01/18/05: banging your heart

About a year ago, I made a silly post (thanks, calvin) about how I was grouchy one day, and how Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes fame once said, "Nothing helps improve a bad mood like spreading it around."   Of course, paybacks are a bitch, because someone has spread their crappy mood on me, and I have been inconsolably miserable ever since.

That is, until I saw Joe Trainor last night to work on music for A Midsummer Night's Dream. We wisely allotted for goof-off time, knowing that for the first hour or so we would be catching up since we haven't seen each other much lately. Once we got the goofs out of the way, we created a neat song that is a combination of 12/8 and 7/8, which soothes both the early music geek and the prog rock freak in us. Very excited-- it feels good to have the creative juices flowing. One song down, I think three to go. We'll knock more out tonight, and then I don't see him until next week.

Anyway. Back to the inconsolable thing.

I am normally a chipper person; I see the wonder, humor and goodness in things. (Hell, last night Trainor and I were laughing out loud over an empty trail mix bag.) I am hopeful and optimistic by default, but I also have a healthy dose of realism and cynicism: I know what's what. I'm not stupid. I like to believe that people are inherently good and that magical things are possible with a little effort or just by opening yourself to them and inviting them in. But recently I was faced with a challenge, that, for the first time in my life, I think I am too small to overcome. It is a wall my super-powerful laz0r of goodness cannot penetrate no matter how hard I try. The worst part about it is whenever I think I'm finally making a breakthrough, the hole in the wall is patched up immediately, and the successes are nullified, disregarded, dismissed and forgotten. I bang my head against the wall (or perhaps more appropriately, bang my heart against some mad bugger's wall) and wonder why I put myself through so much hell just to get kicked around over and over again. It hardly seems worth it. I'm taking on damage 24 hours a day, it seems. It's hitting me from all angles.

Lately I feel like I work in bursts: bursts of openness and joy and a willing to hold hands and work together towards a common goal, followed by a screaming retreat into my lead cocooon to hide from the shower of shrapnel. Open, then closed. Free, then hiding. Sharing, then withholding. Connecting, then recoiling. Courageous, then terrified. Normal interaction, then eggshell walking. Confident, then meek. Willing to share ideas, then terrified of rocking the boat. Spunky, then bland. Creative, then lemming-like. Mighty, then quivvering. Who is this person looking back at me in the mirror? This is no muse. She's in there, but I think she's afraid to come out and play because she's afraid of the sucker-punch to the solar-plexus that comes out of nowhere.

But just as soon as I memorize the self-preserving soapbox speech and build up the courage to pull the plug and remove myself from the suck, my blasted optimism kicks in, I am encouraged, a lightning bolt of hope zings through my soul, and I inherently know that with a little more patience, a little more love, a little more time and just a little more effort, things can be fixed. The lightning bolt tells me to never lose sight of the end-state, that progress is possible through concious persistence, and once the problems are fixed, the paybacks will be immeasurable.     "If there is no dull and determined effort, there will be no brilliant achievement." --Hsun Tzu

My new mantra: It's just a job. They are paying me tons to deal with the suck. I am strong enough to let it roll off. It's a small price to pay to have the time and money to get to see John every other weekend. Suck it up, Knapp.

In other news... I just got back from another weekend in San Francisco to see The Ninja. I wrote this on the planeride home... yay for laptops with long-lasting batt'ries! This rundown is essentially for my own general reminder, but feel free to peruse. :-)

On Monday, I learned that my Uncle Al had lost his battle with bone cancer. He had been fighting it for over a year and it had spread throughout his body. His viewing was going to be Thursday from 2-4 in northern NJ (about 30 minutes north of my folks, even), but immmediate family could arrive at 1:30. So, I drove up to NJ late Wednesday night, white-knuckled through impossibly thick fog so I could be at Al's funeral on Thursday for even just a few minutes. I arrived at the viewing at 1:30 and was on the road by 1:50... not the respectful, comforting visit I would have liked, but I made an appearence and I know it meant a lot to my aunt. I had to drive a zillion MPH to catch my flight out of Philly to San Francisco; I heard that the airport was a zoo and was cautioned to arrive early. Needless to say, it was a very stressful, emotionally blueballed and frazzled 24 hours as I spent 6 of them driving with the clock ticking towards immovable deadlines. The good news is that I made my flight in time, and even though it was late getting off the ground and there was a luggage fubar, all was good as I arrived in one piece. John picked me up at the airport and I suggested we go play some pinball which only took a little convincing. We made our way to the car and Cornelius was in the CD player; the city lights before us looked awesome and the musical backdrop fit perfectly. I felt hopeful. We got to Finnegan's Wake, had a drink and played some Attack from Mars and things were rockin', the magic lightswitch was flipped. Good mojo, good chemistry, smooches, high fives, hugs and big big smiles.

