Dining Alone

I don’t linger too long or dig my heels into those memories of him.  I stop by for a visit most nights but can’t stay long.  I’ve created so many playlists for this dead person, but mostly for me.    This is how I conjure the catharsis of tears and smeared mascara.  And if I’m especially down then I pull at my hair and beat the floor with my fists.  Angry about everything with nobody to blame.

Currently flowing out of the speaker: “That’s How Strong My Love Is” (Rolling Stones version).  He played this song incessantly in the days before he left.  I don’t know why but he’d do that with a song…just play it non-stop.  Maybe this time he knew something I didn’t.  “I’ll be the moon when the sun goes down, just to let you know that I’m still around.”  But are you?

It’s becoming harder to imagine a life of ours, us, and we.  Table for one; it’ll just be me.

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Love Letter to my Dog

I’m struggling with your mortality.  All living things are also dying things…that’s just the result of metabolism at the most cellular level, and the only possible ending to all of our stories.  I’ve navigated my way through the death of many loved ones and haven’t gone completely mad…yet.

But watching the gray hairs spread across your once solid black muzzle shreds my heart into ribbons.  Your eyes don’t have the same animation and luster as they did a year ago, and they droop like you’ve pulled an all-nighter studying for your heart worm test (don’t worry, you’re going to pass because I give you the most expensive pill on the market).  I can no longer discern the white “milk dribble” streak running down your chin because all of the hair is white now.  You sleep more and eat less.  Sometimes you don’t even follow me to bed and instead opt to sleep alone on the couch. Of course I call for you several times, my voice becoming more desperate with each plea.  I feel so rejected in those moments that I often end up in tears, wondering how you can so effortlessly desert me after 6 years of being my ever-present shadow.  Ultimately I wake up on the couch as close to you as possible and with a very stiff neck…a minor sacrifice I’ll make to be comforted by the lullaby of your steady snoring.

You’re the only reason I have for justifying my existence.  It isn’t that you need me, but I need YOU.  I have forfeited many nights and weekends with my friends to instead pass time rubbing your angry gurgling belly. I spend Friday nights counting your breaths checking that your respiratory rate isn’t too high, or making sure that you haven’t thrown up and aspirated into your lungs…again.   I spend Saturdays hiding your toys behind pillows and under blankets to keep you entertained when it’s 97 degrees outside, and too hot to throw your Flying Squirrel, which you clearly love more than you love me! Sundays are set aside for mourning the fact that Monday is already upon us, and I’ll be separated from you for 9 hours a day.  I smother you with attention and take you shopping at Homegoods and Marshalls for new toys.  Have you noticed how I obnoxiously test everything with a squeaker to see which toys illicit the liveliest responses from you?   Yes, this is how we pick out your stuffed animals which you immediately “kill” by pulling out their insides to retrieve the hateful noise maker.

Are you aware that I tried to make you the beneficiary on my 401k?  I put in my own social security number as yours.  HR caught it and made me change it, even after I argued that we should have the option of converting our 401k into a 401k-9…a fund to take care of our dog if we die.  But nobody understands your importance in my life, except maybe grandma.

She worries about the day you’re no longer here almost as much as I do because she is well aware that you are my life support. You support my life and I support yours.  If there is nothing for me to support, and nothing supporting me, then I see no reason to stay.  Do you understand?

I have selfishly counted on you to provide me with everything that is missing in my life.  And there’s a lot missing as you know.   I can’t imagine coming home to a house absent of fur and the sound of your toenails tapping across the hardwoods.  Yes, you are my tiny dancer!  What will my yard be without your Frisbees and tennis balls scattered across the dirt?  Who is going to alert me when an Amazon package is tossed on the front porch?  Who will patiently listen to me whine about horrible coworkers?  Who will provide the motivation for me to get out of bed and keep trudging through each dreary day of my life? Who will be the recipient of my adoration and love if not you?

Well then, it’s settled.  You must live forever.

Life is Shit

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This is the view from my toilet.  Pretty nice huh?  Here’s the problem though: I’m only witnessing the world from this side of the window lately.  I wasn’t even using the restroom when I took this picture…I was just trying to see the sky without walking outside for fear the neighbors would invite me to their cookout.  I can’t do social situations lately.  While I do have some valid excuses such as being sick with strep throat followed by pink eye (and no, I didn’t get this from my dog farting feces particles in my face all the time…it was a secondary infection to the strep), I really can’t justify my anti-social behavior for the past year.  I know I probably spend more time than necessary coddling my dog but he’s had a lot of health issues lately, and frankly I’m not sure how long he’s going to be with me.  I want to savor every last drop of his amazingness and be the best human to him that I can be.  He has been my life-support for the past several years and I NEED HIM.   Tears well up just at the anticipation of him not being here with me.

