“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.

Which one of these is not like the other…?

Guess who’s not performing samba this weekend as scheduled? Just me. Big girl out. I guess the client didn’t want a fattie in feathers. Nearly 3 months of rehearsals and $400 sunk into sequins, I even nailed the routines in our “school play” but 3 days before the gig, informed of client aesthetic preference. I was hurt, embrassed, begging for vindication on social media and asking who wanted to buy my hot pink and black feathers (only worn once). I soothed my ego with comments like “Youre a wonderful dancer, their loss” and “So you’re not a tiny dancer…” but then my mother put it in perspective: You can be the best dancer and performer and you still wouldnt make the Rockettes. Thats show business.
Shes right. Ive been passed over because I didnt look the part before. Close your eyes and I could sound like Stephanie Mills or Karen Carpenter bur I didnt look like them. Still, try not to take it personally when you’re excluded from performing because of the way you look. Although two years of ballet and zero cellulite, my ass looks good in a thong, thank you.
Maybe it was a self-fulfilling prophecy, after my body image insecurity at our dress rehearsal but I watched the video and it didn’t translate to my performance. I shook it with abandon! And I do love this costume. It’s beautiful and I worked hard on it but I told the group leaders that I’m going to take a break until they either have a new routine to learn or there is a paid performance opportunity that would not discriminate. We’ll see if that call ever comes.
The next day someone posted a video of me doing a sexy as hell bachata routine. I was wearing my Samba heels so the investment isn’t a total loss.

“You just want attention, you don’t want my heart” ~ Charlie Puth

Last night was a waste of false eyelashes. I felt like the orphan on stage at a school play. When performing, I like to make eye contact with someone in the audience but there was no one to make eye contact with because no one was looking at me. They were focused on whoever they were there to support. Which is why I prefer to dance for an impartial audience because then they are looking at everyone, taking it all in. It didn’t help that I felt disgusting compared to the other girls in the troupe. When I tried on my full costume last week, I felt fabulous, “Look at my feathers! Sparkle sparkle sparkle!” But then I saw a photo of myself taken with the other girls and that childhood rhyme taunted me “Which one of these is not like the other…?”  Full on body shame. I hid from further pictures and those that I couldnt hide from, I frantically sought them out on social media to “un-tag” myself before they could populate on my page. At least my makeup looked good.

It was a long night, odd girl out in the corner for hours pretending to stretch or do homework while waiting for that 2 minute performance. As soon as it was over, I shed the feathers and bolted for home where I took an Ambien and made the mistake of picking up the phone when the Flake called. I hadn’t talked to him since before Bill died and I kept thinking “Bill would advise against this”. In the course of a 2 hour low-self esteem, depressed, vulnerable Ambien haze, I watched him masterbate via live chat and took “comfort” in the breadcrumbs of “affection” he tossed casually, just like ol’ times. It felt good for the moment but then I woke up alone and missing him afresh. I looked back on my text messages: yep, I told him I still loved him. Even though there is nothing to miss or love, I remind myself.

Apparently in that haze, I also upset one of the only friends I have left. I apologized but can’t shake this feeling that I want to go to sleep and not wake up. The winds of change are swift. I woke at a relatively reasonable hour this morning (the fact that it was still morning makes it reasonable), made coffee, did my makeup and hair but didn’t get dressed. Two hours later, I am back in bed. Tired but wide awake and thinking how much I dislike this Masters program and don’t want to work on the assignments that are due this weekend. I want to do something but like being beyond hungry, nothing sounds appealing so I lie here in a mild state of panic at each passing minute and listen to my soul rumble hungrily.

I’ve lost my perspective (to which my pissed off friend agreed) and under these circumstances, volunteering for another possible suicide deployment back to Hell sounds like a “good” idea. What is stopping me? My dog.

“I can cope any way I choose and I have not cried in three whole days” ~ Violents

Hey how’s this for a pickup line? My doctor gave me a new brand of birth control pill. Want to come over and test its effectiveness?

I’m back with my vibrator. I’ve been blowing off the booty call following Bill’s death so his hints at needing a backrub or “to do laundry” are getting fewer and further between. Not that I wanted to make a habit of it. And it was a 3 on a scale to 10 ( but I give him an extra point for being a good kisser). 

