The Man Who Wasn’t There

Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
I wish, I wish he’d go away...
huges mearnes

I’ve gone out with a variety of folks, as if you’ve read any of this blog, you can plainly see.

I’ve dated a pirate, who later cut his arm off – accidentally – if you can believe the photo of the severed arm I received. Could have been anyone’s arm I suppose but as the photo was not also attached to a request for money, I couldn’t otherwise figure out what the motivation could have been, so I’m sticking with his story.  He was in the business of cutting up ships underwater so the whole laser got his arm sort of fit.  Still, I tried to find the article somewhere because his story was he grabbed it as it floated away and swam up with it and many surgeries later they attached it.  I thought that was quite a story but either that kind of thing is commonplace in the Florida, Florida being one of those states where crazy  shit happens regularly (if you doubt me, read Carl Hiaasen) or it only made some local police blotter. Anyway, I couldn’t find anything to validate it, thus the doubt, and because pirates tend to be lying and crazy anyway, but for now, I’m going with it.  It’s a great story.

Then there was the guy who drank himself into oblivion regularly.  There were actually a couple of those but only one who ended up in jail from it.  This I know is true because I get mail semi-regularly post marked accordingly and, and I think I mentioned this another time, he’s still listed on a dating site. Mention of living in a ‘gated community’ goes unsaid.  Suddenly all the funny stories you’d heard fall into place, the unspoken ending being ‘because I was smashed at the time.’

I try to weed out the nuts before it goes too far, so I haven’t really long termed too many locos. Some of the drinkers hid it well and some of the crazy disguised it as ‘fun’ but for the most part, it’s usually just banal.  The loco stalkers, gun fanatics, artists obsessed with braids, sex maniacs etc tend not to get past the first – ok I’m exaggerating – 3rd date.  That depends on how bored I am but I’ll safely say 3rd.

However, I once met a man who wasn’t there.  I’m not talking about the guy who literally disappeared off the face of the earth (man hit by a bus is my moniker for him) or the guy who actually WAS hit by a car (he died, very sad). I’m talking about someone who didn’t exist, despite my having met him.

Match is a wonderful site maybe for dating but also for entertainment. Actually they all are. Tinder, in particular you can swipe and swipe and eventually a photo comes up which sends you to the floor laughing.  It’s not mean laughing in a laughing AT sort of way, more along the lines of, who would put a photo like that up on dating site without saying they were attending an ugly sweater contest (and won!).  Or here are 2 guys. One is intubated.  Which one is the date?   But every once in a while you come across someone actually date-able and on occasion you find someone who turns into a friend.  That to me is honestly the best scenario:. friends last forever, dating …… well the jury still seems to be out on that one.

So I came across a guy.  Very cute.  Hi, blah blah.  Turns out he’s in Israel.  Grew up here, but currently in Israel.  Ok, well that’s a shame but after a variety of emails we decide to become pen pals.  Great.  Interesting conversation about politics and life and why he never married and what’s going on here.  Wonderful friendship.  I reach out to this guy to talk about lots of things. I google him, seems to come up doing what he says he does.  Whole background etc.

Then he’s going to come visit.  Fun!  His brother’s in Brooklyn he can stay there we can meet.  What a fun world this is! Oh. But no.  He’s gotten an assignment he can’t refuse in Jordan.  Promotion, he promised his bosses he’d cover it.  Ok.  Fine.  Until next year in Jerusalem…..as they say.  But anyway, so a year.  Doesn’t matter. We have this virtual relationship anyway!  So we email more and then every Sunday night we Skype.  Face Time! How great is this world! You can chat face to face with someone half way around the world. He skypes me from the funniest places, his terrace, his bathroom, wherever he can get a signal. Shows me around his apartment on camera.  I’ve been third world-ish.  Signals are hard to find.  I didn’t realize how much they can get crossed, but getting ahead of myself.

So we discuss politics, which sometimes, oddly, we get cut off.  We laugh. Oh hahaha, being spied on. He tells me about Jordan and how sad it is, you never see women and the only bar you get a beer is in called ….. whatever it was called.  And how he’s tired of seeing mostly men and no one laughs and theres only 3 channels on all playing Giligan’s island.  And we laugh.  He can’t wait to get back to Israel where it’s fun.

Then there’s the bi g invite.  Why don’t you come to the Red Sea? I can get off a day and cross the border and come see you!  Oh, how fun would that be! I’ll be in Europe anyway, so we start to consider it.  Think about it.  Make it clear nothing else will transpire because we’re not about that but he could show me around and we could meet!  Finally, I can’t and there’s the whole, well probably for the best.  What if we fell for each other and he still has 6 months in the Jordan.  Back to Skype.

Six months go by.  His brother-in-law is deathly ill. His job is finally coming to a close.  He’s going to come look for a job in the US come hell or high water.  He’s sick of Israel and the ‘prickly’ women there he can’t find to go out with anyone.

He finally says he’s coming.  He’s here in fact! We meet up on the museum steps. He looks just like his photo! We walk through Central Park. Oh, it’s so wonderful here after a year in Jordan! Seeing people laughing and holding hands and women out everywhere isn’t this grand! He sure hopes he can find a job here.  I show him my home.  We have dinner and he goes off to job interview. I invite him to my house upstate. We originally met talking about how much he loved Litchfield county and that part of the world and what a coincidence that I have a house in that world.

So a few days later, he comes by. We hang out. He meets my mother. He meets her friend.  Meet Andy, my good buddy from Israel.  They agree he’s not my type but we’re not that so who cares. We hang out. We all eat, he stays in the guest room and in the morning we go out for a run.  We talk while we run and he tells me about his interviews and heads out for another few.  Before he leaves he tells me he had a job offer but has to think about it.

Ok.  Goes back to Israel. We continue to talk. He mentions some woman he’s dating but no longer going to move here.  Ok.  We check in time to time, chat about whatever. It’s nice. I feel like I have a friend in Israel. So we’re chatting about life and I say, casually in passing, maybe if I sell this house I’ll come visit you in Tel Aviv.  He says great, I can show you around.

Then the American election happens. Despite having put my head in a hole in the ground up until the very last possible minute that shitstorm hits.  I wake up to a text that says “WTF” and know that the world as we know it has just come to an end.   I’m distraught beyond my wildest imaginable ability to be distraught.  I don’t understand the world any more. I want to move to Europe. I want to move to Mars. I’m wondering how I can get off this planet, roll back time – where’s Superman spinning the world counterclockwise when you need him. I get out the white pages. I start looking for Arab-terrorist-when-you-need-him.  1-800-ISIS.  There must be an agency.  A web site.  Someone  HELP!!!  This can’t be happening.

And then I get the email.

Hi Ellen

…….  I lied about my name and status.  I am married to an orthodox woman and I’m miserable…….

It goes on and on about justifications for lying and everything and he signs it

……….. Mike   PS I’m sorry to send this letter on a very sad day, when so many of us are holding our heads in our hands……..

Now I’m literally in shock.  I’ve gone from being in shock to being in shock on crack.  I ask are there kids, was the whole time in Jordan a lie? I get a response back, yes it was.  WHAT!?  Not only has the universe upended civilization, my own eyes have deceived me. I start to call my bet guy friends and check that they are not women. I start to ask my women friends if they are strippers or on the run.  I call a good friend to bemoan the loss of this what I thought was friend and she has the common sense to say, you haven’t lost a friend, he never existed.  The man who never was.  I start to wonder. Is it possible that the whole lie is not the 2 years I’ve known him but this new information? Perhaps this is the lie. Perhaps there’s some crazy story and he wants to disassociate.  Now I don’t even know what truth is.  And does it matter? It’s a big philosophical question but in this case it’s just a clear no.  It doesn’t matter which truth is truth.  Because something is awry on a psychotic sort of level. Walk away.  Run away.

