Cat Person, Fiction, & Thoughts on Likes and Love

11 12 2017

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Are we all each other’s stories?

The other day my friend sent me a link to a fiction story in the New Yorker called “Cat Person.”

I avoided reading it, mostly because it’s the New Yorker and that’s what I do every time I have a subscription to the magazine–ignore it week after week while the guilt from not opening them piles higher and higher.

Anyway, my friend bothered me about it again; he told me people were buzzing about it on the internets, so after a long sigh, and an even longer “fffinnnee,” I went ahead and went for it.

*Spoilers ahead*

This excruciatingly painful fictional tale is about a 20-year-old woman who goes on a date with a 30-ish old guy she meets at her job at a movie theater.

As I said to my friend, “It’s good, but in a cringe-worthy type of way.”

The author examines the internal dialogue of this woman, revealing many relatable thoughts we’ve all had while dating.

What’s most painful is that we see ourselves in her ( we see ourselves in him too, though we all seem much less likely to admit that considering how it ends) and the parts we see are the parts of ourselves we look back on later in life and wish we had trusted our instincts and intuitions.

What I think the author does so well through these characters is show how easy it is to create stories about who other people are in order for us to like them.

Hence the cringe. It’s not that it’s so much of a mismatched non-compatible interaction, it’s that we’ve all been in situations where we just really want the other person to be who we desire them to be instead of who they are.

In fact, what ripped my heart out while reading this was that just last night I cut it off with a guy for almost the exact same reason.

Not that he had been terrible in bed or called me a whore or anything, but that I had made-up a narrative in my head about who he was–and more importantly, who I was when I was with him–a story that was not even close to being accurate in reality.

I did it because I wanted so badly to like someone that I failed to pay attention to who that person really was, until it was too late.

The female character wants the guy to be so badly who he was in his flirty smart text messages that she starts reading him in ways to reassure herself that he those things in real life. Just because someone is smart and witty doesn’t mean they’re a good person.

It’s like with this guy I was dating, he told me he’d only disappoint me. He told me he was the worst. He told me he was a terrible person. And while he was doing it, I knew I should run away, I knew that people will always tell you who they are, and yet, I stuck around.

I made him prove it.

Is it because I’m a masochist? Is it because that even though I’ve learned over and over again that you can’t change a person, I still haven’t learned it enough?

I think it’s because we’re all addicted to liking someone and being liked in return. The chase, the dating, the sex, it all just comes down to us wanting to be wanted.

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How do we stop ourselves from filling in the blanks on questions we have about people before we get to know them? How do we stop ourselves from projecting things we want them to be when they’re clearly not those things? How do we rid ourselves of expectations particularly when there’s so much excitement when we meet someone new? Is it possible to not get swept up into the bubble of misrepresentation? Into the love-bubble? (or even the like-bubble?)

I don’t know. I haven’t figured anything out.

All I know is that I need to save my stories for my writing and quit making up fictions about people who will always tell me who they are, if I just ask and if I just listen.

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Finding My Way Back to Me

7 12 2017

Kill the writer. Remove the block.

I decided I was going to become a writer when I was 13. My grandfather had just died, my great-grandmother had just died, and my dog had been hit by a car–and died. Writing was the only thing that helped relieve some of the pain. If I wrote it down, it would go away, it would be over there in the notebook instead of inside me. I could revisit the ideas if I wanted but I no longer owned them, the notebook did.

I’m not sure what happened, but at some point in the last couple of months, I’ve lost it. I’ve lost my desire to write. I’ve lost myself.

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Every day I look at my computer and I think how I should post a tweet or a Facebook update. I should express my point of view. I should return to the world I know so well. Yet, I freeze. I sit for hours staring, saddened by the turn of events that continue to happen every day on this earth; I feel paralyzed. What could my thoughts actually do to help any of them? Who am I in the greater scheme of things?

I am just like everyone else.

We are all the same.

We are all different.

My voice, just another sound shooting through the airwaves, internet waves, waving at no one in particular, hoping at least someone hears me, sees me, waves back. A thin line of connectivity. The string that ties me to humanity. If I cut it, I’ll lose myself.

