But it was something almost as cool...
It was an email from a Jewish publishing company. Apparently, someone over there was doing some Google searching on microcalligraphy and came across this post, which you may remember from my Blundering Through Israel series.
Apparently, they want to publish part of that post in a book for Jewish school kids!
(That was the point that I started doing the "happy dance.")
Needless to say, I'm incredibly, profoundly, and immensely flattered. As you might have guessed by the footer, I'm always a bit surprised when someone reads and enjoys what I write here. After all, I'm no Neil, Sass, Liz, Tracy, Kevin, or Julia. I haven't even varied from the standard blogger web site. I just write a bit on this little corner of the internet. And not having been around lately, I'm not exactly expecting a lot of visitors. So, that someone would actually want to reprint what I wrote is both surprising and touching.
So, yes, I'm beside myself with the flattery.
But don't worry, I'm not quitting my day job just yet...
Oh...and of course, Happy Holidays! I miss you all and hope to be back soon!!!
However, today I saw this article. (The article has since changed to reflect that he "backed off" the comments.)
Allow me to summarize (the original article)...
NBA star Stephon Marbury believes that all the hype about Michael Vick is overblown because, and I quote, "You know, from what I hear, dogfighting is a sport. It's just behind closed doors."
First of all, I wonder if Marbury's "from what I hear" is like the "friend" people reference when they look for advice on embarrassing things. You know..."Well, I have this friend..."
Second, what kind of fucking "sport" has to be engaged in "behind closed doors?"
Third, I'd like to have someone make Marbury fight for his life for their pecuniary gain and be electrocuted or body slammed to death if they aren't up to par. After that, let's see if he thinks it's a "sport."
What a fucktard.
Oh...and on the Michael Vick thing, I'll say this: Who could have guessed that he would make Marcus the "good son?"
I was not disappointed. Go see the movie.
And, when you want to do something when it's over, go to Moore's website and sign the petition to expand Medicare to all Americans.
Medicare has 1% administrative expenses (over head and SALARIES), while private insurance companies, even not-for-profit ones, have 30% or more in administrative expenses (much of which is salaries). Medicare is the most efficient health care payment system in the United States.
And as Moore implies, there's no reason that when we're spending more on healthcare than any other country (15% of our Gross National Product) on healthcare, that we should have the 37th healthcare system in the world (particularly when we already pay for one of the most efficient ones).
But what has disapponted me most is seeing the mainstream reaction to the film. Basically, there's a general acknowledgement that there's a problem with healthcare, but then, there's no actually discussion of the issue or the merits of any particular solution, whether it be a full universal system (such as what I advocated above), a basic universal system with supplemental insurance provided by employers or other sources, the present system with ERISA amended to require health insurance companies to be liable for their decisions (you want to see them start paying...make them liable for when they don't), or something else. That's the discussion that I hoped this movie would inspire.
Apparently, I'm truly naive. Because that's not the response I've seen.
Instead, the prototypical example that I've seen has been what was on "Morning Joe" on MSNBC this morning.
Here's what I learned:
1) Michael Moore is fat.
2) People are generally obese, which is their fault, and they need to change their eating habits and that (impliedly) will fix the problem.
3) Joe Scarborough has a personal trainer and that's why he's not fat, so people should be like him and exercise more.
1) Ad hominem argument - Whether Moore is fat or not neither harms nor buttresses Moore's argument that the health care system in the United States is woefully inadequate.
2) Where to start? First of all, obesity is not the obese person's problem...it's everyone's problem. The whole point of Sicko is that we're all in this together. So, if there's an American obesity problem, it's a problem for all of us, whether we're personally obese or not. If 30% of us are fat, it just means we're all going to sink together quicker. We're all going to have higher premiums, less opportunities to see our doctors, more Medicare/Medicaid/Private Insurance expenses. Ridiculing people who are doesn't get any of us anywhere quicker.
Second, a number of expensive health problems have nothing to do with obesity, but rather have to do with the profiteering of the private insurance system. I don't think pre-approval of ambulance services is something that is affected by whether you're obese or not, nor do I believe that obese people are more likely to get most forms of cancer. While obesity may help reduce the incidents of Type II Diabetes, heart attack and stroke, other severe debilitating illnesses, accidents, and the simple effects of age are not necessarily helped by reduced weight.