Wow.  What’s amazing is every once in a while I actually miss this guy.  It’s like someone has died and someone has haven’t they? You know who that someone is? It’s the itsy bitsy person left in me that thought they’d seen it all but is almost daily nudged back to reality with the idea that no you haven’t.   (New word a month ago: pegging.  Look it up, that’s all I’m saying.) And I think that oddly keeps me going because if you have seen it all you can stay home. But if there’s another story out there, bizarre or not, it’s awaiting to be uncovered and if you can find always a funny side to a dating site or a person or a crazy story then you can always welcome the next one.

And you know what hasn’t died? The president elect …….. just sayin’ ……..

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Post scriptum: to the CIA, FBI and whoever else is enjoying reading my blog posts.  I’M KIDDING ABOUT TRUMP.  There is no 1-800-ISIS. I mean…….I’m guessing, it’s not like  I checked.  Long live the king.

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A Site for Sore Eyes

I’ve been on several dating sites, to say the least. Each one seems to have its own personality or set of personalities. This is a broad statement and it’s meant in the way that African American women have large butts or small people are bad drivers (and people from NJ but that’s another story) is a broad statement, not meaning every single person has that characteristic but a large swath of those people might so it’s not so much racist or smallist as a general observation. So the following statements are not date-ist just more of an observation.

First a caveat applied: I can’t speak for the women’s side on any of this, so aside from being snotty I’m also being slightly misandristic but it’s my blog.

So just to name a few:

Plenty of Fish really seems to be about the bottom feeders. I don’t know why, because it’s free? Unsure.  And while I like catfish it’s more of the breaded and fried on a plate variety than sitting across the table from.

Match feels like they keep recycling the same folks over and over from their database even though those people are now married, dead, moved away or otherwise unavailable. There’s the  bunch are guys in a back room of Nigeria parading as contractors out at sea on an oil rig. They call you ‘dear’ a lot, ask immediately for your private email, have a child, the mother is a) dead b) abandoned them c) otherwise not in the picture with no explanation.  They are always good looking but not over the top. They are god fearing – and that’s always a red flag because I’m marked as an atheist, why would you contact me? –  and while their initial profile is amazing the follow up emails have a bunch of typos or bad grammar, supposedly excused because while they grew up in the US they are originally from somewhere else.  They say things like “I live in the Park Avenue area” which if you’re a New Yorker you know isn’t an area at all.

JDate seems to be a lot of short angry men living with their moms and no that isn’t an anti-Semitic dig, it’s just what is there.  Like the term Mammoni for Italian guys doesn’t mean you don’t like pizza, just means some guys still can’t do their laundry.  Same thing.  The one guy I met on JDate wasn’t jewish. He was a tall sexy photographer who wouldn’t ever show me the top of his head.  EVER.  You follow what ‘ever’ means?  And what’s funny is that that wasn’t even a deal breaker, he actually gave me the heave-ho.  Maybe I have an ugly part in my hair.  He ended up with some woman in lower Fairfield county. Just statistically speaking, she’s probably not jewish either.

OkCupid is a lot of artists.  Poor artists. Struggling artists.   I don’t know how that happens. Does one guy at a gallery say to his friend at a gallery, Hey I’m on this site…..and 4 other people at the gallery overhear and so on and so on?

There’s millionairematch  and aside from the fact that every 50 year old guy on that site is looking for someone in their 20s or 30s I also happen to know for a fact at least 2 of the guys do not merit that moniker.  One is in jail, so that’s pretty much a non-starter and it’s not for white collar fraud so he has no swiss bank account waiting for him when he gets out.  Don’t ask me how I know, just trust me on this. He was on a month ago. I’m not really sure how that’s possible because I’m guessing, and only guessing here, that jails don’t have internet access and if they do there’s a time limitation and if there is time to get online anyone with any sense wouldn’t spend it trolling for women you can’t possibly meet.  But I guess someone with that kind of sense might not be in jail anyway, so there’s that.

The other guy I dated briefly once from another site.  Might have been CraigsList actually. I needed arm candy for a party – sue me.  Nice guy.  Computer tech head.  Probably makes about 90K a year.  You’d have to add a lot of zeros to get what would even be construed as close to millionaire, so I’m just sayin’.  There is a ‘worth’ check box and plenty of guys check it at 200,000 so I suppose as far as in dating sites go the whole honesty thing with who you are and who you represent yourself to be millionaire match isn’t any more lying, stupid or overtly shallow than the rest of them.  But watch out for the guy in jail. He hasn’t killed anyone but he’s not really available for a drink.

Now apparently there are sites for religions, married people (or used to be…), “friend finders” and I’m sure a host of others I can’t imagine and likely don’t want to. But I do have a few suggestions.

I think there should be a Beard.com.  Not for the hipsters who all seem to have facial hair ala mid-eastern religions, I’m talking about gay men posing as not gay men and frankly, failing miserably at it.

I feel as though there should be a site like that or I think I need to change my perfume. Maybe there’s something about it attracts gay men. First there was the guy with the weasel named Fluffy Bottom.  Then the guy who was lawyer turned pastry chef and was deceptively good in bed but squeaked like a girl at a basketball game. There was the car salesman who couldn’t keep his hands from a-fluttering, the estate jeweler who was deceptive because there was the question if his Australian accent adding to my confusion, the guy with two sons who spent time singing at the Duplex and just recently the guy whose every text ended with 3 kissing lips, 5 pink flowers of unknown description and four rose icons and that was  before we even met. Over drinks he admired my sweater, my earrings, and said “You.  Are.  Adooorrrable.” a few times too many (eg. once)  followed by a string of over the top icons the next day.  If we had met on beard.com I could have at least brought along a spare sweater and an extra pair of earrings to share.

And how about honesty.com instead of here’s a picture of me when I was 30 pounds ago/20 years ago/less crazy eyed from a stressful divorce ago.

I have a friend who’s recently put on some weight and while trying to get it off has launched into the world of hefty people dating.  Why shouldn’t there be an “I’m trying to lose a few” site? I’m not sure if it was an actual site or a subcategory listing.  She said however, not everyone who’s on it are heavy but it’s for people who like heavy people regardless of their own size.    Kind of like my guy on Jdate, not of the faith but eager to participate with those who are.

But what she found in this group seems to have in common is certain cultures, latinos and African Americans in particular. I Love Big Butts wasn’t written by a white guy, after all.  She also noticed the cat calling on the streets came from this group.  I haven’t been cat called since my last feline died and she said she hadn’t either for a while because she figured she was too big but in fact, my friends, au contraire! When she put on the last 20 pounds the cat calls came in slews!  It’s not that she wasn’t too big it’s that she wasn’t big ENOUGH!  Men like a flat ass or a big ass but not much in between apparently.  Alas for the rest of us.

I knew someone in her 70s who said someone should write a book about the day the whistling on the street stops.  Like the day the music died.  I think New York has become a calmer less crude sort of place than the 80s – pros and cons – but it’s also very likely I have aged my way out of the cat calling, sexist,  disgusting comments age bracket and damn…..I kind of miss it.  What day DID that all stop? I don’t think I can blame Guiliani for this one.  On the flip side, while I  haven’t had a cat call in a while but I do get people stopping me on the street to tell me how thin I am.  I recently had someone ask if I was a ballerina.  Yeah, a really old, pigeon toed, klutzy ballerina. No fella, sorry, just a regular anorexic, is there a good cat call for that?