Maybe it’s time for that self to go.

Kill the parts I no longer need.

Rise above the mainstream machine.

Find more of me as I remove the layers that others have glossed, painted, laid over me.
A product of my generation. Of this time. Of the before and the after.

The math that doesn’t add up.

The apathy from never being good enough.

The ego of always being better than.

Never one or the other, always neutral with the weight of experience pushing one up more than the other.

Words come out, but do we ever really say anything?





Thank You For Parking Here

8 06 2017

Lately, I’ve been having a series of parking issues. You could say my head is ahead of itself, as in, as I’m parking I’ve already parked and am onto my next task, but in reality I have not yet parked and thus end up failing to parallel properly or I land across the yellow line and need to re-do at least five times.

Last night, I come home later than usual and there’s not spot on my block. So, I park on the main street nearest me. Of course, I had gone to buy plants and groceries so I had an entire car to unload (because that’s obviously when one would need convenience the most and not get a close spot).

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I am on my third and final trip, trying to tell myself positive things like, “hey you didn’t get your run in today so be thankful you’re getting some extra exercise,” and “look our neighbor has a pretty blooming bush, how hopeful late spring becomes,” you know, happy thoughts of that nature, etc. I remove my tote bags from my trunk (<- look at me remembering my reusable bags) when this old white dude in a maroon colored van creeps up behind me. He rolls down his passenger window, leans over and nearly inaudibly whispers, “thank you.”

It takes me a second to register what he said, then I am confused.

Is he thanking me for parking here?

Is he thanking me just because I exist?

Is he thanking me because I saved his life in some lucid dream he had the night before?

A second later I become angry.

He better not be thanking me because I’m wearing a dress and now he has a boner. He better not be thanking me because he somehow believes in some weird white male fantasy that I am wearing what I’m wearing for him.

I slam my trunk down.

This will not do.

I glare at him in a way that says, “if you do not move along in less than one second I will come after you and rip your eyeballs out of your head.”

I step in the direction of his van.

I am destruction.
I am fury.
I am woman who has had enough.
I am empowered Goddess.
I am not about to take another man’s shit.

White Old Creep lurches forward like a puppy dog that has been spanked for peeing all over the floor. If an oversized metal vehicle had the capabilities to shrug its shoulders this is what that van seems to do.

I turn and stomp back to my house. “Asshole,” I mumble under my breath.

I become conflicted.

Is it wrong to be thankful for the beauty in the world?

No.

Is it wrong to drive a creepy van and use it to creep up on a woman parked on the side of the road and whisper weird things at her?

Yeah, that’s pretty fucking weird.

Is it wrong for me to be wearing this dress?

No, I can wear whatever the fuck I want.

Is it wrong for people to be thinking in their heads, “yeah, but when you do wear short dresses, skirts, etc. that kind of lewd behavior from entitled creepy men is expected.”

Yes. Yes it is wrong to be thinking it, but it doesn’t stop people, even me from thinking it. Thinking about how I can’t even park a half a block from my house without being gawked at like some humping post. Thinking about how maybe I’m too old now to be dressing so scandalously, thinking about how dumb it is to think I’m dressing scandalously just because my dress cuts above the knee.

Wondering if I should actually feel flattered that I’m still getting cat-called. Wondering why I am wondering that when I know deep down that there are plenty of less creepy ways to flatter people, particularly strangers.

Proud of myself though, proud for getting pissed and going after him instead of retreating, smiling, acting like I’m complimented when I’m not, I’m annoyed.

I’m proud of my body.

Proud of my mind.

Proud of my ability to finally after years and years, move forward to fight instead of backing away.

Not that it’s a bad choice to back away, surviving is always a good choice. But, enough is enough already. Making that step is what I needed to do to get back in my head right. To be like, nah bro, I got this, watch me take care of me. Watch me wear what I want, walk how I want, be who I want, even park where I want–because now my head is back, which means there isn’t any parallel fear. I can back my boatcar wherever I need.





