Wednesday, June 18, 2014

My Boyfriend and I Have Been Together for Almost 18 Years

If you know me, you know that I have been with my current boyfriend for three years, so maybe you are wondering what I'm talking about. Maybe you don't give a damn.

Well, I'm talking about my other boyfriend, the one I met in September of 1996, when I was 15. Our actual "date" is September 14th. We are still together, making this my longest lasting relationship ever. I'll tell you how this happened:

As I mentioned, it was September of 1996. Bush, Pearl Jam, Oasis, and Smashing Pumpkins all had number one hits on the Billboard charts that year. My boyfriend and I met the very same week that Tupac Shakur died, and even more importantly, the week that Alija Izetbegović was elected president of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the country's first election since the Bosnian War. I was 15 years old, and in the 10th grade-- not quite grunge, but not quite goth. I had tossed my flannel shits, but it would still be a couple years before I was dressing in vinyl. I was a total fashionista-- for my first day of 10th grade, I wore a Radiohead t-shirt, black wide-leg jeans that I cut on the bottoms, imitation Vans, a wallet chain that was so heavy that my pants were actually in danger of falling down from being pulled by the weight, black Robert Smith-like eye makeup, and green lipstick. The place to be that year was Roosevelt Field Mall-- not to buy anything, but just be cool-- not that I needed any validation of my coolness.

So, back to that legendary week in the middle of September-- there was upheaval in the world of hip-hop, history was being made in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and I met my boyfriend in the Sam Goody music store at the mall. He was everything I wanted in an 18 year old man-- straggly chin-length blond hair, reminiscent of the late Kurt Cobain, six feet tall with the build of a female waif, and ill-fitting clothes, obviously purchased from Pacific Sunware. He also had a wallet chain. I knew we were meant to be together.

Our initial courtship was intense, but divine. He told me that he loved me in the parking lot of the East Meadow library after we had to evacuate due to a fire. It was my first mature relationship. I had to hide in the backseat of his car while we drove past my house because I wasn't allowed in a car with a boy.

As the one month mark approached, I began hearing from my boyfriend less. I sensed his interest dissipating. I would beep him my phone number, or call the alpha text lady to have a message sent to him (remember-- it was 1996), but he would not respond. I was distraught. I did the only logical thing I could think of-- I made out with his best friend. Still, nothing. Our relationship fizzled, but a portion of the spark clearly remained, as he never actually broke up with me.

Our 18th anniversary is approaching this year. I have desperately tried to be a good girlfriend over the years; however, the amount of space and freedom that he was so liberally taking, did begin to affect me several years after we met. As such, in 2001, I began dating a man who I eventually married in 2005. That didn't work out too well, and the marriage ended in 2010. At the time, I reevaluated my relationship my boyfriend, and I reached the conclusion that he is most likely still taking some time to figure things out. Therefore, I met someone else in 2011, and we have been together ever since. There are times, though, when I feel I owe it to my boyfriend to let him know of the developments and changes that have occurred since we first got together. Undoubtedly, there many specific questions that that are worthy being asked, such as: Where did you go? What happened?

I have no way of knowing what's in store for us, but I sure am excited. We have had so much time to grow and mature as separate people. I can only surmise that we are becoming even stronger as a couple.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

I am the Biggest Jerk in the History of the World

As I look over my blog, I realize a lot of it is about me being a sociopath. Ruining other kids’ ceramic projects, cutting up the carpet, giving false opinions to people in stores, kicking a hole in a neighbor's Halloween decoration, and tipping over a dresser and making the goldfish fall out of it’s bowl (you will have to read past entries if you want more detail about these things. It’s all in here, trust me). So, I figured it was fitting to add yet another entry about my sociopathic behavior. Then I realized I’m probably not a sociopath at all, if I’m using this blog sort of as a cleansing process. It means I feel bad about the things I have done. However, since I am cleansing myself of my wrongdoings on a public forum, it must mean that I’m actually a narcissist.

