Crash Course

mood: doubtful | drinking: late night tea

bang

Big Bang

No one ever asked me
if I wanted to crash into the moon.

The trajectory was set
before I got on board
and I, attempting for once
to be a good cosmonaut,
just strapped myself in
and hung on for the ride.

Once in orbit, it wasn’t like
I could just get off and go home.
You always wanted me to
see something through
to The End, anyway, so
here we go.

No one else seems to share
my crisis of faith, so sure are they
that this is a reasonable sacrifice.

For who wouldn’t want to be
incandescent, finally?

To go out like that,
in a brilliant flash of light
just before dawn, raising
a six-mile-high cloud of debris
and dust like a fist
in the face of God.

***
I read this story today about what NASA’s going to be up to in the wee hours of tomorrow morning. All the talk of crashing gave me a strong urge to brace for impact, which reminded me of a lot of relationships I’ve been in, and then one thing led to another and this poem just sort of exploded right out of me. And there you have it.

-Lo, from the lunar surface.

Stupid Girls

cancan_bathroomMood: Soapboxy
Drinking: Water

I swear, the dumbest things make the rounds on the internet. This is news to no one, I know.

But today I saw this awful list posted on facebook, and it’s not the first time I’ve seen it.

Apparently a gaggle of single women (girls?) out there think it’s undeniably profound, the ultimate guide to how a guy should treat his girlfriend. And so they keep it alive, posting it on the profiles of the boys they’re crushing on, thereby ensuring said boy is scared off forever.

But you can’t share my angst if you don’t know what I’m talking about, so I’m going to post the offending list here. I apologize in advance.

Here we go…

When she walks away from you mad [Follow her]
When she stares at your mouth
[Kiss her]
When she pushes you or hits you
[Grab her and don’t let go]
When she starts cussing at you [Kiss her and tell her you love her]
When she’s quiet [Ask her what’s wrong]
When she ignores you [Give her your attention]
When she pulls away [Pull her back]
When you see her at her worst [Tell her she’s beautiful]
When you see her start crying [Just hold her and don’t say a word]
When you see her walking [Sneak up and hug her waist from behind]
When she’s scared [Protect her]
When she lays her head on your shoulder [Tilt her head up and kiss her]
When she steals your favorite hat [Let her keep it and sleep with it for a night]
When she teases you [Tease her back and make her laugh]
When she doesn’t answer for a long time [Reassure her that everything is okay]
When she looks at you with doubt [Back yourself up]
When she says that she likes you [She really does, more than you could understand]
When she grabs at your hands [Hold hers and play with her fingers]
When she bumps into you [Bump into her back and make her laugh]
When she tells you a secret [Keep it safe and untold]
When she looks at you in your eyes [Don’t look away until she does]
When she misses you [She’s hurting inside]
When you break her heart [The pain never really goes away]
When she says it’s over [She still wants you to be hers]
When she reposts this bulletin [She wants you to read it]
– Stay on the phone with her even if she’s not saying anything.
– When she’s mad hug her tight and don’t let go.
– When she says she’s ok don’t believe it, talk with her.
– Because 10 yrs later she’ll remember you.
– Call her at 12:00am on her birthday to tell her you love her.
– Call her before you sleep and after you wake up.
– Treat her like she’s all that matters to you.
– Tease her and let her tease you back.
– Stay up all night with her when she’s sick.
– Watch her favorite movie with her or her favorite show even if you think it’s stupid.
– Give her the world.
– Let her wear your clothes.
– When she’s bored and sad, hang out with her.
– Let her know she’s important.
– Kiss her in the pouring rain.
– When she runs up to you crying, the first thing you say is, “Whose ass am I kicking, babe?”

*Sigh*

Ok. Now do you feel my pain?

It’s just the most juvenile perspective of love, as if the author watched every Nora Ephron rom com, read every bodice ripper, and bought into every fairytale version of love she’s ever heard.

