Friday, May 28, 2010

That Couple Is Cheating On Me

I was part of a great foursome. And by that, I don’t mean some dirty foursome, as in swing-this-way-foursome. My ex and I had a couple that we got along with perfectly. There was no - ‘oh, the women are friends, so the husbands have to hang out’ or ‘he’s nice but man, she’s a nightmare.’ We all genuinely liked each other. Even our dogs got along. We’d go out to dinner, have game nights, movie nights, simple hang out nights and sometimes, we’d separate and do just the girls while the guys hung out.

Now our foursome is a threesome...again, not the dirty kind. The couple is like family to me and I still love hanging out with both of them and try to do it as often as possible. And while I think I’m pretty fun to hang out with, I can’t morph myself into two people (and I certainly can’t morph myself into being a dude). Naturally, my friends found another go-to couple for their game nights and such. Naturally. Yet, I find myself... jealous. Is that weird? My girlfriend and I have spoken about the breakup of my marriage often, but recently the discussion was less about my feelings regarding said breakup, or the transition to singlehood and more about what a bummer the breakup of the foursome has been. It’s really a big ol’ bummer. She concurred.

When I go on dates now, I find myself not only looking for someone that could possibly be a good fit for me, but I try to suss out whether they’d be a good fit for my friend’s husband. I want to ask... “so, um... Do you like strategy games? Are you up on technology? Could you say, have a well thought out conversation about a good graphic novel you’ve read recently? Do you even read graphic novels? And if no, would you be willing to have a go at reading one soon?”

And do I add these questions before or after the question about whether he’s okay with my dog sleeping in the bed (see previous entry if confused)?

Oy. I should just create a questionnaire. Or better yet, maybe I’ll just bring my friend’s husband and my dog on the date with me. Just get it all figured out right then and there.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie?

So... A little while back a very good friend of mine and I were talking about my dog (who, I should confess, runs my life). She commented that now that I’ve been thrust into singlehood, I might want to rethink where my dog gets her shut eye. Currently, her bedtime location is with me, on the bed. She’s a medium-sized mutt but once asleep, she morphs into a pile of lead bricks, making it near to impossible to move her. My friend’s thought was a logical one – now that I may have, you know, guests over (let’s just call them guests for now), I should be open to them not wanting the dog in the bed. It’s a fair assumption.

My dog came into my life as part of my old, coupled existence. My ex and I weren’t married yet, but we were on that road and so, the decision to have the dog in the bed with us, was mutual. It was a family decision. Once my ex left, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that it was nice not to have a completely empty bed. Having another body on the mattress with me made it seem, in the beginning, much less lonely. My dog and I adjusted to my ex’s absence together – an odd team of sorts.

However, now my friends advice rings in my ears as I make my way out there in the single world. As I do with most things that are on my mind, I raised the question with another good friend. Figuring she would confirm my other friend’s advice I was hoping to get some tips on how to train the dog to sleep on her own bed. To my surprise, she had a different reaction. Though she agreed that some guests might have an issue with the sleeping arrangements, she felt that anyone who would make their way to being a guest (don’t you love a euphemism), would have to be an animal lover. That I would never be with someone who wasn’t accepting of that sort of thing.

The debate was on.

Then I wondered, how will I know whether this is true early on? Is that the kind of thing you ask someone over drinks? You know like, “Hey Mr. dude, are you the sorta guy that is accepting of a situation in which you may only be provided less than 1/4 of the bed because my dog likes to sleep horizontally in the middle of that very same bed? Oh, and I would be on the opposite 1/4 of that bed. She’ll be between us... Wait, where are you going? Are you sticking me with the bill? It was nice meeting you....”

These are the sort of scenarios that make the idea of dating so foreign to me. Of course, yes, you want to date someone who is right for you but there seems to be a lot between that first drink and right for you. Are you with me? I think both of my friends are right – and there’s the rub. There’s no one dating/relationship answer to go by. I mean, of course there are some dating do’s and don’ts, but when it comes to the details of how a person lives their life – the do’s and don’t’s get kind of muddled, don’t they?

