Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Deb Loves to Crochet: My First Project

I like to think of last Thanksgiving as the day that I fell in love with my friends, Lindsey and Ian. Ian actually went to high school with my dear friend, Leah, so, when he and Lindsey moved to Boston so Ian could do post-doc work at Harvard, Ian and Lindsey were welcomed into the fold of Leah and Ben's robe of friends (I'm not sure this metaphor makes any sense, but I stand by it all the same). I met them in September, but it wasn't until Thanksgiving that I realized their base awesomeness. After that wonderful day, I kept trying to think of reasons to hang out with Lindsey. I even drafted a couple emails that I never sent, asking her to bake whoopie pies or have tea, because I got so nervous that she wouldn't want to hang out with me. But then, at a LeBen rock band party, Lindsey pulled out some crocheting supplies, and I had my in.

Around January, when things were getting really hard in my personal life, my eating disorder was flaring. Elizabeth (a veritable fount of creativity and wherewithal) suggested I take up something like crocheting in order to have something to do when at home that wasn't eating. It was only a couple weeks later where I learned Lindsey was a crocheting expert. It was Kismet, I tell you!

Lindsey is such an incredibly patient teacher and is also so encouraging. I must say I took to the crocheting with much vigor, but it was also a most excellent excuse to hang out with Lindsey and Ian and their two most awesome of cats (Genghis and Buster) and watch Archer, Arrested Development and Dance Moms. So though this first project is made of the cheapest yarn possible, it will always make me think happily of Lindsey and Ian (and the kitty boys) when they move to California in June.

Sigh. I miss them already.

Pattern: A lot of double Crochet
Hook: 5.5 M (I)
Yarn: Red Heart Super Saver Yarn from Ben Franklin Store in Belmont (2 Skeins) 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Adventures of the Dating Impaired: Part 1

Well it's Valentine's Day. What more perfect day to start chronicling my adventures as the worst dater in the history of the world. 

Let's start at the beginning.

I turn 30 in May and have been on like 4 dates in my life. I feel like that should in itself indicate to you that I am terrible at dating, but perhaps it doesn't. 

So let me elaborate.

Once a date is proposed to me (or a date is proposed by me and accepted by a man) I go through a 3 day period of debilitating anxiety and sleeplessness. I worry about a myriad of things: Will he find me attractive? Will he think I'm funny? Will he want to leave half way through the date? Will he actually leave or will I just have to watch him be unhappy? Will my hair look good? Should I mention I have 9 best friends? Should I talk about my love of the Bachelor and Justin Bieber? 

If you've never talked to me in this state, 


That's pretty much what it's like. God bless all my friends. 

Those 3 days of debilitating anxiety are followed by 3 days of fantasizing that it is going to be the best date on which any person ever went. Like, he will instantly fall in love with me. And he will say all the right things. And then we'll get married. And then I imagine how he'll propose. And what our kids will look like. And how we'll have a dog named Mortimer cause that's an awesome dog name. It's ludicrous, but I CAN'T STOP IT. I'll spend those 3 days full of hope and enamored of how funny and charming I am and how funny and charming he will be.

Then the day before the date the anxiety will return. That's when I have to be reminded that the date isn't just about ME. That he is probably nervous too. That I get to see if I like him or find him attractive. That the goal is to "have a relaxed conversation with a hetero male" (trademark EJB). Then I calm down. Well, a bit. And then I wake up in the morning and I put on my prettiest outfit, and my purplest eye makeups and I think of funny things I can talk about that aren't scary (i.e. none of the things I share here) and then off I go. Into the wild blue yonder. Or to work. Where I spend the whole day trying to figure out how to reel in at least SOME of my crazy without being boring.

So last night, I went on a date with a man I met on okcupid. It was the first internet date I've ever been on. EJB was instructed to contact me at 10:30pm with the text message, "Alive? INTERNET DATING!" if she didn't hear from me before then. 