I’m also thinking Blind.com would be great. I mean talk about really seeing the inside of someone instead of the outside. All these guys – well not all but some who think they are pulling the proverbial wool over your proverbial eyes – say they don’t care what you look like but want a woman who’s beautiful on the inside. I’m pretty sure cruising through the website they aren’t looking at your soul.  Let’s take Tinder for example, swipe left for reject, right to chat. Let’s not fool ourselves, it’s a quick look at a face, maybe a few pictures, and if you’re lucky there’s a 3 line blurb. In other words, it’s like looking down the rail of a bar and saying “I’ll go talk to that guy.  He’s cute.”

But  think of the benefits of meeting someone where you didn’t have to put on makeup or change your outfit for every date.  Frankly, I do that anyway. I have a couple of dating outfits and you can wear them every day of the week if you have a different date every night because who’s going to know? So long as you don’t go to the same bar.  And frankly, even that. Who cares what the bar tender thinks.  If you’re there every night with a different guy I’m pretty sure they’ve got other thoughts running through their head about you than ‘Gee, that nice girl has on the same sweater.’ It’s probably more along the lines of ‘Is that chick in here AGAIN with another guy? Is she turning tricks or just really unlucky?’

One downside of when you’re dating is you have to look at yourself.  Not in an introspective way, but literally.  In the mirror.  You have to see who that other person is going to see.  You have to put on make up to make sure that they see what you want them to see and not what you don’t want them to see. Also known as  all the things you see. It means taking a long hard look at yourself, not at your life or who you’ve become or all those other things you are supposed to take a long hard look at some point, but take a long hard look at the creases on your forehead, the sinewy-ness of your neck, the small lines that weren’t around your lips 3 days ago.  What I’m saying here is the important things. Not all that zen stuff that you know matters at the end of the day, but all the superficial stuff on which someone will make a snap judgment about you over a hopefully dimly lit martini and not over an unfortunately neon lit cup of coffee.

And it’s not like once you’re seeing someone you can show up with curlers and a runny nose over the breakfast table – I mean who wears curlers any more? But once you’re more settled into a relationship the initial judgments, the initial looking and assessing is over.  The crow’s feet when someone smiles can be endearing once you’re in like/love/something in between with them.  At a first glance it can feels more like, gosh, this person reminds me of Aunt Susan. If you’re sitting around on a Saturday night watching a movie and making dinner you don’t feel so much the need to put on the makeup, or not at least whole hog.  Maybe just a touch of eyeliner and something one step up from your yoga pants. No need for the whole dating outfit because frankly he’s seen that already.

And so long as I’m insulting people with disabilities, how about Deaf.com  I took sign language. It’s a beautiful thing, quiet, concise, real. There’s no mincing of words. If you’re short and fat you get described as short and fat. Why? Because you’re short and fat and it’s easier to sign those 2 things than spell out your whole name, Rebecca Amelia. The conversations would be so great because there’s not a whole lot of nuance and all that, gee, was that a double entendre or did he really mean it? One of my favorite New Yorker cartoons is a woman saying, “I once mistakenly thought I was dating someone for a whole month because I couldn’t tell his texts were sarcastic.”  That would sort of be less of a factor.

That being said I’m not proposing a “[name your support group] dot com.  It feels too open for trickery and here’s why.

I had a friend once who had a very retarded son.  That’s not being non-PC, retarded means slow.  This kid was beyond that so frankly the term retarded is being kind.  His poor neurological system had been mis-wired.  A very sweet child but a mess in that regard. (If you’re tsking your tongue, give me a break. I’m not insulting anyone here, like I did with the heavy folks and the jews, I’m just stating the facts.)  Anyway, his dad suggested I go to support meeting for parents with disabled children because I could find a good man there who, by dint of life experience, would be patient and caring and kind. I don’t know. It just feels icky, you know? I’ve heard of people going to AA to pick up partners, when they themselves have no drinking problems, because they will find someone who isn’t drunk.  Or has the self awareness to get help.  Or is a cheap date.  I know we all do things to represent ourselves which maybe isn’t a 100% real, like wearing heels to appear taller.  Or dying our hair so no one sees we’re really gray.  Botox, fancy watches, fibbing about loving camping or ice fishing and hoping to god we’re just out of town when the prospect of that trip comes around.  But actually pretending to be seeking help for drinking when you’re thinking ‘god, when is this over I want a glass of wine with dinner’,  how would you even explain that? I’ve fallen off the wagon already? And what possibly could you say to explain being at a support group for disabled children? Five dates in, you know, I have something to tell you, my cat actually ISN’T autistic?  At what point would you say, gee, you know honey, I was lying. Let’s build a life relationship where the first thing I did to meet you was lie. Not peel a few inches off my height but really really really lie, somewhere far far farther out than the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus.   I may be crazy but I don’t think it bodes well.

I remember back in the day, pre internet, there were health clubs.  When they first started to take off people complained they weren’t really for working out but seemed to have replaced bars for picking people up.  Frankly, I applaud that. Imagine a place where people aren’t stuffing something into their gobs, are doing something good for themselves, even if it’s only having carrot sticks at the juice bar, and you could actually speak with someone face to face right of the bat. Now of course at the gym everyone is plugged into their headsets; you even have to tap the fat guy on the shoulder to point out that he is trying to lift a 50 pound weight over his head while stepping on your big toe.  No one speaks, let alone trades phone numbers.  I miss the old days.  Maybe someone could start gymrat.com and people could arrange to work out together, although if I remember correctly, that’s similar to how Adult Friend Finder started out and what they found was what people wanted to do together was …… well you could call it working out…… But I have faith in the system.

The way kids were all excited because they could speak a text into a phone which would type it out  and send it and the other person would get the text and would speak to them and then they could speak back and it would type out text and the other person could hear it …… it’s called a telephone!!! come around full circle. I am sure there will at some point be a site where people speak and meet and actually see each other face to face again.  It’ll be  called dating.

 

 

 

 

 

Life’s Little Puzzles

While in Barnes & Noble the other day I saw a jigsaw puzzle section and knowing I had 4-5 days alone in a summer house I thought it would be a good idea to have one with me.  I’ve always liked doing jigsaws and did them as a kid, finishing with a solid red one. After that one I gave it up, feeling I had mounted the Everest of puzzles.

I took it up again later when my kids were at an approximate age to help but while they would join in for a bit at the start it was always my passion that finished the last piece and several more close to that.  I like puzzles.  Crosswords. The thing-o-grams where you have to figure out a pattern of letters which stand for other letters.  Jigsaws and of course writing compute code.  The last being the only one that pays although that fact didn’t seem to keep it from getting boring.  I have a short boring tether, if you haven’t noticed by now.

It had been a few years since doing one, more for lack of a large smooth unused table than a desire, but as Barnes & Noble and some smart marketing person would have it, it seemed like a good impulse purchase for the weekend ahead; the 2 books notwithstanding, I was going to have time on my hands.

I like jigsaw because there’s a system: the first finding the edges, then color patterns, which as you familiarize yourself with as the details emerge.  There’s the thrill of finding the piece that fits in exactly and the smugness of picking up a piece, looking it over, and just snapping it into place like you possess  some special Holmes-ian intuitive skill. Delusion needs no skill to master. Then when the easy parts are done, there’s the dirty job of finding what’s left by shape.  There’s the T shape with two little ears out each side.  There’s the Arabian castles which are pointy shaped balloons. There’s the 2 innies (the female as it were) the 1 innie, 1 outtie (the male as it were—perhaps an Irish male).  There’s the 4 sided outtie and the 4 sided innie, although those are usually Arabian castles….you get the idea.  It’s a disease unto itself. You separate those and then dive in by shape.  It’s all you have on a single red one–obviously color is no guide.