But I miss my human friends too.  I miss laughing. I miss monopolizing TouchTunes with 80’s hits.  I miss hugging people. I miss great conversations.  I miss offending people with my sense of humor and lack of filter.  I even miss waking up on Saturday mornings with a hangover headache.  I miss participating in life.

I wish I could understand my isolationist attitude lately, and promptly squash it.  Depression and anxiety don’t make great bedfellows because they’re constantly struggling against one another. I’m depressed because I’m lonely but my anxiety keeps me from interacting with others thereby pushing me further into my hole…so my internal thoughts are at war all the fucking time. I’m only relieved of this conflict when I’m sleeping…so I sleep too much now as well.  And the lack of activity  has made my ass fatter, which means none of my jeans fit.  So now even if I can muster up the courage to go out, I have nothing to wear…or I feel like a can of Pillsbury Biscuits getting ready to pop.

I’m just really hating my fucking life today and it’s not even 2pm.  I still have another 8 hours of horrible self-reflection left before I can justify taking my Xanax and drifting off into nothingness.

Chinese New Year of the Slut (or Year of the Cock) – Part VI

“I should have chopped his wood into bloody bits of confetti and sprinkled him along the edges of the interstate. The best ideas always come too late.” 

Anyone familiar with the book/movie American Psycho?  Well the guitar strumming, man-bun wearing, seemingly sweet and sensitive dude had merely been masking his inner Patrick Bateman until now.  We were engaged in very normal and boring vanilla coitus (I hate that word) when out of nowhere he clamped both of his hands around my neck.  The tone wasn’t so much in that playful erotic way, but more in that “bitch, I’m gonna squeeze the fucking essence of life from you” kind of way.  I’ve never felt truly afraid in these types of situations until that night.  And I even dated a jerkoff who would blindfold me with black saranwrap, stuff a scarf in my mouth and run the tip of an extremely intimidating knife over my backside, and all the while berating me with slurs like “slut” or “filthy whore.”  Yeah, he didn’t have an imaginative vocabulary.  I never could take him seriously though since he played competitive chess, had a pierced dick and would only drink room temperature LaCroix.  He had “pussy incapable of murder” written all over his tattood body.

I reached up and began pulling and scratching at The Hillside Stranger’s hands, but his fingers just squeezed harder and deeper into my skin until my eyes started to sting, and tears ran down the side of my face. I was really sad that the guy who was going to murder me wasn’t more attractive, and the last thing I would eat would be the crumbs falling from his beard.  I violently twisted beneath his weight trying to throw him off me, and that’s when my service dog harnessed the spirited DNA of his badass wolf lineage!  Fuck yeah poo bear!!  Savin’ me and stuff!

My dog made a sound I had only heard him make once before, and that was when his best doggy pal tried to steal his peanut butter Kong while he was busy licking his wrinkled penny.  Patrick “hipster” Bateman released his grip on my neck and moved away from me.  He clearly recognized the growl as a precursor to 80 pounds of teeth and terror unleashing on his exposed pale ass.

Now, a wise person would have shoved this naked aggressor out into the hallway and locked the door behind him, tossing out only his t-shirt but no pants, as a final “fuck you.”  Again, I am too nice.  I realize my friends who know me well are reading this and rolling their eyes thinking “Bitch, please!  When have you ever been concerned about niceties?”  My fault is that I’m a people pleaser so I simply said “I think I’ve had enough” as I grabbed my wolf and headed for the panic room (aka the bathroom).  I stood under the steamy hot shower trying to figure out what had just happened.  Would he actually have harmed me had my half-dog/half-unicorn not intervened at a pivotal moment?  Would a horn finally sprout from the middle of my dog’s head?  What about wings…does he get wings too because all of my stuffed animal unicorns have them??

Most guys would have taken the hint and bounced while I was in the shower, stealing my laptop and wallet before vanishing if they had any brains.  I finally emerged from the bathroom as pink as a rotisserie hotdog at a gas station. I expected an empty room but this turd was fast asleep IN MY FUCKING BED!  I did exactly what I do in all undesirable situations that aren’t going my way.  I took a couple of Xanax and escaped into a mental void.

