“All the vampires living in the city walk west down Ventura Boulevard” ~Tom Petty

Drunk in the airport, cucumber gimlets swimming in my gut, the impossibly full moon reflecting in the terminal glass, I think “Here we go again. Scotland part 2…at least the soundtrack is better”. The is PA is reading my mind, playing my alt-rock favorites: Muse, U2, Strumbellas, Grouplove, Lucius, Twentyone pilots (one of only two songs I like from them) as well as the one good song from Kings of Leon (Molly’s Chambers). I force myself to put down my phone, look up and make eye contact with strangers (at least the ones who aren’t buried in their own phones). I want to start a conversation with someone but their faces don’t process and I suspect anyone looking at me sees a woman lost.

Well, if you’re not going to make friends then read, I tell myself, picking up the Tim Robbins book a blind date recommended but now 50 pages deep, I’m put off by all the pussy talk and sick of hearing about this chick’s giant thumbs. I want to text someone. I want to text him. To tell him I’m going to his old stomping grounds in California find my own damned seaglass and that he cant have every country song…

My trip to the Pacific Coast was everything that my trip to Scotland wasn’t: Clear and peaceful. I went swing dancing in San Diego, watched F18’s and Seahawks show off against the backdrop of the setting sun on Coronado Island, tried In-N-Out burger to see what the fuss was about (give me Five Guys anytime), made a “pie run” on a crotch rocket through the winding hills to Julien (and popped a wheelie in there along the way), and dropped my bag in the spare bedroom of a friend’s house on Camp Pendleton and headed north, hugging the coast on the PCH (Hwy 1) through the OC, Santa Monica, Malibu…well, the intent was to spend time in Big Sur but I only made it as far as the southernmost tip, around Cambria and the Hearst Castle. From there, Hwy 1 was closed due to rock and mud slides. It rarely rains in CA but I did pick the “rainy season” I suppose. My heart sank but I shook it off almost immediately, promising to return, maybe later this year, to spend quality time exploring the forest. I headed south again along the coast, stopping often to take in the view or explore a trail or cove. I only found one piece of white-ish sea glass, which admitted was a mission this trip as the Flake had collected several lovely pieces for me a few months earlier which he failed to bring or send (I’m still holding strong, by the way. Missing him daily but not enough to pick at that wound).
I marveled at the changing geography: green mountains and forest that resembled Scotland (had the weather been clear) turning into mountains of smooth rock all running alongside cliffs of cold, cold ocean. Elephant seals quietly swam and slept along the shore in the north while their smaller cousins barked and basked on the southern coast.

I caught up with two girlfriends from my Army days with whom I shared a common age and unfortunate history of bad romantic choices. Both had moved to the Pacific Coast to “start over” and within a week or two of going back online to meet people, had met their husbands. One is now married to a young Marine and the other to a Jewish lawyer. It gives me hope and frankly, gets me thinking again about a piece of advice the Millionaire Matchmaker once made: If we are willing to move to improve our professional situations, why wouldn’t we move to improve something as important as our love life? Moving might just improve my odds of meeting someone decent. And the people did seem decent there. Relaxed smiles and not afraid to make eye contact. Perhaps there’s a legal weed joke in there somewhere but I was pleasantly surprised by the laid back culture.

In 2014, after my last trip to the ‘Stan, I added San Diego, sight unseen, to my short list of places I might leaving the Gulf coast for. Now that I’ve seen it, it is at the top of the list. One of the acquaintances I visited who had moved from Florida to the PC several years ago put it in perspective: “I would rather be broke in San Diego than rich anywhere else”. And it IS expensive! With California charging $13 for a $6 bottle of red, eating at least a third of resident’s paychecks in taxes, and the only affordable living being across the border in Mexico, I figured I would have to not only downsize my household but earn at least $60k roughly just to scrape by in that area. Maybe after I finish my MBA, I’ll move to Ocean Beach next to the dog park or Oceanside where I can watch the beautiful boys stripping out of their wet suits and remind myself “Dontstaredontbecreepydontstaredontbecreepydontstaredontbecreepy…”

But I “get” my friend’s sentiment now. The expense is worth it. I wasn’t depressed, not once. Unlike Scotland, I enjoyed even the days alone with my own company. The negative inner demon was silent as I was too busy trying to recall high school Spanish to translate local names. And when out of signal range, there was a soundtrack playing in my head with Tom Petty singing about the vampires on Ventura Boulevard, Courntey Love singing Malibu, Everclear singing Santa Monica, Bugs Bunny singing about the swallows coming back to Capistrano…
I’m going to try and go back before the year is out.

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“I can’t be the girl you want but I can be the thing you throw away, throw away, throw away…” Blood Orange

My dog escorts me to the public mail box at the end of the the road in my ‘hood after 1am because I suspect a 10% chance my friend and current roommate would toss this letter directly in the trash upon seeing it pinned to the front door for the postman in the morning. In response to the first and only message I’ve received from him in what feels like eternity but is only a month. Perhaps his conscience trying to make ammends on New Year’s Day.. 

“——–“, 

I didn’t want to get into a back and forth via email but I wanted to address a few things you said in your last message to me. In that sugar-coated rejection, you talked about how great I am and how I just need to find someone who loves me in return…and that person is not you. You said you don’t “deserve” me but that’s a cop-out. It has little to do with “deserve” and more to do with decision. Everything we say and do is by choice. There is a popular Maya Angelou quote that goes “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” 

You say that I don’t believe you when you tell me that on some level, you love me. That’s because you’ve never done anything to make me believe it. I spent the better part of 2016 searching for Proof of Love on Planet “–“and it might have been there but not for me.

Also, you telling me that you blocked me was another stab in the heart to put it lightly. Yes, I blocked your phone number for self-preservation but I left that email window open. And you cannot understand how difficult that decision was for me! I never wanted to cut you off in any way. But you…someone who has never blocked or cut off anyone (even when there are toxic people you should have cut off)…you blocked ME! Like I was the ONE person on this planet you could no longer stand to have risk of contact with. I was the one person in this world you found intolerable. As much as I appreciate honesty, I kind of with you hadn’t told me that. I probably never would have found out and the only purpose it served was to make me feel like a worthless piece of shit. 

And yet I still miss the fuck out of you. Maybe I just miss the man I thought you were or could be, not the one you are to me. But I agree with you on one point: I deserve to be loved in return. I know my own worth, even if it seemed otherwise because you fed the worst  of my insecurities. And for my own part, I apologize that I wasn’t content with platonic friendship. Even if the chances weren’t muddied by sex, my own feelings prevented it. I still keep hoping you will show up at my door and put your dick in my mouth. Just being honest!

G-d, I pray to meet someone else who I connect with as I did with you and a very few others in my past that I wasted my heart on. My intellectual, moral, spiritual, sexual equal. I’m not entirely sober as I finish this up, having spent the last several hours between swing dancing and hanging out with perhaps the one “normal” guy I’ve pulled from the dredges of humanity that is online dating. But even those who aren’t irritatingly stupid, I just can’t imagine myself on my knees in front of them. 

I’m not “waiting” for you, not that you asked or expect me to. You don’t want me and I don’t need you to remind me of that. But don’t cop-out with you don’t “deserve” me. Just admit you don’t want me, you don’t prioritize me, you don’t value me as you have and do others who are less than me. Yes, they are less than me. And if you can’t see that, I’d say it’s your loss but then, that’s a cop-out too. The heart and head rarely want the same thing, nor what is best for us. And I can’t blame you for not wanting me any more than I can blame myself for not wanting anyone else right now…but maybe this is the year G-d will cut me a break.