Friday, May 21, 2010

hypermanic post numero tres

I am absolutely crazy right now and I love it. I had another I LOVE BUENOS AIRES day, all sappy and beautiful in the taxi on my way downtown to help out my roommate. But I tell you: shit is coming together, and I am just high on possibility and excitement.

I sold a story yesterday. A story with photos! It's nothing earth-shattering, but it will be a nice spread in a glossy magazine--fingers crossed that the same thing doesn't go down as last time, where I wrote this huge story and then the editor disappeared. (Still trying to resolve that one, yuck.)

And I am still in love! My roommates are cracking me up. All they have to do is say the word DIMPLES and I go fucking berserker. It is just love itself that gets me. That feeling! Who knows if I'll actually see this boy again. I wonder how long this feeling can sustain itself. You'd think I'd know by now.

But the *best* part is that I have really been kicking it into gear with Secret Plan 437b, and it is coming together in such a haphazard, mystical way that I wonder if I'm being delusional. When I get like this, I just have to go with it, work with it. Because in a week, when the Dimples high wears off, and I start to get all salty and cynical about this supposed progress I've been making, it will be an entirely different story. And maybe that's my grandest hope--that it will be a different story soon. Something amazing. Working works! It actually does!

I think I learned a long time ago that happiness isn't having everything you want. And now I'm seeing that it isn't even knowing what you want. It's more like a combination of the two--plus seeing things you want that you didn't even know existed (but secretly hoped for).

Love from Buenos Aires

Thursday, May 20, 2010

being single means falling in love a lot

YES it is my second post in two days, but I treat you to so much doom and gloom that I thought I might share my latest ascension into manic excitement.


I went out with the most fucking adorable, dimpled Berkeley boy yesterday. Where do I find these boys? Well, he found me on the interwebz several weeks ago, hit me with the disclaimer "I'm not looking for a best friend or a girlfriend, but..." and then a chain of emails ensued. He is 25 years old.

We went out for lunch and chatted for three hours. I wore a new dress that made me feel pretty and he maintained this beautiful smile the entire time, but also was unable to really maintain eye contact with me, which could mean either "I'm not into you" or "you make me incredibly nervous," something that I can still never tell on a first date. Of course I always think it's the former, because I just don't think I'm very intimidating.

When we parted ways, I...almost...skipped. I know it seems like I fall in love every other week, but I think the last time I felt this way about a boy was with that Guy With Girlfriend in New York, well over a year ago. I certainly don't feel this way about my new 24-year-old lover. I really felt aglow and high and I wanted nothing but to smile at everyone, the same way he had smiled his way through lunch. That kind of happiness both puzzles and infects me.

I am fully aware of how fucking ridiculous I am, but I just.can' The flipside, of course, is that horrible feeling that you were just completely bowled over by someone who could give a shit about you, and that after three days of hoping to hear back from him, you will just be left with the sad thought that no one you like will ever like you back, because what is life if it is not unrequited love? And even after that vitriolic post yesterday about being single, the pursuit of love is really the biggest thrill of all, even if it is not, I repeat NOT, the gateway to the only known means of happiness. It just happens to be the most addictive.

I just want to see him again. Well, see him again, coerce him into falling in love with me, move back to SF together, and live happily ever after on Ocean Beach. Done.and.done.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

unmarried and single

Turning thirty hasn't been such a big deal since, well, I live in obscurity, a surreal place where few people call my lifestyle into question. But there certainly have been moments where my age and lifestyle don't quite seem to match up. These moments come when I pop onto Facebook and see another photo of a chubby baby blinking back at me, when I'm shopping for a dress to wear to a wedding, or when I'm shivering alone in my twin bed, thinking that I really need to buy a light bulb. Sometimes, everyone seems to be going somewhere else. It is like when you are walking down a crowded sidewalk and you seem to be the only one walking upstream, and you look across the street and everyone seems to be walking the same way. So you run across the street to change sides, and suddenly everything is---fuck, everything is the same.

