An unusual post — read: a happy one

Lachlan did a lovely post awhile back on “What I’ll Remember.” And the reason why I fell in love with it was because it was neither about the bad stuff nor about the milestone events that are supposed to be significant.

For her, the things that made her into the beautiful, strong woman she is today can be attributed to the moments that take up residence in the memory — random, ordinary, seemingly insignificant moments — and those are the ones that a lifetime of “other” events cannot corrode the impact of.

And at a time when I need to hang on to all the hope I can, I wanted to share some of mine. But even if I can’t share the details that make these the moments I cannot erase from my mind, know that I’m smiling to myself as I type.

In no particular order, separated by song lyric:

“We ran off to the corn field
Just outside the county fair
There were butterflies in my stomach
And fireflies in the air.”

— Sarah Buxton, “Innocence”

I’d gone to happy hour with some colleagues, several jobs ago, and had left with my non-work friend to go elsewhere. But I had left my phone behind and the colleagues had changed bars.

I called the phone only to find out the guy I had a mad, mad crush on was in possession of it. He told me where to meet him. I walked to him — it was one of those “walking across a crowded room” scenarios where there was no one else in my line of vision.

We didn’t exchange a word — he handed me the phone, our fingers grazed, our eyes locked and I left. And yes, he came over to my place several hours later. 😉

“And there you are on the fence
With those lips I could spend a day with.”

— Amy Millan, “Skinny Boy”

Long ago and far away, I can’t get the look in his eyes out of my mind. And I will never know what it really meant or how I was supposed to respond.

It reminds me of Patrick Dempsey’s “Dr. McDreamy,” especially how Chandra Wilson’s “Miranda Bailey” described him in a nutshell: “Lots of hair, too many women, likes elevators and long walks on the beach.”

Oh, to go back and do things over again. But was there really a “right” thing to do?

Cryptic much? 😉

“Well, for all the miles between us
And for all the time that’s passed
You would think I haven’t gotten very far
And I hope my hasty heart
Will forgive me just this once
If I stop to wonder how on earth you are.”

— Trisha Yearwood, “The Song Remembers When”

Another work thing, although we remained friends long after we exited that horrible place. He went on to get married and have two beautiful children, and yet both of us sort of committed to wondering for the rest of our lives if we weren’t leaving something special behind.

I remember I was having a birthday party at my place, and he and my two friends Kristin and Steve were the last ones standing. Kristin and Steve were awesome, awesome people. They decided to leave so I could be alone with my friend.

We were thrilled to have that time alone. We went in to kiss each other and *bam.* Holy shit, we cracked skulls and probably chipped some teeth. It was awful!

So we gave up on that pretty quickly and sat around chatting. We eventually migrated outside to sit on my front steps, just holding on to each other for what seemed like five minutes but had to be hours.

But out of the corner of my eye, I saw Kristin’s car. And the bushes next to it (we had to parallel-park on my street) were moving.


Anyway, the boy and I said goodbye, and when he drove away, out popped Kristin and Steve from behind the damn bushes! They were walking bowlegged as they ran to me to hug me — they had gone for a drink across the street and were walking back to her car when they saw us. And they didn’t want me to see them pulling away lest I think they were spying. So they sat in my neighbor’s hedges for however long we were outside. Ha!

I never did see the boy again. We e-mailed and talked here or there, but that night was the end of an era.

“There’s things I remember and things I forget
I miss you I guess that I should
Three thousand five hundred miles away
But what would you change if you could?”

— Counting Crows, “Raining in Baltimore”

I have lots of memories, but the details are fuzzy. But when I try to think about times when I was happy, I must admit that there were usually people around.

Don’t get me wrong — if I had to say where I was happiest, it would be by myself, taking photos near a body of water somewhere. Of getting in the car, driving till I found “something,” whatever that might have been, and pulling over to enjoy it.