In Honor of my Grandpa Dave.

3 08 2016

This was the talk I gave about my Grandpa Dave on August 1st, 2016. And yes, the preacher did ask the crowd afterward if anyone had any ivory soap with them to wash my mouth out. If there’s one thing my grandpa taught me, it was to always tell it like it is, and I wrote this in honor of him and that passionate way to live life. 

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Grandpa Dave and me when I was just a wee thing.

As many of you here know, my grandparents started dating in high school. One of my favorite stories is how, at the beginning of their courtship they would end up at the Dairy Queen; on the first date my grandma ordered a strawberry shortcake and because she was so bashful, she ended up having him order the same thing for her over and over, date after date, because she didn’t want him to know that she didn’t really like their strawberry shortcake all that much.

But. She liked him, and he was a good one to like.

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Dave and Arlene May 1961

They were married the day after Christmas in 1960 and have been together ever since. For me, they were a shining example of love that endures, love that survives through the thick and thin, the good and bad; a love that was real, true, even if at times there were struggles, they were always there for each other and for their children. They had four lovely, generous, and outspoken kids, 2 even named after hollywood celebrities, Rick (after Ricky Nelson), Sandy, my mother (after Sandra Dee), and then Tom aka “Spook,” and Bob. They loved good music and my grandfather never shied away from belting a tune or two out loud at any random moment.

grandpagrillGrandpa Dave was at his best when he was at home, spending time outside on the patio, the long nights with the bug zapper and the laughing and chatting; grilling, drinking beer and bellowing out those old tunes.

Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket/never let it fade away…

Blue moon/you saw me standing alone/without a dream in my heart/without a love of my own

Charlie Brown — Why’s everybody always pickin’ on me?– you know Charlie Brown right?) he’d say.

I was to him, Krystal Leanie the Big Fat Green Beanie to which I would also yell back, “Grandpa! I’m NOT fat and I’m not a green bean!!”

All the grandchildren learned quickly to hide their knees when in his presence or he’d “show us how a crow lights,” by pressing on the pressure points that make the leg jump.

When we were really young we’d all climb up on top of him while he laid on the couch and try to take over his tv remote, which only worked for a short period of time before it was back on a baseball, or basketball, or football, or the worst of all, golf. He was an avid sports fan, dedicated to The Royals, The Chiefs and KU no matter if it was a winning or losing season. He himself played on a winning softball team. He also coached his kids on winning sports teams. And when my mom started coaching me, he’d come to all the games and cheer me on, very loudly, often expressing his opinions of the situation to the umpire.

He was a stickler for routine. Every morning he’d drink his Folgers and finish a crossword puzzle and we’d often find him listening to sports radio, many of us trying hard to turn that shit off.

He was at his worst on the road. Anyone who has everyone gotten into a vehicle with him knows what I’m talking about. To me, it was an adventure. I could tell other people were nervous, but I was always excited, ready to go fast, waiting for the next new cuss word I’d learn. “These damn farmers,” and “What? Are we in a fucking parade here?” were his top phrases, and to say that didn’t rub off on me would be a complete and total lie.

And that might be the most beautiful thing about grandpa Dave. He was not a bullshiter. He was bold and stubborn and always had an opinion to share even if it was sometimes a bit shall we say, off color, or about killing those worthless cats, though it was usually about politics or sports teams and certain players lack of skill.

It’s taken me years to admit that I am actually a less-than-average driver and when I sort of kind of ran into a menu sign at the Sonic while driving his truck to work one day, both my uncle Bob and my grandpa were the calmest I’ve ever seen them about someone in the family doing something really ridiculously stupid. I thought he’d kill me, but he was just glad I wasn’t hurt. And that’s the thing, deep down he was the sweetest, most loving, gentle soul, which is perhaps why sometimes he came across as the opposite–he didn’t want to give that secret away. Anyone close to him though, knew better. Not very many men baby-talk their dogs or let their grandchildren ride them like a horse through the house.

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Yes, I have proof this really happened, that’s me and grandpa Dave back in the day. 