Girls who believe this are just setting themselves up for some deep-seated disappointment. I don’t care how stellar your partner is, he (or she) will NEVER be able to live up to this list. Nor should they.

Because if you take this list to heart, then a girl can treat her partner like absolute shit and still get treated like some kind of Disney princess. Kick your lover in the teeth, call him a motherfucker, cry and whine and bitch and wail and stop brushing your teeth altogether, and he will happily turn the other cheek while telling you how beautiful and wonderful and magical you are.

Really?

Nowhere in this ridonk-ulous piece of fantasy does it mention what the girl should do for her partner. Nowhere does it talk about mutual respect, or having consideration for the other party’s feelings.

Perhaps in the earliest throes of infatuation, before you’ve let Wonderboy into your pants, you can spit in his eye and he’ll still find you sexy. But let me assure you that 10 years down the road if you’re still spitting, he’ll be spitting right back. Assuming he’s still around.

So here’s what I really want to say to the girls who are circulating this bit of idiocy: Grow up! And pick up a bit of self-respect while you’re at it. No lover is ever going to give you everything that you need, want, and think you deserve. It’s impossible.

So quit waiting for Prince Charming to read your mind and pick up your glass slipper. Pick up your own damn shoe.

Stop loading up your lover with unrealistic expectations and feeling sorry for yourself when they can’t perform, when they don’t make you feel the way you want them to.

And ask yourself this: If your current crush gave you this list, do you imagine for one second that you could live up to it? Because it goes both ways.

If you want respect, give it. If you want to be heard, listen. If you want to be treated like you are the only girl in the world, then treat your partner like a treasure, too.

The world could use a lot fewer stupid girls and spoiled princesses and a lot more women who understand that true love requires sacrifice, selflessness, and commitment.

Rant over.

-Lo, packing up her own princess tendencies.

The Good Wife

forkyouMood: Grumpy
Drinking: Nope

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the whole wife thing. What it means to call yourself a wife. What it means to be one. Not so much because I’m fresh off an anniversary celebration, because I don’t really think of myself as Boy’s “wife.”

Let me shove my foot in my mouth a bit further in an effort to explain…I don’t think Boy and I have a typical all-American marriage. I mean, we’re not out there on the swingers limb or anything truly avant-garde, but I don’t wait at home crocheting doilies and watching the Bold and the Beautiful while he brings home the bacon.

Like most couples today, married or not, we both have a share in the bacon-bringing. And the cooking (him) and cleaning (me). And the budgeting (him) and scheduling (me). And all the other stuff of sharing a life. We make it work together. We are equals. Neither of us is better than or more important than or more powerful than the other.

And maybe it’s because I’m surrounded on all sides by San Francisco (yay!), but I don’t think of myself as “wife” so much as “partner.” I fear I’m making nothing but nonsense, so I’ll leave the word obsession and move on to my pet peeve of the post…

There’s a blog I’ve been reading lately which I really should probably run far away from, because it makes me all cranky and violent, but it’s like crack — conservative christian crazy crack — and I just keep going back for a fresh fix.

The woman who writes this blog is only a few years younger than me, but she lives on a faraway planet in a galaxy that’s light years from this one. Like myself, she grew up going to a conservative christian (baptist) school, but that’s all we have in common. I had fairly liberal, open-minded parents. Her parents were baptists to the core. (Her dad was a pastor. I knew him. He was a big bully.) I graduated and left that school far behind, opting instead for a state university and passport to the real world. She did the good baptist girl thing and went from baptist school to baptist college to baptist camp to baptist husband. She’s so scared of the real world, she can only peek at it through fingers and then run off and repent and bemoan the state of her “deceitful heart” all over the internet.

(Side pet peeve: Isn’t that what diaries are for? Spilling your most intimate secrets to a book with paper pages? A book nobody else gets to read? You know, the ones with the lock and key?)

She’s been writing lately about how she met her husband, and in addition to it being one of the most boring love stories of modern times, it has elements that are so weird, they are freaking my sister and I out. More than once, one of us will read the latest post and then call the other to say, “Can you believe it’s 2007 and people actually think this way?”

