Friday, August 31, 2007

End of the Road

TLTL is leaving DC. She moves back to the city she left five years ago, because she was tired of a long-distance relationship., and wanted to see more of me. One more week and she's gone...

She and I don't hang out very often anymore, mainly because it is always going to be a bit awkward, and even if you're friends, one person treats each sentence or gesture a little more seriously than the other. We've found a fairly happy medium I thought, we can talk about who we're each dating, or why things go badly, and for the most part I think we take joy in each other's successes.

But I also know that I will always be the one who takes each sentence or gesture more seriously. It's been that way since it ended. I'm the one who sometimes can't see her for weeks or months at a time because she can still trigger emotions I thought I had laid to rest.

Nonetheless, I was determined I wanted to see her. One more dinner with friends joking, and care for our families, and reliving some of the happier moments we shared together. But she doesn't have time...

I'm invited to her farewell "party" at the local bar her last evening in town. But its not really a consolation. When I complained to her that I wouldn't get any of her time in her last week here, she asked what I would say there, that I couldn't say in the group farewell. There's no real answer to that question. It's not about what I want or need to say, its more just about sharing a final moment with someone who meant so much in the formation of your adult life, and not having the opportunity. She doesn't feel like we'll be missing anything. I guess I do...

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Silence is Golden

People often tell me I'm too quiet. I've always been more of a listener than a talker, probably part of the whole only child syndrome. I'm sure my mother tried to beat into me the premise of "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." I'm pretty sure I expanded that in my mind to just "don't say anything."

As a result, one of my biggest pet peeves is when people talk just to fill silence in the room. Just because there is a gap in conversation, doesn't make it an awkward silence. If people are sitting on the couch watching TV, that's not awkward silence. It's only awkward when you try and fill it by reading your alumni newsletter, and making comments about people I don't know like:

"she was a bitch..."
"oh, he was commencement speaker..."
"oh they did win it last year..."
"good, he needs to leave... I don't like him..."

These all came from one of my roommates in the last 15 minutes, so yes I'm annoyed. We did not go to the same college. I'm not looking over her shoulder to see who these people are. Clearly, by not asking for more elaboration, I'm just hoping you'll stop talking...

Similarly, one of the other roommates has two houseguests for a week, while they wait to move into their new apartment. One of them also feels like he has to engage us in conversation just to be polite.

"I don't like sports except for baseball... I don't know how you watch tennis."
"I try to pay attention to college football, but I don't care about anything but the Braves."

These would be perfectly relevant statements, except for one thing. I DIDN'T ASK about any of that stuff. I don't mind you staying in my house, and sleeping on my couch for a week, but there's a reason why I'm hanging out in the other living room from you. I'm keeping my space. I don't walk in to your room and tell you that your shirt looks stupid, don't come in to mine and tell me I shouldn't be watching Roger Federer.

Maybe I should start responding... something like...

"Maybe the dingo ate your baby!"

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Standing Eight Count

In boxing, when one boxer is unable to defend themself, but has yet to be knocked to the canvas, the referee will issue a standing eight count to give him/her the opportunity to recover momentarily. However, rarely does the fighter manage to recover enough to take the fight back to their opponent. In fact, usually the standing eight count is just a precursor to the knockout.

(Stick and move, Mac!)

I think I'm on my first or second standing eight these days...

It isn't worth getting into too many details, but I'm getting really tired of trying to defend myself from all angles and not being able to succeed. Something has got to turn around soon, because a few more days of this, and I really will be on my back, getting counted out.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

