Coffee. That’s how it starts. “Buy you a cup of coffee?” “Meet me for coffee?”
Plastic to-go cups of iced coffee on a hot summer evening, you wondering how it’s going to turn out. You know that if it goes badly, your second cup will be a decaf and you’ll go home. But, if it goes well, you’ll go home with him, so that second cup will be regular. Maybe espresso.
Coffee in steaming mugs, the two of you cocooned by shared blankets, watching the leaves fall and float from the trees in the cool autumn air.
Delicate cups of gourmet coffee in the bistro where you had your first real date; you gazing out the window as the snow piles up outside. He plunges the French press and pours. Taking a sip, he says, “I’m not feeling it.” You laugh. “Maxed out your caffeine tolerance?” you ask. “No, it’s not the coffee,” he says. “It’s you.” He pushes his chair back from the table and sets down his cup. “I thought I’d be feeling something by now, but I’m not. Sorry.” He leaves, and you stare at the widening stain on the tablecloth where his coffee sloshed out of the still-full cup.
Men pick women because they think they won’t change, but they do.
Women pick men because they hope that they’ll change, but they don’t.
Here is my lunch today. Looks good, yes? It should. I forced it in to submission and made it what I wanted it to be. I wanted mexcian for lunch. Specifically, tacos. But I didn’t have taco stuff, I had lentil dal and palak paneer leftovers.
So, I made do. Forced by an immediate need, I looked around and did the best I could with what I could get my hands on at the time.
I added Penzey’s Southwest seasoning to that lackluster stew-like filling. I put it in a taco shell. I topped it with cheese and nuked it until it was all melty. I had some cabbage, which is kind of like lettuce. I had plain yogurt, which is kind of like sour cream.
In the end, it tasted pretty good. Nothing you’d take home to meet your parents, but fit the bill.
Clearly, I thought about an ex-boyfriend while I made lunch today. So much potential. I got him to go to college. I bought him a suit and tie. I taught him how to play chess and balance a checking account. But, in the end, he was, although good hearted and doting, still a country bumpkin whose idea of breakfast was two king sized Reeses, a Mountain Dew Big Gulp, and a couple of Marlboro lights.
Today I know better than to date a man for his potential. Because, my friends, men never change. But in a pinch, they’ll do.
Filed under autobigraphy, dating, food, humor, irony, memoir, relationships, sarcasm, single, Uncategorized, women
It was Wednesday, yes, it was Wednesday and I can only bear to speak of it now – it was Wednesday and on my way to lunch I approached a set of double glass doors, and as I was headed out, a gentleman was headed in, and as he stepped back to hold the door for me, it was then, as I looked up into the eyes of the most handsome man I have ever seen, it was then, my friends, it was then, that I tripped and stumbled and bounced the right half of my body off the adjoining glass door. And it is there that my story ends.
Filed under autobigraphy, communication, conflict, dating, flash fiction, humor, irony, memoir, relationships, sarcasm, single, Uncategorized, women
It’s 1981, you’re 12 years old.
You wait for your parents to leave, you know they won’t approve of what you’re about to do. You watch until the taillights of the family Pinto disappear around the curve of your cul-de-sac, and then walk to the kitchen.
Leaning against the door of the pantry, you reach over and lift the receiver from the phone on the wall. You inhale deeply and exhale slowly as you dial his number, your index finger moving in seven separate, arduous arcs.
One ringy dingy. Two ringy dingy. Three. The butterflies in your stomach take flight and fill your throat with a sharp tickle of panicky giggles. Four rings. “Hello?” answers the voice of the cutest boy in school. You slam your hand on the hook, ending the call, and quickly hang up.
You can do this all night. He’ll never know it was you.
Filed under autobigraphy, communication, dating, essay, fiction, flash fiction, humor, irony, memoir, relationships, sarcasm, the 80's, women
“Do sandwich cookies ever get lonely?”
-Craigslist Personal Ad
My grandmother would pour the last bits of broken potato chip from the rumpled bag into a Pyrex glass custard cup and eat them with a spoon. She passed some years ago.
My first true love trimmed the potato chip bag down, down, down, until it was as shallow as a child’s folded paper canoe and then he’d tilt back his head and let the confetti of crumbs drift into his mouth. He married someone else.
My husband threw out the wrinkled bag of razor-sharp potato shards as soon as he had eaten the last whole chip. We’re divorced.
My current boyfriend tells me, “I don’t even like potato chips.”
“Probably for the best,” I say, and hand him an open bag of Fritos.
No, this isn’t a story that suggests that dating is like a tater tot. Not at all. This story is about me and how sometimes I get home late and need a quick dinner.
