Murky Monday, Jun 9 2008 

Yeah, I kinda called it – The Young Man and I were unable to meet up before his departure.  Early last week, I shot him a casual little e-mail hoping that things were going well.  Eventually, he responded, and it was nice to hear that he is having a good time, both socially and academically.  I also got out of the house, KSP and I went out for a beer and some chitchat, and were later joined by her beau 2A.  We talked bad movies and ran into a large portion of our social circle.  We all shot the shit, and it was fun.  Out past midnight, which is quite the rarity for me.

KSP, God bless her, can be a known meddler.  And I say this knowing full well that she is a semi-regular visitor to the blog.  KSP, you are a known meddler.  Yes, I may have asked for some meddling input, and I do encourage the meddling when I am a spectator to it.  She made a suggestion, and I gotta say, my first impulse was to say, “er…no.”  But, I’m nothing if not introspective, so I revisited my first response, just to make sure I wasn’t being too hasty.  After careful consideration, my considered opinion is…””  But I would recommend the gentleman in question to someone else, should they ask for my opinion.  But this was my reasoning.

Why I Won’t Date Within My Social Circle
(by The Senior Senior)

  1. Our social circle is borderline incestuous already.  While it makes gossip an enjoyable constant, I prefer to be a spectator to the gossip.
  2. When it all goes kablooey (and the odds are always in favor of kablooey), the awkwardness is palpable.  Divisions are almost necessary, and friend custody is trickier.
  3. In adulthood, one’s social circle tends to contract, rather than expand.  Dating outside the herd is excellent for staving off that process.

And that pretty much sums it up.  Now certainly, many of my friends have seen or are seeing someone in the circle, and more power to them.  I would never talk anyone out of seeing someone for my reasons.  They’re mine, and are applicable only to me.

I realize that for someone who is, theoretically, interested in pursuing some sort of romantic relationship, I may come across as perhaps a tad picky.  But I don’t care.  I have gone back on my self-imposed rules in the past, if I have been interested enough in a particular man.  But my flouting of the rule in question has always, and I mean always, bitten me on the ass.  So I say no more.  If I have to be in my mid (to late) thirties, I might as well benefit from the foolish, drunken, short-sighted or just generally ridiculous errors in judgment I have made in the past.  I’m not saying I’ll never make any foolish, drunken, short-sighted or just generally ridiculous errors in judgment; I just hope I won’t make the exact same ones – stick to new mistakes, that’s my goal.


Chronic Irregularity Thursday, Mar 13 2008 

(I admit it, the title is in questionable taste.  But I assure you that I will not be discussing my GI tract.  I promise.)

The saying goes that there is a lid for every pot, but what if there isn’t?  What if there are some lidless pots (or worse yet, potless lids)?  What if I am one of those lidless pots (or, worse yet, potless lids)?  It is a thought that I haven’t wanted to dwell on; however, I have been trying for over a year to try and get myself adjusted to the idea.

I’m not trying to sound all, “woe is me,” or anything; if anything, I’m trying to be rational and logical.  I’m hurtling towards 40 with what seems to me to be blinding speed (actual results may vary), and quite frankly, it seems to be getting harder, not easier.  The sooner I can reconcile myself to the idea, the sooner I can liberate all this energy I expend on thinking about it, worrying about it, etc.  Hell, I can finally relearn Polish with all that extra time!  Or not.

You see, the issue is not finding men I’m attracted to physically.  I have that in spades.  The difficulty seems to be finding a quality rapport.  And that is what I consistently rolling snake eyes on.

Maybe as a pot (or a lid, I haven’t decided which one I am), I’m just a millimeter or two shy of being a good fit with a lid (or pot).  Hell, maybe I’m a (lidless) crepe pan

Giving Up The Ghost Monday, Mar 10 2008 

This weekend has been…edifying.  I do value clarity, even if it may not be the clarity I seek.  Put another way, crappy clarity is always better than optimistic ambiguity.  Because optimistic ambiguity plays with your judgement, and you spend a lot of time staring at the ambiguity, trying to make sense of it.