An example: This woman writes about her graduation from college and says, “Since I wasn’t dating anyone my senior year, I had NO IDEA what I was going to do after I graduated.” (screaming caps are hers)

I had to read that a few times over to make sure that was really what she said. I had forgotten that people in that world, the fundamentalist baptist world, actually think like that. The girls go to college for the express purpose of finding a husband. Their mothers and grandmothers and all the ladies back at the church pray every day that little Curlieque will find her mate, a good-God-fearing-christian-boy, preferably a preacher or missionary, somewhere in Bible-Believing Baptist Collegeland (the coveted MRS degree). And then she can finally fulfill her purpose for being on this earth by being a good wife, a “helpmeet” for the all-important male.

Not that there’s anything wrong with meeting your man in college and getting married, but most people go to college for a career, or at the very least, an education. How is it possible that a woman in this country can still measure her success by her marriagiability and then lose her shit before graduation because, even though she has a degree, she isn’t married, or *gasp* isn’t even dating! What — you can’t go out and get a job? You have to wait to have a husband to tell you what to do? But I digress…

The rest of her story goes on to describe her meeting her future husband while working at a christian camp and how they used to hang out at WalMart with a chaperone and how he wouldn’t talk to her until she finished her camp-prescribed Bible-memorization project and how he asked her parents’ permission to date her and told her that if her parents said no, he would never speak to her again.

It all just seems so quaint and so completely insane.

Especially when you consider that she had to be at least 21 when all of this stuff was happening. I mean, this is a girl who counts swear words in movies (The Guardian has 15), making special note of those that “take the Lord’s name in vain.” This is a woman, a nearly-30-year-old woman, who gets excited when her husband gives her 20 bucks to buy stamps for her craft projects, even though she has a full-time job (and paycheck) of her own.

I know I don’t know the whole story (although her blog seems to take care in recording every single last detail), and I know I just got back from a weekend of telling everybody who would listen to stop judging and just love each other. So — pot, kettle, and all that.

But really, it’s 2007! If your idea of a hot date is a stroll through the soulless aisles of WalMart, past the polyester sweatshop merchandise, wearing your best denim knee-length skirt, keeping at least six inches between you and your husband-to-be while a watchful chaperone dogs your every step, well, I’m sorry, but you’re a little off your nut!

I certainly don’t think everyone has to live their lives the way I would live. I have lots of friends who are all over the map with their relationships, their marriages, their lifestyles, and I’m all for lots of variety and people figuring out what works for them and what makes them happy. But come on — it’s got to be unhealthy to live a life of such repression and fear, to second guess every thought that’s not quite pure, to do things only when your husband gives you leave because “he is the spiritual head of the household”, and to beat yourself up for your imperfections by saying things like, “I’m trying to be a good wife, but it’s hard when I’m so selfish and lazy!”

The only explanation I can give for my addiction to reading this woman’s blog is that it’s like watching a Discovery channel special about an exotic tribe in a remote jungle who run about totally naked save for the gigantic clay plates stuck into their lower lips. It’s completely fascinating and utterly mystifying. I mean, I know the super-fundamentalist baptist church I went to when I was a kid still exists, and I even know who some of its current members are. But since I have removed myself so far from that world, and since I have proven myself to be such a black sheep to them that none of them would ever befriend me (unless they were trying to save me), this girl’s blog is a window inside these people’s world.

No wonder our country is in the state it’s in when there are people out there who still think the 1940s were the best of times.

So yes, this post is completely judgmental and very likely hypocritical and features a photo of forks for no good reason, but that’s what’s on my mind today, so that’s what you get. Enjoy!

-Lo, whose favorite Tori lyric used to be, “I wanna smash the faces of those beautiful boys, those Christian boys…”

Sex and the Single Girl

Mood: Waiting for the night to come
Drinking: Two-fisted, even

When you don’t do the out-of-town thing for Memorial Day weekend, you usually end up on your ass in front of a screen of some sort. Computer. Movie. TV. I chose the TV option this weekend.

