Friday, August 31, 2007

Rock Meets Hard Place

TR and I have been together for almost a year and a half – my longest relationship with a man since my college boyfriend. Our relationship is… well, friendship mostly, with a side of shit talking and at-times-brutal honesty, but we found a place where we have fun, and I know he cares about me beyond the scope of trainer/client and the boatloads of cash money I bring to his business every week.

So, it kind of felt like I was cheating on him when I went to a physical therapist on Wednesday after he told me I didn’t need to see one. It’s not that I didn’t trust his opinion – I did. But, on Wednesday morning I took my new shoes for a three-mile jog around the neighborhood, and while my knees didn't "hurt," I could "feel" them. Athletico, a large PT clinic in Chicago, has free screenings, and one of their locations happens to be about three blocks away from my house. I figured it couldn’t hurt to get a second opinion.

Off I went. The sort-of cute PT had me stand on one leg, lean against the wall, and lie on a massage table well he poked at my thighs… sexy. Then we had this conversation:

PT: It’s the IT band. You need to rest your legs for the inflammation to go down. You need to stop.

Lou: Stop running?

PT: Yes, stop running.

Lou: Stop running? For how long?

PT: Three days to a week.

Lou: But I can cross train?

PT: Like what? Strength train… no.

Lou: What about other cardio?

PT: No. You have to stop.

Lou: Stop? Like stop everything?

PT: Stop means stop.

Lou: How do I… What… I mean… I can’t “just stop.”

PT: Well, then you’re just going to continue to aggravate it.

Lou: So I need to stop?

PT: You need to stop.

Lou: Huh.

The good news is, except for the argument to stop running vs. keep running, PT and TR were pretty much on the same page. My injury is not that bad and it just needs to be managed. I don’t need physical therapy, unless it gets significantly worse.

I’m not sure what to do. Ultimately, the decision to run (or rather attempt to run) 18 miles on Saturday rests solely on my shoulders. I took yesterday off; I’m taking today off. I’m doing the exercises the PT gave me, and I’m icing my knee. And I still haven’t decided whether or not I’ll attempt to run come Saturday morning.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Hurt So Good

You did what yesterday? You’re training for a marathon and you went out and played football?

That was TR’s reaction to my newfound team sport, but after a moment he laughed – at my pain, I think – and decided it was good for me to, “have fun.”

True story.

The soreness I am feeling at this moment absolutely tops anything I have ever felt while training for long distance races (all three of 'em). I am nothing short of flabbergasted that the fastest and least painful way to reposition my legs is by using my arms to physically move them. I’m wondering if I can get my hands a rascal scooter to tool around town in for the next few days. It would certainly be more efficient.

I mean – let’s be real here people for just a second (fo’ realz). I am training for a marathon. I ran 13 some odd miles a couple of weeks ago. Sore? Meh. Sure, my body is arguably “used to” running, but right now, my legs are nothing more than appendages dangling limply from my hips. When people point at and ask about my now useless legs, I will tell them, “These old things? They used to work. Now, they’re good fer nothing. Ol’ football injury.”

Football has rendered me incapacitated.

Who knew?

Anyway, I was reading the Red Eye, which for those of you not in Chicago is the mini-paper in town written for and by people who have the reading ability and attention span of a six-year-old boy with ADD. Also, it’s a fine publication for those of us who prefer to take our morning news with a side of pop – pop science, pop culture, pop music, pop goes the weasel. Whatever.

There was an article today about sleep ... the premise being that if you aren’t getting at least eight hours of sleep a night, you’re not getting enough of it, and the reason you're probably not getting enough sleep is because our society (or urban society) promotes an unhealthy sleep cycle by giving people access to all-night entertainment -- or something to that effect. Isn't the Internet also open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?

In the paper version of this article, Red Eye's team of intrepid journalists tracked a 28-year-old woman’s every post-midnight move as she roamed around on weeknights to bars, restaurants, and a Waffle House in Indiana (Really? I mean, I like their hash browns too – with onions, do they call that “covered?” – but Indiana?). Every night, she’s out and about until 3am – bare minimum, and even if she does go home “early,” she stays up reading or watching TV or whatever… eventually passing out (I know… “passing out” connotes drunkenness, but I would argue that when you go to bed at 4am or so every night, you’re not actually “going to sleep.” You’re body has just been through battle and surrendered; the term “passing out” much better describes the fact that you gave up, and the falling asleep wasn’t much of a choice, regardless of whether or not alcohol was factor in your non-decision).

