Thursday, March 30, 2006

We Built This City

Walking around Manhattan, I couldn't help but look up. I am continually amazed at architectural and engineering prowess on display in major cities. And some minor ones, too.

Due to the many years I spent in Madison and DC, I forget that buildings can be taller than a dozen or so stories. I am still awed by the sight of a downtown skyline, in Chicago, New York, San Francisco. I forget what forty- or sixty- or eighty-story buildings look like from afar, their steel and glass framework jutting into the sky. I forget the feelings those same buildings evoke close-up. How they tower over you, casting shadows that prevent the sunlight from filtering down to the sidewalk, creating a wind tunnel that lasts for blocks.

I'm a little bit of a construction junkie. I love the sight of scaffolding. I recognize the smell of oil poured in concrete forms to prevent the concrete from sticking as it cures (the same principle that leads you to grease a cake pan). I love watching a building go up. All a holdover from my civil engineering days, I guess. But I wouldn't hire me to design anything for you!

As impressive as some of the newer structures are, I'm more amazed by the old ones. For example, Grand Central Terminal. How did people figure out that if you put columns here, here, here and here, and use this kind of beam, you can support an open expanse the size of a city block? How did they craft the architectural details? How did they construct the thing? Today we have computer models to calculate the load weights and spacing of columns and fancy construction equipment and tower cranes. But in 1904??? My god, people still did math on slide rules back then!

I enjoy these buildings for reasons I can't fully explain. In addition to sheer beauty, there's something inspiring, hopeful about them. They were built to last in a way that today's buildings are not. They are a connection between the past and the future. How can you not be impressed?

Monday, March 27, 2006

In Brief

I'm back in California. And wide awake, which means tomorrow morning is going to SUUUUUUCK.

There are stories and pictures and deep thoughts and more stories to come. But the first order of business is sleep! And maybe unpacking my suitcase. But definitely sleep.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

One of These Days I'm Actually Going to Miss the Plane

My god, I get worse every time. My trip to New York? The one that's been planned since January? The one for which I've had a plane ticket since January? Yeah, um, that plane leaves at midnight tonight, which means the nice people at SuperShuttle will be here in 23 minutes! I booked my hotel in plenty of time (last week), but that's the extent of my planning so far. Oh, and tomorrow night's dinner plans. Yup, pinned those down at about five tonight. Totally ahead of time.

I debated about bringing the laptop with me, but when I remembered that I have no plans, no travel guide and no idea what kind of overly-helpful/not-at-all-helpful concierge I'll have access to, I decided it was a good idea. And I can't imagine being away from you for five days. Awwwww.

Here's what the past few hours looked like:

7:45 Leave work. Attempt to not run over other cars on the freeway, most of which are, for some crazy reason, choosing to go less than 85 mph.

8:12 Walk in house. Throw work stuff in corner. Grab carry-on-able suitcase and start tossing clothes in it.

8:15 Set alarm clock for 9:00 to remind me to wrap this shit up so I'm on time for the SuperShuttle people. Plug in every electronic device known to man - work cell, personal cell, digital camera battery charger, laptop so I can charge the iPod without draining the laptop battery, iPod.

8:19 Continue gathering clothes. How many days am I going to be gone again? What does fifty degrees feel like?

8:20 Worry that I'm not packing stylish enough clothes. This is New York! I can't be looking like *gasp* some girl from the Midwest!

8:21-8:49 Gym clothes, jeans, bronze going out shirt, black and white going out shirt, blue going out shirt, black pants, 4 sweaters, 2 camis, pajamas, and as many clean socks as I can find.

8:50 Done packing! Go to bank for cash.

8:58 Ok, only sort of done packing. By which I mean I still need underwear, toiletries, and everything that doesn't fit in my suitcase and therefore goes in my tote.

9:14 Really, did I pack cute enough stuff? I can't go without a skirt, can I? What if we go out someplace trendy? Are black pants good enough? How can I not bring a skirt?

9:15 Pack skirt. No, not the gold jacquard skirt, the gold raw silk skirt.

9:16 Do I have fun shoes?

9:17 Doesn't matter, there's only room for one pair of shoes. Sigh.

9:22 Really done packing this time. Except for the tote. And anything I need to add to my purse.

9:23 Check e-mail and read blogs. Because it's likely the world has changed dramatically in the last two hours.

9:37 What are the chances I'll finish this post by the time my driver arrives? Oh right, zero. Shut down the computer and pack tote.