I am not the most patient driver. I am a good driver, and a safe one, too. However, some might describe my style as slightly aggressive. I think it comes from all the city driving I have done. Yesterday, I was obviously the one and only person on the road who had somewhere important to go (the mall). Given my unique situation, I had less patience than usual. I was at a red light, and was waiting to make a right turn. There was van in front of me; also with his right turn signal on (I refer to everyone on the road as male. “What the hell is that guy doing? Why is that guy at a stop in the middle of the road? What’s wrong with him??” It could be a car full of women wearing frilly pink dresses. I will still refer to them as one guy.) The light turned green, and the guy in front of me did not turn. I gave it a few seconds, but there was no movement. I decided I was going to do the “gentle reminder” beep that I had practiced. I developed it as a way to decrease the aggressive nature of my driving habits. Instead of slamming my hand on the horn before the person can even move his foot from the brake pedal to the gas, I wait a few seconds, and then with a swift, but light motion of the hand, I beep the horn as though I am gently tapping a tambourine in the middle of a quiet song. That is my “gentle reminder” beep. Unfortunately, the driver ahead of me did not respond to my tender notification that the light had turned green. This time I stepped it up to the “You-are-not-even-paying-attention-not-even-a-little beep.” This beep has undertones of anger and aggravation. After I executed this beep, there was still no movement. At this point, I was getting extremely pissed off, so this time, I really hit the horn. I don’t even have an official name for that type of a beep, except that “beep” is too jolly of a word to describe it. No movement. Muttering curses to myself, I decided that I was just going to go around this guy. Well, unfortunately, since his car was large enough to block any view of what was going on to the right side of him, I was not able to have seen that the reason he wasn’t moving was because he was waiting for a crossing guard to help children cross the street. I felt like the biggest jerk in the history of world, ever, in life (key indicator that I am actually not a sociopath). At this point, I made the choice to completely abandon my original route, cut through the parking lot of CVS, and go on a completely different road. I did this because I did not want to be driving near any other driver who was around me, who may have been a witness to what had just taken place. I especially did not want the guy who was in front of me to end up right behind me, or next to me at a traffic light. I did not want to be driving near anyone who would be thinking the whole time, “Oh, that’s the car of the person who wanted to run over little children and kill them. Yes, that’s the car of the person who has absolutely no respect for the job of a crossing guard.”

The moral of the story is that it was the guy’s fault who was in the car in front of me. He should have gotten out, personally visited me in my car (I would have rolled down my window), and told me that the reason he had stopped was because he was waiting for children to cross the street, and he sincerely apologizes that he purchased such a large car, which blocks important views.

Monday, June 16, 2014

I Had Art-Related Behavioral Problems

Four examples:

1. In pre-kindergarten, I was in art class, and I was pretending that the paintbrushes were actually people with hair, so I sat in the back of the class, giving them "haircuts." I had to stay after class to clean up the mess, which was dumb because usually in salons, the stylist doesn't have to sweep up the hair that drops on the floor from the haircuts-- normally the shampoo person does that.

2. I was at a ceramic-painting party, around the age of seven. I was painting Bart Simpson figurine, and the boy across from me was painting Homer Simpson. For some reason that is still unknown to me, I began painting blue dots on the back of his project. When he finally noticed, he dipped his brush in brown paint, and painted all over my Bart Simpson. He then pressed his fingers into his eyes and cried. Although I started it, I remained emotionally unaffected.

3. I practiced writing the number 9 on the walls inside my closet in my bedroom. I wrote a couple other things, but mainly, it was just the number 9. My house was always well-stocked with paper. I doubt that we somehow encountered a paper shortage just as I had learned to write that particular number. It just seemed more appealing to write on the walls.

4. I was playing with hot pink paint, and I dropped some of it on the tan-colored carpet in my bedroom. I panicked, and tried to wipe it up, which only resulted in further smudging it into the carpet. I came up with the fairly solid idea of using scissors to cut out the carpet fibers that had paint on them. The result was a carpet with bald spots. Looking back on this incident, I wish I dealt with my anxiety in a more appropriate manner, such as blaming my parents. This was obviously their fault, as it was their decision to have light-colored carpeting in a child's room.

Intruder/I Ate Fish Food

You must look back at this entry, to get the full effect of this post. I was off from work today, and went to the mall to get my eyebrows threaded. I am rather obsessive about having my eyebrows threaded every two weeks. I have black eyebrows, and this is exactly what I look like if I don't adhere to my strict grooming schedule:

Once I was finished, I went to grab something to eat. You know how at the food court, usually a bunch of two-person tables will be pushed together to form larger tables? Well, I was sitting at one of those-- I think it was about three tables pushed together. Since it was a Monday afternoon, there were approximately 12 million empty tables in the food court. I was eating, and happily reading a book on the Kindle app on my phone. Suddenly, I felt the presence of an intruder. I looked up, and standing there was this guy with his stupid little lunch, hovering over the table. I noticed he was in possession of food from Sbarro, which is only the worst pizza, ever. Does Sbarro exist outside of malls? I just Wikipedia'ed Sbarro, and found that they filed for bankruptcy three months ago because the company's financial structure was found to be unsustainable. THAT'S PROBABLY BECAUSE THEIR PIZZA TASTES LIKE BLEACH (maybe they wouldn't be in bankruptcy if they had gotten to the root of the problem a little sooner).

