There's this older songwriter dude who I've been watching since we moved to Nashville. I don't know his story. I can only guess he’s not had success in songwriting as he plugs uneasily away at the same two songs every time. And my heart hurts every time. His hope for success seems to be an unreachable target and his unending belief that it will happen, a painful disaster to watch. It’s like that here for me; I soar on the hopes of songwriters and crash at their unrealistic dreams. An exhilarating and totally depressing roller coaster ride to be on.
Last night Songwriter Dude sang a new song that he said was about “a happy romantic relationship. Not that I've ever had one.”
And that bleak statement, said so casually and with such naked sadness, had me crying over my half orange juice half seven-up.
I am, at times, just blue that he thinks, as so many others here do, that he'll have success some day. That someone will pick his song out of the litter of millions and make his dreams come true when those odds are so very slim. It doesn’t seem to bother him that the deck is stacked against him but I ache for him and all the others. That kind of blind hope may be painful to watch but never having a happy romantic relationship – well, that just slays me dead.
That Songwriter Dude has never had a happy romantic relationship and that he may never know that special joy is utterly disheartening. That he may never have that sickening drop of his heart into his belly when the one he loves leans closer and the world freezes in time as he waits for that kiss. That his day might not suddenly get brighter because he hears her voice or sees her goofy smile. That he may never get that silly little gift, that nonsensical note or text that lets him know that he’s been on her mind. That possibility of affection, that dare to hope, has gotten me through dark days and lonely nights.
I wish for Songwriter Dude a happy romantic relationship more than I wish for him some musical success. They both may not be lasting but the imprint on your heart from a happy love lasts longer than the wonder of fame.
And I am fully aware that this may not be what he wants. Perhaps the thought of loving someone terrifies him and he’s happier alone. That fame might be the tattoo he craves, the only scar he wants to leave this world with. It’s likely why he can do what he does, night after night, round after round, rejection after rejection. I can admire that tenacity while I morn the loss of romance for him. I can celebrate the love in in my own life; good times and bad, it has been happy. Good times and bad, there has been romance. Good times and bad, there has been love…
Yeah, yeah, I should put that in a song.
“You don’t have to have a swingers club at seventeen. Being seventeen is by definition a swingers club.”
So said Husband the other night.
Husband is known for saying things like this. Quite frankly, among my friends, Husband is known for thinking every party invitation is a possible key party waiting to happen. Every invite we get to a new friends house, he’ll question their intentions before we get there. “What if they are swingers?” he’ll ask me. “What would you do?”
I usually roll my eyes and snort and tell him he’s being an idiot. But he’s planted a seed and now I have to plan for the “What if…” factor.
A year ago we were following our new friend’s home from dinner to have a look at their house over a glass of wine or two and he asked me what I’d do if we got to their house and they met us at the door naked. He was joking, of course, but Husband has a way of joking with me that makes me worry he might be right. And I have a way of worrying about everything. So there I am, sitting in the car on the way to our new friend’s house, giggling about the possibility that our new friends are swingers and totally freaking out that they might actually be swingers and trying to plan the best possible exit strategy should they proposition us in the kitchen. I got so weirded out that when we finally got settled on their couch, wine in hand, I blurted out his whole theory, key party and all and we all had a good laugh. “Nothing to worry about,” they said. “Totally not our thing.” And then they invited us to stay with them in the Caribbean and Husband brought up swingers again and the panic giggles set right back in.
I’m babbling about this because the title of this article caught my eye: Hundreds attend meeting on swingers club's possible move near school.
SO many questions – first and foremost, that title is misleading. I know I’m a bit messed in the head but I read that to mean that hundreds of people attended the meeting on the swingers club and totally missed the part about the school. “Wow” I thought, “lots of folks are really into this swinging stuff. Husband must be right.” And then, of course, I actually read the article and the opposite seems to be true – at least in that neighborhood.
Then I wondered if they aren’t an “adult business,” like a bookstore or porn shop, how do folks know what they do there? I’m assuming they don’t have a sign out front in flashing neon that says ‘Swingers Club: Leave Your Keys in the Bowl.’ Did some upstanding citizen stumble into the club one night “by accident” and stick around to see what was going on? It’s totally possible, right? An ex-boyfriend of mine “stumbled” into a gay bar in San Francisco and stayed to see what all the fuss was about so the same thing could happen to swingers club, right?