Third, why are 30% of Americans obese? Certainly, there are a number of factors, but let me suggest that part of the reason is that we do not teach good eating and exercise habits. I imagine most adults, frankly, don't know them, having been raised in a society that constantly advertises fast food, where we are told we need to work more to get ahead...essentially, working ourselves to death. Should we teach those values to our children? That would be a good place to start. So what have we been teaching children about health and physical fitness? Well, we certainly haven't been teaching them anything about it at school. We've decided that accountability for teachers is the priority there, so we've instituted school "grades" and "tests" to determine which schools are teaching better than others. However, those tests are in academic subjects (which, you know I value), but not about physical fitness. So schools, which are constantly faced with reduced state education funds are forced to make tough choices and, if you're an administrator being graded on how your students perform academically, but not physically, when you have to choose between cutting gym and an academic program, which are you going to pick? I'm guessing gym.
By the way, do you know what the top state expense in almost every (if not every) state (and certainly in my home state of Florida) is? Healthcare. Specifically, Medicaid - the joint state-federal program to provide healthcare to the poor. A universal basic system of healthcare would take this expense out of state budgets entirely. Then we could actually dedicate state tax dollars to education, like we should...including teaching nutrition, physical fitness, and other areas, reducing obesity and other lifestyle health-related problems (heck, then we might even pay teachers a living wage!!!).
3) I guess, being a member of Congress and now being a television personality makes it unlikely that former Representative Scarborough is going to run out of time to go to the gym and still have time to spend with his family. Also, I imagine his salary makes it much easier for him to hire a personal trainer at at least $50/session. Give me his salary and I'll hire a personal trainer too. In fact, if everyone in the U.S. had his salary and hours, then he'd be right...of course, there would be a lot of demand for personal trainers. --- Seriously though, this proves my point with #2. If Scarborough needs a personal trainer, then it means that he a) lacks motivation to do it himself or b) doesn't know what he's doing at the gym and needs someone to teach him. If the former is the case, he has nothing to complain about other people's lack of motivation. If the latter is the case, then he's an example of how we have failed to teach basic physical education as a result of the same policies that he advocated in Congress...teaching for a test.
Well, that's my take for now. Ideas anyone?
Clerk: "Women's dresses?"
Me: "You sell men's dresses?"
Watching your girlfriend laugh hilariously while a clerk embarrassedly explains that there are also "misses" and "teen" dresses... Priceless.
Whoo-hoo! My moment of internet fame!!! Well, internet fame that doesn't involve a phishing scheme. And all it took was a little Jewish guilt...
But what stood out to me was this line: "You haven't posted much this month. I hope it is for good reasons and not bad..."
He's right. While I've been a relatively common commenter, I really haven't written here in quite a while.
And it's time I told you why.
Really, there are two reasons.
The first is I finally got a long-awaited transfer at work. In light of the first rule of blogging (and you have no idea how hard it has been not to break that rule), to paraphrase Forrest Gump, that's all I'm going to say about that.
But it's the other reason that I'm going to tell you about. And I have to admit, this is the reason I've kept hidden from you for a little while.
About a month and a half ago, I--with some trepidation--went on a blind date. I had been on a series of bad dates over the past few months, so I really wasn't expecting anything.
I could never have been more wrong.
My friend, S___, called me and told me that I needed to call this girl that she knew. After some minor arm twisting, I called her and left a message.
It was your standard first call message. Nothing too involved. Just a little joke about her outgoing message followed by "S___ suggested I give you a call. Call me back when you get a chance."
The next day she did. And the conversation flowed like a river.
After an hour, I finally said, "So, would you like to get drinks on Friday?" She accepted and we made plans. Nothing involved. Nothing committing. Nothing intimidating. Just a meet and greet. An opportunity to see if we found one another attractive and could keep the flow at the next level.
And did we ever.
When she walked in that Friday, I was amazed. Gorgeous blond locks. Skin beautiful as porcelain. A smile that lit up the entire place.