A couple of weeks ago, when I was in the Far East (as my Mom likes to call it), I was asked the following two questions in many iterations: Why aren't you married? Why don't you have kids?

Really, people? I would like to say that this was friendly family ribbing, but my family is really not that funny. I mean, what kind of answers do you expect here? These were also family members I haven't spoken to in at least five years, if not ten. How would they feel if I told them that my fiancé OD'd on Oxy, or that I was fucking STERILE? Because barring any sort of tragedy or lesser drama---I just broke up with someone, we're trying to have kids--the answer you inevitably get is quite boring. Because I certainly am not allowed to say that I'm trying to fuck at least fifty men before settling down, or that the idea of children is just that--an idea.

There was a Maureen Dowd column that ran yesterday called All the Single Ladies about the media frenzy surrounding Supreme Court nominee/single lady Ellen Kagan. And while it is a bit boring--because really, there's nothing that interesting about a woman being single OR married by itself--one commentor boiled it down quite nicely to say that this is all just the myth of the nuclear family being thrashed about in contemporary society. He or she went on to say that since more people spend more time at work than at home, perhaps it's more important to have a fulfilling job than an agreeable spouse.

One of the most interesting things I learned about Singapore is that they have a national dating service, free, government-sponsored. They, too, believe that strong nuclear families are not only the key to happiness, but a stable society. I mean, the notion of the family unit is how so much of our society is constructed: our taxes, our rights, health insurance, even the architecture of many homes. And in China, they have similar structures in place to secure happy families--after the earthquake left many widowed, they set up a matching system to help people remarry. (Read the Brook Larmer piece from the NY Times Magazine.)

Most of my friends are unmarried and/or single, even as we slip into our dirty thirties. Like I said, I only tend to give fleeting attention to these notions, but it is strange to have passed through two continents where the creation of the nuclear family is so central and unquestionably important, and another in which it is so central yet so singularly denied.

I want to be with someone. I really do. I may want children or I may not. But what I really would like, most of all, is for people to stop asking me why I am unmarried. Because really, the answer to why I am unmarried is that I AM NOT MARRIED. And the reason to why I am single is that YOU ARE AN ASSHOLE.

Eh, maybe I am just feeling sore because of my young bedfellows. I slept with a 24-year-old the other night. We were walking through town, killing a bottle of 17-peso whiskey when he told me about this bingo parlor where the old folks go and I asked him if they gave out cool prizes. He said, "They probably give out Sensodyne toothpaste."

I use Sensodyne toothpaste. What? I have sensitive teeth.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

friends without benefits

I am back in Buenos Aires and it is suddenly chilly, dark. Everything seems different. I forgot to bring my flip-flops back with me, and you know what? I don't even need them anymore. Sad. But I kind of like it more. The weather is more like San Francisco now, and it is more conducive to work and less to sunbathing and siesta-ing to escape the heat.

I went out yesterday with a boy I met online. A boy--just a wee lass of 24, although he's almost a foot taller than me. We met for lunch and then ended up spending the entire day together. I guess we just felt instantly comfortable together--in that zone of mutual non-threatening perception. After lunch we went to a flea market, had a coffee, walked about, drank some wine at my house, then went off to see a movie, followed by late-night grub. Aside from some young-kid cockiness--which I no longer find very charming--I liked him fine. More as a friend, I suppose, than anything else, but I don't know.

After that period of extreme sluttery that opened the new year, it's now been about...four months since I've had sex. You'd think that I would have entertained this option last night, but I was too tired to even think about fucking, which made me feel restrained and wise in one moment, and then just...old. It was definitely the "right" decision--if there ever is such a thing--but on the bus home, all I could think about was the last awesome guy that I never slept with, and it dawned on me with all certainty that the more I like a guy, the less likely it is that I will ever sleep with him.