Overall, it was a really nice evening. While eating burritos in a random MIT classroom and drinking brown bagged beer leaning on a wall outside (something I've always dreamed of doing), I kept thinking, "MAN, I am SO GOOD at this!" 

Until we went to a concert.

The plan had always been to go to a performance at MIT's Killian Hall of John Cage's Interludes for Prepared Piano. Prepared Piano means that the piano strings are full of screws, erasers, and credit cards, all of which completely alter the sound of the instrument. It was really cool. 

For about 5 minutes.

I consider myself pretty musically open minded, and I've listened to some pretty strange live music over the years. But holy crap this was NOT. MY. JAM. 

First of all, I realized I had to pee after sitting down at 7:58 when the concert started at 8pm. I thought, "It's only an hour. I can totally hold it."

Here's a tidbit of info about me: I go INSANE when my physical needs are not being met. When I am excessively hungry, tired, or need to use the bathroom, I lose it. Like LOSE IT. Oh, and I hate sitting still. Oh, and the room was super hot and the music was quiet and repetitive and there were people sitting in the aisles so even if I had decided I wanted to go pee in the middle of the concert I would've had to crawl over the two people sitting between me and the aisle and then crawl over the myriad of college students lounging in the aisle itself.

So maybe 15 minutes in I realized what a terrible idea it was to not just go pee before the concert started. Meaning for the next 45+ minutes I kept getting angrier and angrier and angrier as the moments passed. I felt angry I was on a date and had to hold in my crazy. I felt angry that I kept catching a glimpse of my date out of the corner of my eye and thinking it was my brother. I felt angry that I was not at home in my bed in my pajamas. I felt angry that the room was hot and that I couldn't move and that my shoulder kept cramping. 

Another tidbit: when I am in a situation where my physical needs are not being met, I somehow convince myself it will NEVER END. I legitimately convinced myself I had ended up in hell and that hell was having to pee at a John Cage concert. The pianist just kept non-nonchalantly turning the pages over and over and over AND OVER. IT WAS THE PIECE THAT NEVER ENDED. And then, just as I had the thought, "IF SHE TURNS ONE MORE PAGE I AM GOING TO WALK UP TO THE STAGE AND SLAP HER ACROSS THE FACE" a miracle happened. 

The concert ended.

I told my date I was going to the bathroom, left him with most of my stuff and practically ran from the room. Now I have been to many concerts in many small venues, but this is the first concert I've ever been to where I couldn't find the bathroom. IT DEFIES LOGIC that there wouldn't be a bathroom outside of the hall, but apparently MIT's genius does not extend to pesky things like bathroom location. So I am speed walking through different hallways looking for some sign that there is a bathroom, and I keep coming across offices or exit doors. Everywhere I turned was somebody's office, or the outside. I considered peeing in both. 

I finally ran into the library and asked the front desk person about the nearest restroom.

She said, "Well, the closest ladies room is on the third floor."


She looked terrified. But answered in the affirmative. "You just walk past the stacks and then to the left and then to the right and then take the stairs to 2M and walk through a door and then to the right and then to the left and then the right again and the bathroom will be right there."

No joke.

All the rage I felt for the pianist was now completely directed at the person who designed this building. I speed walked through the directions, ran up the stairs, got a little lost, and then finally found the bathroom. 

It was, I believe, the most satisfying pee of my life. 
And I kept thinking, once I pee I will calm down.

I was wrong.

As I walked down the stairs and through the library I kept thinking how much I wanted to be at home in my PJs. How if I hadn't left my stuff with my date I would've just left, not because I hadn't had a good time, but because the idea of having to make small talk when all I wanted to do was scream louder than I'd ever screamed in my whole life while crazy dancing through the library was too much. 

By the time I got back to the hall, almost everyone was gone. Just like any semblance of my sanity. 