And then there’s this: … there is a legal definition of "adult entertainment."
"When they fought this in the court process, as long as they have 50 percent plus one of non-adult, then they're allowed there," Bennett said.
What the hell does that mean? That if there’s a kid in the house, it’s okay? And how old of a kid is this "non-adult"? Seventeen? Two? Twelve? And 50 percent of what - Swingers? And the other 50 percent? Have they just “stumbled” into the house and are hanging about?
And let's talk about the kind of therapy that non-adult is going to need if he’s witnessing key parties every night. Heck, let’s talk about the amount of therapy I’m going to need having read this article. I mean, we got invited to a Valentine’s Day party at a new friend’s house. That’s sure to be something kinky, right? I’m just going to have to leave my keys at home.
If you could put your real skills on a resume and not just the ones that are marketable or made up, my top skill would be worrying. I am a fantastic worrier. I worry about my life. I worry about my family. I worry about my friends. I spend way too much time worrying about the person I had a casual conversation with in the grocery story. I am a professional worrier.
And Husband knows this! Husband is constantly telling me to forget it or get over it or let it go but I can’t and he knows this.
So why in the hell would he wake up this morning and say, as I’m trying to shuffle Tigger the Dog out of the dark room as quietly as possible, “ej, before you turn on the basement lights, have a good sniff and see if you can smell gas.”
I already had a hard time putting on my slippers. I put the left on the right foot three times. And finding my glasses on the nightstand involved lots of picking up objects that weren’t my glasses because I didn’t have my glasses on. And not having my glasses on is probably why I couldn’t put on my slippers. I’m already half-an-hour behind my morning routine because my worry list woke me up at three a.m. and kept me busy stressing for a while. Why add “the gas might be leaking and we’re going to be one of those houses that blow up and are nothing but rubble in seconds” to my list?
I JUST took it off the list after he caught the pinhole leak that was coming from the water heater pipe. Now I have to put it back on AND be the one responsible at whatever time it is/it’s still dark outside for finding said leak with my stuffed up unawake nose?
Yeah, THIS was not covered in the marriage pamphlet.
Of course, we got married in a drive-thru in Vegas. Perhaps a traditional marriage ceremony covers this kind of thing. Eh, I’m just going to go ahead and write my own pamphlet, Things To Expect When You Get Married. And include things like gas leaks.
In two separate chapters of course; Gas leaks: Appliances and Gas Leaks: Spouse.
Yesterday while moving boxes around the basement AGAIN, I got the opportunity to open boxes that I packed two years ago. Yay. It was like Christmas but only if the gifts were stuff I should have just thrown away instead of packing them, shipping them across the country and then storing them in the basement for two years occasionally moving them about from corner to corner.
Anyway, while unearthing the mounds of crap I thought worth keeping, I found my weird version of The Painting of Dorian Grey.
Backstory: at some point in my late 20’s our family friend who is an artist asked me for a headshot so that she could paint a picture of me for my mother. I picked through the many headshots I’d taken over the years and found a somewhat commercial shot that a friend’s husband had taken of me. It wasn’t a great shot but it was the only somewhat current color headshot I had so I gave it to her and I promptly forgot about the whole thing.
Two years later at Christmas, I received a large package from the artist and this painting was in the package -
Yup. This is a painting that looks vaguely like me but not really at all.
When I first opened it, we all stood around and looked at it for quite a while, trying to figure out what was wrong with it. Was it the eyes or the cheeks or the neck or... It took a while but I think what she did is combine my features with my mother’s and then painted what she thought we might look like if we were one of those gone missing posters – and she painted it with one eye closed. With the canvas set on an angle. While totally drunk.
It’s bizarre to stare at something that should be a replica of yourself and not see yourself.
And then someone turned the painting upside down AND IT LOOKED LIKE ME! SEE!!!
Well, not exactly like me but so much more like me that it does right-side up. The lower face fills out and the shoulders don't look as off. And the eyes - well, they still follow you wherever you are in the room but they look less serial killer upside down.
Now I think I understand why my life has been so wonky; my version of The Picture of Dorian Gray is literally not right in the head! It explains so much about the wackiness that is my path of thinking.