100 Things...

1. I could read the newspaper by age 4.
2. When I was young, I had to be taken out of the movie theatre during Fantasia, because The Sorcerer’s Apprentice was too scary for me.
3. I got in trouble in kindergarten for writing “I hate Santa Claus” in my diary. But then again, I’m a Jew.
4. I used to spend my summers on Long Island at sailing camp.
5. When I was young, I ran away crying when Mickey Mouse tried to hug me.
6. I never played a day of Little League, yet now, I’m in three softball leagues.
7. I played soccer from age 5 to 26.
8. I led my soccer league in scoring when I was 11.
9. Now I haven’t scored a goal since I was 20.
10. I took the SAT’s in 7th grade, and scored above the national average for graduating seniors.
11. When I was 13-16, I went to a camp that shared a cafeteria with the Washington Redskins training camp in Carlisle, PA. I had my first kiss at that camp.
12. We also shared the cafeteria with a camp for ballerinas… The Redskins were more fun to talk to and hang out with.
13. At that same camp I dumped a girl for the first time. I ran up to my room and played I Was Only Kidding” by Weird Al immediately afterwards. I thought I was clever.
14. The first cassette tape I ever bought with my own money was Thriller” by Michael Jackson.
15. I haven’t been ice skating since a friend’s birthday party when I was seven, because I fell down and hurt my knee.
16. I had my bar mitzvah reception on a paddlewheel boat in Alexandria.
17. The video of that reception is a total embarrassment, yet I often find myself volunteering to show it to the girls I’m dating.
18. In high school, my friends and I made a movie of the novel “A Separate Peace.”
19. I have worn contact lenses since I was fourteen.
20. That was the same year my mom moved out of the house. It was a Sunday. She told me after I got back from Hebrew School.
21. My dad and I became very close with the local Chinese delivery man that year.
22. Now we both love to cook. My specialties include meat, fish, and linguini in a white clam sauce from scratch.
23. I went to three proms, in three states my senior year of high school.
24. But I did not go to my own high school’s prom.
25. I generally get the most compliments on my eyes.
26. But I think my best feature is my feet.
27. I used to drive 45 minutes to Baltimore when I was high school, to buy alcohol illegally from the liquor store that would let me walk out the back door.
28. I once drank 18 shots of Absolut Vodka in less than 90 minutes to prove I could out drink my best friend.
29. I had a hangover for 72 hrs straight after that.
30. I don’t drink hard liquor anymore, just beer, wine, and the occasional Bloody Mary.
31. I can only snap my fingers with my left hand, when I do it with my right hand, it makes no sound.
32. I used to have my ear pierced, both the cartilage and the lobe. But just the left ear.
33. I once performed a lip synch routine on stage to Adam Sandler’s “Piece of Shit Car”.
34. During that performance, I was dressed in drag as a member of the girl group who sings backup. Afterwards, a girl came up to me and said, “I wish I had a body like yours.”
35. In college, I hosted a radio show named after the band on The Muppet Show.
36. I do a more-than-passable impression of Kermit the Frog.
37. I was the Wally the Green Monster for two Red Sox games.
38. My father and I once drove through 10 states in 10 hours (if you count DC as a state.)
39. I swam with dolphins off the coast of Maine.
40. I spent 6 hours in Rome and 7 hours in Barcelona.
41. I would love to spend at least a week in both cities.
42. I have climbed Machu Picchu. (It’s really not that tough a climb… Old people do it.)
43. I went to the top of the Eiffel Tower, including taking the stairs on the first section…
44. Despite that fact that I have a SEVERE fear of heights.
45. I do not watch scary movies, but I love bad science fiction movies about mutated animals gone wrong. (i.e. Crocodile 2: Death Roll or Komodo vs. Cobra)
46. I find girls in baseball caps with their ponytails pulled through to be particularly hot.
47. So is any girl who can explain the offside trap in soccer, the four downs concept in football, or name more than two members of the Washington Capitals.
48. However, Capri pants are a no-no. They should never be worn. NEVER. They do nothing to enhance girls’ legs.
49. I also find the new trend of high-waisted or no-waisted dresses to be overdone and completely misused in women’s fashion.
50. Despite the last two items, I am completely straight.
51. I have only kissed a boy once in my life, and it was part of a dare/contest. We won.
52. If I had unlimited funds at my disposal, I would seriously consider moving to Vegas to become a professional poker and blackjack player.
53. I would need the unlimited funds because I’m only mediocre at poker.
54. When I was in middle school I told everyone I met that I was going to be a paleontologist.
55. By the time I got to college, I didn’t even want to take a single science class.
56. I order my steak as rare as I can get it.
57. I get turned on by the smell of vanilla, British accents, sunsets over the water, Cote d’Rhone wine, and having fingernails massage my head.
58. I am told I have sex with my eyes open. (I don’t notice.)
59. I do think I kiss with my eyes closed though.