By the way, my dad would get so perturbed by my food-to-inedible-substance-or-object analogies. I would say something like, "This cookie tastes like pencils," and he would be all, "That is so dumb. Have you ever eaten a pencil? How would you know what a pencil tastes like?!" Now, if I had compared something to fish food, and he was like, "Have you ever eaten fish food? Do you even know what it tastes like?" My answer would have been "Yes, I do know what fish food tastes like because I have, in fact, eaten it." I did eat fish food (flakes, not pellets) when I was about seven. The flakes taste exactly like they smell, which is somewhat comforting, because at least you know what to expect.

Back to the food court situation. So I glanced up at the eater-of-bad-pizza who was standing at my table. "Do you mind if I sit here?" he asked. I was in disbelief. There is a universal rule (or so I thought) that if someone is sitting at a big table in the food court, made up of smaller tables pushed together, that you ONLY sit at that table if ALL OTHER FIRST-LEVEL SEATING OPTIONS HAVE FALLEN THROUGH. First-level, by the way, refers to being able to sit by yourself at any large-sized table in the mall. If every single large table is already occupied by one person or more, and no small tables are available, then first-level seating is no longer an option, and one must move to seek second-level seating. I would rather eat my food on the floor, than have to seek second-level seating. Now the problem here is that eater-of-pizza-that-tastes-like-bleach was seeking second-level seating when first-level seating was plentiful. My reaction to this guy was quite similar to my reaction to the guy on the train (again, you must read this post to understand what I'm talking about). I grabbed my stuff and got up before this guy could even put his bleach-pizza down on the table.

When I told my boyfriend this story, he immediately said that the guy wanted to hit on me, so that's why he sat down at my table. I disagree, as he didn't even attempt to speak to me (although I did get up pretty quickly). I just think he was another clueless person, with zero social boundaries, unaware of the rules of the universal, multi-level seating system. I think that if you enjoy eating bleach disguised as pizza, while seeking second-level seating when there is no viable need, then you really have to take some time to get your life together.

Friday, June 6, 2014

You Make Me Sad: Disappointment of the Day

My favorite movie of all time is "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." One of my favorite parts is when Graham Chapman, as King Arthur, is trying to recruit the Black Knight for the Court of Camelot. The Black Knight refuses to respond, and eventually, he tells the Knight, "You make me sad." I thought this would be a good platform for discussing disappointments.

A couple nights ago, the boyfriend and I went out to dinner. On the way to the restaurant, I spotted a Rita's Water Ice. It wasn't just the normal stand; it was one that allows you to go inside. The only time I have been to one like that, was on the boardwalk in Wildwood, NJ, and it is like THE GREATEST RITA'S EVER because they have approximately 93287432472397429347329423048230 more flavors than the average Rita's. After dinner, we drove over there. I was beyond excited. "This is just like the one at the beach, only there is no ocean and no sand!!!" We got inside, and as I stood at the counter, I saw a sign with, like, six measly flavors. One was the sugar-free peach, so that doesn't even count. And one was cherry, so that doesn't even count, because it's only the most generic flavor, ever. So basically, it was like zero flavors. THEY DIDN'T EVEN HAVE WILD BLACK CHERRY. Suddenly, there was a glimmer of hope, as I scanned the short, pathetic list. Watermelon! No, not just watermelon. Watermelon chip. "Are the "seeds" in the watermelon made of chocolate chips?" I asked the girl at the counter, who looked like she would rather be involved in waterboarding, than working at Rita's. She confirmed that the watermelon "seeds" where, indeed, chocolate chips. I can understand the logic. It seemed that the Inventor of Water Ice Flavor (IWIF) thought it would be cute and adorable to make the watermelon water ice look like actual watermelon, by adding "seeds." What IWIF failed to consider, however, was that watermelon and chocolate do not go together.

I ended up getting the blue cotton candy water ice because I am a mature adult with refined tastes.

I just realized that this is not my first post about frozen treat disappointment.

You make me sad, Rita's. You are the Disappointment of the Day.