As I have already hinted, I received some news.  It wasn’t bad news (nor was it good news); however, it was news to me.  And it functioned as sort of a code – all of a sudden, things that were mystifying made perfect sense.  And that was good.  But I have a little void in my life, and that isn’t so very nice for me.  I have been wandering around my apartment, at a bit of a loss as to what to do next.

It is official – GSS and I are resolutely platonic.  And while it would be a lie to say it wasn’t disappointing, neither is it a tragic thing.  He was very deft and kind, and everybody is hunky-dory (or, more accurately, hunky-dorky).  Because what is causing the void isn’t that we won’t be getting together (because that never happened, it isn’t really something one can miss); it is more the loss of the possibility that I feel.

If everything had worked out exactly the way I wanted it to (which would have been the first time in the history of my life, I’m sure), it ultimately would have been a letdown.  He would have done something that would have annoyed me, and I would have done something that annoyed him.  There would have been quotidian difficulties, and eventually, I’d move on to wherever I’m to go (which is still a mystery [and very annoying] to me), as would he.  The only truly perfect incarnation was in the possibility.  And while a real, grown-up relationship is the real goal, this never felt like that, so it wasn’t that great a loss when nothing came of anything.

However, that little charge I got when deciding what to wear, or composing a clever little e-mail that was flirtatious, but not overtly so; I’m going to miss that.  The anticipation, as they say, is always better than the realization.  Discounting the real thing, a real, feel-it-in-your-soul connection, that honest-and-for-true love (which is so potent, it seems to be the only reason to go through all this nonsense sometimes), the anticipation is usually better than the realization.  Though the realization would be nice, too.

So I need myself a new hobby.  And by hobby, I do actually mean a new man to try to seduce.  Alarmingly (for me), I seem to be ready enough to go once more into the breach, dear friends.

And this is what interests me.  Because even though my original emergency back-up plan involved flirting with someone else I already know (e.g., The Young Man, The Younger Man, maybe even The Would-Be Homework Buddy), I’m thinking no.  While all these men have their charms, and could possibly be a pleasant enough way to while away the rest of the semester, I think I’ve turned some sort of corner.  The sport of the last five months was often entertaining and certainly instructive, but it was always just sport.  And I knew that, so when it turned out to be just a decoy, I was okay with that.  But now I’m after bigger game, not smaller.  My flirtation with GSS was always for a temporary fix.  And, as I’ve said before, it fixed me (but good).  No really, I honestly feel it pushed me to move on after having my heart broken.  So I’m sanguine about the whole thing.  But, instead of moving on to smaller game – men I am less, not more, interested in – wouldn’t it be something if I instead moved on to larger game – love?  This is a radical departure for me.  And I’m not sure what to do next.  You’re supposed to stop looking, the conventional wisdom says, and you’ll find it.  And that had happened to me, so I know that it’s partly true.  But maybe, just maybe, if I meet more people, I’ll improve my odds.

But none of that on-line shit.  I’m going old school.

Epiphanic Monday, Feb 11 2008 

As I was telling Puppy Mama earlier, the craptastic weather we have been having wreaks havoc on the Bus Epiphanies, as you spend all your energy feeling miserable, wondering when the bus will come, trying to stay alive….  Fortunately, I have been having epiphanies in other locales, mostly at Hated Job.  The boring, repetitive nature of cleaning identical hotel rooms for hours on end lends itself well to rumination.  And this weekend has given me a bumper crop of new moments of clarity.  A short list of the best ones:

Toilet-Scrubbing Epiphany #1 – I have misgivings about online dating, mostly because I think the process is ass-backwards.  It seems to me that what you do when you post a profile online is to advertise an job opening, if you will, for a spouse.  Then you take your candidates and try to make them fit the position.  While I am probably not the best resource for romantic advice, I think it probably should be like this:  you meet people during the activities of your daily life, you get to know them and then you make the decision if a particular relationship has what it takes.  Again, not the best source for advice, but I’m pretty sure marriage shouldn’t be “the goal;” it implies that marriage is a static and terminal state.

