Monday, August 31, 2009

I did the unthinkable-I turned down an apartment

I turned down an apartment-something I have never done in my life-because I realized I didn't want to live there. It was a nice studio between Harvard and Porter Squares. It was fully furnished-it even had a tiny TV (which I would never watch) and a tiny washer and dryer in the unit.

But I realized that I didn't want to live there. It was sterile. It would be like living in a hotel room. So I turned it down. On the hope of something better. I must be crazy. Or sane. I haven't decided which yet.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Should I stay or should I go?

I am sad to leave the only place that has felt like home in more than 10 years. The one condition I make for my leaving it is that wherever I go it will be to a new home. Post college and previous to moving in to this apartment, I've lived at my parents place, Paris, Milton, Brookline, JP and another location in Cambridge and none of these places were home. They were all just garages in which I parked myself at the end of the day. My "living room" was cafes and bars. I refuse to go back to this situation although it will double my rent (and possibly greatly lengthen my commute.) At the very least, even if I'm not a fit companion to my chosen partner, I still deserve a home.

I'm looking at apartments in Cambridge and probably Somerville and Beverly. Beverly would be comfortable-my best friend lives there and even though I can't drive I can walk or bike to the grocery store. And of course there's the beach.

I will never be comfortable unless there's a large body of water near by. But If I move up there I lose Cambridge, and I love Cambridge as much as I love anything else. I went to Harvard Square and saw one of the members of my favorite bands outside the Harvard Bookstore. How will I live without the Harvard? Or Pandemonium's science fiction emporium? Or 1369?

Friday, August 28, 2009

A few things that occured to me today

Today I had to go see an apartment. I walked from Central Square to just outside of Porter Square. I didn't take the T and read a book for a few reasons. I am still too messed up to enjoy reading. (That says more about how I feel than pretty much everything else. I need to read like I need to breathe. I could still read when I was sexually assaulted in 2002) I also thought that this was important enough that I ought to walk to the appointment and think about things. Sort of the reverse of L'esprit de l'escallier.

It occurred to me that in fact I have felt this terrible before, and gotten over it. The things that made me feel this bad in the past were mostly not as important as this (my dissolution of an almost 10 year relationship) and this is still either the worst or the second worst thing that has happened to me, (and as such the reasons I feel this bad are far graver than the ones I felt this bad previously) but I have recovered from feeling this horrible before.

In 1997 I graduated from college and had no clue what to do with myself. I had to break up with a boyfriend who I truly loved (he was a freshman and I was a senior) and I left all my friends behind in Minneapolis while I went back to New York to figure out how to get to Paris. I was given "an eviction notice written in Latin." I was leaving my world behind and I had no clue how to get to the next step.

In 1998, I was miserable because the same boyfriend (we decided to un-break up since we loved and missed each other and besides we'd be together in Paris in 6 months) left Paris to go back to school. I was inconsolable. I hated my job and had no friends. I hated Paris so much that I had visions of Godzilla (the remake came out that year and terrible as I knew it was I had to go see it because I'd get a glimpse of New York.) rising out of the Seine and mauling the Eiffel Tower before heading off to Pantin to eat the office building in which I worked (and hopefully, my boss.)

In 1999 I was miserable because I left Paris. And then later in the year, (and the only time in my life where my reasons for being miserable were possibly as grave as my reasons now) I was miserable in Boston. I'd had a terrible job where I worked as hard as I possibly could, came in at 7 am, worked til 8, came in on weekends and still had a "quit or get fired" conversation with my boss after only 3 months. So I got a job for significantly less money at a bookstore (and the previous employment opportunity only paid $16,000 a year). I had to get my parents to help pay for my rent. I broke up with the Boy who I went to Paris with and took up with another Boy. We were making ourselves miserable. The bookstore job was in fact (in hind-sight) pretty horrible. The scheduling changed from week to week-to the point that I could no longer remember my menstrual cycle. After one week of work one of the managers told me that my work wasn't satisfactory (my shelving was bad or something) and, because I was in a quit or be fired situation previously I was scared to death. I didn't say anything to defend myself-maybe I just cringed too much. After this interview (keep in mind I'd worked there 1 whopping week) the owner needed to talk to me about how I hadn't accepted criticism well. This was not the last time I got "talked to" by the owner in the 6 months I worked there full time. I'm not a slacker. I work hard. But that place was so horrible and I felt so bad that I called in sick once a week after a while.