9:40 Where's my black pashmina? I always take it with me when I travel. Tear through mostly-full suitcase from DC trip in search of pashmina.

9:45 No, really, where the fuck is my black pashmina????

9:51 Touch every single black item visible in my room. None of them are the pashmina.

9:53 Maybe it's in the car. You know, cuz that's where I keep all my random articles of clothing.

9:54 Retrieve black pashmina from backseat of car. Vaguely remember it ending up there, but can't recall the circumstances that led to it.

9:59 SuperShuttle isn't here yet. Damn them! Go wash dishes so I'll come home to a halfway clean kitchen.

10:01 Crap, I didn't send that other work e-mail. Oh well, too late now. I'll write it up on the plane and send it from the hotel tomorrow.

10:08 Doorbell rings as I'm draining the icky water from the sink. Perfect.

10:25 Arrive at Terminal B, for Northwest Airlines. Approach the lights-off-no-one-behind-the-counter Northwest check-in. The self-check computer tells me it's closed, but open between 4:15 am and 12:30 am. Um, guys? That would be NOW.

10:26 Very nice (and nice looking) guy at Mexicana Airlines counter next door offers assistance. I might fly to Mexico just for the customer service. He suggests I might have a code-share flight, in which case I need to be at the Continental check-in counter. In Terminal A.

10:27 - 10:36 Walk half a mile to Terminal A. No, I'm not kidding, the two terminals really are a half a mile apart.

10:37 Check in. Curse this code-share thing that means I can't see my seat for the Northwest flight I'm connecting to. Desperately hope that it's not a middle seat in row 26 or something.

10:42 Holy mother of all that is holy, there is WIRELESS ACCESS at the Sacramento Airport. Or at least in Terminal A. Woo-hoo! I love this place.

10:43 Oooh, Starbucks is still open! NO. No caffeine; you need to sleep on the plane.

10:47 Damn. That wireless access sign was missing the operative word "free." Hmmm. Maybe if I'm done writing this by the time I get to Houston, I'll spring for it.

11:35 Have successfully entertained myself at the gate. Five minutes until we begin boarding and I can go to sleep. Now if you'll excuse me, my iPod and I have some quality time to spend together. But first, I must proofread this post.

11:39 Are you fucking kidding me? Stevie Wonder's I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever) is playing on the terminal music soundtrack and I managed to hear it in the two seconds between songs being piped into my ears from iTunes and my headphones. Sonofabitch. I have one and only one association with that song, as I'd never heard it until someone put it on a CD he made for me. Back when we still spoke to each other. And provided each other with important information like, "I'm currently dating someone so maybe this spending the night thing isn't the world's best idea." Clearly we will not be falling in love and this time it will not last forever. FUCK, UNIVERSE, WHY DO YOU DO SUCH THINGS TO ME????

(Even more ironic is that on the way to the airport, I thought I heard a different song on the radio from that same CD, and I was relieved to discover I was wrong. Payback is a bitch.)

11:44 Yeah, great, I'm no longer ready to fall asleep, as my heart rate is approximately 160 bpm. "Fight or flight" adrenaline rush, I hate you! Because there's currently no one to fight with and nowhere to run. Damn it.

11:55 Boarding now. Will fall asleep, even if it kills me.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

525,600 Minutes

One year ago today I started my new job in California.

Ten days before that, I did something I hadn't expected to do. Ever. I left DC, with an uncertain return date. I left behind some of my closest friends, some of my most wonderful memories (and some of my worst), and I deferred progress on achieving some of my most cherished hopes and dreams. There is a DC-shaped hole in my heart, and some days it eats through me with Agent Orange-like efficiency. (Ohmygod, what have I done?!?!?!)


I gained a lot, too. I'm doing a job that I love. I'm experiencing a part of the world I never expected to. I'm learning things about myself that I wouldn't have noticed in my go-go-faster-faster! DC life. I'm writing a frickin' blog!

A lot happened in the past year. Steve graduated from college. Liz left for Africa. Grandma died. Liz came home from Africa. Numerous friends got married and/or had children. Most of these events required a plane ticket, which I gladly sprung for, when my schedule allowed.

At work, change was just as prevalent. I'm on my third boss since taking this job. One of my two California-based colleagues took a new job. Several DC colleagues are no longer involved with my project. They've either left the organization or taken on new challenges internally. Project timelines and benchmarks and deadlines shift faster than the oddsmakers can keep up with. Same thing at Banana. I'm on my third Head of Store in a year, we've had numerous other managerial changes, and my two closest BR friends no longer work there.

