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.

Take Me to Burning Man!

I spend an unconscionable amount of time vicariously living through the lives of others largely in the form of documentaries and memoirs.  My social anxiety is partially to blame for my imprisonment but I’m also incredibly lazy, so just moving from my couch nest to search for my Apple remote leaves me fatigued…and usually it’s just hiding in a cushion crevice!  I can’t imagine the energy it would take to actually leave my house beyond my obligatory work requirements.  Ugh, it’s just too much!

I recently watched Taking My Parents to Burning Man which came out in 2014 but didn’t cross my path until this past weekend while I was perusing the documentary genre on Hulu, which is surprisingly impressive!  The film sets out to answer the question: “What is Burning Man?” but it does so through an endearing tale of family bonding that left me sentimentally misty-eyed.  And also really envious of extroverts who are actually having the fun instead of passively streaming it into their living rooms.

So Bryant Boesen decides he is taking his 60 year old parents to Burning Man so they can experience it for themselves since trying to explain it can’t possibly do it justice.  As with all good documentaries, Bryant is presented with numerous setbacks and challenges along the way, but he manages to rip a rabbit out of his skinny little leggings at the last minute and pull off what seemed improbable at times.  Sorry, but someone that adorable cannot fail!

I was aware of the Burning Man Festival and the general philosophy behind it prior to watching this documentary but I had no idea how large it is, and I certainly had no clue of the exhaustive planning involved just to attend the event.  Holy shit!  I’d have to hire someone to plan my trip because just going car-camping overnight sends me into a tailspin and results in me saying “oops, I think I forgot to bring that” way too many times. I also learned that most all of the attendants and participants are beautifully chiseled works of art and look awesome naked.  So yeah, it is kind of like being on another planet considering I’m writing this from my work office, which overlooks a sea of bloated and pale people who gave up long long ago.

The engineering and creative genius that goes into the art displays and interactive exhibits is inspiring.  I almost grabbed my glue stick and some construction paper afterwards but I was distracted by another Hulu recommendation.  Dammit.   I was also impressed by Bryant Boesen’s ability to make it all come together at the last minute…like literally hours before they were set to depart Vancouver, B.C. and head into the desert of Nevada.   Bryant’s optimism and personal philosophy of “the Universe will provide” made me want to hire him as my life coach.  I need someone to scrape me off the floor and breathe some colorful positivity into my dank-ass existence.  I know he could do it too, and he’s also incredibly cute and charming.  He’s just one of those people you want as a best friend, like the kind you can keep in your pocket and pull out when times get sour.

It was incredibly heartwarming (yep, I just used that term) to watch Bryant’s parents rediscovering their adolescent selves and genuinely enjoying their experiences.   They were total troopers too because his mom went into the trip with a broken foot and his dad was incredibly sun-baked after day one.  Resilience!  I gotta get me some of that shit.

So yeah, now I kind of want to attend Burning Man before I die, but I definitely don’t want to take my parents.  My dad is frighteningly conservative and wouldn’t do well out of his element. And his element is  his living room with Fox News obnoxiously blaring in the background and a bowl of Wether’s Originals within reach.  My mom might be kinda fun but she has a heart condition, so a week in the brutal elements of the desert probably wouldn’t be ideal.  And I have no idea how to use an AED defibrillator but that shit rarely works anyway.  She also suffers from IBD…I don’t think that even needs further explanation since there’s no plumbing at Burning Man…just rows of porto-potties festering with a week’s worth of shit, piss and vomit.  Who wants dinner?

If by chance a Burner reads this and wants to bring along some virgin blood next year, please call me.  I’ve already got my goggles and sunscreen.  I’ll need a bit of notice though so I can head to the gym and get my boobs done.  I can’t take the risk of these sandbags getting caught in my bike tires!

 

Get Your Sweaty Raisinettes off The Sidewalk

People who haven’t experienced deep depression and suicidal thoughts are lucky, and also intellectually inferior.

-Me

I was driving home from work last week when I was overcome with the urge to jerk the steering wheel sharply to the right, hoping for a fatal confrontation with the tree coming up in the next 100 feet.  I had enough clearance but auto accidents are so unpredictable.  There were cars behind me with plenty of time to slow down, but there were also cyclists, runners and speed-walkers upping their endorphins on the sidewalk.  I imagined the cars behind me desperately trying to stop and inadvertently taking out some of the pedestrians.

I probably would just end up as a disfigured eggplant anyway, stewing in my own shit at some assisted living home until my organs began shutting down one by one, like that time my cat licked anti-freeze leaking from our neighbor’s car. The pedestrians sweating it out on the sidewalk, who presumably still have a few fucks left to give judging by their bouncy gait and yearning to stay in shape, would be dead in my place. It didn’t seem like a plan with favorable consequences so I kept driving in my auto-piloted daze, hoping for an irresponsible texter to hit me head-on instead.

I feel as though I am sleepwalking through my life.  What can I do to avoid repeating the same uneventful and meaningless day over and over and over again?  This shit cycle never fucking ends.  I see no grand finale in sight unless I create it myself.  There’s nothing that distinguishes one day from the next anymore.  No upcoming vacations to get excited over or events to use as an excuse to buy something new.

It’s just this and nothing more.  I’ve never thought my existence was all that remarkable to begin with, but at least when I was enjoying myself 20% of the time, I could forget how miserable I was during the other 80%.  Now it’s more like a 2% to 98% ratio, and that’s not much of a carrot on a stick for me.   And I realize it’s my own fault for not seizing life by the wrinkled Raisinettes and drinking up the experiences, but I’m tired and drained.  Mostly just apathetic towards the whole damn thing I guess.

If a stranger looked at my life through some mid-priced binoculars then it would seem fairly satisfactory.  I have a kickass house with secret nooks and crannies, a bathroom with a stained-glass window and a patterned shower curtain ideal for hallucinogenics, a magical pet luck dragon, no major physical disabilities, entertaining top-shelf friends and a job that doesn’t require me to wear a name tag and a smile, although I do have to wear a security badge and mind my language…and also spend 9 hours of my day surrounded by mediocrity…but who doesn’t hate their job, really?   But if the stranger put down his binoculars and hung out with me for a day, peeling back the layers of insecurities and anxieties, then he’d probably want to leap off a cliff by the end of the day too.  Maybe he’d even offer to push me if I asked nicely??  Right now you might be wondering why the stranger is a male.  I don’t know, he just is.  And he looks a lot like Ryan Gosling.

The real message underlying this whiny discourse is that people who want to exercise outside should make use of the numerous parks we have here.  Yes, we do have bike lanes and sidewalks running along the city streets, but there might be someone wanting to purposely plow her Highlander into a tree.  All I ask is for these obnoxious fitness enthusiasts to stop being so selfish and fucking up my spontaneous suicide plans.  Your commitment to toned abs and winning the stupid HR fitness challenge at work is ruining my life!

I hope that fancy wicking fabric causes a rash.  Assholes.