I felt that the whole situation was my fault (unable to work at a real job or sustain a good relationship or have friends.) This is what broke part of me. I've never been well since. I really don't know what particular thing did it though.

I found my way out of all of those situations. In 1997 I got a job at the Strand on Fulton Street by South Street Seaport(RIP) and made great friends. One of them had a list of contacts for me in Paris, so that I was able, when I got there, to get an office job with a 1 year visa instead of waiting tables. This was a mixed blessing. The office job was horrible. It's been too long for me to say for sure, but it was probably as bad as my job now. But it allowed me to stay in Paris for longer and to make better money there. This meant that when the Boy from Carleton arrived, I was still there and when he stayed for the summer and couldn't get a job for a while (and then got an awful job) I was able to help him out financially.

In 1998, after the boy left Paris, I was able to find my own feet and make some friends (very fucked up friends, but better than nothing) and learn to love my home city (with all it's bugs/features.)

In 1999, well things didn't get much better until 2001. In 2000 I got a better job as a receptionist at a web company. About 5 months after I started it ceased to be a *sucessful* web company and started laying people off. I was dumped and then re-girlfriended. And then dumped again right after George W Bush was innaugurated. I figure I was miserable on and off for at least a year.

Shit. I hope this doesn't last that long. Almost every single one of these episodes of misery is because of men. Hmmmm

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I am heartbroken

A very bad thing just happened to me. My Boyfriend of 9+ years just dumped me because even though he loves me and I'm his best friend, he's been very unhappy about several things for a long time.

I could see this coming, but I thought I had a few months. Our roommate just moved out and things could get better once it was just the two of us. It's also been a stressful time. A friend of ours has brain cancer, work sucks etc. So I was completely blind-sided when he told me this.

Now I have to find a new apartment (probably at double the rent since I do not want a roommate. There's one person I wanted to live with and he does not want to live with me.) I'm completely shattered. I thought that after 9 years or so we were past that point. Living with him has been the only place that felt like home for the past 10 years.

But what has occurred to me is that I really really need to stop hating myself. I mean, I've known this for a while (duh) and this year I've made steps towards that-deciding to go for an MBA was one. It made me feel like I was back on track to being a human-that I didn't need to be ashamed of myself. A lot of that is, at the moment not in play-given the whole dumped thing. But you get the idea, maybe.

But if I didn't hate myself, then I wouldn't put up with bad treatment. I'd say something about it. Instead of being too afraid that I'd cause an argument. On the surface this sounds like it would have ended the relationship sooner, but there's more to it than that. If I didn't hate myself I wouldn't feel so insecure and un-willing to let go and take direction or trust someone else to show me a good time. I wouldn't get so annoyed by unsolicited advice.

I just got the feeling i was lucky the Boy put up with me, so I shouldn't make waves. If I didn't hate myself, I wouldn't put up with me. I'd find and fix the crack in my soul (I don't know exactly what it was but it appeared around 1999) instead of pussyfooting around it for fear it would get worse. No, this would not be fun at all. But I might come out a better human for it (I could hardly come out a worse one) and I might, one day be able to be in a romantic relationship again and this time not get dumped.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Friday, August 21, 2009


Not all the things you do "for the first time evar" with your boyfriend are romantic or even fun.

Upon reflection, this seems obvious. Calling the landlords because our hot water was busted was not fun, for example. But I was thinking of "nesting" things. Things that have to do with making your crack house a crack home. Things that have to do with you (and your S.O.) finally having enough money to consider the niceties of decor and kitchen goods (instead of acquiring home-furnishings from other friends' cast offs or the curb.)