And those eyes. Those amazing blue eyes. She looked at me and those pools of clear blue water were simply mesmerizing.
The time flew.
My friends and I scheduled dinner later that night for the post-date wrap-up, but pulling myself away from her was clearly going to be a challenge. Our face-to-face conversation was just as amazing as our pre-date conversation. I really didn't want to leave.
And there was the fact that she nursed the same beer for two hours.
But alas, I had plans. And I learned that the first date really shouldn't be more than two hours. The hard way. A few weeks prior. Like I said, a series of bad dates...
So, I left, drunk on this woman of such amazing potential.
When I met my friends for dinner that night, I immediately got the question: "So, how was it?" The only words I could muster in response were, "She's incredible." And then my cautious nature stepped in and I added, "But let's see what happens on the second date."
I strategically called her the next Monday. Valentine's Day was Wednesday and I didn't want to get too close to that with someone I had just met, I was leaving town at the end of the next week, and I didn't want her to think I didn't have anything to do on the weekend. Just enough time to create anticipation, but not enough to forget about me.
Yeah. I'm a planner. Unfortunately, there were a series of events that put a wrinkle into the plans, but hey...I'm an adapter too.
This time I caught her at home. We had the obligatory small chat and then I broke out with it: "Listen, I had a really good time with you on Friday, but here's the deal. I'm getting sick [I was...it was awful], my car's in the shop [it was...it was expensive], and I'm leaving town in the middle of this week for the entire weekend [I did...it was unbreakable]. But I really would like to get together again. Is it okay if we do something next week?"
"Sure," she said, "that sounds great."
"Fantastic," I reply, "I'll give you a call next week."
And then, even though this conversation could have ended there, it didn't. Once again we talked for another hour and a half.
Like I said. Flowed like a river.
On Valentine's Day, despite my friends protestations to send flowers (friends, mind you, who don't have normal relationships...so not exactly people I look too for dating advice), I sent her a text. Something small to let her know I was thinking about her on Valentine's Day, but something that minimized the day. And, as you know, I'm not a fan of Hallmark-dictated romance anyway.
She responded in kind. It expressed interest, but wasn't overbearing, sweet, but not desperate, funny, but didn't look like she was trying. Yep. It was the perfect email.
That next Sunday, I was on my drive back from my trip and I called her up.
"Hi!," she exclaimed, clearly happy to hear from me.
Once again we started with the obligatory small talk, but then I moved in.
"Look, I know we talked about getting together this week. Are you busy Wednesday?"
"No, I think Wednesday will work for me."
"Great," I said. "You may remember I mentioned I have tickets to that traveling Vegas show. Well, that's on Wednesday. And I can't think of anyone I'd rather take than you."
She accepted. To tell you something about this lady, when I mentioned I was a little tired as I was driving, she stayed on the phone with me, keeping me talking for two hours, so that I would be awake. She told me later that she enjoyed the conversation, but that's the kind of thoughtfulness that's just her.
To make an already long story shorter, it was an enchanting second date. There was flowers (note that they were at an appropriate time), hand holding, laughing, and a little polite kiss goodnight. All in all, it was storybook.
And since that night, things have developed fabulously.
I've always wondered if something was wrong with me. My female friends (of which there are many) often say, "Guys are like parking spaces. All the good ones are taken or handicapped." And having been terminally single, I just figured I was a "special" space. As in, permit special.
Over the past month and a half, I realized how wrong I was. I discovered I have things to offer, that someone can think of me with the same admiration, amazement, longing and sweetness with which I think of them. I've discovered I can have that romantic connection I see between so many of my friends. The comfort. The thinking in unison. The desire to spend every moment of every day with that person. The sense that, even when you've only been apart for hours, you feel as though you're reunited when you see that person again.
I've discovered that I too am entitled to a good-night kiss.
And I've learned all of this because of the most beautiful, sweet, angelic, amazing woman I've ever met.
I've gotten to enjoy so many things about her. How she's both an amazing woman and a little girl at the same time. How she thinks of me with small things, just to let me know she cares. How she and I both reach for one another's hand whenever we're within five feet of one another. How when I wink at her, she tries to wink back and even though she can't wink, the result is both hilarious and sexy at the same time. How she laughs with her whole body. How she gazes at me when I look at her. How she enjoys spending time, just on a swing. How we just "fit."