I volunteered to be a lab rat. It’s what you do when you’re desperate. The VA is conducting studies on transcranial magnetic stimulation to treat depression. It feels like a giant woodpecker furiously attacking my skull for 37 and a half minutes. Not painful, just odd. I first learned about it from my family and I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t deliberately try to kill me. I volunteered late last year when the Wellbutrin made me suicidal. I feel better without pills. Sometimes I even feel normal but normal is not the same as good and Good is relative. Still, I was surprised to be accepted as a “rat” following thorough evaluation. I was added to the waiting list and so I waited. More than three months went by and I heard nothing. I even called once to make sure I was still on the list but after the new year, shaking off the Flake, brief but enjoyable travel and being a dance dance dancing machine, feeling, dare I say “good”… Bill died and a week later I got a call asking if I was ready to start treatment for 4-6 weeks. I explained to the doctor that I was concerned my results would be skewed. After all I just lost someone very dear to me and who wouldn’t be depressed? Naturally, gradually, I should feel “better” in 4-6 weeks anyway, right? I said “Before Bill died, I wasn’t depressed. I was perfectly normal”. The moment I said it, I knew it wasn’t true and the doctor was quick to point out “I screened you before your friend passed and you were not ‘ perfectly normal’, as you put it. But I take your present circumstances into account in the study results”.

I forced myself to go to a pool party Saturday, and be thankful that I got an invitation at all. It started out ok but after a few hours drinking, I looked around and found myself the odd man out again, the 7th wheel as people paired off and it became clear who the couples were (or at least the special friends). That’s when I left and got lonely enough that I text the booty call. Not to invite him over, which he fished for, but just to vent. I told him about the pool party and about being unhappy with the arrangement at home. I told him all about how my roommate asked if his girlfriend was welcome to stay the night. I said yes and a week later he had.a house key made for her without asking me and she’s lived here every day and night for the last 2 months. Individually they may be the best roommates I could hope for but my resentment is growing. Ive been taken advantage of, the water bill has doubled, but the worst part is I am living with a married couple in their honeymoon period: they cook together, dance around the kitchen, kiss, eat on the patio, fuck constantly and forget to shut the door… and it’s in my face! I begrudgingly accept my chronic single fate of the last 13 years but Im often lonely and I HATE being a spectator to a couple playing house in MY house. HATE IT! Surprisingly the booty call gave me advice that I would have expected from Bill if he were still alive “It doesn’t matter your reasons for being uncomfortable. All that matters is you are uncomfortable.”

May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground. Carry on. ~ Fun

A friend posted on social media today that it was painful to live in a world that no longer needed her. I responded, “What about your needs?” But martyrdom is a hard habit to break. I’m still working on it. And I may not be a Buddhist like my recently passed friend Bill but even the mindfulness therapy championed by Dr. Hayes is based in eastern thought. Modern Buddhist practitioners are a source of inspiration and stability. One ACT/Buddhist theory that Bill shared with me before he passed was that the reason people are so unhappy is because we cling to what we want: not just material things but circumstances and relationships. Rather than accepting that everything changes and comes to an end, we mourn for its passing rather than celebrating that we had it at all, rather than giving thanks and moving on. Well, Bill, I’m sorry but I miss you. And he would say “Stop saying sorry. Say ‘oops’.”

Bill’s best friend got back to me with details for the memorial service and confirmed my gut suspicion, that he took his own life. It’s hard to fathom this world getting “the best” of someone so enlightened and loved. It shakes what little faith I have left. Local swing dancers are hosting a “Dance like Bill” contest Friday night. They made it a “strictly” instead of a “jack and jill”. Not to insult your dance intelligence but in a competition, “strictly” means you have a designated partner. For “jack and Jill”, partners are chosen at random. I posted on the event page asking them to change it to a J&J since Bill WAS my partner and I don’t have anyone else to dance with for that competition or any other. Although the idea of showing up to an event with those Scenesters that never gave me the time of day as a dancer to begin with, and watching them all try to imitate my partner, especially when Bill and I would have been dancing together in Vegas this week…I’d better not go. I’ll just get angry. 