My boyfriend and I have been to Ikea together 4 times in the last 6 months. The first time was kinda fun. We bought a bed and a few other sundries (floating candles, seat cushions, lamps and glasses that were so cheaply made that one of them broke by the time we got to the counter.) We had written down the bin number for the bed slats incorrectly. When we got there, we were looking at twin bed slats. I suggested that maybe for a full bed we should just get two sets.

When we got home and started assembling the bed our error became obvious. We laughed and decided that there was a chair we had both liked so we might as well go back. So we rented another zip car and went back to Stoughton. We decided we were definitely done with Ikea for a while. We even discussed the possibility that they made things as confusing as possible as a marketing ploy. (Well, you'll get the wrong thing from the wrong bin and then you'll hafta come back and then you'll buy more stuff.)

And then it became apparent that our mattress was dead. Neither of us had ever bought a mattress before. I had lived in furnished rooms previous too moving in with the Boy and he had inherited a mattress from friends that moved out of town. Buying a mattress was *complicated.* I couldn't just go to and pick one out (the way I could with electronics, kitchen gear, children's toys or most of the other (non-book) purchases I make.) Moreover, we discovered, mattresses are wicked expensive. The one we had been sleeping on cost just under $2000. If we had bought it, instead of inheriting it from friends who moved off to S.F., we could have replaced it under their warranty plan.

Mattresses companies offer financing. This wouldn't have been such a big issue if it wasn't 2009. Where I work we all got no bonus and pay cuts. My boyfriend got a raise so small it reminded me of a song in The Pajama Game.

There's a Sleepy's in our neighborhood (which would be downright bizarre if it wasn't for the fact that we live halfway between Harvard and MIT.) So we went in and tried a few wicked expensive mattresses out. It was weird. I live in Central Square, so there were crazy bums just outside the big windows watching me and my boyfriend try out mattresses. The salesman said that previous to becoming a mattress salesman, he had delegated mattress choice and purchase to the lady of the house. This frightened me. I trust my boyfriend to choose a mattress before I'd trust myself to do so. He's much better at That Sort of Thing (buying home furnishings) than I am.

After the weird evening at the Sleepys we decided to try out Ikea. After all, I explained, an Ikea mattress might not last as long, but assuming it lasts 2 or 3 years, the economy ought to be better, and we'll have advanced enough in our careers that we should be in a better position to make a large purchase.

But then, a friend of ours came down with brain cancer, and related activities didn't leave much time for visits to Stoughton. Finally we scheduled a zip car and went down on a week night. We had colossally bad directions. It took forever. While we were there my Mom (who was due to be in town for a few days and was supposed to have called the day before) called to talk about plans. I had to talk to her. It was just terrible, weird, timing. We chose a mattress and took it home.

It soon became apparent that we had not chosen wisely. The "firm" mattress in the show room was not nearly as firm as the "firm" mattress we had purchased. It was like sleeping on a board. So we found the receipt and rented another zip car. The Boyfriend was just about to go get the zip car when he got a text from a friend "Somerville Police Station right now $40." Being a good guy he took the zip car off to the Somerville cop shop to find out what the story was. A fight with a roommate. A girl roommate. Blows were exchanged, and a restraining order was filed. I sat around and wondered if I'd misjudged my friend's character. I knew he lived with some fucked up people, but he didn't seem like the kind of guy who'd punch a girl in the face.

Apparently it was a good thing we'd just gotten a zip car. The boyfriend returned several hours later with a car full of our unfortunate friend's stuff, the unfortunate friend himself and another friend who'd come to help out. Turns out the Boyfriend and the other friend had managed to get to the unfortunate friend's apartment and get all his clothes before the restraining order took effect. And no, my unfortunate friend had not punched his psychotic roommate in the face. He had merely grazed her face while trying to protect his own face from the coffee maker she was attempting to hit him with.

