“You know the sun is gonna shine in my back door some day” Aretha Franklin

Went to a West Coast meets country dance. Country in one room, West Coast swing in the other. Truly, I went for the country room to brush up on my 2 Step which is horrendous. Don’t use it for 20 years, you definitely lose it. Well, at least I did. The leads had to “insist” rather than “suggest”. By 11:30pm all that was left were the Regional West Coast Pros. I guess everyone else didn’t feel like dancing around them so they left. I hung around a little longer watching but frankly, I was not feeling the music or the dancing. It was like spoonful after spoonful of icing with little cake. All styling and tricks and no Foundation.

My friend “S”, the one I have Frank conversations with on a near-daily basis. I met him in the Army. He’s one of the reasons why I say joining the Army was not a mistake no matter how much I joke about it. When he was telling me about his latest would-be romantic encounter and the reason he’s going to die alone, I reminded him that we should at the very least, make sure we end up in the same nursing home together. Provided we both live to a ripe old age which as a matter aside I never intended on. But just in case I do we should be roommates. “I’m a quiet masturbator. Hell, I’ll even let you have the top bunk” (John Lyshitski). Let’s Go to Prison, one of the best, underrated comedies since John Candy took funny to the grave with him. Although between Deadpool and Just Friends, I have found renewed comedic hope in Ryan Reynolds.
I finished a law assignment in the 11th hour and felt pretty good about it. This instructor (retired military JAG and current federal judge) is engaged and I respect him, which motivates me to make an effort to give him something worth reading (looking at, listening to). I want to give as good as I get. I’m celebrating with homemade pizza with a cauliflower crust (in hind-taste, I do NOT recommend it), some wine (okay, a vat of wine), Rain, Candlelight, and Aretha Franklin. I was feeling so good (and a little tipsy) that I flipped my phone the bird rather than answer it when my The Flake called.

I’m going to paraphrase something I saw on a church billboard that struck me. No, not that “worry is a mild form of atheism” although that has lingered in my brain for years. This one is less profound but still struck me: Either you are in a storm, coming out of a storm or heading into a storm. The point is, there is always a storm…

“Don’t get me wet because the bandages will all come off” ~ Dresden Dolls

Maybe it’s the rain that smells like ocean and keeps the heat at bay. Maybe it’s the caffeine as I allowed myself Mountain Dew for the first time in half a year. Maybe it Grouplove, Band of Horses, The XX and Modest Mouse mixing through my stereo. Maybe it’s the comfort of a well-fitting bra after finally admitting to being a 40D and no longer a 38C. But I think it’s the people.
Hospitable human interaction. From the friendly folks at the car dealership where I mooched Wi-Fi and fresh coffee and worked on a laptop with my dog beside me as my car was getting serviced. To popping over to the dog park where the guys playing tennis next door tossed over fresh yellow balls for my pup to chase. And down to a new gourmet sandwich shop curated by a couple of cheesemongers from Detroit and Brooklyn respectively. I was content to sit outside under the awning until the drizzle turned into a torrent flying sideways. Even my dog was looking at me like “What the fuck?” until the owner came out and invited us inside, saying “Don’t worry, everyone here is dog friendly and the health inspector isn’t due for five months”.

Heterosexual men and women cannot be “just” friends according to my mother. She said there is always a sexual tension between them and at the time, I argued, using my best friend “Dirty” as an example. He’s like a brother to me. An asshole Big Brother. And there is zero chemistry between us. Or so I thought until two years ago when he proposed us having children together since both of us were feeling that biological clock chipping away at our fertile years. I thought he was proposing IVF but no, he wanted old-fashioned sex. Perhaps in his loneliness and desperation, he even entertained the idea that the two of us could be something more than friends or even co-parents. We always joked that When Harry Met Sally was us, minus the sex and happy ending. But now I realized wasn’t opposed to that. So maybe my mother is right and I’m just clueless as another one of my closest friends admitted to me in a frank conversation, as our conversations always are, that if I was itching for intimacy on our upcoming trip that he was all for it. I told him I valued our friendship as is, entirely too much to muddy it with sex. Which is partly true but the other half of the equation is I am not sexually attracted to him. Or to my best friend either.
And yet I wanted Amanda and Brian from the Dresden Dolls to hook up. Or Suzanne and Ben from HoneyHoney to live happily ever after. I encouraged it even, as they both laughed and looked away during an radio interview ten years ago. You’re telling me “Lets Get Wrecked” wasn’t about hooking up with your best friend and bandmate out of convenience and loneliness? “Pulling at our jeans now, honey, and biting at our necks…”
“I am the girl anachronism…” Kat von D bad girl looks with a June Cleaver sentimentality. A freak in the bed who wants to meet your parents. But I’ll drive you crazy like the rest of them. I ride with the windows down and air conditioning on. I steer with my knees not because I’m multi-tasking with lipstick and the cell phone (although I might be doing that too) but just because I can, curling my arms behind my head rest flaunting it to passing traffic. “You can tell from the scars on my arms, and the cracks in my hips, and the dents in my car, and the blisters on my lips that I’m not the carefullest of girls…”

“I wasn’t even in the running” ~ Haim

I feel like I’m always operating in the red, physically and mentally at a deficit.
There were two Gregs. The under 30 homeless-by-choice biking gypsy yogi without a fuck in the world and the other one who pretended not to recognize me. Oh, you know what you did, motherfucker. Ten years ago, this “friend” tried to steal my civilian radio job while I was in Iraq and got fired for it. The one time the company did right by me and we haven’t spoken a word since. Although all he did was jump across the street to the competitor where he still works today so maybe Karma is waiting to kick his ass in his next life. But he spent half an hour pretending not to notice me sitting 10 feet away at my favorite local coffee where I go for a change of scenery while working on school assignments. I forced a smile while homeless Greg happily rubbed my dog’s belly but kept thinking, this is just one of the reasons I need to move: I’ve been here too long if I’m bumping into assholes from my past. Time to go meet new assholes, make new enemies somewhere else.

But it looks like The Flake will make it to the West Coast before I do. He flies this week for the final round of interviews and contract negotiations for a job out near Monterey. He’s texting me links to the luxury apartments near the national forest where he is planning to live. Meanwhile, I’m looking at the red line that is Highway 1 in Google Maps after much of the coastline slid into the Pacific in the last few weeks. Road closure until at least late August. I might not make it into Big Sur at all this year as planned. But that asshole is moving there.  In all my self-righteous glory, I utter encouragement and congratulations to him while making my apologies to G_d for secretly being bitter and green. What is the line between sharing and gloating? Is it the intent? Because it feels like he’s gloating.

Or maybe this is another example of how I’ve lost my perspective. Because I live in Paradise too, 10 minutes from some of the most beautiful beaches in the nation. I need only open my front door to the smell of saltwater and the sound Of seagulls. It’s a source of peace and he is an unwitting thief. I give him the benefit of the doubt with “unwitting”. But if he is unwitting then that makes me solely responsible for my discontent. No, he can’t be that stupid. I’ve told him we can’t be friends, that my feelings haven’t changed. He knows he’s still using me. And I let him.

“Your insecurity makes you unattractive”, he once told me. I recall hateful things he’s said to me in the past because ripping that wound back open motivates me to rebuild The Wall. Not the healthiest coping mechanism and certainly not very forgiving but it’s a line of defense that works.

But I danced and sang a bit this weekend. Even if I was just faking it for the crowd, the point is, I did it. And that’s progress.