All of this serves as a reminder that nothing endures but change. (You can thank Heraclitus for that little gem. I probably need to tattoo it on me somewhere I see daily. Or eighty-five times a day.)

This year has just flown by, and I anticipate that trend will continue, and I'll be back home in no time. Yes, DC is my home. I just happen to live here, for the time being. It's a strange existence, having lives on both coasts. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. Unless you're some kind of masochist, in which case I think wearing pointy-toed 3-inch heels on a daily basis ought to do the trick.

My relationships with my high school and college friends haven't really changed, as I've lived far away from them since graduation. And at graduation, people expect to go their separate ways and keep in touch the best they can, and we have.

Leaving the DC crew, though, has been a different experience. These are people I used to see every day, or every week, or run into randomly on the street. Since I left, people have moved out of DC, gotten married, had a kid, and changed jobs. And that's just Jon! We've all had to adjust to this new arrangement, the three-hour time difference, the sporadic visits, my crazy schedule even when I am in town. Some relationships have fared better than others. For those that are surviving, I'm thankful. For those that aren't...well, we'll see. Nothing lasts forever. (No, DeBeers, not even diamonds, so eff you.)

The question of the day is, How much longer will you be in California? And the short answer is: I have no idea. If there's one thing I've learned from this whole experience, it's that one can't plan anything. Or maybe you can; I can't. Moving to California certainly wasn't part of The Plan, but here I am! My new approach: There's always A Plan; but The Plan is always subject to change.

Helen Keller said, "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable."

I intend to do just that.

Monday, March 20, 2006


A sure sign that it's spring: I painted my toenails for the first time this year.

I actually thought that as I painted my toenails last night, in anticipation of christening my peep-toe pumps. Imagine my surprise this morning when NPR informed me it was, in fact, the first day of spring!

I know, you're thinking that the prevalence of blooming plants would have tipped me off to spring's arrival, or maybe the close of basketball season, or perhaps even that line on the calendar that reads "Spring Begins."

(Do you like how I take more pictures of things near my office than near my home? That's because I'm never home when the sun is up.)

But no. The toenail-painting extravaganza was entirely practical: I wanted to wear my peep-toe shoes and I sure couldn't let my ugly toe be seen by the general public. I wasn't even convinced that nail polish would cover the ugly, but thankfully it did.

(Because it's been awhile since I regaled you with shoe pictures.)

So, either I'm completely oblivious to my surroundings and focus only on beautifying myself, or I'm strangely in tune with the changing of the seasons. Just send some Birkenstocks, in care of Moonbeam.

NCAA TOURNEY UPDATE: There's a tear in my beer over Wisconsin's first-round loss to Arizona Friday. But, take heart, Badgers! You're in good company.

CENSURE UPDATE: Oh, Russ, how could I have doubted you? Tom Harkin has come out in support of your resolution. Sort of. And maybe one other person. Please forgive my errant ways.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

From the Annals of "I Am Not an Alcoholic"

Beer makes everything better.

I left work today with a headache that started shortly after lunch. And then I decided to pick up my new wireless router and set that up tonight. Because, of course, implementing new technology is guaranteed to be a relaxing, stress-free experience. After that, I had taxes to finish. Then I thought maybe I'd juggle knives or something.

On the drive home, dreading what the evening held in store, and trying to come up with an idea for dinner, I passed a Budweiser Select billboard and realized, I have beer in the fridge! Dinner? Solved. Headache? Gone. The wireless router? Took less than an hour to install, put the security settings at some crazy high level, discover those security settings weren't going to happen, re-install, set the security level at a much more reasonable level, and now I'm writing from the couch. Not bad. Sometimes, I impress even myself. I love technology. When it works. (Also, someone please take the beer away if you ever witness me drinking a Budweiser product. Ugh.)

The taxes? Well, those can wait one more day. Or thirty. But I did get introduced to "the girls" of America's Next Top Model, cycle 6. And at this point, I don't want any of them to win. Miss Tyra, your crown is safe...for now. (Christal, I hold you personally responsible for the fact that I even know this vacuous piece of, uh, entertainment? exists. And Kelly, I really didn't need to know what channel it's on. On what day. At what time. But thanks to you, I do. So instead of watching an afternoon of ANTM re-runs on VH1, I now have the pleasure of following it. Week. By. Week.)

And now, in my alcohol-induced state of relaxation, I'm headed to bed.

Some Random Randomness to Assuage the Guilt I Feel Over Not Posting

True fact: March is Caffeine Awareness Month. It's also Women's History Month. Coincidence? I think not.