It was late-ish and we both had to work in the morning, so we went home and went to sleep. I love the way he wraps himself around me when we sleep-- I feel small, feminine, and above all, I feel loved. Sadly, I didn't sleep real well-- kept thinking of Uncle Al and how unreal he looked in the casket. The last time I saw him he was his chubby self; yet the body laying there was scrawny, bald and only a shadow of Al. Fucking cancer.

(Friday:) The next morning, I got up at 5:15-ish to make my appearance on line at work. Nobody needed me all day, so I studied more HDM materials and dicked around online. John was able to escape work for lunchtime so we met at Kitaro and had ourselves some sushi -- a nice break from Gordo's. John went back to work, and I went back to the ranch to finish up my workday and think about starting the laundry. John called around 2:30 and said that he was getting let out of work early, so he shot home and the afternoon was ours. Woooo! His sister Mary had mailed him a package of late-arriving Christmas gifts and John got me two more super-cool things; a Wilco DVD about the making of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (I'm gonna wait to watch it so we can see it together) and this impossibly amazing electro-charge captured in an acrylic polymer: it is absolutely beautiful and mystifying. Such a perfect John gift-- physics, aesthetically beautiful, elegant but quirky. I love that he knows I would love that gift.

We opted for a nap, but not before belly-aching laughter from beating the crap out of each other (read: him pounding me) with pillows. We napped for a little while and then shot down to Trader Vic's in Emeryville to meet up with Kathryn, who was showing her art exhibit and to LJ-friends Ron (ronebofh), Kim (2wanda) and Matt (mrbalihai). I was happy to get to meet them and put faces to the ASCII. They were good company and good peepz; Kim has this amazing radiant beauty about her; I couldn't stop looking at her and trying to pinpoint what it was. I decided it was just her whole being; just beautiful. She and Ron are an affectionate couple-- it didn't make me uncomfortable, only happy. Matt asked me what brings me to San Francisco every other week and John chimed in, "I do!" at the same time I said, "That beautiful man right there." It was neat telling these folks about us-- how we met in Delaware and are working on the long-distance thing. Anyway, we all enjoyed our overly-priced and ice-centric tiki drinks; I had a Tonga in honor of the absent Soren.

After Trader Vic's (ouch: $130 bucks for the two of us) John and I swung by Borders and then to the Emeryville arcade to get our pins and air hockey on; I admittedly was having an off-night. I missed easy shots, and I took a total beating in air hockey. Must have been the skirt and the fact that the arcade was about 872634876 degrees below zero. Why must they keep the door open in January?!

(Saturday:) The next morning we were up early-ish and I was craving pancakes, so I suggested we go find some. We ventured into a new part of town, grabbed breakfast bagels and good coffee at a coffeeshop on hunhnuhuh, and after several failed attempts at finding more arcades (they were all closed down), we went to Jeremy's to get our shopping on. John found a pair of unfathomably hot pants-- they have this thick uncovered zipper down the front that (dare I say) draws the eye downward. It's also got zippers at the ankles so you can wear the pants pegged or open-- all fashionistas suggested wearing them unzipped at the ankle. I tried on a bunch of fantastic outfits for fun and didn't wind up buying anything, which was groovy for me. I was in the mood to go shoe shopping though, so we headed o'er to the Nordstrom Rack and tried on a bunch of stuff, but we both came up emptyhanded. We were getting hungry and a little cranky, so we went to Zeitgeist to get some burgers and pinball, but the place was packed and we could only play The Simpsons as some chick was rockin' on the Addams Family table there. There wasn't anyplace to sit and we both felt kinda out of place, so we ate and left pretty quickly. We got a little turned around on the way home and whoa hey ho would you look at that, found ourselves miraculously on Cole, and we were pulled in by the Finnegan's Wake tractor beam. :-) I sure do love that place-- it's comfy, the people are agreeable, and their pinball machines are in great shape. We popped the machine three times and got a bunch of extra balls, but John wasn't happy with our performance-- he thought we could have done better. I said, "John, don't forget beb, you can't ever win at pinball. It's like gambling. You're always going to want to play one more and do better... but you'll never actually win. So you can't beat yourself, or us, up for not 'succeeding/winning at pinball.' There's no such thing." This seemed to strike a chord in him, though I'm not exactly sure what. :-) Anyhoo, we went home as it was getting dark, and we needed to nap before the big night ahead of us.