So, yeah. I haven't been writing for a good reason indeed.
It's because that list I posted yesterday has changed.
I've had a second. And I've had a first that's loved me back.
Of course, some of the list has changed...but we'll save that for the next post.
Without further adieu...
1. I've never ridden horseback.
2. I love aviation, but never wanted to be a pilot.
3. I'm very protective of my personal space (e.g. I
have seriously threatened friends to jab them with a
fork for touching food on my plate before I finish
4. I do not like to be touched...
5. ...except by the right people.
6. When I can't decide, I just buy both.
7. I buy my groceries in pairs.
8. Wholesale is brilliant!
9. I value no attribute higher than honesty...
10. ...other than loyalty.
11. I am deceptively shy.
12. I can't relinquish the remote.
13. I like when people offer decorating suggestions.
14. I hate when people offer "personal improvement"
15. I can't stand when someone asks me to smell
something they know smells bad.
16. I love being by water, but hate to swim.
17. I believe that fairness and justice are more than
18. I have an extraordinarily short tolerance for
19. I firmly believe that whoever invented little
drink umbrellas was brilliant.
20. I believe that you do catch more flies with
honey than with vinegar, but that doesn't mean that
sometimes drowning the fly with vinegar isn't the best
21. Of all the Friends, I'm most like Chandler.
22. I can dish it out like a champ, and can take
it...most of the time.
23. I am not at all homophobic, but want to tear the
throat out of people that say that they think I'm gay.
24. I don't drink caffeine.
25. I did well in school, but think anyone that says
I'm anything but an overachiever is full of crap.
26. I think it's a complement when people say they
thought I was older after speaking to me.
27. I think it's a complement when people say they
thought I was younger before speaking to me.
28. I like to make people smile.
29. My favorite song lyrics are the ones that give me
goose pimples when I hear them.
30. I fear the day that I'm not able to talk to my
parents every week.
31. I'm scared of not meeting my own expectations.
32. I hate the word "disappointed."
33. I believe in picking my battles.
34. I've spent years trying to beat people I hate.
35. I spent 12 years being in the limelight, but
really prefer to make other people successful from
behind the scenes.
36. I love dining out.
37. I am 110% pro-Israel.
38. I applied for jobs with the FBI and CIA.
39. I see politics as little more than entertainment,
but never stop hoping it becomes a way for people to
40. I'm a chocolate addict (like, really, I go
41. I love food that you have to work to eat.
42. I hate to cook, except breakfast.
43. My favorite word is "perseverance."
44. My favorite instrument is the violin.
45. I used to sing for audiences.
46. Now, I only sing for myself.
47. I never told my first love how I felt about her.
48. I never had a second.
49. I don't like most children.
50. I'm afraid I won't be a good parent to my own.
51. I can shuffle poker chips.
52. I am a dead ringer for Kermit the Frog...not the
new voice (that guy sucks), the Jim Henson voice that
I grew up with.
53. I can twirl a pen like a beauty queen can twirl a
54. Although I have faith in people, I'm disturbingly
quick to write them off.
55. I refuse to be made a fool...
56. ...sometimes to a fault.
57. I don't think I'm good at what I do, and
sometimes wonder if I missed my calling.
58. I know, all to well, the meaning of the word
59. ...and "depression."
60. I know the lyrics to every Billy Joel song...
61. ...and every line of Casablanca...
62. ...and every episode of the West Wing.
63. I'm a hopeless romantic.
64. I regret not serving in the military.
65. Or having learned how to play a musical
66. I LOVE getting e-mail...
67. ...almost as much as I love getting a handwritten
note from someone who just wanted to let me know that
they were thinking about me.
68. I've never thought I had anything to offer a
69. I have a disturbingly good memory.
70. I hold grudges.
71. I NEVER lecture someone after they apologize;
apologies are hard enough.
72. I've concluded I can't save the world...
73. ...but I can help.
74. I wish I were better at finishing things.
75. I kick ass at turning a phrase.
76. I hate chain letters (where the hell do those
things start anyway?!?).
