Monday, February 22, 2010

Little Things

Little things inspire me to write. Big things inspire me to stop. Occasionally, big things also make me reflect, curse and start once more.

For instance, today I lost a fight with my laptop. I don't mean that metaphorically. I was struggling to get my laptop out of my bag. I pulled too hard at the exact moment the laptop decided to dislodge itself. Wham. Laptop met eye socket with surprising force for 6:30 in the morning. So, if my typing today seems a bit off, I'll blame the occasional one-handed pecking due to the ice compress the other is holding over my left eye. After I stopped yelling and trying to convince Pink Taco that breakfast margaritas will be the next big thing, I laughed. I laughed at Monday and my own carelessness. And then I thought, I should write about this. Little thing.

I got stood up by the nicest man on the planet. It wasn't even for a date; it was for an informational interview. That's right, I got stood up for a business call that he scheduled! Naturally, I reacted like a teenager slowly realizing that she's been ditched on prom night complete with double checking to make certain that my office phone still had a dial tone. But I laughed. I laughed through the entire thing because it seemed so oddly appropriate to be stood up by a man who indicated that he wanted to talk to me. And then when he rescheduled, and we connected, I laughed more. He's still the nicest guy on the planet. I am the world's biggest idiot, though. Because while he thought he was calling to give me advice on a specific issue, in reality I wanted him to solve my ongoing mid-life crisis. So when he quite reasonably asked, "What do you want?" I simply didn't have an answer. However, the nice man gave me advice that I hope many of my readers (probably former-readers at this point) will appreciate, "Write every day, even if it is crap". Seems odd to wish for crap, but I'm intrigued. Little thing.

After feeling chagrined at my complete inability to articulate my thoughts, hopes, fears or even a point to the nice man, I thought, "Let's avoid him for a while" because that's what I do. Well, fate has other plans. As the new year rolled around, the "grab bag of fate" once more emerged. As I had fairly good success the first go around, I decided to give it another shot. My friends, having witnessed my baby steps toward a new life, decided to throw in items of their own. While I will not give away the exact plans, I will say that my three pulls are all risk-centric—and I've been ordered by the cosmos to once again approach the nice man for advice (though, hopefully, I'll have an actual point this time). I keep hearing that with big risk comes the possibility of big reward. As I'm not known to exhibit a preternaturally sunny disposition, it will surprise no one that my take on this axiom is more like "with big risk comes big risk with a side-helping of homelessness, jail time and herpes". But I laughed as I pulled items such as risk to finance, risk to dignity and risk to pride out of the bag. And if I accomplish my destined tasks, I'll be laughing more. Little thing.

Many of my friends, old and new (as a measure of length of acquaintance not nearness of AARP), believe that I got hit on at a charity event by another nice man—or at least a man who was nice to me. I have rejected this completely and vocally, to which my friends have proclaimed, "Oh, he'd so hit that". My response? "Yeah, with his car". Much eye rolling and aborted attempts to teach me how to flirt ensued. And I laughed. While I still believe they drank some funny punch along the way, I must admit that I'm curious. I'm curious not so much about the man's intentions, which I still refute, but more about my own perception of my interactions with men. Honestly, I believe that I am invisible to them. I feel that I have polite and appropriate interactions, but I rarely see that spark of interest. And while my friends, again, are clearly delusional in this current situation (have I mentioned they are crazy?), I have to wonder if the force field I use to keep people out is also keeping me from really seeing when someone wants to get in. No pun intended. Little thing.

November was insane for me. I was basically working two jobs, and while on some level I enjoyed my latest hobby-turned-career, I was stressed. It's not that I didn't learn valuable lessons about people, the internet and the true value of alcohol, but it might have been better if I hadn't learned those lessons under a magnifying glass. Despite all that work, there was some fun and some good came from it. I started making plans—plans that might have involved boys, a new career and, because I wouldn't be me otherwise, new shoes.

Might have.

Didn't finish.

As all this frivolity was swirling through my brain, I found out a friend of mine was almost killed by her husband. Not almost killed as in "oh, that Brad, you know how fast he drives" or "Oh, that Brad, between those two schedules, he's going to kill her". No, I mean her husband tried to stab her to death in front of their small children.

Yeah. Big thing.

Needless to say, I didn't laugh. I didn't laugh then, and I didn't laugh when reading the comments to an article about the attack—comments that sided with her husband, disparaged her or tried to pretend that "I'm surprised this doesn't happen more" was an appropriate response. God bless the internet, and its uncanny knack for being wrong.

It was difficult to pick up the blog after hearing about her. I just couldn't care about more "me" at that point. I'd love to say this was an isolated incident, but a shocking number of my friends have been in emotionally or physically abusive relationships. The number was so surprising to me that I momentarily contemplated sending thank you letters to all the past men in my life—they may not have been perfect (or even able to find perfect on a map), but I never faced the emotional and physical tear-downs that so many others around me have (are). As horrific as the attack was, she fought back and survived. Not all of my friends have been so lucky. Lucky? Yeah, strange word to associate with the situation, I know, but she was lucky.

So, why am I back? Difficult to say. I suppose I've hit the "reflect, curse and start once more" stage. I can't promise that the cursing won't out pace the reflecting, but it appears as though I still have something to say.

Besides… you want to know how that grab bag turns out, don't you?


Kate, still not dating in LA


danielletbd said...

I love how it's the little things that I read that I connect to the most. See, while you were writing about a lot of big themes and overarching psychology, my eyes zoned in on the "teaching you to flirt" portion. After all, I've never believed we can truly learn to be someone we're not. And if we're not natural-born flirters we just look ridiculous trying.

Obviously your "thing" is to consider yourself invisible, but in a way, that can be very freeing. Because if you think no one is looking at you, theoretically you should be able to let any guards down and leave behind any inhibitions and just do-- or not do-- whatever the hell you want and which makes you happy. You shouldn't have to force an attitude or any so-called small talk or witty banter.

And of course, just because YOU think you're invisible doesn't mean other people see you (or don't) that way. So while you're going about not caring about what you're doing because you figure no one's paying attention anyway, that's when those who are truly intrigued by you begin to take notice. Like that guy at the charity event. Maybe you were just too busy, too stressed, or too-assuming-everyone-else-was-paying-attention-to-any-celebs-in-the-room-to-notice-you to worry about trying to strike up a conversation. But HE noticed YOU.

Kate, Dating in LA said...

LOL!! Well, I still dispute that he noticed me at all, but we'll find out relatively soon.

As for the flirting, it turns out that it's not so much that I don't know how to flirt, I just didn't realize the things I did (or encountered) were flirting. hmmmm sounds like a topic for another post, actually. ;)

Helen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Helen said...

Flirting comes in many forms and my surprise is less that you don't engage in it much, but that a) you don't realize when you do and b) have no ability to recognize when it may be happening to you. I realize your idea of romance involves a five hour negotiation the likes of which has not been seen since SALT II followed by contracts, background checks and test results (don't get me wrong, I'm fully on board with background checks and psych evals) but you may need to consider that your invisibility is a result of your own perception.
p.s. You could SO hit that. :)