We started our naps around 6:30pm and didn't get out of bed until 9:15-ish. I didn't sleep for the first 90 minutes or so, but eventually I got some sleep. We woke up, got dressed and headed to Mighty, a converted warehouse turned club/gallery on 15th and Utah. The place is fabulous: plenty of seating, good bar, nice dance floor, clean bathrooms, good mix of people, good music, bubbly lights, and all proceeds going to tsunami relief. We got our dance on which was totally righteous. I didn't stop smiling the whole damn night-- I felt alive, happy, sexy and deliciously taken. John looked awesome and looked so happy-- he was smiling and dancing with his eyes shut, just bopping in his John-way. I was in charge of getting the occasional beverage, and every time I went to the bar some guy hit on me-- it was funny and admittedly a nice ego boost. At one point John went to get some air and I went to the bar to get refills, and some random granola guy Tom and I got talking-- he was a young guy, and we just hit it off and were yapping in a platonic Burning-Man-connect-with-random-people-way. He had a really great energy to him, youthful, hopeful, excited, bright. We were having a wonderful conversation and John came back from inside and hugged me from behind (eee, love that!) and put a blinkie light around my neck. I introduced John to Tom, and Tom said to John, "You are such a lucky man. Jill is amazing-- just look at her! I can tell so easily how wonderful she is!" John said, "I know! Jill rocks!" They got talking about John having recently moved to San Fran and Tom asked John when I was gonna move out to San Francisco with him, and John said, "I'm bringing this girl with me to Texas!" I got choked up, I kid you not. Wow. :-)   Anyhoo, we danced some more and a mix of T'Pau's "I Can't Wait" came on which became the song in our head for the rest of the night and the next morning. We got home a little before 3.

(Sunday:) We woke up around 8:30am and he jumped online in the living room so I could sleep more... I don't think he knew that I was up before him and that I wasn't gonna get back to sleep, but it was very sweet of him to let me rest. He heard me tapping on my phone from the bedroom and he asked what I was doing, and I called him back to bed so we could snuggle up before suggesting another quest for pancakes. I got packed up, and we jumped in the car. After a quiet breakfast at Q, we headed to the airport, John walked me to security and I said goodbye. Got back to my apartment around 10:15pm-- I like the non-stop between Philly and SFO. It's a good thing.

In other news entirely:

  • I have a cold, all of a sudden. On the plane ride I just started feeling horrible: scratchy throat, feverish, crazy nose, achy eyes. My dad had a crappy cold when I saw him on Wednesday/Thursday, so I hope I didn't catch it. I can't afford to be sick.

  • The lady in the aisle next to me is painfully stinky. I can smell her from here, and it is making me want to chuck.

  • Dr. Rob called me outta nowhere while I was driving up to NJ Wednesday night. He was driving home from Yuma after finding the AZ-CA-Mexico tri-point and what was going to be a quick "Hi, going tri-pointing and thinking of you" call became a really fantastic two-hour philosophical conversation. The tsunami really hit home for him, and it made him closely examine where he is in his life and map (ha!) out some necessary changes in philosophy and his approach to material things. He wants to downsize his house, he wants to be happy in Tempe instead of always looking to be somewhere else; he wants to acknowledge how good he really does have it where he is and embrace that his ailing mother will not be dying anytime soon and that for now he's staying put. He is torn between the whole I-like-being-single and the I-really-want-to-settle-down-and-have-a-rockin-life-partner-and-family. I speculated that when you get to be our age and you're still single, you've learned to enjoy your own company, and you've also learned to expect (and ultimately need) solitude. He said, "Yeah-- there are times when I want to go see a movie by myself; I shouldn't have to feel bad that I don't want to bring my girlfriend." But then he said, "But then again, I imagine if I found the right person I would want to hang out with her 24 x 7." I don't necessarily agree with that. I think if you've found the right person for you, then that person has complimentary needs to yours. With any luck, they also crave alone-time and would be thrilled to get yo' ass out of the house while you go see a movie. Some people need more affection and cling, and they find they're complimentary mate who is also clingy and affectionate. Some people need more downtime and find their complementary mate in someone who is a bit more self-sufficient.     We also speculated that if you're in your mid-30s and still single, it's possibly because you don't want to really make a committment at all, and it's only society that is making you feel bad about it. I told him that the long-distance thing works nicely for me for now; I get my alone-time without feeling bad about it, and I get my together time in sweet doses. But I, unlike Rob I think, really do want to be together with someone for the long-haul. I want to connect with someone. I want to be like Ron and Kim who proudly and unapolgetically proclaim, "I am madly in love with my husband/wife." I want someone to be able to say, "This is Jill, she is fabulous, I am in love with her, and I am proud and honored that she is mine. She is my priority, and I am hers. And now, I'm gonna go see a movie by myself while she has a soak in the tub." I do worry though that I am too thick to hear it when it actually has been spoken (recalls the llij.net post re: the redirection).

    As my mom would say, "What, do you need a brick to hit you in the head?" Well, apparently I do. :-)

    Fortune Teller Miracle Fish today tells me that I am: Indifferent.   Cold hands do bad things to miracle fishes. :-)