Toilet Scrubbing Epiphany #2 – A cool idea for a party to encourage the meeting of new people, since as adults, our social circle gets smaller and smaller:  have your guests bring one person from outside the social circle.  A cool idea for those who successfully throw parties, at any rate.

Toilet Scrubbing Epiphany #3 – The trick in life is to find something that you do really well, as opposed to “pretty well.”

Toilet Scrubbing Epiphany #4 – The thing that frustrates me about Phonology is that it focuses too much on the synchronic, and not enough on the diachronic.  The thing that frustrates me about Syntax is that it focuses too much on the diachronic, and not enough on the synchronic.  Or at least, that’s how I see it.

Of files and favors Sunday, Jan 20 2008 

My mother’s computer died some time ago, so today I have been moving/deleting files like a madwoman.  I have saved most of what was on my old desktop by making CD backups, though I am unsure why.  Ever since I went laptop, I have mostly ignored my desktop; with an exception or two, I have not needed any thing that was on there (and what there was, I moved to my external hard drive months ago).  Since CDs are small, I can justify saving a bunch of files, as they no longer take up the room they did when everything was all low tech.  For example, I took the time and trouble to save all the old e-mails on my desktop.  Why?  Because I could fit them all on a CD, and still have room for more files.  I even read some of them (including those from the Ex when we were young and in love, so to speak).  I found them an interesting artifact, and I’m glad I bothered to save them, though I can’t imagine ever looking at them again.  Maybe it is enough to save them.  Dunno.

As for the favors (one of them being giving my old computer to my mom), I noticed that I lightly snarked about how I felt GSS gave me short shrift when he thanked me for the favor I had rendered.  Now that we’re seeing each other in person and all, he has been very appreciative, and has thanked me more than once this last week.  Maybe he’s just not an e-mail guy.  Not everyone is, I suppose.  And that does explain things – if he’s not an e-mail guy, he isn’t going to respond to every whimsical message I send out.

I just thought that every one under 40 was an e-mail guy.  Live and learn.

Emotional Whiplash Friday, Jan 18 2008 

On Tuesday, I had dinner with The Ex.  It wasn’t the high point of my week – I wasn’t sure I wanted to “catch up.”  I think I was concerned that I was deluding myself that I had finally moved on, that the musical chairs of work flirting was just a distraction.  I hoped, of course, that that wasn’t the case, but I wasn’t raging to find that out.  In anticipation of a meltdown, I arranged with KSP to meet me for a drink after dinner (just in case).

Ultimately, the meltdown didn’t happen; it was nice seeing The Ex, but that relationship is over.  We’re friends, but more of a theoretical friendship – we were simply too close in the past to retrofit the relationship into a working, practical friendship.  I even found out that he has a girlfriend (he wasn’t going to tell me, but I had asked a question and to pretend that there was no girlfriend involved would have been a lie, so he told the truth), which didn’t affect me in the way that I thought it would.  Yes, there is a little part of me (the petty part of which I am often ashamed) that wishes he would still be single (not to reunite, but for my pride’s sake), but ultimately it doesn’t matter.  I didn’t pry, because I felt it wasn’t really any of my business (and surprisingly, I wasn’t that interested).  How was I affected though?  An interesting question, and one that I am trying to figure out.  I’m interested in how people seem to start up new relationships much more easily than I do.  I seem to be, at heart, a self-contained unit.  And I am okay with that, but I’d like to think that I can be part of a couple when I want to.  I wonder if I emit some sort of solitary vibe, or if I become interested in men who also emit the solitary vibe (as though it were some sort of homing signal), or other theories which are simply too half-baked to write down here.  And yes, I am not in a place where I want to be in a serious relationship.  But a frivolous one would be okay by me.  Except I might not project that sort of persona.  I think a lot of this relationship crap starts with how other people perceive you, and I have no earthly idea how I am perceived by men.  I would kill (well, maybe maim) for that sort of information.

When KSP and I met for our drink, I was reflective and told her about some interesting thinking I had done about my past relationships/hook ups.  We whiled away a couple of hours laughing about the weird/funny things that had happened in our romantic pasts, and it was all good.  However, my overanalytical nature had gone into overload with all of this data, and I had a hell of time sleeping.  I wasn’t troubled or upset, but the hamsters of my subconscious would not stop running in their little wheels, and I slept fitfully, if at all.

