Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Don't Floss Angry

So, been a while. Sorry about that. Since last post I have met an icon, gone back to school, found an amazing woman, was scared by said woman, and then after reconciling myself to being happy with that fear, lost scary woman to the stupidest lapse in communication I've ever been a part of. I've been busy.

School is fantastic, and I have no idea why I waited so long to go back. If you are thinking about it, do it. Don't wait, stop with the excuses, just go do it. It's not nearly as hard as you remember it to be, and school as an adult is a VASTLY different experience than it was as a hormone soaked teenager. I couldn't be happier about my choice.

That said, the "Fuck You" fairy finds me on an almost daily basis. When you're an (ahem) aged man who suddenly finds himself surrounded by 18 year olds, you quickly realize that simply opening your eyes is going to be a constant reminder that time has flown by. On my first day back, I sat next to a pretty coed who was all eyes and smiles. We talked for a bit, no real effort or expectation on my part, but the whole talking to a pretty girl thing was really nice. Class began and as we went around the room introducing ourselves, she got up and said: "Hi, I'm Gemma and I'm 17!"

My eyes flew open as I looked for the door. The urge to go wash myself was overpowering, and I was certain that everyone there was judging me. Don't get me wrong I AM an old (well, oldish) pervert, I just want to be one in private with an age appropriate consenting adult. She was hurt to find that I had scooted away from her, but I couldn't explain it as I didn't quite understand it myself at the time. I have only now, at the end of the semester, begun to talk to her again. In a very formal, standoffish manner of course. That's just one example of a dozen or so old man hits that I've taken recently. I don't know how I got this old this fast, but wow. Just how the Fuck You Fairy rolls I guess. The scenery is sure nice though.

Let's see what else? Oh yes, I met a music Icon. Can't say his name, simply because I'm trying to go into business with him and that would be a monumentally stupid thing to do, but let me just say that the whole experience has been VERY cool. I'm not the type to get star struck, and I didn't here, but I can say that I was very impressed. I've met some heavy hitters in my time around Hollywood, but with only a few notable exceptions (like Harrison Ford) few of them are impressive as individuals. Sure their careers or talents may be stellar, but as people? Not so much. This guy is different though. He would stand out even without his career history and gobs of success. It really was a privilege just to meet him, I don't have words for the fact that he liked my writing. I actually leave in two days to go back for a follow up meeting. Not quite sure what's going to happen as it's still very much "Pie in the sky" at this point, but I figure if you're going up to bat you may as well swing for the fences.

Alright I'll quit beating around the bush and get to the girl, it's what you want to hear about anyway. I'm literally sick over it. I'm hoping that pouring all of this out to online obscurity will help me get my head right for the big meeting this weekend, but we'll see. The problem with being a self contained individual is that when you need to vent, you don't have a lot of options. Sure I have friends, but I feel whiney when I vent too long, so here I am, whining in safety where I can't see your eyes roll in person.

Let me say right off that she is a fantastic woman. Seriously. She has issues like all people, and while I'm not clear if her issues are abnormally big or not, they are rather invasive. So, being the insightful guy that I am, I zeroed in on them pretty quickly and almost jumped ship. Almost. I have a history of being too critical, and as such, am a bachelor. I want to change that, so I stuck around. Then she went and did the damndest thing. She grew on me. She's so damned cute and lovable that I couldn't help it. She also made a conscious effort to earn my affection. She even went so far as to ask me if it was okay to look for my birth mother. She wanted to be the one who gave me that knowledge. I brushed it off as not a big deal, but looking back, that was the single most amazing thing anyone has ever contemplated on my behalf. It scared the absolute shit out of me.

Being a perpetual loner, I was surprised to find that I really began to love being around her. I started to see her quirks as good things. I even began to question if the potential deal breakers were really that big a deal. I started to reconcile the reality of this wonderful woman with the cookie cutter checklist I had always held potential mates up against, and found that she exceeded it in far more ways than she came up short. Then I started to worry.

Was I good enough for her? Was I too old? (Yep, I hate that Fairy) I began to fear her waking up one day and wondering what she was doing next to this gray haired furry guy who wasn't going to be wealthy for at least ten years, couldn't feasibly have kids for another four, and was currently living like an 18 yr old college kid.

Then there were the issues. They plagued me. Like a scab you can't leave alone or a missing tooth. I knew there were things that would grow to be problems later. I knew that if I allowed myself to really get attached, that it would scare her right back. In a lot of ways she reminded me of a wounded animal. All you want to do is love on it, and all it wants is to be loved. Make one false step though, one sudden move, and it will either run off to hurt in solitude or try to eat you with its big saber tooth teeth. I knew that she was getting attached to me, I'd have to be blind not to see the signals lobbed my way, but I had to question the speed of the attachment. Was she really this into me, or was it just the idea of me? This made me pump the brakes a little more.