Time for my biannual four hour round trip to the VA hospital in Orlando. The flagship of VA hospitals. Clean and efficient; where lab techs are all sharp-shooting former combat medics and never have to fish for my veins; and where I don’t have to fight the toilet paper roll in the bathrooms. But fatigue is still a bastard and driving back I nearly fell asleep at the wheel again. Maybe it was the sun through the sunroof pressing down on my shoulders while my memory fantasized about them being pressed into a pillow. I’d like a pair of hands on me but the fact is I don’t have 7 hours to spare for a booty call. A friend pointed out that when your booty call hangs out for that long, that counts as a relationship. But the B.C. doesn’t love animals and that’s a deal-breaker. Although I want to point out that ruling out psychopathy strictly based on someone’s affection for animals is faulty. The Sociopath rescued a cat. Still, I can’t seriously consider someone who pushes my dog way when he comes looking for a pat.

Speaking of the B.C., he has been wanting to come over. First he said he needed to do laundry. A few days later, he said he needed a back rub. But I’ve been struggling with Bill’s passing and I don’t need a friendly poke, I need a friendly ear. So instead I sit outside alone on my back patio holding a water hose stiffer than the B.C., burning brush under the light of a full moon. Leaving the sliding door open to Let the Smoke in.  If asked, I will say it is for cleansing but the simple fact is the house smells bad. My roommate slow cooks black beans and ham which sometimes smells delicious, other times it smells like rotting pork. Tonight is the latter. Plus he burned rice. Again. Wine sounded like a good idea but it clings to my burning throat so I let it go flat in my glass.

The Flake is sniffing ‘round again. Via email since I won’t pick up the phone. I told him about Bill, briefly, and he offered to be that friendly ear. My inner voice felt so loud as it yelled “BUUUUULLSHIT!” that I’m almost surprised he didn’t hear it.

“I’m never gonna dance again the way I danced with you” – Wham!

“Those’ll come in handy for more than just eating” he cackled as I hand-picked zucchini at the farmer’s market last month. Dirty Old Man Bill was my nickname for him. He liked the Dirty Dancing moves, the slow seductive backbend into an upside down dip or the way he would grab my hips and show off for an audience “Shake it! You’re so bad! They’re eating it up!”  He was not only a phenomenal dancer and dance partner but my mentor, confidant and rock, especially when I was sick. But he was the one who was sick and I never knew. It wasn’t that I never asked how he was feeling, he just chose to shrug and not give his own problems the time of day. No one should wake up and learn from social media that a loved one has died but that’s how it goes these days. I called his phone, hoping it was a nasty prank or belated April Fools joke but his phone was off. He was a bachelor, no children, plenty of friends. Those friends now pouring out shocked sympathy onto a Facebook page of a man who would never read them. Sudden, unexpected, they remarked. But scroll to a post Sunday night from a clairvoyant friend of his who posted a eulogy on his board, thanking him for his friendship and “May the angels be with you on your journey”. And he REPLIED “Thank you”. Ten hours later, that same clairvoyant posted that he had passed. To the skeptic, it reeks of assisted suicide except that Bill was a devout Buddhist so that makes it unlikely. And it was a clairvoyant who apparently “saw it coming” hours prior. Part of me is stunned that he never hinted to me about this — we were close. When someone is facing death as a decision, they will tell as few people as possible and only those who need to know to support and facilitate that decision. So he didn’t tell me. But if it wasn’s some form of suicide, he still saw it coming and didn’t invite me over to say goodbye or stand watch with his Spirit Guides. Maybe he knew I wasn’t strong enough. But we talked several times a week and danced as recently as a few days ago. He was a paragon of physical, emotional and spiritual health. At 67, his stamina put me to shame and he was one of only two men I trusted to support my body weight on the dancefloor. At no point did he ever appear ill or even troubled but he knew about holistic cancer treatment and in hindsight, I wonder if that was a clue. And now I’m hoping to hear from his best friend, who I sent my phone number to via social media, to find out if there will be a memorial service. But knowing DOMB, he might have opted for cremation with his ashes to be sprinkled over Katmandu or shot into outer space… no “fussy” service at all. The day he died, or chose to die, he made a funny, typical comment on a photo of me at a Walk Off the Earth concert. He was a Force For Good and I often told him that. So Bill, I hope you know how much I appreciated your positivity and guidance. You leave behind an unfillable hole. I am heartbroken and untethered…

Love,

Your “Dance Goddess”

“You don’t get me high anymore” – Phantogram

Is it any wonder I can’t get a rush Anymore?