I don’t know... What do you think... Dog in the bed, or no dog in the bed?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Locked in the Bathroom

Since I’ve gotten my little sky diving confession out of the way, I guess the next thing to talk about is what I’ve been doing these past nine months. Although I’ve been absent here, I’ve thought a lot about the documentary and have done some more shooting. In thinking about it, I realized that while documenting how I’m handling life’s curveballs is interesting, finding out how other people handle them is even more fascinating to me. So... Keeping that in mind I’ve spent much of my BLP shooting time interviewing other people. I talked to my sister, my brother-in-law, some friends, my parents and even some of my parents’ friends.

One interview that really stuck with me was with my mom’s best friend, Barbara. Her first husband passed away from a brain tumor when I was around 13 years old. For me, his illness and subsequent death was significant not only because they are like a second family to me, but also because it was my first real experience of life not working itself out. I remember saying to my father offhandedly when they told me about John’s illness, “Okay, but he’s gonna get better, right?” I assumed my father was going to say something along the lines of, ‘of course’ or ‘it’s going to be difficult, but yes eventually...’. You can imagine then the punch in the gut it was to hear, ‘ we don’t know.’ The air of not knowing if something was going to work out entered my atmosphere and has remained to this day.

When I talked to Barbara about that same event, it was so interesting to get her perspective on the entire experience. She’s happily married to a great man now, but at the time, she was taking care of a dying spouse while raising three teenage girls. And even though I was there, and lived through it, the thought of what that must have been like for her is mind boggling. How did she get through it? How did she manage? How did she not lock herself in the bathroom and refuse to come out? And here’s what she said:

I had diarrhea every day for a year.

I should tell you here, that Barbara is a very honest and generous person, but mostly, she’s hilarious and a lot of fun to be around. She’s not very shy when it comes to her bodily functions and so, when she answered with what could have been considered a sarcastic or glib response, I knew she was being totally serious. Her emotionally gut-wrenching experience became a physically gut-wrenching experience.

For Barbara, best laid plans turned into mourning and diarrhea. It seems that even your intestines are not safe from your life going awry.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Jumping Into Thin Air

Holy shit!

Its been almost 9 months and NOTHING! I've completely been keyboard silent and have no excuses for it.

But here is my excuse...

I never actually went sky diving.

I know, I know! There I was making a huge big bold promise to throw myself out of an airplane but instead, the furthest I've jumped these last few months was when a mouse graced me with its presence in my friend's living room. In total honesty, I was embarrassed. Then, as you do with most embarrassing things in your life - I shut it out of my head completely.

Then something happened. I met a lovely woman. The stellar and prolific novelist/screenwriter/songwriter Gwen Davis, introduced me to Melissa Braverman. Melissa is the creator and writer for the blog (and adventure), singlegalnyc.com. If you haven't read it - I highly recommend you do so. Talking with her about the experiences she's had in speaking with other women across America about being single, was nothing short of inspiring. That's when I realized that it was time to come clean.

I never actually went sky diving.

There, I said it again.

You should know that I was fully intending on doing it. It wasn't for fear of jumping out of the airplane. In truth I don't know what it was. At the time, some personal issues and some financial issues collided into a perfect storm of stress and anxiety. I think I was constantly feeling as if I was already jumping out of a plane metaphorically, so I didn't feel the need to be doing it physically. Sadly, I have no better excuse than that.

Its made me wonder about the promises we make (and break) to ourselves. I was speaking with a friend of mine about the book Into Thin Air and how each of us would feel if our partners felt it was their lifelong dream to climb Everest. It's a hard one for me to imagine without being in the actual situation, but I wonder how I'd feel about someone not fulfilling their own self-promises. It's so easy to list the things that get in the way - and often the list includes perfectly sound and reasonable reasons. And often, the other side of the coin is a much shorter list - containing perhaps only one reason: because you promised yourself you would.

I hope one day that I will jump out of an airplane.