I woke up a few hours into my slumber to bizarre sucking sounds coming from his word hole.  I have no idea what he was dreaming about but it probably involved sucking virgin blood from a two-headed goat’s crusty nipple. Or maybe he was an algae eater cleaning a fish tank?  Who fucking knows what creepers dream about when they’re not murdering in real life.  I peeled myself off the bed and gave him the stink eye while I packed up my stuff, trying to be as loud and obnoxious as possible…maybe even running the zipper on my backpack up and down several times for sheer annoyance.  And possibly twisting the ends of my phone charger around my fists to make an impromptu garrote.

That motherfucker didn’t even stir.  He was a fuzzy growth of mold starfishing on my king-size!

I needed coffee and my dog needed a tinkle, so we headed outside in search of caffeine and a grassy patch.  It physically hurt to swallow my drink…like strep throat hurt!  My voice was hoarse and my neck had legit bruises like a victim from Law & Order: SVU.  It was the middle of July in North Carolina.  Turtlenecks and scarves were out so how was I going to explain my purple neck to friends and coworkers?  Um, I clothes-lined myself playing beach volleyball??  Nah, they know I hate the sun and sand.  And doing anything that makes me sweat.

By the time I arrived back to the room I was more pissed off than a fat kid in the salad bar line.  Not only did he infringe upon my weekend of self-reflection but he tried to choke me out like I was Ted Bundy’s hooker. I grabbed a pillow (one of the firm ones!) and hit him over the head, telling him to wake up because he needed to get out of my room so I could check out.  He mumbled something about “5 more minutes” as if I was his mother trying to wake him for first period.  He dressed without saying much and together we rode the elevator down to where the valet was waiting with my car.  I was expecting him to go the other way but he just hung out like a malignant tumor.  And then he pulled one last final bit of bullshit on me!  He wanted a ride home.  I asked him if he even had a home, kind of making a joke, but not really.

Home ended up being 30 minutes out of my damn way and I was forced to make small talk with the shit stain who tried to conceivably kill me the preceding night.  Nothing awkward about this situation at all.  Perfectly normal to drive your assailant home the morning after.

I had a three-hour drive to contemplate my weekend, and the weekend before, and the last 6 months of my life.

I arrived at several conclusions in response to the poor decisions I had made:

  1. Don’t obnoxiously announce my New Year’s resolution to become a better person to the people who know me well. They’re well aware that I’m a complete shithead and tolerate me just the way I am…very emotional, often drunk, mouthy as fuck and sometimes promiscuous.
  2. Write down the names of the people I sleep with in my journal so I don’t have to actually recall the full experience to remember, or not remember. And shower in between just out of respect for guy #2.
  3. Don’t worry about what people are saying behind my back because it’s better than them saying it to my face, and then having to punch them. And always stick my finger in foam desserts when the opportunity presents itself.
  4. Don’t off myself over a ginger who poo-poo’d on my feelings. If I’m going to kill myself then at least do it for a worthy cause, like Damien Echols never responding to any of my letters I penned while he was in prison.  I mean, fuck, he only had 18 damn years of doing nothing and he couldn’t write me back!?  For shame!
  5. Don’t go to places like Asheville and expect to “find myself” or sort out my dirty laundry. Go to places like Asheville to devour delicious cuisine and imbibe fancy beer.  If I need to find myself, then I’ll just take some acid and forget I was ever lost.  And it will only set me back $10.  Now that’s some affordable fucking healthcare!
  6. If someone tries to strangle me, twist wildly until a unicorn disguised as a Shepherd mix shows his teeth and emits a death roar. And if my attacker asks for a ride home the next day, then drive him in the opposite direction of home and dump him in a field miles from anything.  Toss him the bottle of water that’s only got one inch of backwash floating in the bottom and has been marinating in my cup-holder for 3 days.  And then squeal my tires as I drive off into the hellscape that is my life…

The End

Chinese New Year of the Slut (or Year of the Cock) – Part V

 

“So off I went with this stranger whose name I had learned earlier in the night but had already forgotten.  It isn’t like I was going to sleep with him or anything…”

 

Spending 48 hours in the hospital under suicide watch forced me to do some much needed soul-searching.  I had nothing better to do anyway since I was denied a writing utensil, paper, books, privacy or even a trip to the fucking bathroom.  You can read more about my own Nurse Ratched experience here.