I have flown with the Navy Blue Angels, broken the sound barrier and nearly blacked out from G-Force (and didn’t puke). I traveled the world for a year on tour singing and dancing onstage in front of tens of thousands of people. I’ve met and interviewed most of my favorite musicians and songwriters. I even gave many of those bands their Big commercial radio Break. I flew Slow and Low while we lit up Baghdad in 2003. I’ve crashed cars at high speed while shooting through a windshield.

How can I not believe that my best days are behind me? 

I didn’t ask for a picture of you in bed. I sure as hell didn’t ask for a picture of your cock. Whenever a text conversation devolves into a request for Cleavage shots, I wonder what did I do or say to invite that kind of attention? Whatever happened to a man who appreciating my Sharp wit as much as my phenomenal tits? Whatever happened to admiring my duality of kindness and badassery?
Yeah, you, I’m talking to you. You ruin my day with your “compliments”.

But no one can hurt me without my permission, right?

My lipstick application is a meditative practice in patience and precision.

I’m flat lining again. I just want to drink and sleep. Focus eludes me, I panic at the hundreds of pages of research in front of me while the hound Im watching whines like a bored toddler. I have a reason to put on pants, Samba rehearsal in an hour but I don’t want to go. I want to close my eyes and dream to escape. Can I make a living sleeping? My bed was the best investment I ever made. Too good, it would seem.

“I wish you would tell me how you really feel but you’ll never tell me ‘cuz that’s not our deal” ~Best Coast

In hindsight, saving myself for marriage was the most detrimental mind-fuck of my life. I was nearly 21 when I got married for the first (and supposed to be the last) time. Crying on my wedding night in a La Quinta hotel bed in Alabama as a well-endowed child tried to go Where No Man (or anything else for that matter) Had Gone Before. I spent a year working two full time jobs to keep that unemployed, spoiled child “happy”, letting him use me however his demented mind saw fit, because I was the dutiful wife and although I realized I had made a mistake, it was a punishment I was committed to til death do us part. Until he decided he wanted to move to Vegas and become a porn star. He told me “You are the perfect wife, I just don’t want to be married”. Oh I cried, begged, blew him in the car and jumped out of the moving vehicle later when he wouldn’t change his mind. I didn’t mourn the loss of him so much as my innocence and the farce that I did everything “right” and G-d had failed me, rather than my judgment.

Fast forward two decades and I had strike two under my belt but this time a gay man in hiding. I know, I know…porn star and then a gay man? I’m not even making that up. My picker is truly broken. Although I can’t say my judgment failed me, I just failed to listen to it. In the 13 years since my second divorce, my serious relationships were serious only to me and short-lived. I’ve said before that there is no such thing as “casual sex” because if I’m attracted to someone physically, it’s because I’m already attracted to their person and therefore emotionally invested. Maybe that is how G-d chooses to punish me when I fall off the celibacy wagon. That old Jew-ish/Christian self-imposed piety from childhood is so deeply rooted as I fear getting hurt over and over again…

But with dry spells lasting YEARS, I’ve nothing left to prove or lose. My sexual peak goes wasted on a vibrator. So when “K” joked about giving me a mustache ride, that led to a sincere discussion of “rules”. He has zero interest in a relationship so to keep my expectations and heart in check, I said no “hanging out” outside the bedroom (except that we both end up at a lot of the same dance events, which is where we met). And only one “buddy” at a time. Dipping his pole into multiple ponds is gross.