When you finish and the last and most obvious piece you were looking for didn’t look like what you were looking for, then you aha! yourself and are glad no pieces fell under the sofa or the puzzle cutting people didn’t let anything go missing.  (Unlike the people who send you furniture to put together and neglect to include the screws to attach the last piece.  That’s another issue for another day.)

If you’re a true Buddhist you look once, crush it up and then toss it in the box.  If you’re partly zen you leave it for a few days to admire before storing it for another rainy/snowy/bored patch and if you have trouble living in the Now you glue it and hang it on a wall. I fall into the middle category. I’m still a Kharmic work in progress.

What struck me this time around is the life analogy of doing a jigsaw puzzle.  Probably because I’m here alone, waiting for my guy to show up, contemplating my life.  Again. For a change. Dating is like doing a large puzzle.  A large frustrating puzzle.

With puzzle pieces you have to know what you’re looking for.  A black piece where the outtie is red but the edges of the innie are green.  If you know what you’re looking for it’s easier to find.  You need to study the details to find what it is you’re looking for or you can miss what is later so slap-on-the-head.  Because really it’s not what you were looking for exactly.  The red on the outtie is only a little strip at the end, not the whole bulb.  The green actually ends before the innie, the piece is essentially black. When we calm down, let in the possibilities, suddenly the piece appears.  It’s not quite what we were looking for but it fits anyway.  One always thinks they know what they’re looking for and yet, because of life’s vagaries, the harder you look for exactly and only what you think you’re looking for it becomes more evasive.

There also the right time. Sometimes you’re so fixated on a certain spot, I’m going to finish this cat with the blue eyes tonight! That you miss the pieces in front of you that all go together. This white and gray thing MUST be part of his tail and you try the same piece in the same spot just to make sure but it never goes. And you try it again and again, sometimes because you forgot your tried it in that spot already and sometimes because you think, no…this HAS to go there.  Instead it goes on the tea cup which has been missing one white piece for 2 days. Ah! Didn’t notice the gray shadow on the edge because we were fixated on the damn cat.  When you leave the cat and say ok, today’s not the day to finish the cat, all the other white pieces seem to find their homes. It’s funny that way.  If you had been ready to deal with the whites 2 days ago the tea cup and the clouds would have been done by now.

There’s also the question of knowing what the end result looks like.  Someone once reprimanded me for checking the picture on the box, but if you weren’t supposed to know what it looked like why would they give you the picture? Why not make it just all red? So you examine the box.  Learn that the book spine’s are not a solid color but really kind of worn around the edges, allowing for the possibility of grey.  You like grey on the edges, who wouldn’t? But if you were looking for solid blue you would never find it.  Or perhaps there’s a lollipop in the jar on the window with a white stick in it.  If you didn’t see the stick, how could you finish the jar? So if you don’t figure out what it is you are seeing, you do not know what you are looking for.  A white stick in a field of grey can make all the difference. Being stuck in the all jars are grey template would not allow for a white stick. Then where would you be? A small floating red balloon over a jar on the candy counter and what is that all about?

The last thing I will say though is the fit has to be right. Once in a while it seems to fit right but then the other pieces don’t connect. Despite a perfect fit it’s the wrong piece. And when you look closely you see clearly this is not the right fit. Why did it seem to fit in so perfectly and yet afterwards it’s so clearly not.  Hindsight being 20/20 or sometimes we just don’t apply closer examination because if it seems to go that should be good enough.  And besides, we were tired, we’ve been at this thing for a long time, the desire to have it fit is larger than the fit itself. Are you still following and have you gagged yet on the analogy? Still, the right piece will fit there and stay there because a piece too large or too small just won’t do.  Or it doesn’t look like it’s going to fit but you try it anyway and there it goes!   Size perception can be misleading (and most men will point that out.)

I finished the Barnes & Noble puzzle. I appreciated the timing, the logic, the patience, the persistence. The get up and give it space, the go back and give it another try.  This one I might keep because some are worth keeping.  If you’re still following the analogy.

Leisure Travel

Ok, so this isn’t a dating story.

And it has a sort of happy ending (which probably makes it  self-evident that  it’s not a dating story). The ending is – spoiler alert – I got most of my money back, which was a surprise.  (Also, if you can read part of this with that lovely clipped English – India accent, it really adds to it.)

But back to the beginning.  I was supposed to go to India. I had planned the trip well in advance, lined up meetings, lined up some fun things to do. Booked a flight on Air India because it was the most direct.  Changed said flight to accommodate another meeting and went to Air India’s office to do so because for some reason you can’t do that online you have to go to an  office.  Luckily I live in NYC so it wasn’t a problem. I wondered what they did for people in Albany, but ok, not my life so who cares.  They couldn’t get the computer going and a myriad of issues at the office but low and behold i got it changed. Still red flags, I decided to ignore.

Day of said flight I go to the airport and they ask where’s my visa.  What visa, no one mentioned a visa, not when I put my US passport into the web page that requires that. Not when I was standing in the Air India office, not when I was speaking with them on the phone. (Not even my sister who after the fact said, oh yeah, I nearly didn’t get one also when I went but someone mentioned it.  How nice for you.)  Ok. Ultimately the responsibility for my travel documents lays with me, but still a little help would be nice.  So I get shuttled around from person to person who doesn’t want to tell me I’m not getting on this flight until I’m directed to a person who doesn’t exist at the end of the counter. And then I get it, I’m not getting any help here nor am I getting on this plane.  So I frantically hail a cab and tell him to head towards Manhattan I’m going to find out where the Indian Embassy is and go there straight away.

Hahaha…. Yeah right.

So I call Air India, “I was just at check in and I’ve just been told I need a  visa no one mentioned, can you help me to tell me where to go to do that?  Here’s my ticket number, name” etc.

He pulls up my information

“Madam, what is your itinerary?”

“Today, I was just at the airport just now, and I was supposed to leave today.”

“Can you give me your departure date?”

“Today. Whatever today is, I was just at the airport, aren’t you looking at it on the screen?” (we both know he is).

“I need to know your departure date.”

“Today, 15 minutes ago. I as just at the check in desk. I don’t know, whatever today is.” This isn’t me being recalcitrant, I never know either the date nor the day of the week. I might know if I happen to recall which special section it is in the New York Times  (Science = Tuesday, Food = Wednesday) otherwise, I never have a clue.  It comes from working from home, every day is pretty much the same except for Saturday when I have nothing to do at night because Saturday is traditionally date night.

But I digress.

“Madam I need to know your date.”

By now I’m screaming so the taxi driver holds up five fingers.

“OK. It’s the fifth, I was supposed to leave the 5th.”

“Correct.  What is your itinerary.”

OH MY GOD!

“OK, I leave today, the 5th and return on the 18th.”

“Madam, if you can not give my your itinerary I am going to have to hang up.”

“I just gave it to you!” (really screaming now).

“No. I need your whole itinerary.”

If I was the vein popping in head type, this would have been my moment but I’m more the curse like a sailor type and this was definitely my moment.

So I spell out the whole thing for him, when I change planes, what dates, when I come back, when that plane change is.  By now we’re deep into Queens and I still don’t know where the embassy is.

“Correct” he says.  If his name wasn’t little shit I really don’t know what it could have been.  “OK, so how can I help you?”

Are you kidding me?

So I go over it again, just asking for direction for next steps to take, apologizing because I know it’s my responsibility to know about travel documents … blah blah blah and then I toss in that I’m just suggesting that maybe after someone puts in a US passport number you put in a little pop-up box to let them know to check they probably need a visa.

And here’s irony ……

“We (the coders breeding place of the world) are not allowed to have pop-up boxes on our site.”

I’m actually silenced by this incredible piece of stupid information.

