Wednesday, September 24, 2008

been holding your breath?

the resemblance is uncanny.

So I told you all that I posted an ad online to meet men in the rose city. It was a long journey that got me to this place, this place where I posted an advertisement on a website to try to meet someone special. But here’s what led me along this path:

In 2008, I had some goals. Move to Oregon. Spend lots and lots of quality time with family. Keep working to stay self employed. And that… was it, really. I hadn’t thought beyond the move. Once I was settled; once I’d been down to the coast a dozen times to spend long weekends with my folks, or spent many a lazy Saturday afternoon bicycling around Corvallis with my sister’s family, it was time to look at what else I needed. For me.

And there was definitely something missing.

So I posted an ad. And the next thing that happened astounded me.

From all over this fair city, and from many points beyond (California, Idaho, Washington, Montana- even Chicago and New York), I received email after email from hundreds of people who were all looking too.

I don’t what I expected. Maybe I thought it would be all spam. I remember thinking, I bet I get 20-30 responses and I hope it doesn’t overwhelm me. I had no idea.

I figured I’d get some downright silly responses and I did. Here are a few of my favorites:

- I don’t know about going out but you need to clean that room. (one photo showed me in my apartment, and yes, it’s a mess)
- You’re thirtysomething? Damn. I’m twentysomething.
- Sell some of those fucking vintage coats! (I fessed up to owning more than 100, which is a conservative estimate at best)
- I didn’t list any age or race or height or bank account requirements, because I think that’s shallow and superficial. So I got a number of responses like this one: “Is 74 too old?”
- You don’t want a man. Get a dog.

And my favorite, “You look like Sarah Palin.”

Then there were photos of men in drag, a woman (who I actually agreed to meet), several half-naked members of the Greek persuasion (or at least they all had SAE tattoos) and lots more fun and funny responses.

But mostly, it was just nice, sincere men who are all looking for someone special. I was really, really blown away by the time and thought that they put into responding to my ad. I still am, because responses continue to trickle in. And I am still reading through emails from two days ago.

I’ll have more to tell you soon, dear readers. How the whole process feels like a job interview. How very difficult it is to try to pick some people to respond to, and how worrisome it is to think that the right one might be missed.

I also think you might be interested to learn what I wrote in my ad that seemed to engender such a range of responses. I know my beer and baseball comments hit a home run with some Mariners fans (boo); musicians, artists and writers responded to a call for an artistic bent; and some people were motivated by something else entirely.

And the difficult, stressful process of elimination will be another blog. I wish there were more hours in the day. So that I could respond to everyone who emailed me. Since there aren’t, I had to make some quick decisions, or I’d be dating until 2011.

I suppose whether I really do meet mr. right will have to be it's own blog, too.

More soon. ~

Monday, September 22, 2008


More than once since I moved to the rose city I’ve had to apologize, belatedly, for not posting regularly. And here we are again, dear readers. So, some updates, and a hopeful promise that I’ll soon have more news to share:

A few days at the coast to visit mom and dad unearthed yet another interesting tidbit about their 80 + year-old neighbor, who is a dear friend to them and to me; it turns out that he was published many times in Sunset magazine.

Noteworthy simply because I love that publication and getting published there is on my to-do list… one day. Also, we had an interesting conversation about his plans to sell his property and move to some acreage off in the middle of nowhere. I couldn’t stop myself from asking, “Why do you want to be alone? How can you do that?”

Taken by surprise, he responded wholly and without artifice that he doesn’t need people. He gets enough interaction with family as it is and will most likely get involved in some local politics (lately lording it over the run-down claptrap of a clubhouse/neighborhood association where my folks live).

I couldn’t stop thinking about our conversation (much more lively and detailed in person, of course) and here’s what I took away: he’s already had it all. Was married, has a daughter, has other family members he’s close to, it’s just, he HAS it all or had it all already, and now he just wants to putter in his not inconsiderable gardens and have some peace.

I can dig it.