Either way it didn't really matter. It was already too late you see, I'd really started to care for her. The fact that she was hurting on top of it all made it just that much worse for me. combine that realization with the fact that I was in an emotional mine field where a good sneeze could kill the whole fragile, fleeting thing and you see my dilemma. "Warning: This way lies co-dependence!" My mind kept screaming at me, but I kept on like the stubborn ox that I am. However my one concession to common sense was the fact that I went slowly. Very, very slowly. Which coincidentally, was the main reason it all died.

To make a long story (juicy though it may be) short and respectful, she had a habit of running off whenever anything upset her. To be fair this only happened twice, but both times it happened were occasions of relationship import. It left me wondering what it was I'd done wrong. No explanations, no reasons why, just gone. After the first time I expressed my severely negative reaction to this. I did so diplomatically, but I let it be known that I found it unacceptable. If I upset you, tell me. That way I can fix it or explain why I disagree with you, but don't just run off assuming the worst of me. The second time, I figured she knew how much I hated this whole retreating thing, so it must have been for a really good reason. Not wanting to pressure her (wounded animal) and really hoping to avoid running her off at this point, I stayed away. No pestering calls, no texts, no whining, no alpha male displays. A terrible little inner voice even suggested that maybe her running off was a good thing. She was too close, and too chaotic. No good was going to come of this, maybe it was all for the best. I found myself hating that voice. For the first time in my life, logic wasn't my friend. I even went so far as to tell my few venting friends it was for the best, but part of me didn't believe it. Even now, I still don't despite mountains of evidence to the contrary.

So three days go by and no word. Logic was finally pushed off the throne when I found one of her hairs (she sheds like crazy) on my face upon waking, and emotion took surging control of my mind for the first time in thirty years. We made a few mistakes that day, emotion and I. First, was in my overly cautious state I decided to text her instead of calling. I felt that my tone of voice might guilt her too much, or let her in on my emotional state. I thought she would still be upset and didn't want to add to that, so text it was. Stupid stupid stupid.

The text wasn't inflammatory despite my mounting frustration. Basically I said that I knew she was dealing with some stuff, and that I still had problems with a few things I wont mention here (but included her running off). I then said that she should talk to me when she's figured things out.

She replied with something along the lines of "God knows when that will be."

I was numb. I didn't understand anything about what had just happened, and the red flags were waving. I still had no idea why she's run off in the first place, and as I tried to piece possibilities together for the hundredth time a childhood memory of a wounded horse running away from a well meaning veterinarian popped into my head. Beauty in pain is a terrible thing to behold, and I knew I'd somehow stepped on the hidden landmine. The nasty little voice piped up and told me that she had finally realized who and what I was and was taking the opportunity to ditch me. I told that voice to fuck off, and decided to wait it out. She would realize that I was waiting for her to talk to me, and would call when she'd thought over what Id said.

She never called. In my rarely used pride, I told myself it was for the best.

Weeks went by and she called me out of the blue. She was hurting and needed help. I found that I still wanted to help her, even though I had a feeling that I was about to take a kick to the junk. Over coffee she ignored our issues and focused on her new ones. As she described an incident with a new boyfriend, I was screaming at her on the inside. "New Boyfriend?!? What the Hell? I am the worlds biggest asshole!" That's when I realized my mistake. We had always been operating at different speeds relationship wise, and my mistake was that when I pulled over to wait on her to catch up, she was actually barreling right along at full tilt. I'm an idiot.

I thought she was working through things. Things that will take a while to sort out no matter what she does, so I was simply trying to keep my head up as I waited like the patient little idiot that I am. Meanwhile she'd jumped right back into the craziness without a backwards glance. I was irrelevant, and in that moment, I finally knew it. At some point in the last few weeks she had dismissed me altogether. I have no idea how long it had taken her to find a new guy, but It was obviously quick. I felt more and more stupid as the conversation went on.

She also dropped the bomb on me that she had taken my text as a breakup. That I had broken up with her over the most impersonal form of communication possible. It hit me then that she didn't really know me at all, and that that was MY FAULT. I went too slow, too cautious, and too logical. I tried to be the good guy and wait it out, meanwhile she's off with someone new. My imagination ran wild. Actually, it's still zipping around the countryside as I type this.

I'm so angry right now I could chew nails. We later had a conversation (again over text cuz I was afraid Id yell) where I revealed a bit about how I was feeling, but when I realized what I was doing and how unfair it was, I snapped off a remark how I had to go floss. Lacking anything else to do that might possibly take my mind off the mess I'd made, I actually did go floss and wound up tearing my mouth up. My teeth are still sensitive days later.

