Sunday, February 29, 2004

In Which Our Heroine Gets Through Feburary

January was bad. February was better, but between Valentine's Day (past) and Leap Year Day (tomorrow) it seems to be all about the romance. Valentine's Day, I won't go into. Everyone knows what that's about. In the States, it is just a time where if you're single the forces conspire against you to make you miserable. Leap Years Day rolls around every four years and is traditionally the day that women were "allowed" to propose to men. If the man said no, they were supposed to give you gloves to cover up the fact that there was no ring on your finger. Tomorrow is Leap Year Day. I have no one to propose to. Maybe that's why when I was listening to music the other day, my mind was in the right set to wonder about the obsessive nature of love. Or maybe I should say the obsessive nature of SOME loves.

Take, for example, the loves that seem to inspire a lot of music. There is a song that I used to like (it had a catchy tune) that talks about how it has been a year since the call telling her he didn't love her any more. She's been east, she's been west, but she's still not over him yet. The tune, it is still catchy, but I can't listen to the song without thinking "It has been a year, Julia. Get over it." It reminds me of the only time my heart was broken. I talked to a friend's mother, who gave some sound advice. "Whatever you do," she said as I lay there paralyzed and trashed and crumpled and unable to get out of bed, "whatEVER you do, do not, I reapeat to you, DO NOT under any circumstances listen to mushy love songs on the radio." She was right. She had the wisdom of years behind her, and she was right. I noticed later on. The songs are all either "wow I'm so wildly in love i can't stand to be apart from you for even a minute" which frankly I find this more than a bit obsessive and scary, and the "we've broken up, but I still love you and always will forever because you're so great." which I find even scarier. It was right around this time that my musical fascination with Kirsty MacColl began. She seems much more real. A sort of "love is great, it doesn't always work out, men can be horrid, but you know we women aren't entirely blameless." When friends break up or get dumped, I send them Kirsty MacColl's greatest hits collection. And when I have to deal with certain aspects of the dating world, that's the musical point I turn to. Of course, when I'm trying to stay a bit more positive I go straight for the Marisa Monte's "Balharinho Bom." It is all about love and sex, but it is all in Portugese, so I don't get too obsessive about the lyrics and the obsessiveness thereof. I just let the mood wash over me. But I digress.....

I've been in love twice. Both times it didn't work. The amazing thing is that I've said the words "I love you" to two men, but they weren't the men I loved. Actually, in thinking about it, I did tell one of the loved men that I loved him once. As I recall, I kind of murmured it, and yet he heard it. I know he heard it because he got up out of bed and left and came back that afternoon to dump me. The dumping didn't take, but I had learned my lesson. Keep your declarations of love to where it doesn't matter. Except that it does matter. That became obvious with the next guy. He was big on the love thing. I wasn't there, but I convinced myself that instead I wasn't there *yet.* The first time he said it, he didn't say it. We were having a picnic, and he had made sandwiches. There were stickers on the baggies around the sandwiches, and he went to great lengths to make sure that I got the right sandwich, and the sticker was there for me to read. There was a little puppet saying "I love you." I admit, I just leaned sharply to the left and dodged that bullet. The next time he tried, we were goofing around about something silly I had done, and he said "Yes, you're a goof, but still I love you." This time, you could hear the whooshing sound that bullet made as I leaned to the right - it was that close. The next time, the pressure was applied directly. I drove him to the airport. He got out, all suited and booted for his business trip, kissed me goodbye and uttered those infamous three little words. The words lay there. He flew away. I drove back to my sister in laws (it was her car). There were a couple of postcards protesting love (it was a week long business trip) that arrived a few days later and when he came back, the pressure was on. I held out as long as I could, but I caved. And I have to say that when I said it, I firmly believed it. The belief though, wasn't enough. It turned out not to be true. Even when i look back on teh relationship, it is mostly just a blur. And of the four bits that aren't a blur, three aren't even great. I just don't even miss any part of him at all, but I did tell him I loved him., and I really tried to convince myself that that statement was true. There's something really sad about that. Actually, there's a lot sad about that. It confirmed my belief to never, ever ever say those words if I didn't mean them.