That was all last week. Since then, we've been putting up the unfortunate friend and I'm happy to say that we managed to get to Ikea on Friday night to return the unsatisfactory mattress and since then we've slept like babies.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Good Deeds-do they sometimes go unpunished?

SO. I have managed, with very little effort on my part, to do a good deed. As I had mentioned previously, I have an 88 year old friend who's in hospital recovering from three surgeries on his head (all of which failed to remove the entire brain tumor.) As I had also mentioned, one night a bunch of his friends (people who had worked at his store and their wives, girlfriends and boyfriends) happened to be out having dinner and a few drinks and since it was close, we all went over to visit him (at 10 PM) and that this, surprisingly, turned out well. By "well" I mean that not only were we not ejected and told not to visit him again, but it was a good visit. One of the guys who usta work at his store (the store of my friend in hospital) is now a football coach and he asked didn't my friend play football in college and were there any pictures of him in his football gear?

I happen to work with a guy who went to the same college as my friend and so I asked him how I'd go about finding pictures of someone who graduated in 1943 (who was on the football team). It took me a few days to work up the courage to do this since I felt a little silly about the fact that I don't know how to find pictures of someone who went to *my* college in 1943 (short of showing up in Northfield, MN and going to the library or Dacie Moses House.) But my coworker pulled up an alumni directory and found my friend and then e-mailed some alumni affairs people. The alumni affairs people connected him with someone who offered to 1)photo copy pictures of the football team from the appropriate years for a nominal fee 2)scan the photos of the same or 3)send us the yearbooks for 3 out of the 4 years that my friend had attended this college for the price of shipping. We chose 3.

The yearbooks arrived today. The receptionist was puzzled at the package, but yet not at all surprised when I said "Oh that's for me." When I explained why I was ordering yearbooks from the 1940s all the young ladies of the office opened them up and leafed through them and helped me find and mark the pages with my friend's picture on them.

I took the books over to the hospital this evening (since my friend's wife and one of the guys from the store were there.) I can't really tell if my friend was happy to see these books (because he was exhausted from physical therapy) but his wife was very happy. And I was very happy to see his wife holding the book out for him to see and asking where to find pictures of him and his friends. Actually it was adorable.

But here's the thing. While it is possible that *if* I'd known where this guy went to school I might have used my coworker's help to look up pictures of him while he was healthy, it is unlikely. I made the effort (even though it really was no effort at all) because he's dying. And that fact sticks out like a sore thumb. He's a smart guy my friend-he majored in Econ and so even though he's to tired to talk he's probably not too tired to think.

At the very least I can say to myself, his wife is happy to see the pictures and she probably would have been in any case. She'd have been happy even if he wasn't in hospital because she can see pictures of her man at 18, 19 and 21. Think about it--don't you enjoy seeing pictures of your partner as a kid? Now let's say that instead of photos of your darling that are 20 years old someone brought photos of your loved one that were *60* years old. Wouldn't you be amused?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

And since we're on the subject of things I like to watch

Although I strongly suspect I am using the royal We here, I have become obsessed with Firefly to the point where I'll pull up the video of the theme song and watch it for comfort. I am not a TV person. I read books and occasionally watch movies for fun. But recently I've been harangued about my anti-tv snobbishness and as a result I decided to try a few TV drama series.

So I started with Heros, which my sci-fi geek co-worker (since laid-off :-( had recommended as "the new Star Trek." That was okay. Mad Men creeped me out. Then there was a reference in XKCD to Firefly and I looked the series up (since I hadn't heard of it) and since it sounded interesting, I started watching it. And fell in love with it. I'm sad there was only one season.

Anyways, here's the theme.

Monday, August 3, 2009

another video I like

I like this video of Radio Clash partly because I like seeing one of my favorite bands evar in New York City as I remember it from when I was very young. It was dirty and nasty and the we were playing SUICIDE and other versions of wall-ball while the older kids break danced.