So I go into work the next morning, vague and foggy as all get out.  I managed to help people, but when GSS rolled in (late, but I’ve already discussed that in other posts), I wasn’t as sharp as I have been known to be.  He strolls in, greets me with the Czech equivalent of “what’s up?” (which is similar enough to the Polish equivalent of “what’s up” that I knew what he meant).  I responded in English (as I no longer speak Polish, but can only spit out a handful of phrases and count to ten), and we talked.  Mr. Math came by and the two of them spoke Spanish, and at one point referred to me.  GSS asked me if I understood what they were saying.  I said that every so often, I could grab a word, but for the most part, no.  I added that if it had been written down, I would understand most of it.  (When they referred to me, it was merely a discussion of whether I could understand them – that much I could gather.)  Mr. Math left and GSS told me that he was trying to show off.  I told him I was impressed, and he said that I shouldn’t be – he had screwed up a lot.  I told him that I thought he was great at not letting his concern of making mistakes stop the flow of conversation.  We both agreed that was essential to being able to speak a foreign language.  But I wasn’t carrying my end of the conversational load, and one of his regulars came in, so we parted company.  I can’t be sure, but I thought he looked a little disappointed.  But I was so tired, I couldn’t even explain that I was dead-ass tired.  But there you have it – over one man, obsessing over another.  That’s life, or so they say.

A semi-related anecdote:  I was waiting for the bus downtown last night, when some guy comes up and starts talking to me (bus stops: the new meat markets).  He wasn’t repellent or anything, but I wasn’t interested.  He makes some slight on me not being a conversationalist, which has the desired effect (at least from his point of view), as I started participating in the conversation – even though he was clearly stealing his delivery from the late Mitch Hedberg.  But the effort of talking to some guy who is not all that interesting to me (what is it with these guys who think that broadcasting their theories about what kind of person you are is somehow appealing to women?) took it’s toll, and I stopped participating.  Look, I don’t want much when it comes to men.  But is it too much to ask that the one guy I am interested in asks me out, and that the random oddities on the city streets leave me alone?

Now What? Saturday, Jan 5 2008 

Yesterday, I engaged in a little pre-emptive griping that my favor went unthanked for more than 24-hours.  However, I did gripe too soon, as later that evening I did get an electronic thank you.  So all’s right with the world.  Yet…

…as you can imagine, a three-word e-mail is somewhat unsatisfying.  I can’t imagine what I expected (if I expected anything), and I’m not resentful (really, I’m not).  I think the problem is what I have previously referred to as lack of traction.  We’re clicking and a date-like outing seems almost inevitable, and then it isn’t.  And then I feel like I’m being “Gaslight”-ed (or is that Gaslit?).  Is it all in my head?  Does he change his mind?  What the fuck?  After that, I get peeved with myself for spending so much energy on this, since there is so little to go on.

Another vexing issue:  due to budget constraints, I will be working considerably fewer hours (meaning considerably fewer dollars), and to add insult to injury, I will only have 1 hour of flirting a week with GSS (more hours with The Young Man, but as GSS is my favorite, it is a bit of a disappointment.  Plus, I could use the money.

At least I haven’t been poked in the eye with a sharp stick.

Found a Nickel Saturday, Dec 15 2007 

Today was a day of much stress.  It was the deadline for The Ivy League School, and I was scrambling to make sure all my “t”s were crossed and my “i”s (though not too many “i”s, you want to limit those in your personal statement) were dotted.  I had many stupid technical difficulties, and it felt like the Fates were against me.  But I did get the application off, and the transcripts and test scores are winging their way to Philly.  I also feel like I might puke.  I’ve spent a goodly sum of money doing this, and no guarantee.  They have between a 6 and 10 % acceptance rate, so I’m not just whistling Dixie.  In fact, I wonder if I haven’t thought too highly of myself.  Sure, you’ve got to play big to win big, but maybe I’m not the intellectual high roller I fancy myself to be.

