Sunday, February 22, 2009

Firsts

On Friday, for not the first time, I went to a blogger happy hour. But, for the first time, I heard someone discuss shaving their nether regions because of the possibility of a sexual encounter later that evening. Not long after that, I decided an hour of blogger happy hour was sufficient.

(Aside: I asked my boyfriend, "Am I a prude?"

He laughed and said, "I don't think so. Not at all."

I said, "Does being a prude mean you disapprove of the actions or the topics of conversation?"

He said, "We know you don't disapprove of the actions…"

"No, but I don't want to hear all the details. It's…too much.")

Luckily for me, I had two internet social events to attend so I was able to make a graceful exit (kinda). I might have ended up walking the mile plus to the second event since it wasn't too cold, but I managed to take a bad step, turn my ankle and take a tumble on the sidewalk. Nice. (Two days later, my ankle is almost 100% but I have a couple of nasty bruises to show for it.) That's what I get for drinking a Manhattan on an empty stomach and wearing my boots with the inch and a half blocky heel. Or maybe I'm just clumsy.

I got a cab.

The second event was at a karaoke place. The bar was jam-packed but I found my group easily enough--I'd met two of them before and was introduced to several new people.

I've always liked to sing and I was in chorus in grade school and even joined the Glee Club in grad school for a semester. I have a decent voice and can carry a tune but no one's going to ask me to solo. I am afraid of singing off key or in the wrong key in front of an audience. Thus, I have never sung karaoke. Sure, I've done it with a group, I've done it drunkenly with a group, I've done it, once, as a duo (but we picked a song with very little singing in it, by accident), but I've never done it on my own.

The very friendly group encouraged me to sign up. I said it was too hard to choose and I was embarrassed. They said, c'mon, you have to try.

I had the thought, that, once in my life, I can do karaoke. It doesn't matter if I'm bad. It's an experience I've never had and I should try it.

I decided to sign up and I picked "Tears of a Clown." It's one of my favorite songs. I wasn't at all sure I could pull it off. It might be in too high a register for me. I might not get the rhythm right. But, what the heck?

My name still hadn't been called when the bar started closing down. The fellas went to the dj and insisted that he give me a turn. I said, no, I don't mind, I can do it another time. And then my name was called.

I was game, so I went to the mike. I waited. And waited. Then the dj showed me the disc with my song on it--it had a big crack right through the middle. Based on my observation of previous singers, it occurred to me that a better choice might be an early-ish Madonna song. I said, "What about a nice Madonna song?" He found the book and opened to a page with about a dozen Madonna songs. I pointed and said, "That one--do you have that one?"

And then I sang a song that could almost have been written for me: Material Girl.

It had been so long since I'd heard this song that I didn't remember the lyrics. But, I did remember the melody--and the timing. You have to get the timing on your own and it might be the most difficult part. I got into it pretty quickly and read the words off the screen with no problems.

In fact, few songs are further from my take on life and relationships than this one--but so what? It's a silly, fun song and I was able to keep myself singing rather than laughing through most of it.

Some of the women in our group sang back up for me--way off to the side, though, so I was still very much on my own. Later, they complimented me on doing a good job. I realized in that our mixed-gender group, none of the other woman had taken a turn, while some of the guys had gone twice.  (Some of the guys never took a turn and, overall, I'm not sure what the gender balance of the singers was--but I think it was pretty even, just not in our group.)

When my song was over, it was time to go and a bunch of us continued drinking in a different venue, close to my home.

I was determined to have a late, drunken night out and I completely succeeded. The night included one inappropriate text, one inappropriate piece of flattery, one near fight, and one hook-up on the dance floor. I didn't get home until 3am, slightly worse for wear, still drunk, but content.

(I told Kent about the dance floor hook up--because that's exactly how we got together. He laughed and said, "They were 'that couple.'" Yep. We used to be 'that couple'. We talked about the first night we met and I said, "That was a great night, though." He said, "It was a great night.")



Work continues to be the bane of my existence. We're back in the main building in our new cubicles. It sucks. The worst part is that the space allotted to different divisions is extremely inequitable. My division has so much less space than the folks right night door to us it's laughable. I get angry if I think about it too long.

The other thing is that I finally talked to my old boss, Larry, about my general unhappiness and he had nothing for me. I talked to him a second time, with an actual suggestion for improvement and was rejected. All I got from him was, "See that senior guy in your division? You should be doing something like that!"

I said, "I would but I don't know how." You know, could he not have said, when I first talked to him, "How can I work with you to help? Let's try and figure this out." Or the second time, "Do you want to do things the way senior guy does? Let's talk about how to get you on that path." No, instead I get, "You should be doing that!"

Well, what if I don't want to "do that" or I don't know how? Too bad for me. Yeah, yeah, I know what you're going to say: get another job. That may well be the next step. At the very least, I should look around. I've got nearly ten years into this place and, while I feel that they value me to some extent, I'm still underutilized and basically left to my own devices. While that might be perfect for some, it doesn't work for me. I'm bored and guilty. Something has to change.



On the personal front, I found an even cheaper way to call Kent and we had a nice, long phone call on Saturday. It's funny, in the last email he sent, he apologized for being a bad correspondent and not having anything to say. Yet we talked easily for a couple of hours and could have talked for longer. The point being: we (still) (really) like each other. We get along so well despite the unlikely nature of our relationship--unlikely on every level--in circumstances, continuation, origination and other differences. He is an army-type, politically conservative and I'm an anti-war activist (at times) and a socialist. He's a country boy and I'm a city girl. He's an economist and I'm a sociologist. Come up with any spectrum and we're on opposite ends. (Except for the frugality one--we're equally frugal. Of course, there are several areas in which we're like minded…or we wouldn't have made it this long.) Yet, when we we're together, things work. When we talk, it works.

A friend said, "If you're not willing to be married to someone in the army, then the answer is no, it won't work out."

I said, "But I'm not the only one who has to answer. My answer isn't 'no'…it's 'maybe.' His answer might be 'no.'"

No one wants to ask those questions and he can't think about it right now. His focus is elsewhere and, you know, that's fine. My focus is much more on him…but it shouldn't be. I am thinking a lot about work and I'm getting my social life in gear. I'm making an effort to be active, to be social, to take care of myself and not obsess. How successful am I? Marginally. How miserable am I? Not very, but some days are better than others.

Still, I can't complain. I am lucky in so many ways. I have such a relatively easy life. Not a comforting thought, exactly, but a reminder to spend as little time as possible wallowing. My life isn't about one ambiguous relationship. My life is my life and I'm happy Kent is still part of it, but he's not the totality of it. That's not how I ever want things to be and it won't change. Hmm, do you think that's why I'm not married? I wonder.

Grateful for: a full, happy weekend.

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