As I lounged in my opened-back hospital gown, I concluded that it wasn’t the rejection from a guy that had made me miserable enough to waste a month’s worth of Xanax in one night.  My poorly guided stab at self-harm was about disappointment and the humbling realization that my life had already peaked.  I was never going to meet anyone who could fill the void Jason had left in my life.  All the dick in the world couldn’t distract me from his absence.  There was a massive deep crater in the landscape of my future and I had no idea where to go.  My behavior over the past several months had been a string of futile attempts to make something grow in that vapid desolate hole his death had bored into my heart.

I made the decision to remove myself from the toxic aspects of my current life, at least for a few days.  I wanted to gather up the splintered pieces of myself and create something new and improved, or at least not make any new cracks in my fragile shell.  I just wasn’t sure where to start, so I began with a hastily planned trip to the mountains. Mountains solve everything, right?  Just my dog and I spending some quality time together, drinking craft beers on shaded patios and people watching from a benign distance.   I was preparing for some serious mental tidying up so I grabbed my journal and plenty of pens.  Surely I could write my way through this!

I was released from the hospital on a Wednesday and the Xanax had still not completely worn off by Friday morning, when I was set to leave my house and drive three hours up a mountain.  Everything was in slow-motion as I glided through the curves and tried to connect the dots of the previous weekend.  My head was pure fuzz and my eyes rolled lazily around in their sockets.  I probably shouldn’t have been driving…but we made it.  I outfitted my dog in his service-animal vest, tossed the car keys to the valet and checked into the modern and overpriced hotel, which was the only place I could find at the last minute.  I figured the epiphanies and self-discoveries I would stumble upon over the next two days would be totally worth the cost.  I had no idea I was going to be hit with a $1,800 medical bill the following month.

The first thing we did was have lunch at my favorite pretentious vegetarian café.  I ordered a fancy organic beer and a bottled water for my dog.  The faint smell of Asheville weed hung over us as I enjoyed my Buddha Bowl.  I was relieved to be away from the bar and the humiliating memories of my public meltdown.

Service Dog catching contact buzz

We walked around after lunch and ended up at the Asheville Yacht Club which is a dive bar not unlike the one I was trying to escape three hours east.  What can I say, I have a type. I enjoyed a very tall lukewarm PBR and tried to act like I belonged there, which is really challenging when you’re as awkward as I am.  Just going to the grocery and having to interact with cashiers gives me hives.  I kept checking my phone and pretending to be on high social demand, laughing at texts I had already read days ago.  It didn’t take long before two beardy and long-haired hipsters with guitars slung over their backs wandered over and tried to start up a conversation.  Were they homeless street musicians, or just street musicians…or maybe just homeless?  I couldn’t tell but they had that dirty look I go for, so I figured why not?

The more attractive of the two asked me about my service dog and I explained to him that he was not allowed to inquire about my disability due to ADA laws, but then I explained he was technically a counter-fit service dog and all I had to do was pay $150 for a legit looking vest, certificate and ID card.  So he accused me of being morally disabled.   I thought that was a clever enough comment to warrant further conversation.  We talked for over an hour and I downed a second very large and lukewarm PBR, trying to hold in my burps like the lady that I am.  Hipster #2 left us to go beg for change or something, and Hipster #1 invited me to another bar to watch some friends play highly forgettable singer/songwriter crap.    So off I went with this stranger whose name I had learned earlier in the night but had already forgotten.

2am finally arrived and a decision had to be made.  Do I walk back to my hotel room alone or do I invite him over for an after party.  He said he had some contraband on him and that was all I needed to know to make an informed decision.

We polished off the vodka I had smartly packed and ended up naked not long after…so much for my weekend of self-reflection and life-tidying.  All was well the first night and we ended up hanging out all day on Saturday too. He followed me around like a well-behaved puppy but by dinner time I was ready to see his knotted man-bun walking away, becoming smaller and smaller until he finally disappeared.  But I’m too fucking nice so I let him orbit the rest of the evening.

We ended up back at my hotel room Saturday night with extra beer in tow.  My dog was clearly not pleased with this interloper taking up half of the real estate on the bed.  I wasn’t thrilled either but I didn’t know what to do with him.  He obviously had no job and no particular place to be, so I was stuck.

My weekend of “me” turned into a weekend of “we” and I just wanted him to stop playing his guitar and get out of my room. All I desired was to curl up with my dog and regret the last week of my life in silent pain.

We fucked again because I didn’t know how else to shut him up, and I figured if his face was planted in my honey pot, then at least he’d be quiet long enough for me to conjure up a masturbatory-worthy image of Ryan Gosling so I could get off and go to bed.

And then shit got real creepy…