Obviously there are other options but at this moment I’m not going to go into web architect mode to point them out.  At this point I’m begging him to tell me where the embassy is so I can go facilitate a visa and maybe reschedule my flight before the end of the week.

Again. HAHAHA.

Nope, the embassy you can’t go to. You have to go to this website and process it from there.  Wow. You couldn’t have just given me that url like 20 minutes ago? And I somehow squeeze the phone number out of him.  Thank you you’ve been ever so helpful.

“My pleasure Madam.”

So I call the embassy.

“Hi I need to know how long it’ll take to get a visa because I just missed my  flight and I want to reschedule it as soon as possible.”

“You need to go to the website.”

“Yes I realise that but can you tell me how long it takes.”  And I’m thinking ‘That’s it buddy, throw me a fucking bone. Toss out a number.  I’m begging you.’  Be careful what you wish for because that’s what he does.

“Three days.”

Oh great! “So I can probably reschedule for the end of the week.” But now I’m starting to learn, proving that an old dog…..

“Wait, so is that 3 days I’ll have the visa after I apply online? Or is that when it’s mailed out so I might have to wait a few extra days?””

“It’s three days from when we get your passport.”

“Can I come by the embassy and do that? So is the three days until you respond to the online thing and then what? Do I mail you my passport at that point and then I have to wait for it to get mailed back?”

“We can not guarantee you will get a visa.”

OK, so aside from the fact that I want to kill everyone related to this process I’m not really a terrorist, so let’s just assume I’m going to clear that hurdle.

“I know, but assuming there’s nothing unusual, how long does it take? Where does that 3 day thing come in?”

“You have to go to the website……”  OK.  Now I’m home and have aged about 20  years, spent about $160 on a cab to my own front door.  The cab driver as I’m getting out says, “I’m Indian and I have to get a visa too because I’m a US citizen.  Dealing with these people is a nightmare.  Good luck.”

So I go to the website.  After not getting a clear answer on the 3 days, passport mailing, passport return process I try – and this just shows how desperate I am – calling the Embassy again.

This guy says, oh, if it’s not business (I lied, ok, maybe I am a terrorist) you can get a visa which will await you on the other side. That process takes about 4 days. No mailing. No passport redemption.  Simple. $60.

If only someone had said that 3 months ago.

So I call all my meetings, my fun thing, who can reschedule til next week?

No one.

Great.  I look through Air India’s partner program and because I had finally, as in maybe the first time in my entire life, splurged on a first class seat which was a fortune, there’s no one really on the list I’m planning to use that amount of money on and lord knows Air India is now on my ‘are you kidding me list’, so I need a refund.

I call Air India.  How can I proceed with a refund.  You have to email such and such.  Is there really no one I can just speak with? No.  Refunds are only issued by emailing this person.

Ok. Irony number two.  Second to producing a nation full of coders India is a nation full of phone support for the world.  FOR THE WORLD!!! But Air India, you can not speak with a human being.  You need to send an email.

Which I do.

And do again.

And I get a response saying they will refund me but hold back over $1000 in fees for a no-show.  Oh I showed alright buddy, is there someone I can speak with over your head?

Sure.

Email this guy.

So I do.  Email. Email. Follow up email.

And of course, I call. This guy is not answering my email. Can you help me?

Oh, he’s away until Monday, try him then.  (Because lord knows in this world no one has access to email away from their desk.) But I’m thinking, ok, maybe he’s on vacation and respecting that. I remember what vacation is…….

So Monday I call.  I’m now in a different 3rd world country but I call from the Honduran rain forest because I’ve just about lost what little marbles I had left over this.

I leave a message.  I get back from being away.  I leave another message. Send another email.  Call again.

Finally, Hello Air India, this is your pal. Where’s this guy? He’s not responding.

Oh he is on a 3 year sabbatical.

Pause.

I swear to you I’m not making this up. I couldn’t make this up because my imagination is not that vivid and no one would make up this story because no one would believe it.

So I show up at their doorstep because my lawyer’s office happens….so coincidentally…..to be across the hall from their office.  I mention this in passing.  I don’t mention he’s a real estate lawyer and they don’t ask.  Let’s all just assume he’s a mean spirited legal bulldog….which he’s not.

I go through the latter half of the story – the refund portion – in their office and they say, oh no, you’ve been emailing the wrong person. You don’t email refunds@airindia you email reservations@airindia.  Does that make sense to you? What then is the refund email for? And by the way, we will not bow on the fees.  OK. Fine, at this point they’ve broken me.  Seriously.  I just need to be done with this.

Uncle.

So I email, yet again, which is a testament to some flaw in my personality but I can’t deal with that right then and there.

They actually acknowledge my email…a first.  So I wait.  Two weeks.  Three weeks. I go to check and I realise that the card they used has since been hacked (thank you the trip to Mexico that I took instead of the trip to India) and they can’t credit the same number. I’m only guessing what kind of delay this is going to cause so I shoot them another email pointing this out.

In the meantime, I call my credit card company. They not only answer my questions they point out that they have taken the old number and rolled it to the new one and in fact my account was credited 3 days ago.  God bless Visa.

Now Air India replies right away.

“Madam, the credit was issued on such and such a date.” And I can hear the snotty sneer in the tone of the email. Ok. You got one bloody leg up on me.

Get over it.

And, here’s the kicker, they refunded about what I was hoping for to begin with.  Why couldn’t they just say so?  It’s a secret….like who needs a visa.

Needless to say, I won’t be taking Air India anywhere again.  I will be more careful to check about visas.  And I think there’s a third lesson here but I’ve yet to put my finger on it.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor……..

I recently was speaking about the men I’ve dated and I said everyone from a cab driver to a surgeon.  My friend said, really? You dated a cab driver?  Now I’ve got nothing against cab drivers and lord knows probably half of them are doctors or judges or well educated people from other countries who are stuck in some situation in which they find themselves driving a cab in New York city, but I don’t think I’ve been driven around by many (if any) of them and the average cab driver and I have not much in common, and trust me, I’ve spoken to several, so it was a logistical question more than a snobbery issue.  Still, I have never dated a cab driver so it was hyperbole, which I’m prone to, at any given moment.

It then occurred to me who I have dated, and by dated I mean anyone I’ve from met to actually had a relationship with, and I have  compiled a list below for some purpose, perhaps which will be ascertained by someone in 300 years, although, not likely.

I’ll start with 2 PhDs.  Inventors who have likely saved thousands of life with medical tools and medicine they created.  Two of the biggest assholes I’ve ever met.

There’s the variety of technology people, sales, client assistance, coders (strange people and I know ‘cuz I’ve been one), security, network support, app developers.  The list goes on. As does technology.

Bar tender – hard to keep up with the hours.

Sommelier – see note above. Anyone in restaurants, tricky schedules. Long hours, lots of grief, often the lingering smell of food.  Still, he showed up to a dinner I made with a cooler and 3 bottles of wine – one for each course – after having probed me for the ingredients so he could match up the libation with the meal. I guess the soy in the meat marinade was a challenge but after the 2nd course no one could really discern the problem.

Work out instructors – cute but not usually too intellectual.

2 architects, separately of course.

Composer, aptly moody.

An artist who drew my braid. Was very into braids: wax braids, string braids, ribbon braids, twigs, in short, anything and everything that could be twisted.  Probably needless to say he taught art at a local YMCA  to pay the bills because the exhibits were few and far between.

2 photographers – again – moody. Again, probably needless to say.

CFO, CEO, CCO, COO – are there any letter designations I’m forgetting?  LOCO. Quite a few of those.

Marketing guys, PR guys, an event planner who looked like Sam Shepard, one paparazzi who got hit by a bus.  I don’t know that he actually got hit by a bus but he fell off the radar and my friends were castigating me anyway for dating a paparazzi so it was for the best.  He didn’t count in the number of photographers.