But when I was with my friends — as I was lucky to find some good ones in my day — you know what I remember most? Smiling till my cheeks hurt. I couldn’t quote you a single conversation (as I was, oh, shitfaced for most of them), but I remember feeling good … at least, until I woke up the next afternoon! 😉

I always had a knack for pulling the right combinations of people together. I was quite the consummate hostess back in my day. Yes, I had time to plan and cook for parties. The mind boggles at the very prospect. Of course, back then I was always looking for a reason to celebrate.

Maybe what I remember most was how the person I enjoyed the most was, well, me.

“Feel your hand close beside me
Hear the highway behind me
All by ourselves
We made love under
The sleeping moonless night
All by ourselves, we would run
Remember, baby?”

— Black Lab, “Time Ago”

I’ve gotta go cryptic here. But anyone who knows me would nod in agreement. I am a terrible flirt. I mean, I can go over-the-top with just about anyone I meet and make comments ranging anywhere from the suggestive to the salacious.

There’s nothing more electric than the moment when someone starts looking at you in a different way. And I cherish my collection of those times, because there are a handful of, “Oh my God, are they really looking at me like that?” And then there’s that moment of considering it and maybe even acting on it.

But if there’s one thing I kick myself over, it’s the fact that I cannot flirt with the people I most want to attract. It’s so weird. It’s the only time in my life that I get shy. I kick myself repeatedly over having the “right” thing to say on the tip of my tongue to really add some zip to a conversation, but never being able to let it out. Because, you know, what if it isn’t as well-received as you want it to be?

But here’s to the rare times that I had the right thing to say, that incited the right reactions. And here’s to hoping that I can either break the ice or flirt back the next time instead of being downright paralyzed between what I “should” (or shouldn’t) say as opposed to what I really *want* to convey.

I want to find me a carnival
Outside of town
A tilt-a-whirl set up
With a merry-go-round
Cotton candy fingers
And a snow cone mouth
I want to roll you in sawdust
Till they run us both out.

— Melissa Etheridge, “All the Way to Heaven”

I have to end it on a funny note, because this has been a running joke for years.

My best friend and I used to go out drinking every Friday and Saturday night at Bennigan’s, which was next to the pit of brimstone and hellfire where we worked. We were regulars there, and one of the memories I will always have is how men would just FLOCK to us, and we were too busy talking to give them the time of day. That was OUR time, damn it. Not that we weren’t aware of them, but they were digging us because we weren’t stalking them like some of the other female regulars.

But the best day was the first day we went out. We closed the bar (which would become our tradition) and once outside, my friend realized she really needed to pee. Now, we probably lived within three blocks of the place. But in our uber-inebriated state, that just seemed WAY too far away.

So, we drove next-door to our workplace, and she pulled down her pants and peed in the bushes. I laughed so hard I probably wet myself, too. It just seemed like a fitting first outing for us — and a totally appropriate end to the evening. I knew we were going to be friends for life.

And fuck that stupid workplace — they deserved to be crapped on in the same way they did to us during the next couple of years. I’m just glad my friend made her pre-emptive strike!

3 Responses to An unusual post — read: a happy one

  1. Lachlan :

    Thanks for the link love and kind words, my dear.

    You are such an incredible person. I appreciate your posts more than you know, even if I don’t comment- you have such an erudite, humor-laden way of de-constructing daily life… Your insights are precious.

  2. Caterwauling :

    […] Caterwauling « An unusual post — read: a happy one […]

  3. Extraordinary Girl :

    I really love reading your blog. We’ve been through so many similar things, you and I, and reading your blog can be almost bittersweetly painful at times, because of that. You have such a poignant, yet delicate, way of writing about your life. This is a lovely post, and when I think of the amazing strength you show, it sucks even harder that you’ve got so much stress and crap going on in your life right now.

    Hold onto these good memories, but don’t talk about them like these gorgeous movie moments can’t happen to you again in your life; know that they CAN happen to you again, because, damnit, you’ve handled things with such effin’ aplomb in the past, that you’re more than ready to handle anything that’s going to come to you in the future!