The Cynic

In these post-breakup days, I have had a lot of time to myself. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been working, going to school, seeing friends, working out, Christmas shopping, playing the piano, and…well, good lord. You get the picture. But one of the strange things about these days is the amount of time that I’ve had to just THINK. For whatever reason, I just hadn’t had much time to do it. Or I’d been spending all of my thinking time thinking about the wrong things. I’d been wondering where I was going to work when my contract ran out. Wondering if a certain horrible group project would turn out OK. Wondering what the flying hell happened to my relationship. All of those things can tend to take up a lot of time, and most of them don’t end up with answers. Now that my brain is no longer in survival mode, it can get back to “leisure thinking.” Things like “what if, like energy, there’s a certain amount of fat in the world? A morbidly obese person dies, and 60 girls gain ten pounds? They blame their birth control, but really it’s because the weight needed to be redistributed as the fat person rotted. Fat IS stored energy, right?”

Seriously. I pondered that through an entire grocery trip.

In survival mode, everything just stops while your brain just tries to get through the day. I had nothing to say and nothing to write because there simply hadn’t been a thought in my head that wasn’t about what I did that day. Even my internal dialog had become plot summary. As a side note, I hate plot summary. Conversation should not be like a third grader’s book report. I only want to know what you did so that we can then move on to how you felt about it, how you hope it turns out, or how it fits into your master plan. The big picture.

Anyway, with all this quiet around me during holiday drives, commutes, workouts, etc., I felt my brain open up. It had time to think. To wonder about things. To think of things it wanted to do. To slow down and try to figure things out. I started to give some thought to the nature of love. Like, maybe my relationship fell apart because I just wouldn’t know a man that loved me if he walked up and shook my hand. Maybe I was just THAT cynical.

But no.

I knew that one friend loved me because he listened to me bitch about my job ALL the damn time. There were long stories detailing such riveting topics as paper jams and mail merges, and he listened to every single word of every single one, without interrupting me, acting bored or changing the topic. If memory serves, he would even reach over and mute the tv or pause the DVR so we could talk. That man loved me.

What happened to him? If I wanted to blame him, I’d say that he found a girlfriend and forgot about me. If I told the truth, I’d say I wasn’t that great a friend to him (he supported me, and I’d be like “thanks” and then miss important things like his college graduation) and he finally found a girl who would accept his love properly. I still owe him an apology, and he’s going to get it if I ever manage to track him down.

I knew that another friend loved me because he talked me down from 100 different ledges after a particularly gross breakup. I’d get going on some rant, and he would just stop me with “Amy, this person threw you away. Like trash. Via TEXT. Why are you spending all this time even thinking about him? He should be wiped from the Earth, along with your memory of him.”

He helped me through that breakup and when his breakup came, I legitimately tried. I listened to his understated story of being tossed aside by a girl he thought he would marry. I thought he was fine, because he seemed so calm. I knew that he loved me because I got a chance to beg. To say goodbye. To tell him I loved him. When he killed himself anyway, it changed me forever and I forgot how to be terrified of everything. That man loved me.

I know dad was kind of contractually obligated, but still. There must have been countless times that he gave something up for mom, sis and me. Countless times that he didn’t get to do what he wanted to do because we were the bigger picture. Countless things he couldn’t have because he was squirreling money away. Money that became part of the down payment on my house. My car. My eyes. This is the man that made a goth girl do a mock interview because “I think you’re cheating yourself out of 20 grand a year with that nose ring.” The man who looked at a disheveled 10 year old and made her “have some self respect and iron that shirt.” The man who kept asking “no, really, what ARE your goals?” until I figured out an answer. He loved me enough to not let me get away with anything. He loved me enough to tell me that I could do better until I did better.

I’m still a terribly cynical person. I will check your actions eight ways to Sunday to make sure they’re true. I do this to protect myself.

But, by God, I know when I am loved.
And I never, ever forget it.