Also, let's not forget the best March has to offer: the NCAA Tourney.

I received an e-mail inviting me to "Describe [the sender] in one word - just one." This is your assigmenent for today: describe me in just one word. Please avoid the obvious ones like "genius" or "hilarious" or "bipolar depressive who suffers from narcissistic personality disorder." I want to see some creativity!

Now I have three words for you: TOO MUCH WORK. And if you don't believe me, let me call your attention to the fact that I covered the topics of Women's History Month and March Madness in one sentence apiece. I mean, really, does that sound like me?

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Sick. Ew.

Yep, I'm sick. Which is bad for me, but good for you, as this means my body is forcing me to take a break from my typical run-from-one-end-of-the-day-to-the-other lifestyle and giving me more time to write. For example, yesterday instead of volunteering with the Junior League, spending the afternoon with a friend, going to a fundraiser dinner with another friend, and then going out for a going-away party, I did my volunteer thing with the Junior League, had lunch with two friends, stopped by to see a third, attempted to take a nap, ran errands, and stayed up past midnight writing this. See? Considerably less activity.

The getting sick was inevitable, as last week consisted of twelve hours on an airplane, twelve hours sleeping (total), and twelve hours drinking (nightly). You'd really think that a blood-alcohol content of 1.8 would kill any little germs floating in my bloodstream, but apparently not.

This illness is but a minor inconvenience. I routinely sound like a retired coal miner; the attempted nap was ruined by all the coughing; and the mucus is making a decided move northward from my lungs to my sinuses, about which I am not very excited; but, all in all, this is nothing. (See Meningitis.) Rather, you know it's bad when I'm curled up in the fetal position, on the verge of tears, and about ready to wail, "I want my mommy!"

The funny thing is, when I'm sick, I really don't want my mommy. In fact, the mere thought of it makes me even more likely to cry. I spent many, many days home from school as a child. None of them was particularly pleasant, and they certainly weren't bonding times, à la Cokie Roberts. Mom functioned quite well as a sicknurse, with much more focus on the symptoms and treatment than on the patient's well-being. She would drop off a cup of water, with instructions to finish it within the hour. I'd fall asleep. Ninety minutes later, and five minutes after I'd woken up, she'd bring me another drink and scold me for not having finished the last one. But I was asleep the whole time; when would I have drunk it?!?!? Didn't matter. So, I would chug the water, hand the cup over, and dread her return visit.

Also, I was not a good one for taking medicine. Children's Chewable Tylenol? I probably threw up more tablets than ever made it into my system. I have distinct memories of gagging up Tylenol into a kitchen towel. Repeatedly. And then being reprimanded for it. Right, of course, because I am choosing to puke up the only thing that could possibly make me feel better and yelling at me is going to somehow tame this damn gag reflex.

And of course I couldn't swallow the adult Tylenol whole. So we alternated between the crushed-adult-Tylenol-poorly-hidden-in-applesauce method and the let's-see-how-many-tries-it-takes-to-keep-the-Children's-Tylenol-down method. There were a couple of years there where I couldn't eat applesauce without it having a phantom bitter taste of ground up Tylenol.

As a seven-year old, I promised myself I would be nicer to my sick children. It's not Mom's fault, really. It's just that our family is not known for its nurturing. That gene doesn't exist in the Irish Catholic female. Or it's not expressed. (Perhaps if I marry a Jew, my kids will have a fighting chance.) Mom did far better than her mother, whose response to a request to stay home sick from school would have been something like "Are you dead? Fine, stay home, but you're taking care of the rest of the kids while you're here. And cook something for dinner, ok?"

By comparison, the one-cup-of-liquids-per-hour rule was compassionate. (Other Rules for Being Sick included Do Not Wake Me in the Middle of the Night unless You're Bleeding from a Severed Artery and If You're Going to Puke, Do Not Attempt to Make It to the Bathroom; Stay in Bed to Hurl. I promise you that last one is a good one, as it is far easier to throw sheets into the washing machine than it is to clean the carpet in the hallway at the entrance to the bathroom door.) Still, being sick did not involve homemade chicken noodle soup, or anyone sitting in bed reading to me, and certainly there were no backrubs/hair-stroking/other gestures of soothing. Which, after all, is what all the TV moms did, and it worked like a charm!