A guy who sold ad space for a sports magazine.  Actually 2 of those. One wouldn’t think it’s a prevalent occupation out in the world, but I suppose when you’ve been around the block as I have you tend to run into these things. No professional athletes although a few guys who ran the marathon.

A guy who restored or photographed restorations of or catalogued through photography or took before and after pictures, of the artwork at the Met.  I probably only saw him once because he felt I wasn’t really listening to what he was saying.

A stone sculptor.  A cabinet/woodworker. A painter – big modern murals, not “Would you prefer this wall in crème or heather leaf brown?”

A guy from Texas who I think was a cowboy but probably wasn’t because there’s not a big need for that in Manhattan.  Maybe he just looked like a cowboy.  Or maybe I thought he was a cowboy because he liked Sarah Palin.

Real estate lawyers, real estate brokers – both commercial and residential because I don’t like to discriminate. Litigation lawyers, intellectual property lawyers and my favorite gun promoting I-don’t-remember-what-he-practiced lawyer because after a blow up in a restaurant about gun laws I worked hard to erase his presence from my ever faltering memory.

I went for a guy who owned a golf course.  Well actually his parents owned it, he was the grounds keeper.  It’s why you date someone more than once, so you can get the real story.  Anyway, drinking issues and god issues – suffice to say it wasn’t a match.

Met once a guy who set up and filmed dangerous commercials.  You know, the car rounding one of those cliffs on one side road and you think how did they get that shot from the non mountain side of the road?  Who do you think hangs from a something or other and shoots that scene? (Or maybe you never thought that. )  I hadn’t thought about it either til I met this guy.  Big drinker too.  Who could blame him?

Met a pyrotechnics guy.  Another dangerous line of work.  Never graduated high school but was making a fortune blowing things up for studios.

Also a special effects guy for late night TV talk shows.  What you say? What effects are there on those? Letterman’s desk rises a few inches off the ground for something or another.  Hours of hard work go into that.   Who knew?  He was a big black guy.  Had to light a guy on fire one night in a pyro-tech suit.  Said, how many black men get to light a white guy on fire? He loved his job.

Eye surgeon, thoracic surgeon, an oncologist, 2 dentists, no orthodontists.  Too bad because my retainer could use tightening.  Likewise, no plastic surgeons.  Again, a shame. The botox discount would be worth that alone but I think those guys go out with women who have already had so much done they look way better than me to begin with.  Those guys know going out with a girl like me is going to cost them in the perks department whereas you’ve had 3 facelifts already……home free!

I did go out with a brain surgeon. He said it’s not actually all that hard. So much for the expression “It’s not brain surgery” which I used to use a lot but if you use it to mean something so easy, no one gets it.

No soldiers, although maybe that’s what the guy from Texas was. I don’t know, he’s still a confusion.  I did go out with a sniper from some police department.  He said it was really pretty boring.  No crashing through doors, no “shoot on my command” no waiting for the right moment when the woman who has a gun to her head moves just enough to “take the shot!!!!”  Lots of sitting around, staring at a house, or post office, or car and waiting for the negotiator to get the guy out or the guy to kill himself and then everyone takes their marbles and goes home.  He did, last I heard, go to Iraq to work for BlackWater.  I bet there was no taking your marbles home there.

There was the estate jewelry appraiser. I thought he was gay but I bet some other woman is getting nice Christmas gifts.

There were a few entrepreneurs (aka unemployed folks), some day traders (also unemployed) and the random ‘contractor’ contracting what was never really clear.  Either those guys worked for the CIA or…..unemployed.

I once dated a shipping magnate, long ago.  He was about 30 years my senior at the time so I’m guessing by now he’s dead or senile, because I’m pretty sure I will be in the 30 years (most likely the latter).  He went by the name of BJ.  That’s all I’m gonna say.

One guy owned his own paint making firm.  One guy sold cars.  They were both gay in my opinion but what do I know?

One guy owned a cheesecake factory and I don’t mean the chain restaurant where fat people go to get fatter, I mean he actually owned a big place that made cheesecakes wholesale. Did you know when you buy those at Whole Foods or wherever they buy them naked but decorate them in store so that they can say they were made in house.  I don’t think that’s really the reason but I happen to know they buy them from this guy.  Things you find out….

A screenwriter, an unpublished author, a published author and an aspiring comedian. You pick which are unemployed.

2 professors.  NYU and Sara Lawrence because even as a job I might as well discriminate for good schools. One was….omg…..a man who actually broke my heart on the 1 to 10 scale by hitting a 13.  The other was into spanking.  I won’t say who came from which school. Think about it. It’s harder to figure out than you’d imagine.

A printer: that’s the job description for a human.  I haven’t been reduced to going out with inanimate objects.   Yet.

An ivy league running coach. Also a big drinker.  He had a bad memory but I guess when you’re job is watching people run in circles your memory isn’t such a big issue.

I once spoke to a pedicab driver, but declined to meet, although I suppose that could fulfill my taxicab requirement.

There was the guy who ran a fireman training school. He wasn’t a fireman.  He wasn’t even a ‘drop and give me 40’ guy.  He was a paper organizer but we all embellish.  It’s more glamorous to push paper at a fireman school than at the car tow pound.  At least it is for a minute.

Oh and there was the pirate.  His vocation wasn’t really being a pirate but he cut up ships underwater. It improved the environment and paid a good buck.  That was until he cut his arm off with an underwater cable cutter.  They didn’t give him a hook but it sure locked in the moniker of “pirate” in my mind. A hook would have been so much cooler.

I had lunch with a terrorist once.  A retired terrorist. I think he was in politics now.  We never got to the dinner he promised me.  I had dreamt up a story of him returning to the fight for greater good but I saw him online about a year later so I guess I had just gotten the blow off.  I’m sticking with my first version if anyone asks.  As if ……

I once spoke to a news man, I won’t say what network.  He’d been in the business too long though and was seeing conspiracy theories everywhere, and I mean EVERYWHERE.  Either that or we really are all screwed.

No firemen but once, long ago, I dated a policeman.  He came to my office to resolve something.  Very cute, not so bright. We saw Quest For Fire which without dialogue was too confusing.  Brains and brawn is probably too much to ask for but fun to pursue.

There was the model, the aspiring model cum bartender.  The actor, the aspiring actor cum bartender.

There was a physical therapist, not mine although damn I was sometimes wishing I’d hung around for the benefits until I ran into him years later and he’d had both hips replaced and walked with a pronounced limp. Healer heal thyself….so much for that.

There was the opera agent, although never the opera star.  He did a wicked good imitation of Borat although I never knew if that was some correlation to his working too much with Divas.  I couldn’t find the correlation but it was a great rendering just the same.

No magicians, although a few have done some amazing disappearing acts.

There was the Canadian who opened a chain of dry cleaning/washing machine stores in China.  This was a puzzlement to me since in New York it seems like the majority of dry cleaners are owned by Asians and yet apparently in China there’s a dearth.  I believe he’s a very wealthy man at the moment.  At least he’s very clean.

I once went out with a guy who was in HVAC, he said, and then it turned out he was a coke machine repairman.  I guess that’s HVAC, I mean it must be the AC part to keep them cool.  I don’t know.  I don’t drink Coke and I certainly don’t know anything about machines. He loved his job though and it’s a rare person you meet who actually loves his job.  Still, we weren’t a couple despite his being very cute.

There was gangster John (names have been changed to protect the innocent).  He wasn’t really a gangster but his photo online was in a shark skin suit (is that what that sort of shiny material is called? because it wasn’t an actual shark suit, like “Land Shark”, <= see Saturday Night Live in the Gilda Radner era).  He was actually a banker.  Although I guess the difference between banker and gangster these days isn’t as far as it used to be.  Or perhaps the difference between banker and land shark was never that far apart, so I guess, all in all, it’s an accurate description no matter how you slice it.