This hurts. This massive frustration that I can't do anything about. I'm not used to problems without solutions. I'm very good at solutions and take pride in dismantling obstacles. There are a lot of reasons to stay away from her, but there's one really strong one that just won't let me stop thinking about her.

The final twist of the knife was that not two hours later I was walking across campus and bumped into her with the new guy hanging on her. I make that same walk at the same time every day, and this was the first time I'd ever seen her. She gave me her beautiful smile and I had the uncontrollable urge to kick puppies even though I LOVE puppies. He knew something was up in that way that all guys know, and I muttered something unintelligible as I looked away, hoping to control myself for just a little bit longer. I kept walking. That's actually something I'm kinda proud of. Apparently my control is still strong like bull.

I'm acting like a moon struck tweener. If I'm not careful I'm going to go do something stupidly macho just to reassert my manliness. Even if it's just to myself.

Alright, enough whining. Time to go figure out how to impress a modern day icon. After all this, how hard can it be?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


An action or judgment that is misguided or wrong:
Kissing her was pure flubbery. | It was the worst kind of Flubbery to mix Margaritas with Xanax.
*Something such as a word, act, or belief that is patently wrong, but only realized in hindsight; an inaccuracy or mistaken belief of sometimes ginormous proportions with unforeseen consequences.
See also: Screw up, Jackass, Socially Stunted, or Bryan White

So yeah, the current theme of Bry’s world is flubbery. Despite my best intentions, efforts, and copious amounts of over thinking every little thing, there seems to be lot’s of flubbing things up going on lately. I’ve apparently been adept at flubbery my whole life, but never really sat down and looked at it. Never appreciated the sheer scope of ineptitude. I’ll start at the beginning. Well, towards the end of the beginning anyway.

In the first grade, a girl followed me all over the playground on the first day of school. I was still new to this whole girls are different than boys thing, and so I completely misread the situation. She wouldn’t leave me alone, and I was annoyed in the way that only an all knowing seven year old can be. I finally turned around and asked her to stop following me in what I thought of as a very adult manner. This promptly made her cry, which made me realize my mistake, and then I wanted to cry. In the end it just made me feel like a grade “A” idiot. She went on to be in my class for the next two years, and then again in my homeroom in high school. Nothing like a perpetual reminder of failure to brighten one's education.

In middle school, (maybe high school, not sure) I was caught in the center of the theater room when someone thought it would be funny to turn the lights out. In my stumbling search for a door, I got a handful of something soft. I thought it was the stage curtain, and thinking that it might be brighter back stage I tried to pull it aside and unintentionally got to second base for the first time. The girl in question squealed that I had her boob in hand, and out of startled reflex I squeezed a little before basically slapping it away in terror. I have no idea which boob I had a hold of, only that there was boobage and I wasn’t supposed to have it. I ran into the wall three times trying to claw my way out of there. When the lights came up I was tangled up in a few chairs and surrounded by kids laughing. I don’t like to think about it, but I’m pretty sure there was whimpering involved in my escape from humiliation. Also, I think this might be why I’ve always been more of a butt man. Just a theory.

Later in high school, I became aware through the wonders of the grapevine that there was a girl who had a thing for me. This was a new occurrence. Normally the grapevine had terribly bland things to say about me, and I didn’t know what to do with this new notoriety. I didn’t get much time to dwell on it, because that night I saw her at a volleyball game. Her friends steered her over towards me in that crowded way that they all seem so expert at, and then promptly abandoned her in a feat of choreography that still baffles me. Awkward silence ensued. After a few moments of rocking back and forth from toe to heel like a downhill racer, I finally get the nerve to ask her to go for a walk, and wonder of wonders she said yes. Giggles followed us down the aisle, and when we got to the stairs, I realized my confidence was riding high. I decided to ask her if she’d like a piggyback ride. She jumped on with a giggle and away we went. I took three stairs before I got cocky and tried to flirt. Now ask anyone I’ve ever dated, and you will find that this is just not my strong suit. It didn't occur to me that I had never flirted before, that I had no idea how to properly string together a playful conversation, and that I was woefully unprepared for any flirtation she might throw back at me. Unfortunately, I didn’t know any of this back then, so feeling like Don Juan I asked if she jumped on all the guys she took walks with. Yep, that little pearl was my first attempt at clever enuendo.

“What did you say?” I knew immediately by her tone I was in some serious trouble. “Nothing.” I replied. She got down off my back, something that I instantly hated, and asked me again: “What did you say?” I decided that I should be a man about it and face her. “What did you say to me Bryan?” So I repeated what I had said, still clueless how to extricate myself from those anger/hurt filled eyes. She turned a truly spectacular shade of red, and still unable to sort through the shame I was feeling, I braced myself for the inevitable impact of her backhand. When none came, I opened an eye and watched as she stomped back down the stairs enraged. When her friends later came to me demanding to know what I had done to her, I repeated myself in some sort of weird need for contrition. One of the girls took pity on me and explained that the entire volleyball team was now hissing at me and that I should avoid all attempts at flirting in the future. The grapevine got decidedly worse after that, and out of some sick retaliation the girl started dating one of my buddies later that week. There was nothing I could do or say to fix it, and that feeling of impotence is still one of my all time lows.