I'm sure my mother never knew I felt vaguely neglected. Asking for comfort (or help) is not something I did often. (Still don't.) But that doesn't mean it's unwelcome. And my experience has prompted me to dote on other people when they're sick, even if they would never ask for the help or comfort and are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves. I don't know what's more surprising – that I appreciate the doting of others, or me doing the doting.

Example: a few weeks after we broke up, Nick mentioned that he'd been sick for a couple days, generally feeling crappy, and didn't know what he was doing for dinner. On my way out for the evening, I took him homemade chicken noodle soup (conveniently prepared earlier that day, not knowing how useful it was to become) and fresh bread from the bakery. And the fact that he was going to experience my doting loveliness and cleavage-showcasing shirt and rue the day he broke up with me? A distant second to my primary motivation of being nice to a sick person.

I'd taken Liz the same homemade chicken noodle soup under similar circumstances. (Only, you know, without the cleavage-showcasing shirt.) And when she had her wisdom teeth removed, I met her for lunch, escorted her to the dentist, filled her pain meds prescription while the doc yanked some teeth out, and then drove her home. Yes, of course she could have done this all by herself, but isn't it nicer when someone else does it for you? I would pay someone good money if I never had to set foot in a pharmacy again. And DC cabs are annoying enough when you're drunk and headed home late on Saturday night. I can't imagine I'd want to deal with one immediately after leaving the dentist. Ick.

But I digress; this is supposed to be about me being sick, isn't it? Right. So, who's going to watch Project Runway reruns with me and bring me juice and rub my back while I cough up gobs of phlegm? There could be chicken noodle soup in the offing...

Friday, March 10, 2006

Just When You'd Given Up All Hope...

I've actually written the Official Ski Trip recap! And it only took three weeks!

So, for starters, let me state the obvious: I did not meet my death on the side of a mountain. And for that we should all be grateful.

We spent two days at Sierra at Tahoe, on the southwest side of Lake Tahoe.

Day 1 started out lovely. The weather was beautiful, the ski hill wasn't too crowded, we got there right around opening and headed off to our much-needed lesson. (Or my much-needed lesson. I won't speak for Danielle here; she's much more accomplished than me.)

It started snowing five minutes after the lesson ended, and kept up the rest of the day. This meant everything on the mountain was quiet and beautiful and scenic. And, best of all, fresh powder every time down the mountain!!! (My god, I sound like an actual skier.)

By the end of the day, we were exhausted. (No, Bode Miller, you aren't the only one who thinks beer goes well with skiing.)

The drive back was relatively uneventful, after we cleaned six inches of snow off the car and installed the highly sought-after (and now required by the California Highway Patrol) chains.

(Look at me putting chains on the tires! Yes, this is exactly how the guy showed me to put them on, I swear!)

Before leaving the parking lot, I did a quick brake-check, just to make sure the car would respond how I expected it to. The numerous Wisconsin winters I suffered through taught me something useful!

So, we hit the road, and slowly made our way home. It was snowing, chains were required, and our maximum speed was about 35 mph. I was a little wary about this whole chain thing, so Danielle and I were vigilant about noting any change in the feel of the car, any funny noises coming from the tires, etc. We drove through the mountain pass at Echo Summit and got back to the house. Where I promptly discovered there were no chains on my tires. Let me repeat that: there were no chains on my tires. The whole drive there were no changes in the sound or feel of the tires, which means that the chains were probably left behind in the parking lot, right at the spot where I did the brake check. (This would also be one of those Things We Are Not Telling My Mother. And we are especially not telling my father, who would know exactly how dangerous a proposition driving over a mountain in the snow without chains is, and from whom I would get quite a stern lecture and then be grounded.)

But I do have to say, Yay, Adele! What a good car you are! I drove my little four-cylinder Corolla 7382 vertical feet, over a mountain, through the snow, without chains! (Also, Liz, I'm still upset that you named my car. I mean, really, who names someone else's car??? Yes, theoretically I could have renamed her, but Adele just stuck. Damn you.)

Once home, I started calling around in search of chains for the car. You know, because it was just so much fun the first time. Luckily it only took waiting on hold for ten minutes, having Mario tell me he'd call me back, and then getting that call an hour later and four blocks away from the auto parts store for me to track them down. But, Mario hooked us up with chains, tensioners (designed to help the chains stay on the tires. What a concept.) and even some de-icer. [Confidential to those in Sacramento County: Contraband de-icer. Mint condition. $10 or best offer. Will deliver for a fee.]

At the end of the night, Danielle and I again put chains on the car. This time, though, they worked! And, judging by the sound the chains make between the tire and road...yeah, the chains hadn't been on at all that afternoon.