Lastly was the guy who counted bolts. He worked between the architect and the builder. Between the drawing and the putting together someone has to figure out how many beams, bolts, screws, yards of duct tape (<=kidding) are needed to put together a sky scraper.  It’s one of those things you don’t think about, at least I never did but of course, someone has to do it; they don’t just keep those things laying around until someone needs them. I don’t know, I thought that was fascinating.  Perhaps I’m easily amused.  It wouldn’t be the first time.

So there you have it.  No astronauts, no NASA scientists, no race car drivers, no psychologists, no politicians.  I’d like to nip the whole thing in the bud but it’s good to know, if I can’t, at least I haven’t exhausted every potential.

Matter Meets Anti-Matter: Does it matter?

I tried delineating what I am looking for and thus far, it hasn’t worked very well. I’m trying another strategy, what I’m NOT looking for.  It’s more negative, bitchy, whatever you want to call it but it seems just so much clearer. Everyone likes to laugh, travel,  intimate dinners, movies.  It’s too ….   just too too.  So here goes:

Don’t contact me if you have small children. Infant, under 6,s are just  too much work. 6-12 too much time running to soccerrecitalshebrewschoolorthdontismusiclessonsballet.  12-16 door slamming, eye rolling, exasperation. 16-18 college trips, SAT stress, more door slamming, if girls – tears.  I can do from 12 on. At least with door slamming they’re out of sight and you can say, fine, I’m going out and leave them.  16-18 they still slam doors but usually on their way out of the house so you’re free to leave.  Pre 12, sorry, just don’t call me. 

If you’re not 5″11 or taller.  We both know, less than that you’re lying anyway. That’s all I’m saying.  

Don’t contact me if you’re more than 50 miles  away.  I’m really ok with a 100 but I assume people will just ignore and round up.  People fudge stuff.  It s like when my husband used to tell me he’d be ready in 5 minutes.  Five minutes on Jupiter.  That was 5 minutes his time = 1 hour my time.  I’ll be 5 minutes meant I could settle in to the couch with a magazine to look at inane cartoons that no one finds funny or settle into an article which should be paragraphs long but goes on for 12 pages, about killer [ fill in the insect].  What’s with that? A few years ago it was the bees.  They were killing dogs, going to move out from Mexico and invade every species and kill humans and it was the end of the world.  I want to know where they went.  This year it  was killer ants. Eating electric wiring,  there’s got to be some practical use for that.  In the meantime, I don’t see the problem, get your belongings out of your house and burn it to the ground.  

Anyway, 50 miles radius. Fifty miles earth distance.  Somewhere in Idaho, don’t bother. 

If you’re not between 48 and 58.  Look, I know you young guys think because your girlfriend showed you what to do with your other hand during sex that now you think you’re all that, but you’re not. Nor are you doing some older woman a favor or flattery by telling her you like maturity.  Guys over 58 just ask yourself, do I want to be with a woman more than 5 years my senior? It’s rough I know. A guy once said to me younger men want to sleep with older women because they find them hot. Younger women want to sleep with older men because they have daddy issues or they’re after financial security.  I gave him 2 brownie points for introspection, another 2 for honesty but it still wasn’t enough points to get me into bed on the first date which was what he was after.  

Don’t contact me if you’re separated, recently divorced.  About 4 months after my divorce I spoke to a guy who said you’re too fresh out of it, you’re not ready. Well he got a whole ear load of “you don’t know me. You don’t know what I’m ready for or how I’ve been…..”etc, ad nauseum.  I thought he was a self-righteous jerk but of course, he was right. I just recently gave someone the same lecture. And that little anecdote. I know he thought I was a self-righteous jerk but a year from now he’ll thank me. Save him the time.  It’s a year minimum. 

Also in your 50’s and never been married.  Nearly married doesn’t count.  As my shrink said Never Been, Never Gonna Be.  At least not until he hits his mid 60s and realises that the great beyond isn’t that far away and who’s going to change diapers.  Not the grandkids – his.  Who’ll take care of him?  And then, if you think he’s going to look in the 60s or even 50s pool, have another drink.  That guys going to reach into the 40s. And he doesn’t care he has no hair, his abs are shot, his ears are starting that long decline into elephantine and yet hard of hearing (how’s that for irony?) he’s going to put fit and athletic as his description and he’ll find one of those daddy girls.  

Don’t call me if your religion is important.  I don’t care but you will. I don’t care you believe in god.  I don’t.  Why do you need to convert me? Save my soul? Why do you care? I like my soul just as it is.  I’m a good person. I have good morals. I help people.  I’m not afraid of judgment day so leave me alone.  Frankly if I were you I’d let the rest of us go.  I mean you want to crowd heaven? Floating around with your harp and your wings? Why would you want to traffic jam that with a bunch of reformed sinners? Let us go to hell.  Literally. 
You need everyone to get on your boat to substantiate what you believe? If I was sure of my belief, like I am my lack of, I’d sit back, watch the world go by and by the way… I do.  I’m not telling you to try my thing on? You like boxers, I like briefs, keep them on!  Why do I need to try out church? I’ve been to church.  Have you been to my side of the street? I doubt it.  And what’s funny is while I’m happy to be kind to you and respect your views you can’t seem to leave me alone to do the same.  Not very Christian of you.  Move on. 

Education does not make a person smart.  If you’ve completed high school or some college, don’t bother.  I know that’s what Bill Gates would put but you’re not Bill Gates.  I have a masters degree. MSCSIS.  What’s it stand for? Who really cares?. Did getting it make me smarter? No.  Did it help with my job? No.  Did I learn a lot I didn’t know already? No.  Am I a better person for it? No.  Should you contact me if you didn’t finish a bachelors degree? No.  I’ve dated PhDs, MDs, EDDs, MFAs.  Were they better men? No.  In fact the few PhDs were consistently the biggest assholes and one was only an honorary PhD however a full fledged asshole.  So is this delineation fair? …… No.  Am I sticking to it anyway? Yup.  It’s not an arbitrary line in the sand. I’ve gone out with artists, bartenders, mechanics who never completed college.  Nice guys.  Not dumb, some more worldly than others. Still I find I have more in common with someone who had the motivation to stick out the 4 useless years of college at the expense of his parents or student loans which are still outstanding.  Why is that? I don’t know. It’s just another of the world’s 7 wonders.

So here’s my anti profile;

I hate to laugh. If everyone’s so happy laughing why don’t you see more people on the street laughing to themselves.  Who aren’t crazy.  

I don’t own a small black dress and I don’t own tight jeans.  I wear a jogging suit all day and at night I change into a jogging suit. Why not? Someone drops a dirty bomb on Manhattan and you need to run, we’ll see whose laughing then, crazy or not. 

Long walks on the beach are for the birds.  Literally, that’s what you see seagulls doing.  Me, I bask like the sea lions.  They’re cuter anyway.  

I’m done traveling.  I’ve traveled all over.  It’s great.  I speak 4 languages and now I want to sit home.  I watch reruns of How I Met Your Mother.  It’s a show about a guy dating lots of women looking for Mrs Right.  I call it realty TV.  

If everyone likes to cook do much why are the restaurants packed to the gills every night?  I’ve cooked for a family. Every night. 20 years.  I’m done cooking. I cook if the weathers so bad I actually feel sorry for the delivery guy who has to come out in it.  I usually assuage that with a big tip.  In fact I read once delivery men like bad weather because everyone compensates their guilt accordingly.  Having read that was good enough for me. .