Moving on: my sissy got the cutest. Dog. Ever! A teensy-tiny terrier that flips and flops and runs excitedly when you whistle for him and he’s just generally sweet and v. lovable. I am usually a big-dog person but I tend to migrate towards any kind of dog without reservation. And when they are puppies they are so playful and sweet. My sweetie-niece had a bad experience with dogs way back when and the dog-ownership is in part a salve, an attempt to get her on board with cute canines. So far, it seems to be working.

I have moved far beyond disenchantment and being pissed off at the complete lack of communication and am now just flummoxed at the fact that our garbage hasn’t been picked up since, I don’t know, July?

My folks are threatening a visit tomorrow and my place looks, as usual, like a crack den of iniquity.

Biggest news of all: I posted an ad online to meet people. Yup, I really did.

We’ll see what happens. Highlights from responses received so far include a large number of married men (why? Why would you contact me and why would you admit to being married? Although I guess that beats the alternative.), one photo of someone in drag (wha?), countless suspect spammers and finally, some very well-thought out, kind emails that immediately got my attention.

One hour after posting and I’ve received so many emails, it’s kind of overwhelming. I posted my photo and requested a photo with responses so for people who email me without one, I guess that gives me a point of elimination. That only seems fair to the people who do include photos. Right? Right.

Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Monday, September 8, 2008

growing up

“You don’t know me at all. You don’t know anything about me,” she mumbled at me through tears. A whirling kaleidoscope of images came fast, almost choking me:

That time she fell and the way that she looked around, finding me, and how she ran so fast, chubby little legs pumping, into my arms. And sobbed her heart out. How I held her tight and whispered things to make her rigid body soften.

When she read a book upside down so she wouldn’t be left out while all of the adults were reading.

In the hot rod I drove during college, taking her for afternoon rides while she grinned up at the bright sun, blazing through the sunroof.

Going to softball games. Watching gymnastics.

I remember so much.

But I guess I don’t know her now.

Years of being institutionalized can harden even the sweetest of children. Vulnerability masked by a thick-skinned veneer. It can make me cry for hours after a visit. Thinking of that little girl that I still see, that I will always see, in the young woman’s face. I used to wonder, what we could have all done differently to save her. Replayed mistake moments over and over again in my head.

I don’t go back in my mind anymore. It doesn’t help anything. And it hurts.

We talked for hours through our tears, and I don’t think we found any resolution. It’s too much to hope for and it’s too much to ask. I just hope we found some middle ground.

"I don’t have to know everything about you," I told her yesterday. "I just want to know you."

When I left, she hugged me and at the last moment grabbed on and really held.

That’s enough. Enough, for now.

Monday, September 1, 2008

the clock stop

I have to think that a lot of what went wrong in our relationships has to do with timing. Looking back at my most significant relationships and trying to figure it all out, it wasn’t so much that we didn’t get along or that we didn’t share the same values. I think that our timing was off.

When I lived with him, I was just finishing college and we moved in together after something like, I don’t know, three weeks? And I loved him, I still love him, but now that we’re just best friends we laugh about how young we were then. Trying to play house. We were trying to cope with the emotional upheaval that comes with a deep commitment when we were, basically, still just kids. With no idea what it took to sustain a relationship.

And I have to wonder, if we’d met at a different time in our lives, if things could have been different.

Sometimes it feels like when you most want a relationship, when you’re ready to go all-in, to start to trust again and to give something new a try, that’s when you only meet people who want to be just friends. Who want to explore new opportunities and leave themselves an opening to see “what’s out there.”

When you want to meet a lot of new people and just have fun, you find people who are flummoxed by your decision and don’t see the point of going on together, when it will never go anywhere. And it’s true; as long as you’re spending time with the wrong person, you won’t find the right one. I’ve learned that over the years. You have to be open to feeling the click.

I broke up with him because I wanted to see what else there was. Years later I can tell you, there wasn’t anything else. I found myself trying to explain this to a friend recently and I know, he didn’t understand what I was saying. But it’s this:

You can get up every day, drink your latte, go to work, come home, fix dinner and go to bed, wake up drink your latte go to work come home fix dinner and go to bed every day for the rest of your life while never quite finding that connection again. Because people just aren’t making connections like that every day. Mostly, they’re staring out the window, slurping hot coffee and wondering if today’s going to be the same as yesterday.

And yes; it is.