We did other fun things with Adele, such as replacing the windshield wipers and discovering a crack in the windshield so ginormous that the whole thing will have to be replaced.

Me: Stupid motherfucker, there's a crack in my windshield. Gah!
Danielle: Eh, these things happen.
Me: No, but look at it! It's huge! These things aren't supposed to happen! It's a half-inch thick tempered glass windshield, not a $5 wine glass!
Danielle: No, really, it's fine. When you get home, you'll call someone and have your windshield replaced.
Me: But I don't want to replace my windshield! *Sob.* And I'm busy Monday. I don't have time for this crap.
Danielle: You don't have to take care of it this week, just, you know, sometime.

(Can you guess which of us is the laid back one?)

Day 2 was less exciting, on the vehicle front. The skiing was about the same: exhausting. We opted for a different run Saturday, so we took the chair lift to the top of Huckleberry Mountain, elevation 8852 feet, and skied down the longest run, 2.5 miles. (I knew it was long, but, my god, two and a half miles?!?! I was surprised to discover this fact on the trail map. Today.)

Here's me and Danielle at the summit. (Holy crap, I'm on the top of an 8800 foot mountain!)

Clearly Danielle is the better photographer of the two of us. I feel bad, because she set up this beautiful shot and all I had to do was keep my fingers out of the way and push the button. Ahem. I was so careful to keep the camera steady and keep my fingers out of the way of the view window thing, but apparently failed to keep them clear of the lens. Oops.

An action shot, courtesy of Danielle. No really, I'm moving! Yes, it's at a glacial pace, but still...skiing!

Despite this overwhelming success, there are still a number of things about skiing that scare the crap out of me. Namely:
  • getting on the chair lift
  • riding the chair lift
  • getting off the chair lift
  • anyone skiing/snowboarding within twenty feet of me
  • anyone skiing/snowboarding at a speed more than twice mine
  • anyone skiing/snowboarding under the age of twelve
  • travelling downhill faster than I could walk it
  • the prospect of going down a run I've never attempted before
  • places where my very easy trail crosses someone else's not-so-easy trail
  • the thought of accidentally ending up on a run for which I am entirely unqualified. You know, like anything not labeled "E-Z way down."
So, yeah, pretty much everything.

But now that I know I won't die in my attempt at skiing, I'll go more often...maybe even graduating to the more challenging green runs!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

What, You Wanted Actual Stories???

I'm back. DC, fun. Work, crazy. As in, CA-RA-ZY. Hence my brain is thinking in two-word sentences because that's all I really have time for but I had to post something lest you (1) think I'm dead; (2) hate me for not updating, like, ever, jeez; (3) are tired of being depressed out of your mind reading that last post. Cuz yes, I would be, too, if I read that one on a daily basis. Luckily, I don't.

Anyway, entertain yourself with the archives while I try to pull myself out of the ever-deepening swamp that is my workload. Sorry, kids, you're not my top priority. But don't worry, I feel plenty of guilt about not posting. I'm Catholic, we're good at that.

Also, if anyone knows a good way to add four hours to my day, will you please share your secret time machine with me? Please?

Thursday, March 02, 2006

All's Fair in Love and War

Or so says Francis Edwards. (Who is this guy, anyway?)

But I must respectfully disagree. Because there's a difference between "what's fair" and "anything could happen." We have rules of engagement for wartime. We have the Geneva Conventions to guide our treatment of combatants and non-combatants. These set the standard for "what's fair" in a war. And yet, acts of war are routinely committed in violation of those standards, lending credence to the thought that "anything could happen."

In love, there are fewer rules. There certainly aren't any conventions codified and agreed to by the population at large. "What's fair" varies from person to person. Unlike in war, in love, Life is often a key player, not just the two parties involved, and that makes things inherently more challenging, less governable, less predictable. Anything could happen.

It's not fair that sometimes words are just words.

It's not fair that something that looks so much like the real thing can turn out not to be.

It's not fair that it takes more than trying.

It's not fair that some people try harder than others.

It's not fair that bad things can happen to good people.

It's not fair that people can change dramatically when you're not looking.

It's not fair that someone can turn out to be someone other than who they purported to be.

It's not fair that oftentimes the hurt lasts longer than the relationship did.

It's not fair that some actions defy logic.

It's not fair that some questions have no answers.

It's not fair that being mad won't change the situation.

No, none of this is fair. And yet, that's life. This is what each of us gets, at some point, and there's no way to prepare for it. All we can do is learn from it.