60. My dream is to retire and sail around the Caribbean or the Mediterranean and just eat as much indigenous food as possible.
61. I have eaten rattlesnake, alligator, sea urchin, and guinea pig.
62. I am terrified of most insects, yet living with two girls, I’m constantly called upon to kill them.
63. I hate passive-aggressive people and have trouble been patient with those people who have a significant stutter or speech impediment.
64. That said, I can not properly pronounce the letter “L” in words.
65. I own my own bowling ball and shoes.
66. I am very competitive, but only with myself.
67. Roasted Garlic Triscuits are like crack to me.
68. I have never tried crack, but have tried most other major drugs at least once in my life.
69. I’ve done it.
70. I have read all the Harry Potter books.
71. And seen all of the James Bond movies.
72. My only cars to date have been Volkswagens.
73. Despite what you may have heard from Kevin Smith, the back seat is not that uncomfortable a place…
74. I only wear cologne on very limited occasions. When I do, it is Drakkar Noir.
75. I know all the words to the $1,000,000 McDonald’s menu song that once came on a record in the newspaper.
76. I also know all the words to "We Didn't Start the Fire" by Billy Joel.
77. As well as all the words to Rent, Chicago, Les Miserables, and several other Broadway shows.
78. I think I tore my ACL earlier this spring, but haven't had a doctor check it out, because it will keep me from playing my drinking sports.
79. I haven't been to the dentist in about six years.
80. I have chronic insomnia.
81. I am currently accepting applications for potential partners for The Amazing Race.
82. I have seen the following bands more than 10 times each: Pat Mcgee Band, Barenaked Ladies, Dave Matthews Band, Guster.
83. Keira Knightley will one day be the mother of my children, she just doesn't know it yet.
84. I am extremely ticklish on my back.
85. I own my own tuxedo. (Feel free to rent me out for parties.)
86. I had a ponytail for 2 years back in high school. My mother cut it off in one snip, and may still have it saved somewhere.
87. I don't do well at meeting large groups though. I'm much more comfortable in one-on-one or slow introductions.
88. I took the Landmark Forum a couple of years ago because I thought it would help me get back together with my ex-girlfriend.
89. I now tell people its far too cultish for me to recommend their taking.
90. I have been fired/let go from two jobs in life thus far.
91. While I continue to try to work to stay in the communications industry, I have a feeling I'll end up becoming a teacher sooner or later.
92. I have had a crush on at least one of my adult novice rowers every year I've taught the program. None of those crushes have been acted on.
93. I once survived a night of drinking with a Welsh rugby team, and awoke the next day as the only one without a hangover. (Still not sure how that happened.)
94. I prefer to listen than to talk. This is why I post so infrequently.
95. I'm a total gossip queen. I love a good scandal.
96. My mother develops sex and drug education curriculum for students. Just imagine how that warps your view of "deviant" acts growing up.
97. I still dream of taking up a really obscure sport like team handball or men's field hockey because I think it could get me to the Olympics.
98. I am fiercely loyal to my friends, and take it personally when I feel they have not be nearly as loyal to me.
99. Tonight's dinner will be for Restaurant Week at Filomena's. Past Restaurant Weeks have seen me eat at Cafe Atlantico, DC Coast, Butterfield 9, Vidalia, Ten Penh, and Galileo.
100. While writing this list, I watched The Mummy, and two episodes of Seinfeld, and eaten one black and white cookie.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Left Behind

I went to a wedding today... my best friend since seventh grade. I've watched him from the shy, awkward boy who was afraid of girls, to the confident, assertive man who went after what he wanted even when some of us told him it was a bad idea. Shows what we know, he married her...

Initially, there was a wedding party. I was a groomsman, but not the best man. Eventually, as plans changed, there was no more wedding party. Not even one attendant on each side. I didn't really realize that I had been replaced in his mind though, until I discovered that there were two other guys who had been asked to give toasts, and I was not. Similarly, during the reception itself, watching him work the room, it was clear that I was just another guest. I got no bonus time, no special photos to reflect the 16 years we've known each other.

I don't want to resent him for that, I want to be okay with it, and say "hey, relationships change, priorities change, I get that." But instead, I found myself walking away from the reception for a few minutes, needing to get my emotions under control... I hate being jealous, I hate feeling left behind.

So what now? What do you do, when you realize that the person who is most likely to be the best man at your own wedding (if and when it ever happens), acts as though you're just another friend of the family at his own nuptials? Do you let it go, and say, so be it? Do you try to replace him with someone who might appreciate your friendship more?

Maybe its all cyclical, and what went away, comes back in the end... that would be nice if it were true.