The Rabbi who (Probably) Performed my Wedding Ceremony

I got married in September 2005. By 2010, that was over, but that's not actually important for this story, other than understanding why I am referring to him as "now ex-husband." When the wedding planning was going on, it was my job to me to figure out who was going to marry us. This is a sample of some of the feedback that was provided, by various family members, regarding this challenge:

Me: I think that regardless of our (non)beliefs, it would be best to get both a rabbi and one of those guys from the church.
Mother of now ex-husband: How about we just get a rabbi? Jewish weddings are always so nice... and fast!
Now ex-husband: We can get my friend Bob to marry us.
My Dad: Why not just live together and not get married? It's faster, cheaper, and easier!
My Mom: Heh?

Until 2010, I had never stepped inside a synagogue. Although things would later change, at the time of my marriage, my knowledge about Judaism involved getting presents on Chanukah and deciding which knish was better-- square or round. I grew up on Long Island, with two Jewish parents, had never been to Hebrew school, and had never celebrated Passover or Rosh Hashanah. Basically, I had very limited, nearly non-existent, information to go on. I also identified as an atheist during that period. Not knowing where to begin, I executed a brilliant plan-- I opened the phone book to the "rabbi" section, randomly chose a name, and accidentally called an orthodox rabbi to conduct an interfaith ceremony for two atheists on the night of Shabbat. In hindsight, this was stupid. Maybe even beyond stupid. To an orthodox rabbi, I had basically come up with a combination of the most offensive elements in Judaism, and then formulated them into a request. But in my pathetic defense, trying to chose a name from the 92,392 names of rabbis in a Long Island phone book is a daunting task, especially for someone had tried to memorize the Chaunkah blessing for 23 years in a row and was still saying it incorrectly.

I eventually came upon a nice, reform rabbi who would later marry us. He was unfazed that, admittedly, the only thing my now-ex knew about Judaism was that "Well... I know that Robyn is Jewish." The rabbi was fine with marrying us on a Friday night. He even teamed up with a nearly deaf minister, relieving me from the responsibility of having to find yet another person to participate in the ceremony.

As I mentioned, all this occurred in 2005. In 2009, some stuff happened, and then in 2010, more stuff happened, so it ended up that I began to learn that Judaism is more than delicious deep fried dough, filled with mashed potato, in either a circle or square shape. I became connected with a Reform synagogue, and decide to enroll in an "Intro to Judaism' class. The class was largely made up of individuals from interfaith couples, getting ready to get married in the next year. Quite a few of these people were on the path to conversion. One of our sessions was focused on Jewish life cycles, so of course we spent a great deal of time talking about the Jewish wedding and all of the customs and traditions. Somewhere in one of those third sessions discussions, I casually mentioned how my (now ex) husband and I had been married by a lovely rabbi with a great sense of humor, and that our guests had really enjoyed the ceremony. Now I know that I should have just kept my mouth shut.

Next week, in the restroom, where unwanted exchanges always occur, one of the women from class asked if I could refer her to the rabbi who performed my wedding ceremony. I became very nervous, and was too ashamed to tell her that not only did I select my rabbi from a phonebook, but that I have absolutely no recollection of his name. I sort of bypassed this by saying that I would be happy to refer her to this rabbi, but I would have to find his contact information when I got home because I didn't have it on me (doesn't everyone carry their rabbi's complete contact information on them at all times?) and then email her. This was a bad move on my part considering I had no idea where I would obtain this contact information.

A few days passed by and it became obvious that I had to come up with something before I had to face her during the next class. After some time of thinking hard, the word "apple" came to me. I became obsessed that the word "apple" was part of the rabbi's last name. I began furiously searching the internet, putting together every viable combination: appletree, appleseed, applebaum, applestein, appleberg. Nothing. I tried combining various search terms in Google, such as : rabbi + long island + apple. This is what I came up with:

Guided only by desperation, I seriously considered giving her the contact information for Rabbi Steven Moskowitz and his Apple Jacks. A few moments later, a name popped into my mind. It seemingly came out of nowhere, but I was (mostly) sure it was the name I had been looking for, the name rabbi who had performed my wedding ceremony. I found his contact information online and even found a reference to him on a Long Island wedding-message-forum-board-thing-- you know the ones where girls post things like: "OMG only 9298 days left until the Big Day and I can't decide between chocolate or vanilla icing... PLZ HELP!!!!!" Anyway, I clicked on the link, which led me to some girl's "report card" of her wedding, in which she had used the rabbi who had (most likely) performed my ceremony. True to Long Island bride form, she had posted one photograph for every movement that was made on her wedding day. I got out my wedding album and compared her rabbi to mine. Glasses? Check. Beard? Yep. Mustache? Got it. There were some differences, but I chalked them up to the passage time. I emailed my classmate the information.