He lived in Greeley his entire life, and worked for 32 Years at GM, many of you know him best from the Greeley Quick Shop aka the liquor store where he’d greet everyone with a big “how you doing today?,” and shoot the shit with anyone who had the time.

He was far from perfect, but who isn’t? There were things he liked and things he didn’t like and he’d always tell you which one was which. Regardless of which side you were on in those discussion, they were always lively; and his honesty and sincerity were two of his most admirable traits.

He will be greatly missed in the community, by his friends, and within our family.

I will say, that to this day, whenever I hear someone loudly sneeze three times in a row, I wait for the echoing GOD Damn It!!! I know I will never hear it again, but that God Damn It spirit will live on forever.

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Grandpa Dave, me, Grandma Arlene, Mindy and Judy, Christmas 2011.





9 Random Thoughts About the Million-Dollar Doomsday Condos

18 01 2015

9 Random Thoughts About the Million-Dollar Doomsday Condos

Somehow I stumbled across an article about these Luxury Survival Condos built in an former Atlas missile silo in the middle of nowhere Kansas—and since I’m from Kansas I felt like I needed to know more, but all I was left with after learning about them was more questions.

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1. First the website claimed it was in a “secret” location; I kept digging and I’m pretty sure I figured out where it is; my main concern is that if I’m paying millions of dollars to have shelter after a nuclear attack, how am I going to get there in time? Am I going to take my helicopter there? And if everyone—all 70 or so people who can live there too—takes their helicopters, where are we all going to park?

2. There’s a community pool inside. How are they going to keep pool water clear for 5+ years. How do they have enough water for that? You know some bored people are going to bang it out in there at least a few times, is there enough chlorine to kill all of those tiny tiny swimmers that will escape?

3. Speaking swimmers, will there be a medical staff? How will people deal with pregnancy? One would think that IUDs would be a good addition, but if only 70 people are left in the world, they’d probably also want to start repopulating the planet and I don’t know if I’d really want to give birth in an underground bunker. What about formula, baby food, diapers?

4. Most importantly, what about death? Where do the dead bodies go?

5. And what if someone coming in has a weird contagious disease?

6. Plumbing is also a concern. I’m sure they’ve thought this through. I saw that they have the bidet style toilets to cut back on the use of toilet paper, but what if something goes wrong with the pipes?

7. I haven’t even gotten to the social aspects. Can you even imagine being stuck in a building with 70 other rich assholes? Like surviving a nuclear attack and then getting trapped in one space with a bunch of crazy doomsday people might actually be worse than dying.

8. Have they even thought about the life philosophies they’re going to instill? Like if you could start over from scratch basically, then you could get people to believe in anything. You could make up your own religion, your own customs, and relationship-structures. They’d really have a golden opportunity and I imagine that they’d just waste it on reformulating capitalism and monogamy—yawn.

9. They have security guards there. If there was an attack, wouldn’t the guys with the guns get dibs?





Do Not Let Your Wrinkles Ruin All of Our Lives.

26 11 2013

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Meet Betty.

Day-Zero-Betty is in deep-thought and it is disgusting. I mean look at that furrowed brow. How gross that her face is making an expression. I can’t even handle it. Luckily for all of us there is a drug out there that can fix her. It’s called Botox and OMG does it work miracles. I mean, imagine what Betty would have to do if Botox wasn’t around to stop her face from moving? She would basically have to hide, like all alone, except for maybe a few cats that were clueless to how gross her wrinkly face actually is (or maybe those felines would be aware but they would put up with it because she feeds them tuna, who knows what cats really think).

In any case, Day-Zero-Betty is absolutely hideous.

Just look at her.

No! Don’t!

If Botox didn’t give her a makeover we would all be puking every time we ran into her on the street. Betty wouldn’t even be able to have a regular job because no one would be able to tolerate the grotesqueness, those deep rivers and crevasses of her facial features that make it look like she was more 3D map than woman.

“Is that the Nile?” People would ask, which would cause her to cry and those deep streams would fill with water.

Sometimes little fish were found swimming there.

Poor Betty.