Once at a party in college, I announced to a room full of black people that I was so drunk I felt like Kunta Kinte. Now in my defense, I had no idea who he was, but I thought feeling like him must be a good thing because I was beyond tipsy and I liked his name. My drunken logic told me that no one with a name that cool could ever be sad. Reality, (and a whole truckload of verbal abuse) hit me pretty hard about then, and I will say that I have never been more insanely terrified, and yet thoroughly ashamed at the same time. I may be wrong, but after “Roots” was explained to me in horrifying detail, I’m pretty sure I told a group of guys to go ahead and jump up and down on my dumb ass for a while.

Now here I sit 20 odd years of random awkwardness later, and I’m sad to say that the streak continues. It was avoided for a while, simply by not having a life to make awkward, but here we go again. I would tell you about the latest and greatest of my never ending flub reel, but I try not to kiss and tell. At least not when I have hopes in terms of maybe kissing again someday. Sorry.

In a lot of ways this whole dating thing reminds me of high school. I know this isn’t a new comparison by any stretch, but it IS a comparison that I haven’t lived through before. For the most part I’m enjoying it, but man those social blunders and awkward moments can really come out of nowhere sometimes. So far in all of these endeavors I’m relentlessly putting myself through, I’ve learned exactly one thing of substance:

Too much thought is not necessarily a good thing. Sometimes, the only way to get through the darkness is to just feel your way.

As it happens, I have some practice with that. This time though, I think I’m gonna try the whole instinct side of feeling, and not so much with the felony kind. Jail scares the beejeebus out of me.

I’m still sticking with the whole “A Better Bryan is a Loving Bryan” theory, I’m just gonna leave more room in all of that work for actually letting myself have some fun too. That IS what dating is supposed to be isn’t it?

Still, as I sit here and contemplate going to a play this weekend, my mouth feels decidedly dry...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

So I just got a book that I've been hunting for over ten years now. I first heard about it at an obscure art gallery in LA. The artist of the hour was giving a talk about his influences, and threw up some examples. I was struck dumb with sheer wonder at what I saw. It made me feel like a kid again, imagining what might be out there in the wide world for the first time. I needed more of it, and the next day set out to find it. I failed. Apparently the artist was not what you would call a capitalist. He had done a short printing run on all his books, and wasn't interested in doing a reprint. As a result, collectors hoarded their copies, and due to some weird loyalty to the work and the wishes of the artist, no one put his stuff up on the internet. Here I was with just three examples of his work, completely mesmerized, and no way to get more. I imagine that this is a bit of how junkies feel.

I decided not to give up. For the last ten years I've treated every used book store I come across as an opportunity for a treasure hunt. I search the disorganized stacks and feel like an explorer of old. Sometimes I'm a prospector trudging around in California, and others I feel like Nemo gliding through the deeps. Then, three weeks ago I found it. I found the book and delightedly took it home to learn it's secrets, to gaze upon art that hasn't been seen (at least not by me) before. I broke half a dozen traffic laws on the way home, ran inside, opened up the first page...

And went numb. The book is everything I hoped. It's filled with some of the most exacting freehand artwork I've ever come across, and the stories are wonderfully pulpy in that age of wonder kind of way. Sure there are shortcomings, but they are the kind of flaws that quickly become endearing. They are a part of the charm of the book, and as I turned past page one, I found myself searching for more. I realized that this book was one of those wondrous tomes that does what only a great book can, it was food for some small malnourished part of my soul. Something that I hadn't even realized was hungry.

I've had it for two weeks now, and I still haven't gotten past page four.

It's too good. I find that I want to savor the feast, make each moment of discovery last as long as possible. With each new revelation, I find new insight into what has come before, which leads to new anticipations. Every night as I get into bed I look at that book sitting on my nightstand and debate whether it's time to move on. To turn a page. I know that there will be nights where turning a page will take but a moment, but I know that turning others might take me a week. I'm okay with that. I looked for ten years, I can read for another ten if that's what feels right.

I say all of this to describe another process of discovery that I'm currently going through. With each new facet, with each new kernel of truth I glean, I'm finding myself pulled deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole. I like this plunge, I love the feeling of anticipation as I stand on a precipice, I love the imagination that runs roughshod over my sensibilities. This is what life is supposed to be, and I've never been more excited about simply being awake.

In fact, it just might be time to turn another page...