I let more than a month pass since that conversation until Sunday, I started to reach for my vibrator and grabbed my phone instead. What are you doing tonight? I asked. He replied “laundry”. “You can do your laundry here and me at the same time”. Totally cheesy but it worked. We went through what was left of a decade-old box of Trojans at my bedside (with “feels like nothing is there” printed on the box. That’s a damned lie, by the way). The next day, I googled “thinnest condoms” and ordered a tin of Japan’s finest (of course those kinky freaks would have the best on the market) and confessed my sins to my Trusted Agent who laughed and asked “Did he survive or did you kill him?”

I don’t feel the least bit guilty but I am keeping it in perspective by reminding myself that K is too vanilla (no teeth, no nails, no spanking, no choking, dont “go there” with anal; his asshole is like a Chinese Finger Trap and I’m likely to lose a digit if I go exploring). He also dislikes dogs and cats, which is a deal-breaker, even if he did grow fond of me. Love me, love my Zoo.  But I like the way his mind works, his choice in books, his Mississippi accent…and that makes it risky. He didn’t know me in my glory days so when he remarked “lucky me” while examining my favorite tattoo which is only visible with my pants off, I replied “Yes, you are”. Because I’m special, even if he doesn’t realize it. And I’m picky. I chose him, out of desperation but chosen regardless, among others who might’ve gratefully worshiped me, at least for a minute.

“Remember me in your lucid dreams as the best you ever…” ~ Michelle Branch

waterfall rapellingMy blind date ended up looking like Zorg from the Fifth Element. And when I handed him my phone to show him “A” picture and he took it as an invitation to flip through more photos, that’s when I tapped out.

My friend asked me about my love life. Well, do you want to know about the man who holds my heart but doesn’t want it, the man I have a crush on who doesn’t know I have a vagina, the man who only wants my vagina, or the Dropkick Murphys roadie who started out promising but then faded away when I wouldn’t respond to his racy selfies in kind.

I also unblocked the Flake. Three months after the fallout, I held out strong but now I caved with his “I miss you, can’t we just talk?”. Out of curiosity, cracking that door open to see if it was safe to come out. It was especially hard to turn him down weeks earlier when he was passing through and asked to see me. I told him in an email that I couldn’t be “just” his friend, that I still wanted him and couldn’t pretend that I was okay with him not wanting me back. “But if you show up on my front lawn with a boom box, I’d consider it,” I replied, rather seriously. Miss me? Prove it. Our few conversations since then have been brief and rather awkward. For a week, I was back to anxiously grabbing my phone to see if I had a text from him in the morning (never did) and considered re-blocking him for my own sanity. He’s also spending 10 days traveling the Pacific Coast Highway without me and I told him not to send photos rubbing it in my face. Because I should be there with him. The walls are up on both sides and it leaves me feeling very sad.

So I hopped a plane to Puerto Rico for 5 days. It was a hell of an experience complete with a trip to the VA hospital Emergency room when I decided to chew on a poisonous plant in the rainforest. I blame my friend for double dog daring me with “Don’t even think about putting that in your mouth…”   The upside to the pain was lips that swelled like a perfect collagen job. Even the doctor remarked (while giving me a steroid cocktail via IV) “Well, your lips do look fantastic”.

I couldn’t resist sending a picture to the Flake, a breathtaking shot of me looking like a total badass, rappelling down a waterfall. He of course responded with a selfie of him at a vineyard in Napa Valley. I didn’t respond but gloated to myself  “I win!”

The roadie hasn’t asked about my adventure or my self-poisoning but offered up more late night photos to which I responded “thanks but I’d prefer we leave something to in-person discovery”.

That same night, a former supervisor from SOCOM who I haven’t seen or spoken to in years and never hung out with outside the job contacted me to ask if I wanted to get a drink. I joked that it was past his bedtime but then we set a date for next week. He was married when I worked with him but he’s either divorced or separated now. And entirely too old for me (although still younger than the 60 year old retired marine “Dos Equis” that I crushed on two years ago). All things considered, I have this foreboding that this is not innocent interest in catching up with a former coworker and already it is feeding into my inner monologue about how men want to fuck me but not keep me. Blame that on my poor choice in men to date but these late night calls out of the blue from recently single (or worse, still married) men doesn’t help. And I’ve never been promiscuous so I’m not sure why they call me. I know I’m a good catch but these men and their transient interest makes me feel disposable.

“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.