Friday, April 24, 2009

New Relationship Advice...

Is the last fucking thing all of us travellers need - we get it in several forms, from the congenial and sterile, "Ohhhh, I am soooo sorry to hear about that", (just so everyone knows, I am not), and the great jokers, "Well now that your ex is free, can I take her out", (the answer by the way is yes, please take her out, please wine and dine her, and please pick up the alimony payments...), and finally the great patronizer, "Is there anything I can do for you to help" - besides the above, perhaps hooking me up with a pair of bi-curious lesbians who need a somewhat overweight balding middle aged guy to spice up their party - then the best thing you can do is just go back to your cubicle and get your work done. However, I digress.

There are more things that we all need to have in our backpacks besides skeletons as we navigate these new waters of meeting people and trying to create some some sort of relationship that does not lead to out of wedlock childbirth, drug addiction, prison, or being caught up in the latest kidney sales scam. That is why I, yes the purveyor of bad relationship advice, is taking it upon myself to make this list today for you to print, laminate, and keep in your luggage. If you like, you can add a signature, witness, and notary line to it - and present it to every potential suitor or suited you meet - that way the cigar is lit, and there is no way you can ever argue about the covered topics again - let us begin....

1. You must at all times wear a red light, a green light, or a yellow light. For women - green means, "I am ready for you to approach me. You may piss me off or make me happy, but hey, at least I am ready to deal with a prick like you". Yellow - "I am three days away from my period, my ex-husband is fucking my best girlfriend, I am undervalued at work by my male boss, and I am bloated. If you approach me, I will contemplate, not actually, stick your balls in a vice and see how far I can twist until one of them explodes." Red - "If you are a priest, then pray for me. Satan has possessed every inch of my personality, and I even believe I could possibly be turning into the c-word that I hate". For Men - Green, "I am horny, and have very little money, but I would entertain dinner and a movie before sex." Yellow - "I am horny and have very little money, but I would entertain dinner before sex.", Red - "I am horny and have very little money, can you put bait on my fishing hook and take that god forsaken death trap that doctors call a vagina away from me before I give away the other half of my shit."

2. Telephones are for two things - lying and phone sex. Skip the "hello" and "good morning" and "I can't wait to see you" and especially skip the "I hope you feel better" - of course you hope they feel better - if not, you probably would not be calling. For women, call when you are shopping and spending way to much money, and say "I am at the gym" - for men, call when you are at the strip club, and say "I cannot stop thinking about how wonderful you look in a bathing suit". That is what phones are for - I think it will make folks appreciate face time a little more.

3. Text Messages - Are for teenagers. At 37, the only text message any man should be getting should be "You are approaching your limit on your credit card" as they throw hundred dollars bills into a slot machine or a bar fly. For women, the only text message they get should be, "Your birth control prescription is ready for pick up, thanks for shopping Walgreens."

4. Flowers, Chocolate, Stuffed Animals, and nice things are for couples not yet swayed and disillusioned (or re-illusioned) about the dating scene. Men should buy thoughtful, yet expensive gifts - such as baseball tickets, football tickets, VIP Passes to the nightclubs, liquor, condoms and lube, and especially my favorite, treat your date to TWO things off of the 99 cent menu. Women - hell, who am I kidding - women don't have to buy shit - they control everything in a relationship (hence the red light, yellow light, green light system).

5. Exotic trips should be fulfilling to both people in the relationship -Men understand that they may not get laid, and you may be a bitch during the trip, and that is why you are rarely invited. (Hint Hint for the ladies who see friends go on exotic trips) Women understand they have the choice to take the trip and put out, and as number 4 says, have a pretty good time for twenty minutes of suffering.

6. Bars are a great place to meet people if you like drunk folks with vomit breath and who are either going to cry, vomit, fall, smoke in your house, or forget where and who they are and with - save the bars for real things, like drinking, which you will be doing alot of. (this goes for both men and women).

