifecta I have always loved (see mein Liebling). We got to catch up and gossip and talk about what has happened in the last year, but the best part was probably watching the Nurse’s expression as she realized that all the crazy stories he told her were true, and I was now providing them with even more outrageous tales.

I have missed the Doctor something fierce since he quit to go back to medical school, and I enjoyed being able to put our pizza and drinks on the company credit card. I felt like a true young professional, and there is nothing quite like whipping out an AmEx in a crowded bar to earn appreciative stares. And there is something to be said for the politeness of that city, because when I complained to the guy sitting next to me at the bar that I must not have enough cleavage because I couldn’t get my credit card back from the bartender, he pulled down his shirt collar and shouted at the bartender in a falsetto voice to get his attention — and it worked.

This courtesy does not extend to the cab drivers who are the most horrifying things I have ever experienced. I love Chicago. It is a beautiful, lively city with a great atmosphere and crazy people and delicious food. But I cannot express in words the relief I felt driving down the highway on my way home knowing that at least if the car crashed, it would be my own damn fault this time.

I’ve Got A Thing For Legal Pads and Similes

As a middle class child growing up in white suburbia, I was told two things growing up.

1. You are going to college.
2. Do what you love.

And these are excellent things. I loved college, I loved every inch of my sprawling state school from its loftable furniture to its blueberry coffee to its enthusiastic professors to its perfect tiny used bookstore. And I loved literature. So I majored in English and got my master’s degree in Library Science at the same time and then I graduated.

And I was lucky enough to find a job two months after. It had absolutely nothing to do with either of my degrees, but I probably should have expected that. The ability to accidentally memorize William Carlos Williams poems and write papers three weeks before they were due so I could party all the nights when everyone else was panicking turned out not to be actual marketable skills.

But what I didn’t expect was that I would love my job. And then I realized that “do what you love” didn’t mean what I thought it meant. It didn’t mean I had to find a job that would let me read books and write poems and be sassy. I like doing those things, but they aren’t traits that define me.

I am a control freak. I like to organize and plan.  I like to talk to people. Sometimes I go to the mailroom just to browse the office supplies. I particularly enjoy spouting metaphors like an elephant taking a bath spouts water. (Sometimes I can’t help myself and I’m not sorry.) And I do all of those things at my job. And then I get to go home and read any books I want to and play video games or get drunk and stare at a wall, because I can.

Sometimes doing what you love just means finding a place where you can be what you are.

No One Will Play Monopoly With Me Anymore

Liebling and I were talking about competitiveness the other day because one friend of ours is fluent in Romanian and his brother doesn’t speak a word. My first thought was that that would have never happened with my sister and I; neither of us could have handled the other having that much knowledge without having it ourselves. She actually took a children’s literature course because I recommended it to her (that whole we-have-to-be-good-at-the-other-one’s-stuff thing) and ended up creating an amazing final project that she probably forgot about that I still wish I had created.

We are what is commonly described as “competitive” but that is only because no one is willing to say to our faces that we are slightly terrifying maniacs with an obsessive ability to remember each other’s grades while forgetting things like our joint birthday parties when we were two and five and other, happier childhood memories. (But people are only afraid of saying this because if they did we would start arguing about which of us is more competitive, though I totally think I would win.)

I am pretty sure I was more worried about her ACT score results than my own.

I’d like to think that these compulsions have gotten better as we have grown older and become better friends, but I would be lying to you. I have definitely urged her to drop out of school once or two hundred times. But that is only because when she graduates in May I will only be one degree ahead. I wonder if you can get a doctorate in alcoholism and its effects on my love of karaoke and young adult literature? No one could beat me at that . . .