Can someone please tell me what this is all about? It's not about loss of respect or fear of commitment. The moment I have the feeling--however fleeting--that this guy is totally acceptable boyfriend material, I lose all sexual interest in him. This seems to explain my solid posse of male friends, none of which I have slept with. The fact that half of them are gay is entirely incidental.

Tonight I am going out with him again, and I swear it's anyone's guess what is going to go on in the veins connecting my brain to my vagina. Booze makes these things much clearer.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

back to the future

Physically and mentally in a billion places right now. This week found me having many serious conversations with my dog, Little Brother, parents.

Unsurprisingly, Little Brother's advice was the most useful. Maybe I listen to him more because I know exactly where his advice comes from; maybe he just knows how to talk to me better than anyone. In any case, I am being forced to admit that my attempt to simultaneously recharge, regroup, and pursue my dreams has not been as successful as I had hoped, and that it is time to re-evaluate my strategy and chart a different course. I am not giving up on myself, but it feels like it. I feel like I have failed in so many ways--to try hard enough, to come up with clear and reasonable goals, to do what I set out to do.

In some ways I blame it on Illinois. I never feel so lost and defeated as when I'm in Illinois. It's not a bad place, but something about it just says to me, "Welcome back, loser!"

Tomorrow I am going back to Argentina with a somewhat heavy heart, like I am just postponing the inevitable--because then I will be returning stateside to start Life Plan 898, but the plan doesn't yet exist, and it's anybody's guess what that will be. I keep waiting and looking out for plans and opportunities, seeking out what I think will be my next big thing, but the pattern that is emerging is just scattershot and schizophrenic, not exactly the stuff of employability.

I have started to plot a return to San Francisco, and am looking for work. It sounds dangerously like what I was doing oh, seven years ago, but with 25 pounds on my former self. Each of those pounds represents moments of celebration, intoxication, indulgence, laziness, and...storing up reserves for my future days of unemployment.

Friday, May 7, 2010

feels like home

The two weeks in Asia turned out to be a good transition back for a week in the Chi. Singapore is homey while still being strange and exotic, and Chicago is just...homey. Strangely, it feels like I was just here last week even though it's been more than five months. It feels nice to be home with my parents and my dog, and part of me doesn't want to get back to Buenos Aires...yet.

The last week in Singapore was very exciting. I met up with a family friend who was in a sticky situation, and we played all week and went on a nice beach vacation for a few nights. It made me feel like a completely different person. I went from being the silent daughter to being the strong, older woman taking care of a friend, complete with tour-guidism, strategizing and dispensing of hard advice.

Being on three continents in three weeks makes me want to settle down, though I'm unsure of what that means. The need for stability is so vague that I'm not sure what form that would take. But all the girl talking reminds me that I desperately miss being in love, and I'm fairly certain that is a big part of the equation. I spent a large part of the past week talking about the highs and lows of my relationship with Ex, which made me both nostalgic and fearful for what is to come.

On the eve of my departure to Asia, I stayed up late with my roommates, feeling extremely apprehensive yet accepting. We are all in such loose situations that it feels like a strong gust of wind could just pick us up and disperse us in any number of directions. On the one hand, we are all ready for change and almost desirous of such a random change of course, but on the other hand we all wish we were motivated somehow on our own that we didn't have to wait for the tides to change for that to happen. We are all simultaneously waiting and seeking, and nervous to make any sort of proactive decision.

Someone asked me what I was up to lately and I answered that I had "just" graduated, but then I realized that "just" was a year ago. What have I been doing for the past year? When I think back on where I've been and what I've been doing, a dreamy feeling comes over me that is something like detached disbelief and suppressed longing. For all that I've been up to, I feel like I've yet to really get down to it. Something inside me is begging to say yes to the right question. Lately I've been saying yes to all these short-term tasks and really rising to the challenge, and I think I'm about to say yes to something else, something that I've never even considered before.

It is altogether terrifying and welcome.