June 25, 2007

Do they teach you that in high school?

Posted in *cringe*, Grief, Past, The Just a Little Sad at 8:14 am by Dagny Taggart

What do they do, take you all aside in high school and show you how?

No, I wasn’t punched in the face.  More like my emotional solar plexus, but why quibble over semantics?  This wasn’t exactly recent, either, and everyone’s got his or her own set of memories by now.   

Some time ago, I received an email from my Man of Death (the person you should never, ever get back together with.  The person for whom there should be multiple keys to be turned, and launch codes to be entered, before you are allowed to even entertain thoughts of being in a romantic relationship with each other again).  This email confessed to feelings of such depth and intensity – mirroring those experienced during the relationship – it almost served as a justification for everything that had happened.  For the myriad ways in which we had hurt each other, inadvertently and not.  Because that level of caring had been there, once.  Big caring = big hurt if/when it doesn’t work out, and that’s how it should be in my book.

Six days later, I saw nearly the same words, written to another woman, by the same man, posted in a public forum.  I know her.  She’s definitely deserving of that kind of epistle, no question.  Had it been written at another time, I like to think I would have been fine.  But this felt like a betrayal of sorts.  It was a week later.  One week.  Six days, actually.  I looked at the calendar to make sure.  And he hadn’t even tried to hide it.  Not even a scintilla* of effort on that front.  It was all there – lexicon, syntax, a/s/l.

So, do they teach you how to do that in high school?  Is there a script, like one of those Choose Your Own Adventure books, that gets used like a flow chart to create the perfect missive for a given desired effect?  A list of keywords guaranteed to tug at heartstrings, to manipulate¤ people in to doing and being what’s convenient for you?

At the end of the day, whether it was “all a facade!” (thanks, DF) doesn’t really matter.  It’s what we choose to believe, what works for us, that becomes our side of the story in the long run. 

I think that’s kind of what trust is all about – getting to a place where you choose to believe the best of someone, every time.  That you do your damndest to believe that someway, somehow, it was possible for someone to feel that deeply about two different people in the same one-week period.  You make that choice, and in so doing, you extend trust.  And if you can’t make it work in your head, no matter how hard you try, it’s time to walk away.

*This woman might just be my girl crush.  At the very least, she definitely has a way with words.

¤Not that there’s anything wrong with manipulation, right?

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June 19, 2007

Babelfish

Posted in Darth Vaguer, Nerdiness, The OCD, The WTF at 9:59 am by Dagny Taggart

I change my g-chat status message regularly, though am almost always too busy to chat, especially at the workplace, where I never do anything but work, ever.  Really.  The status message keeps those near and dear to me apprised of my general well being.  For example, when I had strep throat, I updated regularly with my temperature, e.g.:  “103.2 – I’m pretty sure I should be dead right now.”

I also throw up fun links, like this one, even though nobody I know does anything other than assigned tasks while at the office.

Those of you with the misfortune to be on my contacts list, are also somewhat familiar with my Babelfish obsession.  One of my favorite things to do is throw up a little snippet about my mood in general, but in a relatively uncommon language – and by uncommon, I mean, not taught in most American public schools. 

(Fine.  I’ll create a category for “Nerdiness”.  Sheesh).

Today’s?  “verdomd ik ben geschroeft”.  It’s Dutch.  I know that this may annoy some people, but there’s not much I can do about the whole heritage thing.  What can I say – I’m (half) Dutch.  Isn’t dat veird?

The phrase is fitting for a number of reasons, not the least of which is my upcoming work (mis)adventure, which will have me out of town until Thursday.  And?  This thing again.  Gets me every time.  Crap.

Sorry for being so very cryptic and vague today, and for the upcoming lack of post on the morrow.  If I’m not “trapped under something heavy“, I’ll be back on Thursday.

June 18, 2007

The Baltimore Travel Plaza

Posted in Past, The Funny, The WTF at 7:49 am by Dagny Taggart

…is the scariest place I’ve ever been.  And I grew up in Jersey, yo.  I’ve been to Camden, and walked half a mile from a bar there in the wee hours.  I’ve been in the dressing room at Loehmann’s annual sale, and to the Fast Eddie’s in Jacksonville, NC.  I do not scare easily.

