This is how it happens: you turn 40, in the fall of 2013. You write a cute post about turning 40, about hitting parked cars and falling down for no reason. It’s funny, but inside you’re actually still a little sad. You realize the earth is spinning through the same space it was a year earlier and it’s the exact time of year he told you no. You still think about him sometimes, but then you realize that he probably doesn’t think about you since the three manifesto-length texts you sent him probably forever sealed in his mind that you’re a creeper. You thought your 40th birthday would be a blowout, but it’s the opposite: friends can’t travel around Thanksgiving except to their families, the timing is off. You have a quiet drink with a friend at a bar you now don’t even remember. You realize you’re in for a long winter, or what you later call “Olive Garden’s Endless Heartbreak.” Continue reading
First published in PQMonthly.
He stands there in my doorway, not coming in. His hand is holding his bike up that he rode over on, also halfway through the threshold. Carl mutters something, small talk: “Hey. How did you sleep last night?”
“Like a log,” I say, and then add “A drunk, crying log.” He doesn’t react, he just looks down at his feet. “Come all the way in, will you?” I ask, now annoyed. Everything’s been going great with Carl, we’ve been dating a couple of months now, so this is about the time for something to get completely and irrevocably fucked up. I look at my watch: yup, it’s Breakup O’Clock! Continue reading
Inevitably, the text came a couple of days after the second date, like it seems to a lot lately: “Sorry, just no sparks. Let’s be friends!” This one smarted a bit. Handsome, great tech job that he was good at, seemed a bit old-fashioned, and we didn’t meet on an app. On the one hand, I loved the honesty, but on the other hand, it was maybe just one too many rejections in too short a time, and this was a guy I was crossing my fingers for.
Time to take a break, I thought, so I did what any self-respecting single person would do: I went on a cleanse. A 30-day dating cleanse. Since I was inventing it as I went along, what were the ground rules? Okay, #1: No sex. Duh. #2: Nothing “datey”, no dinners or meals. Not even going to have a drink or beers. #3: Yes, I can use apps to say hello and chat, but no dates goddamnit.
Day 1. Hey, this isn’t too bad. I’m busy with my day job, and I have a writing deadline to make, so I can concentrate on that. Famous last words!
Day 2. Oh. Hey. Holy crap, a hot paramedic on Sruff who’s into sci-fi movies. Dave Eggers is his favorite author and he describes his beard as “post-ironic”. He has really nice legs. Okay, just one date? Continue reading
First appeared in PQMonthly
You know the scene: Kirk and Spock face insurmountable odds against a supercomputer, or evil androids, or an alien with a twisted morality. Then Kirk, in his swaggering wisdom, asks the computer a question that shouldn’t have an answer, or commands his bridge crew to do an illogical performance that will confound the androids. The computer halts, the android freezes while doing “the robot”, and our noble crew takes advantage of the confusion to make their escape while they leave behind a flustered mess of smoking, charred circuitry.
This is the scene in my head after I asked him, “Hey, are we exclusive?” I expected him to say “nah, but maybe later” or “sure thing”, but instead he threw me a curveball. Rich looked at me with his baby blue eyes and said “Sure, for now. I’ll want to open it up later though.” What? Didn’t I cover this base when I read his dating profile? “Um, when does that happen exactly?” I asked tentatively. “When we have a strong enough emotional connection.” “Oh yeah. Sure. Of course”, I stammer as my brain literally starts melting from the seeming logic problem that it’s confronting. Continue reading
First published in PQ Monthly
The air is getting crisp in the morning, the first grilled cheeses and soups are being devoured, and the swifts are careening into plate glass doors with reckless abandon (yes, I’m the asshole who thought for my first three months in Portland that The Swifts were an indie band that played a really long gig at some elementary school every September). It must be fall in the Pacific Northwest, and with it comes entertaining season. You’re doubtless going to have company, you popular thing you, so kick that Scruff trick out of bed and get decorating for fall! As an amateur decorator and professional know-it-all, I’ve compiled some of my favorite tips to get your house looking so good, people will be fooled into thinking you have your life in order. I’ve been drinking from my box of wine as I write this, I’m sure that didn’t affect anything:
1. Curate carefully.
2. Use a bright color on an accent wall.
3. Owls, everywhere fucking OWLS. Continue reading
I studied theater in college, because of course I did. I mean, I didn’t get this weird entirely on my own, right? Then I fell in love, moved away from Albuquerque to Chicago for a few years, fell out of love, and eventually found my way back to New Mexico. It was then that I really immersed myself in the theater scene there. I helped found a Shakespeare company, directed for the first time, and found a passion for theatrical production design.
I moved to Los Angeles in 2001, ostensibly to start an acting career, but also because all of my friends made a mass-exodus to the west coast. I quickly found myself discouraged by the constant rejection. This isn’t making art, I argued in my own head, this is a business. There were so many other people who wanted it more than I did, and were far better at it than I was. I stepped away from pursuing acting, put my nose to the grindstone at my retail management job, and didn’t look back.
Fast forward a few years. Continue reading
First appeared (in edited version) on PQ Monthly
We’re walking along 10th Street near Everett. Karl and I just had the greasiest, sloppiest meal of our lives at Tilt (I’m sorry, but tater tots
should not should be the size of my fist, or my increasingly struggling cardiac muscle). The first date had gone great for sure, ended in a make-out session that had startled my cat Ned away with its ferocity. We scheduled this date, the second one, even before the first had ended. I had good reason to be optimistic about this one. Holy shit, I had even saved his last name in my phone.
This place, walking past the yogawear shop, the rainwear store, the record shop that only sells cassingles, that’s where he drops the Bombshell. Not at the end of the date, and not a day or two afterwards, which would have been better. Here, while we’re wandering around the Pearl district and telling each other embarrassing stories about ourselves, this is where he ruins everything. Continue reading