77. I think someone else is married to my bride.
78. I love dogs, but am afraid to own one.
79. I don't wear jewelry.
80. I'm not comfortable with my body.
81. I love primary colors.
82. I have a love-hate relationship with the gym.
83. I almost never sleep late...
84. ...and hate waking up alone.
85. I make a rockin' omelet.
86. I let people underestimate me, and then relish
proving them wrong.
87. I love to win...
88. ...and will only let someone I really care about
89. I can lie to people I care about...
90. ...but never do.
91. I'm exceedingly punctual.
92. And have little tolerance for people that aren't
93. I hate feet...
94. ...and love eyes.
95. I will go to war for people I love...
96. ...but rarely do so for myself.
97. I believe that those who benefit most have the
most to repay.
98. I will give without the expectation of something
99. I don't think of myself as an adult...
100. ...and hope I never will.
I’ve recently been released into the wild. Vulnerable, and innocent I’ve been thrust into this vast expanse where I’m easy prey for single, available, stupid men. Well, not that easy, let’s not get crazy here. I said they were stupid, not me. I’ll admit, my dating education is sparse. I lack the knowledge of a good date. Then again, I’ve never been treated to a good date. I’ve never actually dated until now. Serious relationships? You got a problem, come to me. I have life issues down pat. But “the dance” as my good friend likes to call it, is beyond me. The games, the manipulation, the toying, the sales pitch, and then the cliff hanger... what? Are we individual marketing firms or are we human beings? I’m not up for it. Leave me out of it. I’ll invest in a dog and a Santa size bag of sex toys. Thank you. What has led me to this weary decision? Date #4.
We’ll call him T. We were given phone numbers through mutual friends, which then led to a couple weeks of calling daily and messaging. We knew what each other looked liked, our conversations were pretty good, I knew a lot about him by the time the date was set up. Or so I thought.
The original plan was for him to come over for a couple hours and just hang out, possibly a movie, though movies are never good for a first date. (Please refrain from comments like, “Why would you have him over to your house on the first date?” I’ve already been lectured about that multiple times by multiple people. Nuff said.) However, that didn’t happen. He instead asked me if I would go to his house so he could cook me dinner. I wasn’t really up for that, and quite honestly, already annoyed with him. Changing plans before we’ve even had the first date cannot be a good sign. But, what did I do? I went. Yes. I went. And I was starving. I didn’t get there until around 9 or so and really thought he’d have dinner pretty much set. Nay. He had just started it, we didn’t eat until around 10 pm. Lame.
While he’s cooking I’m learning things about him. Examples you beg? Okay... let’s start.
First, he’s not that great of a conversationalist, I’m a talker...try to keep up with me. I’m wandering around and my eyes are taking in the site of his apartment. I’m thinking, not to be a materialistic wench but you’re a physical therapist why are you living in a frat house? And a frat house it was. As my eyes fell upon Playboy magazines and cut-outs of naked girls taped to the side of his fridge. Cut-outs. Yes you read correctly so no need to go back and figure those words out twice. He said he was 31 but that’s still out for debate. He laughed at things that weren’t funny and didn’t laugh at things that were. However, all this was just mildly amusing to me at this point.
I walked over to his movie collection. He had an entire row dedicated to Tom Cruise. You heard me. So I look back and say to him, “Oh, I see I have some competition.” Blank stare. Okay...moving on.
Dinner is ready and served to me in a small, shallow bowl. Chicken and rice. Let’s just say that by the time I got home I wanted to eat my face off because I was still hungry. He starts cleaning up from the meal that he considered a glorious creation simply because he used basil. Good job. High five.
As he’s cleaning I notice this bi-fold screen trying to hide a table. I’m like, “T...what’s going on here?”
“Yeah I try to hide that from everyone.”
“Well you’re not hiding it from me.” I poke my face around and what to my wandering eyes should appear?
From end to end is a village built of Legos. I’m speechless. Almost. I think I said, “Why?”
“Well it was all at my mother’s house and she wanted it out.”
“Yeah I can understand why.” I then turn around and with a raised brow expression say,
He then says to me...straight faced, completely serious, “Yeah...it’s a pretty amazing spread.”