Granted, my arrival at said Travel Plaza (July, 2002) was preceded by the failure of my vehicle’s master cylinder on I-95 (northbound), while in the Fort McHenry tunnel.  For those of you unfamiliar, the master cylinder is essential to brake operation.  So I had to keep my car under 10 mph through the tunnel, through the toll both, to the exit, shift into neutral, and emergency brake my way into a parking spot, where I called AAA*.  I was, perhaps, not in the most calm or collected frame of mind.  Overwrought, even.

I called my sister, who volunteered to drive down and pick me up.  Returning to DC wasn’t an option, as I had a basketful of bridal shower paraphenalia (you know that stupid poem with the cereal and the Joy dish detergent?  that stuff) and was hosting said shower the next day, so I had to get to my parents’ house.

While I waited, with my suitcase and wicker basket o’ girliness and LSAT teacher’s manual encumbering me to the point where I couldn’t really move… anywhere, lest something get stolen, I was greeted by a man. 

He was thin, and though probably in his late twenties or early thirties, had turned fifty as a result of hard living in that way some people do.  He asked to sit across from me while he waited for his ex-wife to bring him his stuff.  He sat before I could think of what to say, and tried to make small talk.

Except, he kept falling asleep.  And then waking up, and excusing himself, only to return five or ten minutes later.  And falling asleep/passing out again.  At first, my naive self was too concerned for his well being to worry much about my own.   Was he ill?  Did he need food?  Water?

And then, it dawned on me.  Maybe he wasn’t… himself.  Maybe he had ingested something that might make him not only a danger to himself, but also to others.  Maybe he’d want more of that in the near future.  And maybe I looked like someone who might have the means to help him get it, if his ex didn’t show up with his “stuff”.

When one grows up in a relatively affluent neighborhood, recreational drugs are there.  Expensive ones.  But I didn’t go to those parties, and didn’t know what I was looking at, not for sure.  I made eye contact with every state trooper and local officer who stopped in the place – with startling regularity, about 6-8 in the three and a half hours I waited. 

My sister arrived in the middle of a torrential downpour, and took one look at me – still seated across from a semi-articulate, semi-conscious semi-ghost whose barely audible mumbling dwindled to nothing from time to time.  She grabbed my things, including the bag still strapped across my shoulder, and hauled me into the storm.  I can only guess she thought I’d be safer there.

Looking back, I wonder if I was ever in any real danger.  I kind of like to think that I wasn’t.  But I probably wouldn’t go back there unless another vehicular mishap steers me that way.  Frankly, if I need to sit across from a semi-comatose man for several hours, I’ll just have someone set me up with a guy studying for a bar exam.

*Yeah, I’m still proud of that.  IN the parking space, well within the lines.  Also, I’m proud of the fact that my cell (trusty StarTac, I miss thee) was charged AND the AAA membership was paid up.  AND of the fact that when the tow guy got there, and didn’t believe that there was anything wrong with the car, I made him stay there until the cylinder lost pressure again.  I know from broken cars, okay?

June 15, 2007

Smarter than Me

Posted in Past, Present, The Happy, The Who at 7:44 am by Dagny Taggart

By a lot.  Taller, too.  By about 8″.
Had surgery a couple weeks ago – healing up nicely, but bruised and moving stiffly.  Not surprising for someone born in 1943 – also a Taurus.

I’m obviously not the milkman’s kid – height, hair, eyes, and nose come from his mother’s side of the family.  Put a picture of me now, next to her wedding photo, and it’s like I went to a costume party.

He finishes the NY Times Saturday crossword every week – usually in under ninety minutes.  He’s an engineer with an MBA.

I inherited his conflict-avoidant nature, and would probably also whistle “Danny Boy” when I sensed tension around me – if I had also inherited his ability to whistle.

We both love “The American President” – “If you were a dork, you should apologize.  Girls like that.”

If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing right.  This extends to applying butter to pretty much everything consumed – evenly spread to just the right thickness.

Does not need a ladder to drywall a ceiling, provided one of my cousins can hold the sheet in place while he walks around them, reaching up with the screw gun at regular intervals.  Brobdingnagian home repair, indeed.

