Before I begin, I ask my readers (both of you) to welcome Vicky on as a My Side subscriber, with all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities that affords. (You can pay me the $10 any time this week...) Vicky, as some of you may know, if my lady love and having her read this is probably the worst conceived idea since our current war (No, Ken. That's over now... remember...?) but I do it anyway in the spirit of disclosure, honesty, and stupidity.
So, let's all welcome Vicky. "Hi, Vicky."
But enough about her. This Blog is about me, all about me, and nothing but the me. So, when I tell you what's going on, it is in no way to imply she sees things the same, agrees, or even remembers such things happening. It's all about ME, baby!
That said, let's start.
It wasn't the weekend from hell this weekend - because to say that would be to invite scorn, hatred, and a possible decrease in sex. (And already, he's pissing someone off!)
It was, however, a weekend filled with more chills and terror than the thought of how the Repugs made Reagan into some kind of hero after his death...
Friday night started brilliantly with our first fight. Did it have to be this way? NO! It wasn't supposed to happen! I'd left work early to get some relaxation in so I wasn't cranky when I saw her and everything! (For those not in the know, I haven't been sleeping much.) But then I started seeing Vicky for who she is rather than who she wants me to see... which was pretty stupid of me, don't you think? She started talking about how she's never going to have any more cats. She done with them. Through! Um, pardon me? Excuse me? Hey, I like cats! Maybe I might have a say in this if we're thinking of being together? Of course, the cat-astrophic start to our evening on got worse when we started talking about SUVs... and she started to get insulting and thoughtless...
Now, look. I get it, okay? We're both people who have been apart, alone, for several years. We are USED to getting our own way. But, hey, we're trying not be alone anymore. We need to remember that there's another person here.
(The cap on that story is that, upon returning to her place, I left. I walked out to my car. But I realized that was a quitters way and that she meant more to me than that. So, I turned around, went back, and we talked things out.)
I kept trying.
And I kept trying.
Saturday morning started far too early, before noon. I made it down to my realtor's office at 9am and off we went into the wilds of low-cost housing. (Low cost! $250,000!!!! Real, fucking low!!!) We saw places in neighborhoods I wouldn't walk through, places where I could hear my mom saying, "Ken, are you sure you want to live here?" So, I kept saying "No. No. No." There were a couple of decent places. The one to beat, though, was one block from downtown Long Beach. It was heaven with a cherry on top... but due to circumstances beyond my control (i.e., there's a girl I love who has a dog and will probably want another), I couldn't take it because it lacked any patio or balcony. (Damned dogs, anyway...) The upside was that it gave me hope... and we all know what happens when I get hope. (Hint: nothing good.)
Exhausted as I was when we finished, Vicky and I then drove to San Diego. I drove, putting in cds by The Thrills and Dire Straits, getting the distinct impression that if Vicky thought her ear-drums would have grown back, she would have gouged them out. In between songs, she'd shout at the other drivers she felt needed it. Fortunately, she didn't shout at me but seeing this lack of compassion for human frailty... again... very "Philadelphia Story"... well, it kind of made me want to scream. I spent a lot of this weekend wanting to scream. "Stop it! You're being human! That's not allowed! Bring out Perfect-Vicky!!!"
But I couldn't.
I was being human, too.
We got to Tim's and I said, "Tim, where's my drink?" That's become my favorite thing to say to him. I feel like I'm at "Cheers"! He made us drinks out on his patio (which he'd set up when I'd explained that Vicky didn't want to be in a smoke-filled room)(Thanks, Tim.) and we lit up aaaaaaaaaand Smoked 2, 3, 4, and Drink 2, 3, 4, and Smoke 2, 3, 4... and life was good. Or so it seemed. I'd forgotten how much Tim likes to put me on the spot, "challenge me". So, while we had dinner and drinks, it became a game of emotional dodge-ball with Ken as the target. I really got beaned by that big, red ball when he insisted on pursuing my reluctance to go to my high school reunion. In simple terms, I failed in life and don't want to stand in front of those who thought I'd succeed to tell them that. As Tim kept hammering that failure home, I just wanted to get out of there so I could stop being human and put on Perfect-Ken for Vicky again.