7. Don't waste your time trying to impress someone - trust me, in ten years, when both of your guts are hanging out of your shirt, and you are sleeping through church - all of those holidays you went to church and the went on a run with your future mate really are not going to matter. For men, Fart on the first date and say something catchy like "Man, that one smells like refried ass that was filtered through a dead raccoon" - Women, scratch your groin, and mention that you can't seem to kick that itchy dry feeling you get, then every once in a while stick your hand in your armpit at dinner, and then smell it right before reaching into the chips and salsa bowl. Remember, you are not trying to impress anyone anymore - you did that once remember?

8. Always forget important things - like bedtime hours. Nothing says I want to be with you more than a four am phone call from a street corner in New Orleans or Vegas that conveys "I am flashing my johnson/tits for plastic beads and free beer." Show them that you love to have fun and let them know you care while doing it...

9. Randomly mention arguments and problems with your ex that are extremely similar to what your target is doing - for instance, when cooking, say something like "Boy my ex sure used to do a better job at that", or "Hell, if I wanted to put up with a mouth like that, I would have stayed married." or "Hey, my ex used to do this really neat thing with lube, toothpaste, and a bag of jellybeans - do you think you can learn it?" - these make sure that no one in the relationship gets a really big head and feels like they can say or do anything to you.

10. Boundaries - both men and women should sort of build those invisible fences that shock the living shit out of dogs when they try and cross them. This can be done by actually requiring those who date you to wear a collar that shocks the shit out of them when they do something you don't like (or just when you feel sadistic), or for those of us who are now on a budget because we have maxed out the credit cards - we can - Women - slight, gentle kick to the balls.(NOTE - A kick harder than slight or gentle may end you and your date up in prison for a long time) Men - A demeaning comment about their clothing (I saw a dress just like that at the consignment shop - did you get it there?) (NOTE - There may be tears initially, but at least the let downs will not be a surprise in future years)

So why did I write these ten simple steps - easy - I want to save each of us the hassle of not knowing what we are getting into - the fact is, that real relationship advice is about as good as the chauvinistic crap I just wrote above, and not nearly as funny. New relationships are tough - when you are gone half of the time on the road, and the other half with your children, there ain't a whole hell of alot of time to develop anything else - but there is the cautionary advice of measure twice before you cut....that's about as good as it gets. We can all go out and take personality profiles, get matched to Mr. or Ms. Perfect, and find at the end of the day, it still really really sucks to find that your perfect match still does stupid things, can be a bitch/prick, or just fails to hit the mark in some areas - the best thing about all of this, is remember - you move on in a week or so, and you don't have that much time - so spend it wisely, make sure to cherish it and appreciate it, and if you can't without corrupting it with being pissed off, saying something stupid, or just plain ruining a good thing - well, then it is probably best that you don't spend the time at all.

There you have it travellers, more worldly advice from someone who, like most of you, is unpacking Friday's bag, repacking Monday's bag, and just going to take a weekend to soak up 48 hours of whatever we may call home.

Until next time -


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Coming to Grips...

We all slow down in our later years - it is meant to be - I think our minds certainly move faster, but our bodies, and our knees, and our shoulders and hands - well they prefer to let the mind wander - and rest aimlessly on the couch after sweating out a few popsicles on the elliptical.

So what is the reason for only one post in March - no reason, except lack of motivation, and a durvish of travel from Maine to Sacramento to Seattle and back (twice)- and the fact that I was just too damn distracted to head downstairs to the hotel business center and type out what I was thinking. At times, this hits all of us, when the mind wants to just gung up like cold peanut butter or that pancake syrup that was put in the fridge - something needs to warm things up to get things started.

Well, tonight, something got started. Intellectually, sitting in an apartment (yes a brilliant two bedroom apartment) with your children sleeping peacefully and you, for the first time in months, sleeping peacefully in your room (for new folks, the silence after 14 years of noise is challenging for sleeping - you read alot, listen to the television, and try and hear your upstairs neighbors conversations through the air conditioner vents) - your mind settles back into those thoughts of actually doing something - not the day to day work of paychecks and policies, but something that it was meant to do. For me, much like my blog proclaims, I was meant to share - and to bring things together. I was meant to be in touch with your emotions, relate to them, chew them, taste them - and live them. Writing poorly was a talent that I worked to create - but feeling - that was something I was born with. The Great American novel may run away from me, and I may not be Norman Mahler - but penning what I see and feel - that is easy to convey to you, and that is what I have always wanted to do...