Feeling quite proud of myself, I looked forward to Tuesday's Intro to Judaism class, knowing that I could face my classmate confidently. My first contact with her was in the bathroom (again). The following conversation took place:

Me: So, did you get in touch with the rabbi? How did it go?
Classmate: Yes, I called him... and I wasn't sure if I should tell you or not, but...
Me: Uh oh, wrong number?
Classmate: No, it was the right number. I know that you said you didn't know him well anyway, so...
Me: Ah! If he said he doesn't remember me, I'm not offended. I told you, I didn't even know him prior to getting married. So, he said he doesn't know who I am, right?
Classmate: No, actually he's dead.
Me: Oh.

The worst part is that it wasn't like he died three minutes ago or anything. Apparently he died a couple of years ago.

I gave my classmate the name of a dead rabbi who most likely, but not definitely, performed my wedding ceremony.

I'm out of the event planning business for good.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

House-Hunting in South Philly

I moved from New York to South Philly in 2005, with my then-fiancée/almost then-husband/now ex-husband. We rented a house for two years, and then decided that we liked South Philly enough to want to purchase a home there. It took a very long time to select the place that we would call our home. My ex-husband isn't exactly a handyman, so we wanted a house that had already been renovated. One time, he put together an Ikea bed. After he put it together, he realized that the bed frame was actually upside down. He felt that it didn't matter because it really wasn't noticeable. He was right. It really didn't matter-- for about a year. What happened after that year, was that I came home from work, and I flopped down onto the bed. Unfortunately for me, the entire bed caved in. This is why we were seeking a house that, at the most, required us to hang our own pictures. Wanting a renovated house meant that I did not want a house with someone's old carpeting, which would most likely possess one or more of the following qualities:

a) had been excessively walked on by former owners.
b) had been walked on by dogs, cats, hamsters, horses, lizards, etc.
c) has had food and/or drink spilled on it, and is now deeply embedded in the carpet fibers, much like the vomit in quality "d" below.
d) has been vomited on.

An avid shopper of vintage items and an artist of found objects, I am somehow intensely freaked out by other people's old crap. It's fine to buy someone's old crap and slap it on a canvas or wooden board, but I don't want to live in a house where people were dying and throwing up all over the carpets. If a house hadn't been entirely gutted out and renovated, I wanted nothing to do with it. This lead to a long, labored house hunt, lasting several months.

In South Philly, it was difficult to find houses that don't have:

a) at least one mirrored wall
b) a ceiling that looks like a board game because it's made up of many squares.
c) a statue of the Virgin Mary, or some other religious representation.
d) a carpet that is purple or green.
e) more pointless, waste of space knickknacks than a store on Antique Row.
f) a large dog, drooling all over the carpet and furniture.

Here are some other things that we came across in the search for our first home:

a) A house with a urinal in the basement.
b) A house that caused my ex-husband to say "It smells like a bunch of old people died in here!" upon opening the front door.
c) A house that was so cluttered we had trouble walking. The owners apologized-- "Sorry! We still haven't finished putting away these Christmas gifts yet!" It was almost February.
d) A house that was so clean I was afraid to move because I didn't want to create a dust particle. I would have licked the ground of the outdoor space in the back of that house. It looked cleaner than my dinner plates.
e) A house on a safe, quiet block that had a security system with a camera. There wouldn't be anything odd about that if the owner of the house hadn't been sitting in the basement watching 24-hour footage of the street.

The next few are from when we originally moved to Philly and were looking for a place to rent, but I'll throw them in anyway:

f) A house that was falling apart so bad that when the owner shut the front door, a piece of it fell off. That same house was so worthless that the owner was actually using those ugly horse posts that you see on some South Philly sidewalks as a unique selling point. The sad part was that he really looked as though he believed in it.
g) A house with a kitchen that was so dilapidated that when I opened the refrigerator I had to ask, "Hey, why is the toaster oven in the fridge?" That same house also had an oven that looked like it was used to make lunch for the soldiers in World War I. I asked the owner when he was planning on replacing the stove. He looked horrified and offended that I would ask such a question. "Replace it!? IT WORKS!"