This wonder of ART has been in storage of some kind or another since I got it in 2002 but I'm now totally going to hang it in my studio/office space. Upside down. After I submit my application to Husband and get his permission to put a nail in his pretty wall, that is. I’m curious to see if it changes things – for better or for worse. If anything, this little bit of narcissism on my wall is bound to be a conversation starter.
And it's a much more appropriate picture than the one of my womb... or so Husband tells me.
When I started thinking about blogging, I started to read a few quite regularly as research, really as entertainment. I found some blogs that seemed to have weird sense of humor, some with quite extreme versions of my psychosis and some that made me think deep thoughts about life and whatever. And then I got hooked on this mommy blog that did not resemble any piece or part of my life. And when I say hooked, I mean I can’t stop reading it though I have nothing in common with the author and she and I probably would not be friends in real life because we have no shared ground and she mentions God every other sentence and I was raised by an atheist who thinks that… yeah, I’m not getting into that right now.
Anyway, this blog with Perfect Mom; I look through her selfies trying to spot a crack in her armor, in her “perfect.” Her smile glistens from each photo and even the ones with her son crying could be a print ad. I’m not saying she’s fake; I’m saying she’s overly polished. She fascinates me in her sound bites of perfection. I have never been the nails done, makeup on, cute clothes wearing girl but she is and I scroll through her pictures of the pants to wear this season and the necklaces that make her happy and I don’t get it but I cannot stop reading.
And I don’t know why I’m so intent on finding the fissure in her pictures, in her relationships. I know, like me, she’s not likely to post the really horrible stuff but, unlike me, she seems content to gloss it over more with makeup and shine… And then she adopted a baby and I saw a person for the first time. Sure the posts were still glossy and shiny but she became more three dimensional to me than she had before. Even though she only posts each weekday morning, I found myself going back several times a day to check just incase I’d missed something. Was it because she was revealing she’d suffered? No, she’d shared that before in mentioning her inability to conceive. I don’t know what exactly was the thing that humanized her but suddenly she was more real to me than before and I was even more fascinated.
And then this past weekend, I stumbled onto a Reddit post about a guy who caught his wife cheating and posted the blow by blow action of what the PI was finding and what the lawyer said and what he planned to do next. True story or not, the posts are now national news. The updates were bizarrely written, awfully personal and raw and I could not stop reading. I found myself wondering about them in the middle of my day, wondering if she knew he knew, if he had left her yet, if we would ever know the ending. It was a fascinating read, this end to a relationship and, true or not, it was a pretty interesting take on our society as it stands today. With the over-share and the personal selfie and the mini worlds revolving around self-important people, where will we go from here?
And then I realized that it’s the current drama that is intriguing to me. It’s the unknown that is unknown to us all. As I’m reading what The Reddit guy is posting, we both have no idea where this is ending up. I mean, I know where I think it’s going but it’s live so his path may change at anytime. And my Perfect Mom now has this situation to share that might be filled with imperfect moments that she doesn’t have time to polish and I can’t wait to read about her bumps in the road.
It’s not the bad things that are interesting to me – though I will be honest and admit it’s fascinating. It’s how folks are handling the bad and bumpy roads that suddenly appear in front of them.
I know I post my little bits of life here but I wonder if I would be that impulsive, to share everything with strangers while the wound is still fresh. I know, my posts can be personal but most of what I write, well those are old stories. The wounds are healed. I am able to take pleasure in my past misery, self-Schadenfreude as it were. And the current things I write, I think carefully before sharing if they are something I would bring up to anyone, if they are something I’d be ashamed I’d shared years from now or if knowing that someone read I’d been briefly diagnosed with a regrown uterus that turned out to be a large cervix would kill me or not. It wouldn’t. In fact, recently I shared my womb picture with a friend and she posted this on my wall later.
Now, would I post if Husband cheated? Probably. After lots of time had passed. And his penis had been reattached. Would I post as it was happening? No. I can’t see sharing the worst of the worst in my life until I have healed a bit, until I have a take on it that is funny to me. I don’t share things until I know what it is I should have learned, as obscure as that lesson might be, my mini moral as it were. I’m okay with you feeling better about your life while reading about the pratfalls in mine – but I have to find it funny first. Really funny.
(Here are the Reddit posts should you want to read them One, Two, Three)
My name is ej. I'm a girl. I say that because with the short hair and the short initials, folks aren't always sure. More brilliant insights to who I am in About me