Drinks Moosehead beer if it’s available.  I’ll have one with him this Sunday, standing in the warm sun on a mostly green lawn while he makes note of bare spots and contemplates the best fix.

Miss you, Pop, and I’ll see you Sunday.  Happy Father’s Day.

In the meantime, take care of you.

Love,

Kid #2

June 12, 2007

Singing “Surrey With a Fringe On Top”

Posted in *cringe*, Past, The How, The OCD, The WTF at 8:15 am by Dagny Taggart

In front of Ira!!!

One of my biggest fears is making an ass out of myself.  Which is unfortunate, because, well, it happens.  A lot.  I am a goofball klutz.  Le sigh.

We could get into how I didn’t really relate to other kids when I first started going to school, because I was sick all the time and couldn’t do phys. ed. or play normal games at recess, etc.  But really, I just didn’t get them.  I didn’t understand what I was supposed to be socially aware about… when I was seven, and the cliques started to form in that teensy North Jersey town.  And I kind of always suspected that I was being mocked.

It’s not paranoia if it’s true, in case you were wondering.  That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Anyway, I’ve always been really self-conscious in new situations.  I don’t like having an incomplete understanding of what’s expected – I can do quite well, if I know what the rules are.  But if I don’t know the rules, I tend to shrink back and try to stay out of the way as much as possible. 

One of the things I’ve been trying to do lately is get over that fear, which means trying new things.  In front of other people, who will all be witness to the self-ass-making.  All of them.  Whomever they are, they will all see it.  And they will know that there’s still that girl who isn’t quite sure she gets it, whatever the “it” is that prevents one from the making an ass out of oneself. 

But, you know.  I don’t want to be the chick with all the pet fish (cat allergy, remember?) who never actually did anything because she was too afraid of looking stupid.  So last night, I attempted a reasonably unfamiliar activity in front of people far more accomplished than I.  And nobody laughed.  At least, not at me.

It was kind of cool.  If this keeps up, I might just have to try my cords at a little something, the next time I’m invited to do this

So, thanks for last night.  I’m a little less terrified, now.  Not just because the worst that could happen really isn’t so bad, but because the worst doesn’t have to happen at all.

June 11, 2007

PSA

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:39 am by Dagny Taggart

First, I am happy to report that I successfully dodged all but two pointed questions concerning my impending spinsterhood.  By the way – at what point does spinsterhood actually kick in?  There seems to be some disagreement on the subject.

And FreckledK, I’m a bit sad that I didn’t have a perfect opportunity to use your suggestion.  It’s definitely been stored for future reference, though!

Now, on to our Public Service Announcement: 

If you became a mother relatively recently, do not, I repeat, do NOT share your stories unless you are quite certain there are no prospective mothers in earshot.

Now, I’m not one of the “born to breed” types, and there are those who think I’m Kazanski, but with a little less warmth.  I wasn’t completely closed off to the idea of procreation, though, until Sunday.  I know it was supposed to be a bridal shower.  You all knew it was supposed to be a bridal shower, for pete’s sake.  But every recently inducted member of the “mom club” seemed to forget that the instant they saw Sibling.  Who, of course, looks radiant and adorable, and tends to have that effect on people when not pregnant, anyway.

But.

What I don’t need to hear, before I’ve made up my mind, is the stuff that’s in the books you don’t read until you ARE pregnant.  I don’t need to hear about how long you went between actual showers.  I don’t need to hear about the surgery, about the endless baskets of unwashed laundry.  About how, when you’re at the supermarket, you can only reach things on the middle shelves because the Baby Bjorn doesn’t really let you bend down that far, and you’d squish the poor thing if you got close enough to reach things on the high shelf.  About how you really love your minivan, because it’s just the right height to change a diaper when you can’t get to a more suitable locale. 

I don’t think I could ever love a minivan.  Call me “chassist” if you will, but my dream car will always look almost exactly like this.  Do I want to become the kind of person who loves a minivan?

The only thing that’s keeping me from completely ditching the notion in its entirety, is that everyone seems so genuinely happy for Sibling.  There must be something these women aren’t telling me – namely, the good stuff. 

So next time you find yourselves discussing the finer points of prenatal and early childhood development, why don’t you focus on those, in the interest of preservation of the species, hmm?  Us “undecideds” need positive reinforcement, not the truth!