I’ve been trying this thing where I don’t eat after 8pm. So tonight, when I got home at 7:30pm, I needed to make dinner fast. And what’s the fastest dinner of all? Besides leftover pizza. If I had had leftover pizza, I would have eaten that. The second fastest dinner is Breakfast Dinner! The ideal breakfast dinner is pancakes, or waffles, or anything that comes with butter and syrup, but the whole point tonight was ease and speed, so I went with an omelet and tater tots (pictured below). The only onerous thing about an omelet is getting it to turn over and look good, but hey, if it doesn’t turn over and it doesn’t look good you can call it a frittata. Or “loaded scrambled eggs.” Whichever applies.
You might be wondering about the tots. Why are they so flat? Why do they have grill marks? Well. You’ve probably been brought up to believe that “necessity” is the mother of invention. It is not. “Laziness” is the mother of invention. If it were “necessity” then, faced with the need to toast my tots, I would have invented a way to climb up to the uppermost cabinet where the toaster oven lives, lug it down, make room for it on the counter, etc., etc. But, being that the George Foreman is conveniently located on the counter by the coffee maker, I used it. Ergo, laziness begot the invention of Tots on the Georgie. It’s easy. Just nuke the tots to thaw them out, put them on the Georgie in a single layer, and shut the lid. Do be sure to plug in the Georgie. Serve with ketchup or mayo, if you like. Heck, try butter and syrup.
How do you know when the tots are done? Lift the lid and take a quick peek. If they’re crushed and crispy, they’re done. Oh, I’ll be damned. Dating is like a tater tot. When you’re crushed and crispy, it’s time to get out. That’s how you know you’re done. D.O.N.E. Done.
If you recognize those words as having been spoken by a turncoat Lindsey Bluth in shorn hair and a business causal suit, then I am happy and sad for you. Happy because you discovered the snarky genius that is Arrested Development; sad because you watched the fourth season. You watched all the way through to the last episode of a season that should have never happened.
Walls. Walls are good. Walls keep the A/C in and the mosquitoes out. Walls define where the TV should go versus where the stove should go. Walls keep us from having to see what our neighbors look like first thing in the morning. That’s the physical walls, the ones made of brick and sticks and stones. But it’s the emotional walls that do the real work. How can something invisible be so impenetrable?
Here’s my lunch from yesterday. Please admire how the baby carrots form a wall that keeps the BBQ sauce from getting on the cherries. This is an important wall if you don’t like BBQ sauce on your cherries. But what if you’ve never had BBQ sauce on your cherries? What if, in a fit of contempt prior to investigation, you’ve dismissed BBQ sauce on your cherries as something that will taste bad and might even hurt you?
“Might even hurt you.” We’ve clearly moved beyond physical walls and into the more interesting world of emotional walls. I have emotional walls, as pointed out by every man who has ever dated me and doesn’t date me anymore. They haven’t told me anything I didn’t already know, I put up the walls intentionally. They have purpose. Emotional walls keep me from getting too chatty with the cute guy in my yoga class (he could be an axe murderer, etc., etc.) Emotional walls keep me from confiding too much in my friends (they could turn on me at any time.) The walls keep me safe. The walls ensure that I won’t get all vulnerable and end up hurt. Hurt, you know, like how you can choke on a BBQ sauce covered cherry.
I’ve experimented with lowering my walls. They’ve gone from gargoyle-festooned castle walls to chain link fences to curbs. Not the curved, bicycle-friendly curbs, mind you. They’re the old-fashioned hard right-angle curbs that can stub your toe. A stubbed toe incites a unique pain, the type of pain that can make you want to dissolve and ooze back over the curb and right down the gutter to the nearest “Chesapeake Bay Sewage” drain. I don’t want to get drained. Too risky. Let’s do it, Lindsey, let’s build that wall.
Leslie had never wanted to drive on the freeway. She never wanted to go that fast. She didn’t ski, she didn’t bike, she didn’t rollerblade for the same reason. Going fast wasn’t desirable. Going fast risked being out of control, at the whim of gravity and unpredictable factors like angry drivers, roads in poor condition and stray animals. No, freeways were laden with dangers, rife with the chance of pain and death.
Not that death was that scary. There were plenty of days that death seemed appealing. A way to stop all the hopelessness and anxiety. What if I’m in this job forever? How will I ever find another job if I lose this one? How can I have a PhD and be so unqualified for anything?
So, most days she was open to death. It was the pain that worried her. Dismembered, brain damaged, these were the real dangers of going fast. A rock on a bike path could throw her off balance and crack her skull. A mogul, coming up too soon, could incite a swerve into a gully and break her legs. A bear, wandering onto the freeway… and so on. So many scenarios that could bring pain and a longer, more miserable life than the one she had now.
Fairytales would have her meet a man or take up a hobby that filled her soul and brought her joy. She wasn’t keen on either of those.
What brought her a reluctant sense of relief was to stop going on about how depressed she felt, get up from her desk and fucking do something like, for example, get dressed and go to work.
Filed under autobigraphy, bodily harm, conflict, depression, driving, fiction, flash fiction, irony, sarcasm, Uncategorized, women, writing