Is my cup half full? Not if I can help it.  I keep that puppy as full as possible, Ketel 1 with a twist.  Come on……

Favorite books? Why, you probably haven’t read them anyway.  It could be Archie comics, it could be history of the world part III. When was the last time you talked in depth about a book…for real?

Movies, no, that doesn’t include sitting home and what you rent on Netflix.  That’s what hermits do.  If your movie list doesn’t include how much butter you put on the last popcorn you bought, just don’t.  

Otherwise I’m low key, low maintenance and just a blast in the sack, isn’t that what you’re after anyway? Honesty is the best policy until someone says something that hits a little too close to home and then they’re being sassy.  Me, I tend to fall into sassy.  Have you noticed?

 

Feeling Stupid

There are times in your life when you really don’t know something and you really should and you feel stupid about it.  There are times when you think these times should mostly be in the past and you realise they’re not.

The first time I remember I was getting my nails done for my Bat mitzvah.  Yes … I know … get over it.  So I must have been 12 going on 13 although in terms of ‘girl stuff’ I was more like 5 going on 6. The stuff my girls knew about nails and hair and how to dress and do make up at that age so far surpassed my current knowledge it’s scary.  But there I was getting my nails done and the woman said ‘cut or push back’.  I said, what? She said, your cuticles, cut or pushed back?  Well, I had no idea what she was talking about but right then and there I decided I had a new rule in my life: if someone asks you something that you don’t understand and it has the option for cut in it, go for the other option.  In this case it didn’t really matter and if I recall, the push back option had its own set of pain involved but that’s not the point.  I felt stupid. I thought I’m here getting my nails done and I don’t even understand the lingo. Welcome to womahood my ass, how about we skip the torah reading and go straight to debutante school because honestly in life, knowing that stuff is going to come in a lot more handy than a bunch of words I can decipher how to pronounce but don’t know what they mean and I think, had I had that option, I would have found that would have panned out to be true.

So I had my rule #1 which morphed into other rules along the way.  For example, I was boarding a boat in a small town in Italy, my Italian being ok enough to speak but not really understand. You know the thing; you sound out very carefully how to ask for directions or a restaurant or where’s the bank and figure between hand signals and the random word you will get the idea enough to understand the answer.  So it was as I was buying a train ticket.  I could ask, very smooth, 1 way to La Magdalena, but I forgot the other basic rule of people in small towns, not usually inundated with tourists, unhappy at their job at the train ticket window are not likely to be using your dictionary level language to respond or even elucidate enough for you to infer some sort of answer. So I got a one word question back.  It went like this, “1 way ticket to the island please.” “figenhemisteria?” And a blank impatient stare, awaiting an answer. Well, when you’ve been all cool and practiced your little sentence and spit it out rapid fire like you’re a native you only get one “huh?” before it’s repeated and then you’re due to answer.  So building on my ‘cutting’ rule I added to it my ‘no’ rule.  If you don’t really understand the question and out of pride or stupidity or some combination thereof you feel bound to respond then go with ‘no’.  It’s just safer. In general I just believe it just is.

So that’s how I found myself on an overnight steamer, the sole american and nearly sole female, sleeping on the floor with the entire inducted freshman class of the Italian Naval academy training school, going over to Sardinia for cadet training. If you can picture, not a fox in the hen house, but a hen in a fox house, that kind of sums it up. I also learned the word for ‘room’, as in “would you like a room with a bed and some privacy” is camera.  I’m sure she said something longer in Italian like, would you like a to spend this night on the floor or would you like a “camera”? But I didn’t get that at the time.  So instead of looking stupid I arrived for my new job, after a night of no sleep and a neck cramp to beat the band.

This brings me to today.  I hadn’t had coffee yet so that is my excuse and I’m sticking with it, but I’m not sure that’s a good enough reason frankly.   I went to use the infamous spa certificate and decided a salt rub thing might be fun, by a professional, since I can get a massage anywhere (like my gym, not like on the subway from the groper guy standing next to me). Having been already exposed to some salt and it was pretty nice I thought in a legit setting it might be special.  So I go in, in my little spa robe,  into a room with a massage bed covered in plastic and an apparatus on the wall that looks like 3 sets of grapefruit sized headphones connected to a water pipe, in other words some kind of fancy shower. I’m instructed to put on some weird throw away thong underwear, a head band and a shower cap.

Well I understand the first 2 items, not that I care about whether or not this ridiculous excuse for underwear is going to cover anything but maybe the masseuse who rubs the bodies of 100s of people daily has prude issues. It definitely wasn’t for hygiene, the plastic on the bed took care of that and for as little as it covered visually it covered less in terms of….well…let’s just say it didn’t cover anything. The head band to keep your hair out of the way, duh, even I could figure out that. But the shower cap, this is the item that befuddles me. So I said, the shower cap now? She looks at me like yes you idiot, but only says ‘yes now’ and leaves the room so I can ‘dress’ in privacy.  So I put on the 3 items and I’m standing there thinking, ok, what’s with the shower cap? Am I going to shower first? Do I smell? Should I have showered before coming? I mean it IS 9am and I suspect most people do this after work, so who would come all clean just to get scrubbed? Do I wet up first and then she’s going to salt rub me and maybe that’s easier than just salt on dry skin? How does this work? Why am I confused? And what should I be doing? Should I actually get in the shower? As I’m running all this through my mind she opens the door, sees me standing there and says, you’re supposed to be face down on the table, and I can tell she’s a little disgusted I’m so stupid.  As I roll what she said back through my mind I’m sure she said that ‘after putting it all on get face down on the bed’ but I realise as soon as she said shower cap I got fixated on that and that was the end of listening. So I just drop my towel and get on the table and she’s turning away like, really? You were supposed to do that and be under the blanket before I got back. Not like I’m so hideous, but this bitch obviously has body issues and I’m thinking in the wrong industry. I, on the other hand, made another rule about 20 years ago.

I was giving birth to my second daughter, literally giving birth, spread eagle, pushing, blood, screaming, you know that scenario.  My other daughter’s pediatrician poked her head in and said, hi, I heard you were here. I said yup, your next patient is on the way. She said, oh good.  well, good luck, I see you’re kind of busy. I said, yeah a little, will see you in a few days and then everyone re-focused at the matter at hand.  So the rule made that day was, I’m pretty sure after chatting with people with a human being sticking half way out of your body, any modesty you had can now be let go of — and I didn’t have a lot to begin with.  It’s less of a rule than a statement of fact but it partially explains my ease at dropping a towel. And, not to mention, we’re in a massage room, not Times Square.

So after tossing aside my robe in my are you kidding underwear she says to me, have you ever done this before? Aka “are you always this stupid or did you just arrive on this planet and have no idea what a massage entails.” I said, well not a salt rub, the turkish bath incident notwithstanding, but I’ve had plenty of massages.  And here I am feeling stupid again. Feeling like, I’m failing salt-rub-101. I’m sure there are plenty of other women, come right in, lay down, put on all the little things, know how long and when to use the shower (apparently I took too long in that too. I wanted to get ALL the salt off, I mean come on!) I’m just not one of them.  I’m just never going to be, I have to reconcile with that. In this life time I am just going to flub stuff up, feel 5, even when I’m 55 and what’s worse, is I suspect those moments get MORE not less as the world changes and you can’t keep up.  I can’t even keep up with the stuff I know how to keep up with, so gosh, don’t expect me to be at the controls of the transporter beam, it’s just not a good idea.

I did have a cup of coffee on the way home and life did become a lot clearer so really leaving the house pre-coffee was the problem. That’s my new rule: except for walking the dog and only around the block, no street crossings, no interaction with the outside world until I have some caffeine and how to make a cup of coffee is something I know.