We gathered our things and walked back out to Mass Ave where I would catch the bus. I kept harping on the fact that I couldn't find the bathroom and on the poor layout of that building. I mean I COULDN'T LET IT GO. I even explained to him my thing about my physical needs being met because I couldn't hide the crazy anymore. I kept waving my arms while talking and compulsively swaying. The poor man probably thought I was actually insane, which I kind of was. Finally the bus came. We hugged without talk of a second date (oh, surprise) and I got on the bus. 

Add to all of this the fact that the bus driver on my first bus was the WORST DRIVER EVER, and that I waited for the second bus for 25 minutes, and you get ULTRA CRAZY DEB. Poor Roomie had to encounter me in this state as I desperately tried to pry off the heels I had been wearing all day (because I'm a dumbass) while still trying to control the need to scream/crazy dance.

After saying good night to Roomie, I shoved everything that was on my bed into a pile on the floor, put on my pajamas, turned on my heating pad, and ate an entire bag of rice crackers while watching American Dad. I fell asleep in my fleecey robe without washing my face, with the light on, clutching the empty cracker bag to my chest.

So that's that.

I've often used the word "quirky" to describe myself. 

I think it might be time to find a stronger word.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Things Deb Doesn't Love: Valentine's Day

Well, next week is Valentine's Day, and I feel that, as a single person, I am supposed to feel one of two things:

1) Bitterness. I am supposed to go to events called, "F*CK VALENTINE'S DAY AND F*CK LOVE AND F*CK YOU." Cause that sounds like a whole bunch of fun. Getting together with some strangers so we can share in some perceived common loneliness? Um, thanks, but no thanks.

2) Hopeful Longing. Maybe SOMEDAY I too will be able to have a partner so that I can celebrate this COMPLETELY ARBITRARY holiday invented by Big Business so that we, the consumers, will BUY MORE SHIT.

Wow. With two such great choices, February 14th must be every single person's favorite day.

But let's be real y'all.

I know I try to come off as somewhat worldly when it comes to men and singleness and marriage and all that jazz, but the fact of the matter is, OF COURSE, I want to be in a relationship. Connectivity is one of the most wonderful things about being human.

But the fact is Valentine's Day is balls. BALLS. I apologize to all my relationshiped and married friends who I might be about to offend, but it is really and truly BALLS.

TRUTH: It isn't a real holiday. It used to be a nice little day for British people to exchange cards made from ribbons and doilies. And then some dude was like, "Hey, what if I made greeting cards and people bought them," and so people did. And then some other dude was like, "Hey, chocolates go great with cards! Maybe people will buy that too!" And so they did. And then the diamond industry was like, "Hey, let's take a break from being douches and get in on this Valentine's Day crap because MAYBE if people will buy cards and chocolates they'll also buy diamonds." And, surprise, they did. Then there are clothing companies selling lingerie, restaurants racking up their prices, party stores covered in hearts. Are we seeing a common thread here? Consumption. The fat cats got together and decided to make Valentine's Day a thing so people would BUY. MORE. SHIT.

Friends, here is my advice on how to stick it to Big Business on this oh so ridiculous of "holidays."

Relationshiped and Marrieds: Love your significant other and appreciate them EVERY DAY OF THE FREAKING YEAR. Buy them gifts because you want to, whenever you want to, not because some lamesauce executive is encouraging you to. Gaze into their eyes across a candlelit dinner on March 5, because that sounds like just as good of a day on which to do it as February 14.

Singles: Resist the urge to 1) feel sorry for yourself. 2) feel bitter towards your friends in relationships. I think of singleness in the same way I think about fatness. It's a thing. Learn how to exist in it because fighting it is pointless and lame and will lead to inevitable discontent and accepting it will help you find joy and hope in tangible things and then... well, you'll have joy and hope.

TRUTH: There are worse things in the world than being alone. There are better things in the world than being married. The world is a complicated place, and the human spirit is resilient and diverse. Give yourself a break and don't let Big Business dictate how you feel about your life, good or bad.

And, for better or worse, that is my oversimplified opinion on that.