But, not Poor Betty anymore! Thanks to Botox her face is no longer a breeding ground for perch and tilapia. No, now on Day 7 Betty can blend in with the rest of society and walk around with her blank canvas of a mug, which is a relief. People with wrinkles are evil really, walking around reminding everyone else of our impending doom.

It’s incredibly rude to make people think about death, their own death especially. We need to believe that we can live forever (even if it is a mirage caused by wonder drugs).

Botox is like immortality in a bottle.

Except that it only immortalizes a face. Or only immortalizes the (lack of) expression of one’s face (and like it only does that until the chemical fades out of the body and the face starts deteriorating again. So, technically, not immortal, but that’s just a small detail in the light of a faux youthful glow).

So, yeah, if you suspect there may be a wrinkle or two making its way to your face, stop it! Stop that wrinkle dead in its tracks. You’re only 20? 7? 14? Doesn’t matter. Wrinkles can pop up and ruin your life at ANY time. You cannot be too careful. Try Botox prevention. Just constantly inject your face with chemicals that make it look like you are a robot. There is nothing sexier and more charming than a robot, with their monotone voices and hard cold exteriors, oh yeah!

Do it today because if you don’t, you might look your age and there is nothing worse than that.

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I too had wrinkles once, but thanks to taking a picture without my brow furrowed, I fixed it all up!





Having a Fling Doesn’t Have to End a Relationship.

18 11 2013

The other night I decided since I didn’t have a Netflix tv obsession at the moment that I was going to instead sit through an entire movie. The movie I chose was called Fling. I picked it because it was about a couple in an open relationship. I thought it would be interesting to see how they worked through these ideas via a mainstream outlet. It was pretty typical in that the monogamy-culture won in the end.

But what really struck me odd was the way in which they proceeded to carry out this open relationship. It was unrealistic to say the least. They had established no boundaries in their non-monogamy, choosing to flirt, go home with, make-out with other people within each other’s presence. Now, there are very few people in the world who could handle doing this at the rate in which this couple did. Like they would go out together and then each other’s flings would show up at the same space and they didn’t think there would be drama or tension or awkwardness. And if there was awkwardness it wasn’t something the main couple were capable of admitting was happening between the two of them.

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What tore the couple apart was not the non-monogamy though. It was only after they started keeping secrets, lying, not communicating, that their relationship started to unravel. And they weren’t just lying to each other but to everyone close to them. The main guy started sleeping with his best friend’s sister and neglected to tell him. The best friend flipped and it was hard to determine if it was because he thought his sister deserved better or that he felt he was being deceived. In any case, it could have been not nearly dramatic if they were all just upfront from the beginning about everything–because if you love your sister and you love your best friend–why would it be a big deal if they loved each other too?

Some may say the main partnership always had problems and the two involved in the open-relationship were doing it because they didn’t want to be alone and were only with each other until something better came along. Because they blatantly loved each other I don’t think that’s a strong argument, but perhaps what happened is that they loved each other, but were no longer “in love” with each other.

It felt that they just threw themselves into an open-relationship without much thought as to how it should or could actually function properly. It initially worked when they were being truthful about everything and weren’t making any intense connections with other people. It was when other connections became stronger and they didn’t know how to balance all of the different emotions and issues within each coupling that it all seemed to fall apart.

I was left feeling torn because in a way it did show how an open-relationship doesn’t work and that could be just as beneficial for making sure that doesn’t happen within one’s own open-relationship, but at the same time it pushed monogamy, making their relationship seem perverted and not as serious or meaningful as it could be, which is bullshit.

The things that go wrong in relationships, whether monogamous or other, are generally the same. People fall out of love for whatever reasons and instead of ending it because they’re too scared or too comfortable they end up being dishonest, deceitful and they fail at communicating what’s going on with them.

In the end, I’d say it was an okay story, but it would be nice to see more movies or tv shows where non-monogamy (polyamory, open-relationships, etc.) works in a positive healthy way, but I suppose it takes people in them to start telling their stories and perhaps when it’s positive and healthy it’s actually pretty boring and no one really cares.