With that crisis of confidence in play, I have to say that I’m pretty amazed that even though I haven’t been totally following The Grid to the letter (or rather, minute), I have still been keeping up.  Sure, I had to bag work for two days to finish one paper and the last page of the other may be in French-like jibberish, but they are done.  I even have a grip on the Phonology assignment, though the true test is will I be able to do it all in the format.  I’d say “yikes,” but the fact that it is to be written in English will be a real time saver.

And that is what I’ve had on my mind today.  This morning, I got up and was running late.  I didn’t eat any breakfast; even worse, I had no coffee.  I get to work 15 minutes late, only to realize that I wasn’t actually on the schedule.  However, someone had called in sick, so I made a few pennies.  Plus, when I was vacuuming one of the rooms, I found a nickel.  That’s better than being poked in the eye with a stick.  As I was getting ready to leave, I asked one of the full-timers if there might be any leftovers in the kitchen.  Sure enough, I managed to snag some free donuts.  A nickel and two free donuts – already my day was looking up.  I was telling this to some girls in class, and one of them agreed that a nickel was indeed lucky.  Her roommate found a nickel, and later that day they found the perfect apartment.  Hey, that’s enough evidence for me.

Alas, the power of a found nickel has it’s limitations.  I needed some of today’s nickel luck to work retroactively on last night.  After one of our best 2 hour conversations yet, GSS and I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye (which was disappointing).  He looked extra fetching yesterday, with a new haircut (I have no idea why, but a fresh haircut on a man does something to me) and a nice shirt that brought out the color of his eyes.  We were conversationally cracking.  Of course, there always seems to be a snag.  He ended talking to someone else for a half an hour (sure, I’m greedy) and then I didn’t get a chance to see him before I left (I also half-wonder if that was planned, as he disappeared about a half an hour before I left and I’m naturally paranoid).  I left him a brief note, and later I sent him an e-mail (in my defense, the e-mail was hilarious).  To which he did not respond.  Not that I have Attention Deficit Disorder or anything, but The Young Man also looked terrific yesterday.  I may have inadvertently stared at him during my downtime.  Alas, he was also busy; for most of the time, I must admit that I was too busy having a great conversation with GSS.  Still, as always, it didn’t seem to amount to anything.  This is what I don’t get; clearly, we get along.  We have this great rapport, but there never seems to be any traction.  Just when I think I’ve got a bead on what’s going on, he does something mystifying (to me, anyway).  Then I start to feel like Ingrid Bergman in Gaslight.  Am I imagining things?  Am I reading too much into everything?  I don’t know.  And I feel like I’ve tipped my hand with the whole “number” thing.  And what was up with that?  I don’t have any answers, which I hate.

Ah well, tomorrow should be an exciting day of toilet scrubbing, laundry and Phonology.

Improvisation = Life = Mess Tuesday, Dec 11 2007 

After the realization that I would not be able to turn in my grad school application for my second choice school, I scrambled to find a new “second choice” school where I might apply.  After some consideration, I resurrected Ivy League School from my list – I had always liked the idea, but I was “afeared” that my GRE math score would not withstand the scrutiny.  After looking over the department website, I have decided that while I would have preferred a higher math score, that alone wouldn’t keep me out.  So I scrambled to get all my academic shit together for this.  I was talking to one of my “recommenders” and he talked up the program.  He told me that he thought it would be a good match for me.  From his lips to their ears (which is what I suppose the recommendation is supposed to do).

As you can imagine, this has caused me to rethink what criteria I will use to make my decision, which might be different tomorrow than it was last month, and Lord only knows what that might be two or three months from now.  I had rather thought I had made a firm decision; now I need to take in some more information.  I also have developed a new plan B, which might trump some grad school options.  I don’t know.  But I’ve learned that I’m good with change, so that is the one thing that keeps me sane.  I may not know where I’ll be six months from now, or what exactly I think I’ll be doing; whatever it is, I’ll make the transition well.  That’s some comfort.