Caturday Catch-Up: Betta Late Than Neva

I didn’t holla at you over the weekend cause I was busy doing stuff with the fam. Now, I’m writing but I haven’t turned off my music (Murphy is bitching on the other side of the door and I’m drowning him out), so you’ll have to forgive the possible typos. Shall we?

Jen and I took a non-fabulous road trip up to Lexington for my dad’s celebration of life thing. I shall henceforth be referring to this as his “party,” because Celebration of Life is too damn long. Anywho, Friday night had Jen, mom, sis and I packing up 7 or 8 of dad’s paintings to display at the “party.” This was a sketchy process, involving much packing tape, foam core, and use of the phrase “we’ll just have to be careful.”

The next day, we took all that packing over to the sales pavillion at Fasig-Tipton, where we met up with a posse of sis’s friends, who helped set up. The only missing piece of the “party” was a sign downstairs, telling people that the “party” was upstairs. Thus, Jen and I were stationed downstairs to direct traffic.

There was a steady stream of people whom I questionably stealth-greeted. What’s stealth-greeting? Saying this:

“Hi! We’re here to direct traffic…everybody’s upstairs.”

Instead of this:

“Hi, I’m Bruce’s daughter, Amy.”

Half of the people sniffed me out anyway, since they knew they should be looking for one goth chick and one lawyer for the “daughters” category. I just didn’t want to give the “well, you know….he fought hard for a long time…he was just done…” speech 300 times. We’re OK, guys. We’re tough broads. Now go upstairs and have some wine, kay? Also, while hanging out downstairs, Jen and I invented a goth gang sign because I’ve felt for some time that we need one. “How do we make our fingers look like a bat?” “How about this?”

I saw the side of the family from Eastern Kentucky for the first time in 24 years. They’re nice people, but I never hear about the reunions and, when I do, I’ve already got something scheduled. I’m thinking they need Twitter. The other side of the fam, who I see at Thanksgiving and Christmas, were also there. Also people dad worked with. And people mom works/bowls with. I found myself feeling very glad to not be unemployed, as that makes the usual “so, what do you do?” conversation rather awkward. It’s awkward enough to tell them that I do graphic design. The people who get it respond with, “so, you got your dad’s artistic abilities?” (Half of them. He was way better.) The people who don’t get it think I do I.T. stuff. Other question: “you live in Nashville? Are you in the music biz at all?” (No, thank god, as I’d probably be unemployed right now.) I guess they all figured that they shouldn’t ask if I’m married, as a husband would have been standing next to me, rather than Jen. OK, Jen still would have been there…just on the other side.

Anywho, we got all the paintings (and a buttload of food) home without damages. Whit’s posse, my aunt, and aunt’s friend stayed the night. Translation:

I drank more than I ever have in one night, and got the second-drunkest I’ve ever been. Everybody else (except Jen) got way drunk, and Jen and I went to bed hearing everybody downstairs singing such awesome tunes as “Broken Wings,” “Rocket Man,” and “Wanted (Dead or Alive).” On the last one, Jen and I joined in, singing backup from upstairs. Sadly, though we had a screening for sis’s posse, she says I can’t show you a video I have named “Drunk People Say The Darnedest Things.” Something about how she doesn’t want her clients to see it. You people and your grown-up jobs. Kill joy! 😉

Everybody (except sis) headed out on Sunday, and Jen and I made it home in two pieces. Things got a little sketchy around Bowling Green, when my brain took the opportunity to have two panic attacks. Notes to self:

1. Do not skip brain drugs to drink vodka.
2. Do not drink that much vodka ever. Stomach will smite you.
3. Do not think pulling over will help. Blast some music. That always works.

Sorry today wasn’t Movie Monday like it normally is, but my video got vetoed by the subject. Besides, the schedule’s been a little fuxed recently. Will get back on schedule, back on track, and caught up. Promise-omise