In fear that I was going to completely bust a gut in this guy’s face I had to quickly turn around so he couldn’t see my face. I then just looked up at this ceiling for a bit and he goes, ‘What?”
“Oh, I was just looking for the glow in the dark stick on stars.” He didn’t think that was funny either.
The date did not improve. He wanted to watch a movie and I mistakenly let him pick it out. He managed to pick out the worst movie ever made. “Super Troopers’... what? That’s not a date movie. Ever. At least for me. However I thought that since it was a date he would at least sit next to me on the couch and perhaps we could talk whilst watching. WRONG. He sat in the designated guy chair and didn’t pay any attention to me for a solid 2 hours or so. Except for when he’d look at me and say a line of the movie right before the character did. For real? Stop it. I know. I still can’t believe it.
The movie ended and he looked at me and goes, “Okay.” like... "Okay, get the hell out.” So I’m like, “Okay.” Gather my things and head out.
“I’ll call you tomorrow.” Really? Please don’t.
“Text me when you get home so I know you get in okay.”
“Okay.” Fair enough. I can do that.
I drive the 25 minutes back home and let him know that I’m safe and sound. Meanwhile I’m still in my car. As I’m walking into my apartment all I can think about is the fact that I do not want him to call me the next day. So I send him another text:
“Yeah I gotta say, I don’t think this dating thing is going to work out for you and me.”
He writes back:
“I’d have to say I agree.”
Aaahhahaha. I’ve not heard from him since.
Worst. date. ever.
I immediately called my host here and spewed this story to him. I don’t think I’ve ever heard him laugh so hard. In the aftermath, this story has become entertainment fodder for many so I thought I should at least write about it. Thanks to BA for letting me share it on his blog.
~Alecia (with an E)
No Alecia, thank YOU...
Start your jealous/hateful/envious comments now...
He tagged me.
So, now, according to the rules, I have to write a meme about describing six strange facts about myself and then tagging six over people in their comment section of their own blogs.
At least it doesn't have to be something I haven't blogged about before.
OK, here goes...
6. I have a very mild version of a disorder called trichotillomania. Now, while this may sound like some crazy phobia, it's not. It is a disorder related to obsessive compulsive disorder that compels a person to pull out their own hair. I've written about it before here.
5. I am a bit of an insomniac. Since I wrote about this last night... Well, you get the idea.
4. I sleep on one side of my bed. Wrote about that one here.
3. I constantly add numbers I see in sequence until I come to a single digit. Let me give you an example. Let's say I saw a clock with, oh...let's say 8:27 on it. Well, I would add those digits together to get 17 (8+2+7=17), then I would add those digits together to get 8 (1+7=8). I have no idea why I do this, but I do. If I start to talk to people that aren't there, say like a roommate that doesn't exist, a little girl, and a government official, call someone.
2. I know the entire movie Casablanca by heart. In fact, I own the video, the DVD and the script. Although it was going to be a post some other time, the name of this blog actually comes from the following line in Casablanca:
Major Strasser: You give him credit for too much cleverness. My impression is that he's just another blundering American.1. I am a natural extrovert who had forced himself to become an introvert. Don't ask my why this happened. Honestly, it's about three different posts that I'm not really even ready to start writing. It will suffice to say this: I used to be the star, now I'm content to be behind the scenes.
Captain Renault: We musn't underestimate American blundering. I was with them when they blundered into Berlin in 1918.
Ok...so who to tag... I'll go with Neil, Liz, Sass, Tracy, Alecia...yeah, sorry, I can't come up with a sixth. Sorry guys...Kevin made me do it. Blame him... I have.
Written, directed, and produced by the fabulous Liz Rizzo of Everyday Goddess fame, I think you'll agree, she brings down the Hammer.
Check it out for yourself at http://films.thelot.com/films/2542
I still find it amazing that I have fellow bloggers that, unlike me, have actual talent.
