The Reflection Theory

Once upon a time, I met a girl at a party. Shortly thereafter, we had taken to having dinner together every Thursday. Mutual friends had no idea what to say. Probably one or two people suspected I was guilty of the most bizarre goth scene political maneuver in the history of man.

This girl, while seeming a lot like me on the surface, also seemed to be my polar opposite. She loved everything and everybody. She was nice. She gave compliments. She had been known to cry in public without wanting to go shoot herself for it. She was kind of like the human equivalent of jazz hands.

As for me, I don’t hate everyone and everything, but I can see where there could be some confusion on that point. I was cynical, completely unable to compliment people to their face (faces? that one always confuses me), and I had a sign in my brain reading “no public crying, ever.”

Years after we met, I have taken to referring to this girl as my reflection. We look a lot alike, but if you look closely, we’re doing everything in opposite ways.

She sucked me in with a love of Halloween merch, we liked the same clothes and we both had an unhealthy addiction to glitter, but all of this is really about the underpinnings. In her, I saw a collection of things I knew I needed to learn. Expressing enthusiasm for something, openly appreciating the people around you and telling people how you feel were all things I knew I lacked.

The best way to learn those things is to hang out with someone who does them and watch them work. At her going away party, her family gathered around her and everyone gave a speech about how proud they were and how much they loved her. I was weirded out and felt like I was trapped in an episode of Growing Pains. Also, I was jealous that her family did stuff like that. I wanted to give a speech too, but I couldn’t make my mouth work.

I have since figured out that, nine times out of ten, everybody else in the room wants to open up too and just doesn’t know how. They’re secretly relieved when you go first, and they almost always respond the way you’d hoped they would. It’s just about having the balls to put your feelings out there first. It is difficult to walk around with your chest cavity open, not to mention an infection risk. It’s easier to just pretend to be bulletproof and then go home and type things, not that I know anything about either of those. No, sir.

The thing about hanging out with people who are better than you are is that it slowly makes you better. while that friendship didn’t make too much sense to people, I have found that it worked out pretty well. I’m slowly learning what I needed to learn. She has made me do things I wouldn’t have done otherwise, just because I don’t want to disappoint her. I saw Twilight in the theater, for pete’s sake. When I had to work the door at my dad’s unfuneral, she was there. When I completely freaked out in the car coming home, she was there. When she took some heat over a guy situation, I publicly told everyone to fuck off and secretly admired the way that she still ran around with her heart wide open.

The idea, friends, is to hang out with people who are enough like you that you can get along well enough to learn from each other, but who are different enough to make you better. I don’t want to hang out with someone exactly like me. I get enough “me” all day long and, frankly. we don’t always get along. (It’s the other me’s fault. That bitch is exhausting.)

I want to hang out with people who are what I hope to be, not what I already am. It’s about the reflection, not the carbon copy.

Revelations On Tail

I’ve been making a serious effort to stop whining at you, and it’s getting easier because I’ve quit drinking so much and I’ve moved into the “denial” phase. I’ve been trying to stop whining at you, but it’s mostly resulted in a hell of a lot of quiet around here. So, what’s up?

The film company finally has a logo, and we’re all reasonably decently deluding ourselves into thinking that this is a perfectly reasonable backup plan. Like, if all the real jobs in America fall into a gaping crack in the Earth, (and become clubhouses for the lost boys), it’s no big. By then, I’ll be a film editor. Poo will smell like roses, cancer will be cured True Blood will come on some channel that I get, and my cat will live forever. Johnny Depp and Jack White will be fighting over me, trying to buy my affections with items from the Victorian Trading Company catalog.

Go big or go home.

(Jack will win by buying me the Cleopatra fainting couch.)

“How’s the book coming?” Well, I haven’t actually had time to think about it for the last couple of months. I tagged everything up to 2007, but 9 years of blogs take a while to tag. Seeing as how I’m now making a serious effort to stop working on dumb crap for dumb people who make me want to kill myself and never pay their bills, maybe some progress will be made. If your name is Tyler and you’re reading this, I’m not talking about you. Your stuff kept getting pushed back because someone else was sucking the life out of me. I have fired her, I’m working on your stuff and, rest assured, I will not be trying to get any money out of you. This has taken me an unacceptable length of time and I suck. Just sayin.