I did spend *some* of the holiday weekend off my ass…took the LeeLoo for a multitude of walks, went for a long motorcycle jaunt with Boy, did the barbeque thing with friends, spent Saturday on the boardwalk in Santa Cruz (mmmm, taffy) with S and MTB and Boy. Sunscreen was liberally applied. But there was a whole day when Boy and pals went off-roading and I opted to skip the jouncing over rocks and through mudholes and sit on my ass.

Having recently finished the Firefly DVD set (have I mentioned how much I’m loving Joss Whedon, again?), I needed some new distraction that would last longer than the average movie-minute. So I decided to go with the cliche and order up some Sex and the City. (I had never seen it before, mostly b/c I always thought it looked almost as stupid as Britney Spear’s stage outfits. Plus, I’ve always had a full slate of favorite shows and not much room for promiscuous WASPy bitches.)

I have to preface this confession by saying that Sarah Jessica Parker is on my “Euw!” List. I’m not a fan, never have been a fan, never will be a fan, and get rid of that nasty mole already! But I was weakened by boredom and, let’s face it, a fairly large helping of cat-killing curiosity.

So. Three Sex and the City discs later, I’m in Season Two and already over it. I’m sure this is blasphemy to some, but this is my web site, so all the Carrie Bradshaw fans can shut it. I’m not going to waste space with a list of reasons of why I don’t give a shit about SATC (bad writing, bad clothes and dirty, dirty whores). But I will say that it got me thinking about my own single girl days.

Back in college a girlfriend and I came up with the theory that there are two basic specimens of female in the dating world: The River People and the Desert People.

River people float along all carefree with the wind in their hair, docking their little shapely boat at any place along the riverbank that looks welcoming. Meanwhile, the desert people stumble along with cracked lips and sandblasted skin, searching the horizon for any sign of an oasis, and often going for years without seeing one.

Translation: River people are the girls who are NEVER without a boyfriend. They often have a new boyfriend before they bother to discard the old one. And the Desert girls are the ones with large stretches of empty space in their love lives. Which is not to say that they don’t have plenty to fill up the space. But they are more often than not “without”.

I, of course, was a Desert person, and tended to hang out with Desert people, also. I had four real boyfriends and a handful of flings from the time I was 18 until Boy hitched my star to his wagon (or vice versa) when I turned 28. Before Boy, my longest relationship was 9 months. With a year or two or three of desert in between.

I’m glad I was a nomad, though. I liked it out there. I got tough. I got creative. I got busy with my own life. I learned how to be independent and self-sufficient and how to hang on to my girlfriends. But as a typical desert-dweller, I also learned how it felt to be the “pal” gal. The one the guys call to go rollerblading down Michigan Avenue at 2 in the morning with the rest of the “guys”. The one the guys call to fill out the group of holiday skiers. The one the guys call to talk about the girl they really like. Yup. I was a most excellent gal pal.

(Thank god Boy never wanted to be pals.)

Anyway, it all reminded me of a little thing I wrote back in 1997. A little thing about a boy who thought of me fondly as one of his very best “gal pals”. And it didn’t even matter that, had he asked me, I would have (most likely) said “No!”. What mattered was that he didn’t. What mattered was that he called me up, often, late at night, to talk about someone else who took his breath away…

BREATHING

He called to say
she left him
breathless.

Tongue twisting
around his eyeteeth
while he looked for
perfect words
and spoke the wrong ones
stupidly.

Knees knocking
at the door of
manliness since
he saw her in church
so he couldn’t be
horny.

Heart leaking
love jelly
through the seams
of his chest and his
missing rib ached
when he finally blinked
to breathe.

He called to say
she’s beautiful
intelligent
and sweet. She
makes him laugh
and makes him
dream but he won’t
tell her that.

She makes him
nervous.

He called to say
“Thanks for listening.”
He can tell me
anything.