2. Paper towels can be a short-time substitute, but are no long term replacement, for Kleenex.
3. Reading blogs at 4 a.m. is pretty similar to reading them at a normal hour. Commenting, however, not so much.
4. A disturbing number of people leave AIM on all night.
5. Spam is delivered at all hours. Which makes sense, since it's probably coming from Europe, Australia or Nigeria.
I think it's much more romantic to let her know that for no reason at all.
But all these candy hearts and Valentine's Day gift ideas got me thinking about who the heck St. Valentine was. Well, here's some of the stuff I found:
A panty-dropping story if I've ever read one... Anyway, a more romantic version from The History Channel:
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the saint whose feast was celebrated on the day now known as St. Valentine's day was possibly one of three martyred men named Valentinus who lived in the late third century, during the reign of Emperor Claudius II (died 270):
The very brief vita of St Valentine has him refusing to deny Christ before the "Emperor Claudius" in the year 280. Before his head was cut off, this Valentine restored sight and hearing to the daughter of his jailer.
- a priest in Rome
- a bishop of Interamna (modern Terni)
- a martyr in the Roman province of Africa
One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men -- his crop of potential soldiers. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.Basically, nobody actually knows...apparently Catholic holidays don't emphasize the symbolic underpinnings of the holiday.
Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were often beaten and tortured.
According to one legend, Valentine actually sent the first 'valentine' greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl -- who may have been his jailor's daughter -- who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed 'From your Valentine,' an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories certainly emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, and, most importantly, romantic figure. It's no surprise that by the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France.
Well, I know that this holiday has taken on a life of its own. So, selling out my kvetching session for the lovely ladies who occasionally visit this blog, I keep a tradition alive and offer you the following poem by e.e. cummings, especially to the wonderful woman who introduced me to this poem:
i carry your heart with me (i carry it inHappy Valentine's day!
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)
I don't know why I do this. It's not as though I've ever truly share this bed with anyone. Sure, my alarm clock is on the side I sleep on, making it easier for me to smack the snooze button in the morning, but is that really a reason to abandon a full side of my bed? Have I neglected the left side of my bed? Is the reason for my insomnia some type of jealousy, where the left side of my bed has conspired with the right side to wake me in the middle of the night unless I share the love with the left? Is there some type of bed-related politics where my bed is telling me that my campaign for sleep has passed the primaries, and, after initially campaigning to the fringe, I now need to refocus on the center? Have I unfairly written off the left side, wrongly and hastily concluding that its tree-hugging ways would be less comfortable and familiar as the right? Am I a right-side snob, or worst yet, a left-side bigot?
The other strange thing I've realized is that, for some reason, I relinquish pillows to the unused side of my bed. Now, I'm a guy, so I don't have "decoration pillows," a phenomenon deserving of a post all on its own. No. I have four pillows on my bed and they are all what I will dub "utility pillows." In other words, each of these four pillows is useful for more than decorative purposes. Two are those funky bean pillows in sham cases, the type that mold to the head to give the neck constant support. The other two are full and soft cushy pillows, the kind that support the head and double as something to hug while sleeping (note the earlier reference to not actually sharing my bed...).
But strangely, two of these pillows, one bean sham and one white cushy, spend their time predominately unused, residing on the lonely left side of my bed. Occasionally, I'll grab one and bring it to the right side for the night. But, it feels like I'm just borrowing it, as though I were borrowing a yard tool from a neighbor, taking it temporarily from its left side home for a short job and then returning it, sometimes later than I should have. And in the morning, the first thing I do is return it to the left side and fluff it back to its original cushyness.
And there those two pillows sit. Either happily or lonely on the unused left side of my bed.
Maybe I should change my strategy. Maybe I should move more to the left. Maybe I will discover that I'm really a centrist sleeper and that my bed has been trying to tell me something all along.
Eh, screw it. I'm too tired to do anything different.
My friend was rather merciless in her later criticism since I had spent so much time talking to a girl who, as she said, "has no more than three brain cells that are constantly at war with one another." Certainly, this girl wasn't a genius by any means, and one of the most attractive qualities I find in a woman is a sharp intellect.
However, as I talked to this girl, I was fascinated by something about her, although I couldn't figure out what it was at the time. Only later did it occur to me that what I found so intriguing about talking to this girl was that in a very real way, this girl had her entire life ahead of her.