I was bitching to KSP that I am, in a sense, stuck.  As I have ‘fessed to earlier, I have started reflirting with GSS.  I have no goal in mind, mostly because I think that ship has probably sailed.  And even if it hadn’t, it would only be a short-term thing (not that there’s anything wrong with that).  As I wrote yesterday (yesterday?), I e-mailed GSS.  I have e-mailed him from time to time, but he hasn’t responded like he used to.  I chalked that up to him being “not interested” and unwilling to encourage me, though he had on one occasion, told me that he received my e-mail and thanked me for it.  Which I took to be more of his maddening ambiguity/ambivalence.  So, I put the kibosh on the e-mailing.  But with us both being in absentia, I thought I’d touch base.  I didn’t expect any response, so when I did get one, I was a lot more jazzed (the word I used when discussing this with KSP) than I thought it would be.  I shot off a reply, again not expecting one, but did receive it.  Again, jazzedness was had by me.  And this is what I was bitching about to KSP:  I realize that nothing is really going to happen, I realize that I am a woman in transition – yet I have formed this “attachment” to him, and despite my best efforts to seek greener pastures, I’m stuck with the crush.  This is inconvenient to me.  Apparently, life is all about the mess.  I’m no drama queen, but I guess I just have to embrace the fact that I choose messiness.

I hear some people have tidy and organized lives.  I’ve never met any of those people.

Personal Statement? I’ve Got Your Personal Statement Right Here! Tuesday, Nov 27 2007 

I am pretending to work on my personal statements for my grad school applications, but I have a lack of motivation, mostly because writing roughly 1,000 words on how awesome I am and how I’d be a way better choice for any given school than those other losers (I realize that isn’t really what they’re asking, but that is kind of the purpose of these damn things).  I’m sure I’ll be able to come up with something; I should do so soon.  I asked GSS if he would be willing to give me some pointers (as he has successfully done this before), and he’s asked me a couple of times if I have them ready yet.  Which of course, I don’t.

I was going to work on them this weekend, but napped and ate pie and worked on my presentation for my scary grad class (which was today, and despite the fact that I had the theme from Goldfinger stuck in my head all day, I managed to do a reasonably decent job on the damn thing [or so I hope]).  Tonight is a better night for it, as I have only this one task scheduled (actually, I was going to write an outline for a paper due finals week, but I decided it can wait a few days – I’m starting to thumb my nose at The Grid, which is a recipe for disaster).

I did take a break yesterday, and hung out with KSP for coffee and chit-chat.  I recounted my tale of woe about the student with the inappropriate crush on me, and mentioned that the young man from the Glame Adventures in Flirting story had friended me on Facebook.  Now, I am a veritable antique, even so I realize that just because the guy friended me doesn’t mean that he’s pining for me.  But I do think, in the context of our work friendship, that he may have a (little) thing for me.  As I said, both to KSP and in the relevant post, that it is a little maddening; I am one lazy, lazy woman, and it would be much easier if I liked him more than I liked GSS, as GSS seems both ambivalent and behaves in an ambiguous manner (probably due to the ambivalence).  But that isn’t how it works.  Plus, while the Young Man is no fetus, I feel pretty damn old in comparison (it is a marked age difference).  All the same, he is pretty cute – and it is nice to get that kind of positive reinforcement (which is less fraught than the situation with the student, so I can enjoy it more).  All this KSP and I discussed over coffee.  And of course, being a Facebook junkie, during one of her many daily voyages to Facebook, she may have lurked, and I may have asked her opinion.

And this is the thing – if I was 100% not interested, I never would have asked for her opinion.  That much is obvious.  So what, I beseech you, does this mean?  I don’t know.  It might have no more significance than, “hey, cool – some cute guy I know seems to like me.”  But it can also mean, “I’m bored, and the guy I really am interested in doesn’t seem to be paying enough attention to me.  I want validation, dammit!”  Which doesn’t make me a terrible person, it makes me human.  And considering earlier this year, I was eating my heart out over a failed relationship and feeling like a) no one was ever going to be interested in me and b) I was never going to be interested in anyone else, it is a boon to my emotional well-being.

Wow, this post is almost as long as a personal statement for grad school.  Somehow, I don’t think it’s what Stanford is looking for.

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