Yeah.
I always leave him
breathing.

-Lo, who would never have survived the river, anyhow.

Sterling Girl

Mood: Emotional Hangover
Drinking: Ruby’s Tasty Chai

This one is for Anna.

********************

She calls four times.
The cell phone.
The home phone.
And finally, she leaves a message.

“It’s me,” she says.
(caller ID beat her to it.)
She clears her throat.
She exhales smoke.
“Call me back when you get this,” she says.
“I don’t care what time. Just
can you please call me tonight?”
Her voice sounds funny.
Scratchy. Overworked.
Is she crying or just
smoking too much?

I wait for dinner and the Daily Show
before I call her back. (I didn’t
really think it was an emergency.)
She answers on the second ring and
I know then she was crying.

“My worst nightmare,” she says.
“He left me,” she says.
“He left me for some other girl.”
Her voice sounds dull.
Defeated. Dumped.

She tells me the seven-day
breakdown of the breakup
that started and ended on a Tuesday.
He started doing this
and then he acted like that
and “she” showed up and
it just kept getting worse.

I’ve retreated to my bedroom by now.
Shut out the comfortable noise of
my own security. Husband. Dog. TV.
I tell her I’m so sorry this happened.
I call him all kinds of names.

I say I’ll kick his ass and
scratch his eyes out.
I swear I’ll cut his balls off
and feed them to my dog.

It’s what you say, when you’re a friend.
It’s what you say when he turns out
to be the asshole you were afraid he might be
all along. It’s what you say, and you know
you don’t have to actually do it. But you
sure as hell better mean it.
And I do.

(He may not have been
my kind of guy
but he was hers.
He was hers, and that’s what matters.)

She was just here, last month.
We sat in this very room.
She was just here and
she was so happy. Her
voice was lilting.
Laughing. Giddy.

It was her first trip
to the Pacific but
when she saw the water
all blue to the very horizon
she said she wished he could see it, too.
So she wrote his name in the sand
and took a picture to prove he was there.

We walked all over Chinatown
to find him the perfect jade dragon.
Bright green and growling.
It’s gone now, she says.
“I made him take it.”

She’s pacing around her house now.
I can picture the tiny rooms
so perfectly in my head. She’s
standing in the living room,
counting DVDs. “He left one of his movies here,”
she tells me. “The Score.
It’s a guy movie. I don’t want it.”

I’m not saying much now.
I’m picking at the fuzz on my bedspread
and wishing I knew how to comfort her better.
Wish I could wave a wand to make it all go away.
(I wished the same thing in sixth grade
in the funeral home. But
I couldn’t work magic for her then, either.)

So I sit here with her, two thousand miles away.
I let her go on with her lists. I let her get it all out.
She goes through the games to see what’s gone missing.
“I can’t believe it,” she says.
“He took Tetris. He took Tetris!”
(But I know it’s not Tetris she really
wants back.)

She tells me her son cried when
he said he was leaving. He cried “No, No, No!”
(I mutter curses in the x’s general direction
and think about hunting him down.)
And her daughter, she just said
nothing at all. But she cooked her mom dinner.
“I couldn’t eat it. I can’t eat anything.
But I think I’ve smoked
a whole pack since he left,” she says.

He just left a few hours ago.
He took his clothes, his shoes.
He took his toolbox, but
her screwdriver was in it.
He kept saying he was sorry,
he was sorry. So sorry.

He went down to the basement
and took his bike away.
He took his movies and games.
His collection of beer bottles, too,
even the one she and I bought
just down the street from here.
The San Francisco beer.

“He took his pillow, too.”
She’s in the bedroom now,
but she can hardly look at the bed.
“What he doesn’t know is that I’ve
been crying into that pillow for the last
five days,” she laughs but her voice
sounds bitter. Broken. Numb.

“He’ll sleep on my tears,” she says softly.
“I wonder if I should tell him that.”

********************

-Lo, who wears boots big enough to kick that guy’s ass in real life, if given the opportunity!

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