As a young adult, who has chosen my career path and likely will stay in the same profession or something related to it for the rest of my life, I take that part of my life for granted. I'm always going to either practice law or engage in some related profession. I'm always going to have things related to work and I'm always going to have to travel on vacations.
However, this girl hadn't made that choice yet. She wasn't tied down by her job, her professional development, and, most importantly, her bills. She has all these hopes and dreams and plans that she was---or at least believed she was---on the cusp of fulfilling. She had places she wanted to see, things she wanted to do, concepts she wanted to learn, people she wanted to meet.
And for someone who sometimes feels they spend each morning heading to the salt mines, in many ways, this was refreshing. Listening to this girl's anticipation and joy when considering her life ahead was a feeling I had forgotten and her excitement was almost contagious.
So, while this flirtatious conversation may have made me the butt of my friend's jokes, I really didn't care. This conversation was worthwhile, even if it was just the pleasantness of seeing a part of myself I've lost in someone else, and even it was in someone I'll probably never speak to again.
Friend A: "Dude! You awake?"
Me: "Uh....yeah, yeah, I think so."
Friend A: "Oh my G-d! What a crazy night!"
Me: "Oh yeah?"
Friend A: "Yeah, I got totally hammered and you're never going to believe who I woke up with this morning!"
Me: "Uh, your girlfriend?"
Friend A: "Try again..."
Then I got this call:
Friend B: "I wasn't very good last night."
Me: "I think I just had this conversation."
Friend B: "I don't know what you mean."
Me: "Never mind. Go on. You were being bad..."
Friend B: "Yeah, guess who I didn't have sex with last night."
Me: "Well, you aren't in the same city as me, so I'm pretty sure I'm not on that list."
Friend B: "No smartass! Guess who I almost had sex with, but didn't."
Me: "Um...maybe you should just tell me the story..."
Then this call:
Friend C: "Geez..."
Me: "Geez what?"
Friend C: "I thought she'd never leave."
Me: "So, you had a good time with the New Year's date, eh?"
Friend C: "Yeah, until this morning and she decided to monopolize my bathroom."
Me: "Did everyone have oysters at their New Year's parties or something?"
It seemed that I was the only person on the planet who didn't get lucky on New Year's Eve.
I've spent a lot of New Year's Eve's out, but, perhaps because, as a teen, my parents never let me leave the house because they were concerned that the unnamed, unfaced drinkers were taking the opportunity to use a holiday to get smashed and hop behind the wheel, I was used to staying home. And this New Year's, when it became evident most of my friends were partying out of town, I decided to revert to my old ways. I figured it would be a quiet night at home, lying in bed, reading a book I had promised I would finish. I didn't think my phone would ring.
And I certainly didn't expect that it would be Alecia.
For Alecia, New Year's Eve isn't about renewal and resolutions. It's haunting. And it's painful. Two years ago, Alecia's mother and her mother's boyfriend were viciously and savagely attacked by a drug addict, beaten within an inch of their lives.
And, from her window, Alecia saw it all. Her body frozen as her eyes were unable to comprehend the sheer horror she was witnessing.
So, for her, New Year's isn't a time where she looks forward. It's a time where she's forced to look back.
And it's not something anyone would want to see.
Knowing this and knowing that she had spent the evening with her family, when Alecia called, I didn't know what to expect.
"I just left my family. When I left, my mom hugged me. For a really long time. And then she said, 'I love you' in a different way then she usually does."
"Yeah, I can understand that."
Alecia had just gotten home and decided that she just wanted to get ready for bed and wake up in the new year.
But with this beginning to our conversation, I thought we'd start talking about two years ago, but we didn't. We just talked. Talked like we had so many times before, two friends just talking and laughing. She was lying in her bed. I was lying in mine. She was dishing out her sass. I was responding in kind with my incendiary irreverence. We were thousands of miles away from one another, but here we were, having pillow talk. Even though we couldn't see one another, we knew we were both smiling.
And, in a strange way, it felt like I was there with her. Just there. If she needed me.
Honestly, it was one of the most memorable New Year's Eves I had ever had.
I guess I was pretty lucky after all.