The first guy I loved tap danced across my heart in golf spikes, then came back seven years later, tried to make amends, but unfortunately backslid and did an encore of that tap number. I find it easiest to just realize that I still love him, but just can't be anywhere near him as while we've tried to talk about it, it is obvious he doesn't understand the pain he's caused, which means to me that having done it twice, he will do it again.

The second time I fell in love was far bigger and harder than the first. It was the same instant "I knew in the first minutes" sort of lightning bolt thing, and I found out later it apparently was for him too. We should have stuck there. But instead, I left for South America, where my horomone condition kicked into high gear about three weeks before coming home. By the time I got home, I was no longer myself. Too much adrenaline 24/7 just left me wondering "Hey, this guy seems pretty great. How about I'm actually nice to him once in a while?" It affected everything. Credit to him, he hung in a good long while. Longer than I would have. But at any rate, I wasn't the girl he fell in love with (heck, I wasn't the girl I fell in love with!) and it didn't work out. We talk now occasionally, but I think he's rightly on guard. It is all a shame, but life trundles on. Of course, as we all know, I'm now happily medicated and back to my old self, but he and I haven't really talked about it. I don't think we're back talking *that* much yet. It is far more superficial. No Marisa Monte there!

The thing is, for both these men, while I can't be near the one, and the other makes me sad to think about where our relationship could have gone if I was healthy (although interestingly, I'm very much in the present when I talk to him now), and I didn't really tell either one I loved them (I was too much not myself to tell the second one. I couldn't trust my own emotions then.), I don't regret either relationship. They were what they were, and I learned a lot. But I still can't understand the obsessive mentality of it all. I would have done anything for these men to protect them or keep them from hurt or harm. But I feel the same way about my friends. I realize that all kinds of things are going to happen to them, and many (most, really) are going to have nothing to do with me, or nothing I could do. This whole obsessive thing still doesn't raise any bells with me. They're men. I don't regret them. I still love them. But theyr'e not perfect, and neither am I. I still can't listen to the drippy love songs, though.

Still, no one to propose to tomorrow. My hands will never even get gloves.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

In which our Heroine keeps plugging away
As if death and flying trips halfway around the world weren't enough, they all caught up with me and I caught "viral syndrome" which seems to be what the Emergency Room is non-committally calling the flu these days. Whatever it was, it was truly horrid, and even more problematic was the fact that I needed to get to hospital and everyone was busy and couldn't take me. And my roommate was in Canada, so I was stuck on my own until I was told (by a friend who wanted to help, but was holed up with the same flu) that taxicabs take credit cards. I've never been that ill in the back of a cab even back in those college days when I on a tear I'd have to come home from night clubs. But Alex met me at the ER while I was sort of slumped over a registration desk and was a good little doobie while I mostly just laid there and moaned and slept. The nice doctors and nurses pumped me full of fluids and drugs and sent me home. Alex was a little skeptical, and I was too delerious to notice, but I got home, slept and when I finally woke the next morning I was far far far better. I was down to being ill the way normal people are ill, and without it interfering with my other medications.

It laid me out for a week, and then training had to commence as it was far too late. I have to say, it is pretty weak stuff at the moment. But fundraising is heartwarming and going well enough. There is something to be said for the fact that none of these people knew Jock, but they're all willing to contribute. Somehow this makes me feel better.

I did do the maths, though. I raised more money for charity last year than I earned. I wish I could say the same thing while having earned more. Somehow asked me how this made me feel, and after thinking about it for a second the asnwer came out: poor but socially worthy. There are worse ways to be.

It is Valentine's Eve. And theres all kinds of people coming to me for advice on romance. Not that I know what to say. One has her husband having affairs, another is about to leave her live in boyfriend, another can't sort out a chap and has declared "this isn't as fun as it was." Makes me almost glad to be single.


Yours in remembrance of Valentine's past,