Despite efforts of friends and the internet, I have (so far) successfully dodged all members of the male gender (male? members? har?). It’s been more difficult of late, since October is always the time of year when random strangers decide to hit on the goth chick at the local Kroger. “What do goth chicks EAT?” “Babies.” Come November 1, the heat is usually off, but then I lost ten pounds and left the house a few times. Also, it’s knee boot season. I can’t take me anywhere.

A sense of humor is good.
Consistency is better.
Double points if you are short, sideburned and know what DeathRock is. Or if you are Jack White.

Jen is gone to the Navy, and that sucks ass. It’s good for her, and we’re all glad that she’s going to go off and live up to her potential and all that. I’m happy for her, but that doesn’t mean that there’s not a big empty space next to me at goth night.

WAIT! That’s the problem!!

Without Jen (who I lovingly refer to as my official cockblock), there’s no perky, cute girl standing next to me for dudes to talk to. They have no choice but to end up talking to me.

Well, I’m glad we worked that out.

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

Hello, Weirdness, My Old Friend

I am kneeling in Jen’s living room in the dark, wearing a Hanson t-shirt, AFI sweatpants, and waiting for a Nytol to kick in. I started this day in a Victorian from shirt and 4-inch heels. Perhaps we should back up?

I left the house (still feels weird to type HOUSE) 13 hours ago. Went to Black 13 to feel out a tattoo guy, then went to Lone Wolf Franklin to check out another. I got the best feeling off of the guy at Black 13, so I guess my as-yet-official tattoo guy is named Steve Martin (which makes me chuckle). I’m going to concoct something in Illustrator, email it to him, and he’s going to tell me what he can make better. Come March 14, I’ll have a permanent black bow tied around my right wrist.

After picking out a tattoo guy, I went to Rivergate Mall to vulturize the going out of business sale at Waldenbooks. While there, two dudes complimented me on my outfit and one of those hit on me with reckless abandon. I appreciate this trend, though I have no freaking clue where it’s coming from. Am I giving off pheromones that make me visible? Does losing ten pounds bring out my cheekbones THAT much? Is the flashing red “virgin” sign about my head broken? Have I developed some bizarre form of subconscious confidence by losing said ten pounds and/or pointing a camera at myself? Who the hell knows, but it seems I can scarcely leave the house without some dude talking to me.

This is lovely and flattering, but it makes life damn weird when I have to explain why I’ve developed the disposition of a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. I don’t know how to say “somebody gnawed a chunk out of me, which was followed closely by somebody else gnawing a chunk out of me, and I can’t even handle my porn collection right now, much less an actual person” without making Random Dude feel really awkward. There’s no quick, non-messy way to explain, so I just stutter like Ozzy and stare at their shoes.

After Waldenbooks, I wandered the rest of the mall. A couple of 12 year old girls in Wet Seal simultaneously gasped and squealed “you’re awesome!” at me. With no sarcasm. Am I being punk’d? Is 12 too young an age for me to think they were high? Should I make today’s outfit my official job interview outfit, since people seem to like it so damn much? I thought for a second about whipping out my video camera and asking the girls to re-enact the scene, but I’m thinking that would have been weird. What really stopped me from doing it is that I didn’t think they’d be able to give me realism. The weird ship was halfway across the Atlantic.

After the mall, I went over to Jen’s for pre-party cupcake-making and had to run to Wal-Mart for eggs, at which point the security guy asked where I’d gotten my outfit (honestly….wtf?). “Well, the shoes are from ebay, and the socks are from Halloween and….oh never mind.”

Everyone who likes Jaegermeister eventually ends up with a “and then I got really sick on it, and now I can’t drink it anymore” story. Let’s just say that I believe Jen wrote her chapter tonight. Luckily, there were some party guests who were a little better at handling a person who’s got 5 inches and a few pounds on me. “If you go down, all I can do is slow you down…so please, don’t go down.” I don’t know the progression of trashed-ness beyond “gets really quiet and will probably hurl” because I usually leave the party during the “it’s starting to get weird” phase. “Is it safe? Is she gonna sleep now, or is she gonna keep trying to walk around?” Jesus, drunk people are like zombies. “Just stay down!”

She’s asleep in the other room and I have made do by hijacking a shower and some PJs. While looking through the copious amounts of t-shirts in her closet, I ran across her vintage Hanson shirt, complete with “Mmmbop” written across the back. The hilarity of me wearing this shirt will have to wait until tomorrow, when Jen wakes to find me scrunched up on her couch and gets to hear the gruesome account of her “…and now I don’t drink Jaeger” story.