Being 37 and not having done anything significant - that is the challenge I am facing right now. For some, aggressive pursuit of the top is their goal. For some, unending drive to create the next technological breakthough feeds their inner self, for me, I want it all - I want to forego the need to snort, drink, shoot, smoke, or whatever to get to the basest of human emotion - and then I want to put it on paper. Those professional writers say you can go an entire day to get one or two sentences on paper - I suppose that is why I am not a professional - once it starts, albeit incoherently, it spills onto the paper. Breaking the seal of poor motivation and the onset of depression prevents it - but once it is there, it is there. We all want to do something significant and meaningful in our lives. Raise a family, become business barons, be politicians, support a cause - perhaps that is my problem, I don't necessarily want to do anything of such great importance other than feel. Perhaps this disillusionment with what I have done is the motivator now - and the drive to get out of bed, put down my book, and stop being the forgotten man of the 21st century. On airplanes, in rental car check out counters, in lines at the hotel, and in those fancy business eateries, I see that forgotten man that I believe Roosevelt borrowed and mentioned - but in a new way - they struggle for the green lawn and the Hickey Freeman suit and a new set of Ping Irons - but inside and in the corner of their eyes, you can feel their disillusionment - and their dread, and their fear, that yes - they too have been forgotten. Even the women who are tightly stitched together in grey flannel business suits and carry black Prada laptop cases show those signs - all of us sit at the bar or head to the gym and stare blankly into the hotel room windows or endlessly avoid our reflection in those mirrors behind the bars. Travel is a beautiful way to live. It is an amazing thing to see this United States for longer than a week, and enjoy cookies from the Edmonds Bakery, or have Italian food at the strip mall in Kansas City, or have a cup of coffee in Tony's Doughnuts in Portland, or to enjoy a song and a drink at the karoake bar - it is also mind opening to awake to a mountain in the rear view mirror one day, and the great plains the next. The smell of Texas on Monday, of dry grass and dust, then the smell of the Rainforest and pine and earth in Washington two days later, then the smell of cold, dry air in Portland, Maine by Friday. On the other hand, all of us know that we do get tired, we live individual confined lives, and we all know that we question the meaning of what it is we are doing...

Wishing that I could somehow convey to anyone where and how to find that meaning is almost impossible - bolstering it with the financial need to raise a family, or the nicer house, or the bigger car, or the best pool in the neighborhood - for me - I want a backyard, with wild roses and well maintained weeds cut short enough to resemble grass, and a furry black lab that sheds and licks his balls and wags his tail a little too hard to keep beer on the patio furniture end tables - so the big house and the other stuff - well that is not the meaning. Supplanting Importance as the main reason is a failed attempt at saying that I am doing something important - necessity does not indicate importance - the wheels are going to turn on a downhill run - and no matter how many bridges get designed and streets get paved and companies get successfully integrated - it really is not that important - certainly not the same as a doctor volunteering her time to fix cleft palets, or a teacher struggling to parent children whose parents, like me, are absent all except for weekends. Important would be saving and creating jobs for those people who are driven and intelligent and able, but had less of a chance to shine, I don't want to be important, but being recognized - well that would be nice, but sitting on the airplane or watching folks stroll through Hartsfield - you realize, that, odds are - they want to be recognized too - they are just as afraid of eye contact and a smile as I am of not making eye contact and a friendly smile.

Yup, there you have it - too much emotion on one page, too much angst in one mind, and too much of nothing to fill the evening - the book is still inside here somewhere, and the anticipation of a phone call and a discussion on questions - that is what I am looking forward too for now - what I like most and what I dislike most - those were the challenges that we posed to one another - and thinking about those things brings both smiles and smirks - and the realization that we all come to grips with shortcomings sooner or later - but what makes the human is that we have the choice to deal with them and develop them.

Failing to do either, well, that is a choice as well - at least, at a minimum, in a small parcel way, we still come to grips.

Hopefully I will visit more often -