2003-05-30 - 5:04 p.m.
May 29, 2003
After two drinks with Dante and Happy last night, it became clear that I canít hold my booze. That is, the amount of liquor it takes to affect me has slipped down so much that, not only can I no longer slurp down two liters of Hefe Weizen with a group of German men and still refuse their come ons, I can now only have one Mandarin Cosmo before I become reflective or libidinous and am ready for home. Iím not even thirty yet!
At any rate, arrival at the condo yielded three aquariums in need of tending, a blinking answering machine reminder that I havenít checked messages or returned calls in four days, and a most unhappy cat. If there were a Kitty Relief Society, they would have iron-jawed the poor creature out of my place long ago. Luckily sheís well equipped with revenge tactics; my new rose-colored linen skirt is covered in long black hairs as sticky as cockleburrs. Once everyone was Ďscrubbed, tubbed and adequately fedí (come on, letís channel some Mary Poppins!), I sat down to think.
Iíve been having an odd couple of days, and almost anything can set me off on a tangent difficult to explain to anyone other than the little men pulling brain gears. Reading David Sedaris isnít helping; itís as if his description of jerky facial tics, drug-abuse-fueled performance art and learning the French for Ďanal insertioní are feeding my strangeness.
What was I saying again? Oh right, tangents.
This week a major tangent has been what we leave behind. Iíve referred to these things before as our relationship detritus. I donít mean the loving, the Sunday mornings in bed with coffee and a paper - nor do I mean the hotness, the sex on the living room carpet that leaves you with rug burns Ė instead, I mean the associations with inanimate objects and certain songs.
For example, it seems unlikely Iíll ever hear the phrase ďwell-done steakĒ without thinking of Jís insistence that line cooks will spit on your burnt-to-hell filet mignon, or that Iíll be able to walk the American River trail without thinking of the The First Guy and his focus on photographing me in a specific copse of river oak trees. I canít listen to Sarah MacLachlanís "Ice Cream" without hearing the tone-deaf warblings of Scary Woman, or make garlic pizza dough without thinking of Tall Manís filthy trailer's kitchen. I shop for soon tubu (extra soft tofu) at the Korean market and flash back to the day LDS Guyís wedding invitation arrived in the mail. I dye my hair; suddenly itís 1994 and I am standing on a balcony with P while he admires my dress, black with yellow roses, and newly dipped red curls.
I feel sometimes as if I'm in the path of moving grenades of memories, pins pulled hard and fast. The memory assault is sometimes far away, sometimes right inside my irises, so that Iíll trip when flip-flopping down a linoleum floor and remember the summer Trumpet Player and I ďskiedĒ on newly waxed high school hallways. Itís no wonder that I have a reputation for making inane comments. Iím the only one who understands that the bagel with lox you just proferred is the same breakfast Tall Guy tried to buy me at 4:30 a.m. after our drunken hookup in 1996.
Thereís a great line in William Finnís musical Falsettoes, ďWhere would I be/if I had not loved you/who would I blame my life onÖ/where would I be/if you had not been/my friend?Ē These words have been my guide in the last few days when each time-sheltered memory explodes. My best guess as to why Iím suddenly overwhelmed with nostalgia is that, somewhere inside my brain, the tiny synapses are putting each experience into perspective. Iím filing them and figuring out where all the detritus from J belongs, and how much to carry with me.
If I keep his insistence on Glide dental floss, do I discard the annoying habit of stacking dirty dishes outside the sink rather than in it? Do I remember the slope of his back, or his damp fingers on my wrist on our first date? These are the questions my unconscious is working through.
Thereís one more necessary element to finish off my grief. I need a day alone to yell and cry in the car, to listen to Ben Foldsí "Luckiest" and eat In and Out Burger in Jís honor. That day is scheduled for Sunday, and the schedule is inviolable, because on Sunday evening, Iíll come home and tuck the CD into its plastic case. Iíll throw away my burger wrapper, take a deep breath and know that my home and my heart are ready to build a new love.
Comments: Speak your piece!
former / latter