But if there's one thing that makes Human-Ken (Perfect-Ken sold separately) so human - one more thing - is his discomfort, fear, of large groups of people. That performer's unwillingness and terror of not standing out, not being seen... anonymity. And so, on July 4, Vicky and I went to a BBQ held by her friends Clay and Trish. There were probably about 10 people there. Honestly, if I'd been 10 years younger and had been any other La Celle (those of the fabulous senses of humor - no offense), I would have worked very hard at being the center of attention. Thankfully, though, years of solitude have tempered that need for attention with the affectation of the strong, silent type. (Look, when you're pathetically shy, it's better to look strong and silent.) I think I ended up somewhere in between. I didn't really screw up until - and I won't go into details - I didn't something that momentarily hurt Vicky's feelings and then I nearly hit myself in the head with the table because I was such an ass. When all was said and done, though, I don't think I did too badly.
The night wasn't over.
Before we get to it, though, let me step back a minute. We were driving there earlier, talking, and something about Vicky came as quite a shock. That is, without having studied the religion, Vicky is a very competent Buddhist. That is, if Buddhism is looked at as a philosophy geared towards living a more authentic life and enjoying each moment of it, Vicky has that down to a "T". She doesn't dwell on things. She doesn't over-analyze. Here I struggle with Buddhism (against my Christian roots) and she considers herself Christian while unknowingly practicing Buddhism. (That said, please note that Buddhists openly admit that Christianity can be a valid course to take down one of the eight-fold paths to enlightenment. The two are NOT mutually exclusive.)(The Pope would smack me if he heard me say that.) Bottom line: I can learn from her.
Or so I thought. Because later that night, I stepped out of my new life with my new girlfriend an into an old play I'd written based on another life with another girlfriend. I walked into the pages of "Atheists" when Vicky told me she was Lutheran and wanted to raise her child in the Lutheran faith. Did I want to scream at that point? Hell, no. I'd already fought that fight against a Catholic. At that point, I wanted to leave. But I stayed. We talked. We didn't resolve anything more than the mutual admission that we both had a lot to think about, a lot to discuss, and we were both tired. (But I guaranty you, dear readers, there will not be an "Atheists 2: Electric Bugaloo".)
The next afternoon, yesterday, we were out again. Driving. She was driving. And she was telling me how she couldn't tolerate stupid people.
"Everybody makes mistakes," I'd say.
"That's not a mistake. That stupidity."
"We're all stupid at one time or another."
"Not that stupid!"
Ken at 38 meet Ken at 30! I guess I deserved it. Years ago, driving with Rosa, I'd scream and act superior to the world and Rosa's only comeback was "Shut up! You're giving me a headache!" Now, after making my mistakes and being stupid over and over and over again, I've learned how to accept stupidity from my fellow man... only in time to be with someone just as intolerant as I used to be. I keep thinking that tolerance can be learned but, until then, it hurts to see someone so full of warmth show this cold bitterness behind the wheel of a car.
Oh, and for those of you keeping score, that also means that if I'm going to sound so smug, I have to be tolerant of that bitterness, too. And love it. And love her.
And I do. She's human and so am I and we're just beginning to see that. Sure, I wish she was a bit more compassionate, a bit less extravagant (feeding my "don't be Rosa" fears), and maybe just a bit more aware of her place in the world and the effect that has on it. But, then, she's also incredibly warm and open about her feelings and ready to give to a relationship and loving with her friends. Loving someone is not about sculpting them. Things change in time. Maybe, after a few months, she'll grow to laugh at my jokes or like my music... maybe not.... maybe I'll have to accept that. I didn't fall in love with a project. I fell in love with a person.
And you're all going to meet her eventually. The "Vicky Tour 2004" will be going to Anaheim, California next weekend for some pool playing with Sean. (I hope she kicks his ass!!! he he he...) Then, who knows?
Last night, after I got home, she called me for no other reason than to hear my voice before she went to sleep and to say "Good night." She loves me and I love her. We're human. Let's see if we can deal with that.