So, I’m thinking to myself as I read this play-by-play, “Really? Are people out all night, every night?” and I realize – wait a second – she’s an extreme case, but more and more, sleep is the only expendable activity left in my life. And, I’m starting to think that I don’t need sleep like I used to. I function well enough to not forgo my schedule with as little as four hours of sleep, and six to seven hours is now an average for me when I used to – without fail – get eight. Sure, sometimes I’m tired. But even that’s only in theory. For instance, on weekends, when I choose not to set an alarm and just “let myself sleep” my body’s internal clock often goes off after a mere six hours of shut eye.

So maybe I’m not bar hopping until 4am on Tuesday, but I’m frequently out until 10pm or so. Once home, I eat something, watch some TV and then screw around on the Internet until midnight, when I attempt to read or write before falling asleep. Depending on the circumstances, I’ll get up anytime between 5:45 and 7:45.

So maybe it’s not Waffle House in Indiana crazy. Still… it’s a little crazy – in an incredibly tame in comparison to other people kind of way.

But, is it really detrimental to my health?

Hey pop scientists, I need a chart. Maybe you can put something together that compares apples to – oh I don’t know – let’s say – oranges. I’d like to see how much time, in years and days, sleeping less than eight hours a night will subtract from my lifespan. Then, I want you put another little line on the chart measuring the same thing, only for smoking – because I quit that. Maybe toss in a line for eating McDonalds every day. Once I compare the various health risks, I can make an educated guess as to what any of this has to do with me.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Sweet Relief

I thought I was going to lose it. Thirty-six hours without the Internet. That’s 3-6... h-o-u-r-s. HOURS, people!

Now, I’m not a "junkie," per say. I can go on vacation just fine and sustain sanity sans the Web for days upon days. But just hanging out... alone... in my apartment? I need to be connected. Luckily I was fairly distracted Saturday and Sunday.

Not-So-Sweet Sixteen
I woke up on Saturday morning at 5:30am to more Chicago "weather" (still, or maybe, again). Without lightning though, you better believe we would run in the rain. In fact, Saturday was my first experience running in this particular element, and I have to admit, that part... not so bad. Eventually it cleared up, and really, the weather – overcast and just a little chilly -- was almost perfect for running 16 miles.

That is, if I had made it 16 miles.

I bailed just shy of six. And the saddest part of this story is that I felt great. I felt rested, and hydrated, and all around good... except for one tiny, little thing... my left knee. Shortly after we passed the marker that indicated we were 5.5 miles down, I felt it. Well, I felt it the entire time, but I really felt it at 5.5. My body gave into the pain, and my run became less of a run and more of a limp. I knew I had to stop. By the time I made it back to civilization – a mile back the way I came (OK granted, it’s hard to lose civilization in the middle of Chicago) – I was having trouble walking.

I’d rather this not be a hard lesson learned. You have to know when it’s time to give in (and give up) to the pain. Risking injury at this point is way worse than not logging mileage when I still have a good five weeks to go.

Once home, in the forty minutes I had before The Great Internet Failure of 2007 began, I scoured the Web for answers. By all accounts, I have iliotibial (IT) band syndrome, which can be caused and/or aggravated by a number of things, including wearing ill-fitting running shoes.

We runners... we always end up here don’t we?

I’ve been wearing the Saucony’s Hurricane 7 since about three months into my life as a runner. Anyone who runs will tell you this: Get good running shoes. Get fitted by someone who is trained to fit people in running shoes at a reputable running store. Spend the money. It is worth it. And you will learn the hard way.

I have hearted my Saucony’s and stuck with them (on pair number three or four now) for a year and half – through two half marathons, countless training runs, and about a 15 pound weight lose.

It occurred to me -- while reading about common knee injuries -- that it might just be time for a change. So, after icing my knee and popping some serious Advil, I headed up to Fleet Feet with my running bud Meg. As it turns out, my Saucony’s very well could have caused the problem with my knees, or at the very least, were contributing to it.

I’ll try to explain as best I can my understanding of what was going wrong: When you get fitted with running shoes, the fitter will actually watch you run first. By analyzing how you run (your "gait"), they will detect any weakness, and fit you in a shoe that compensates for that weakness (At some point during this process I commented that I wished “there was a running shoe for life.”). As it turns out, my gait is neutral, and my shoe was compensating for a problem I no longer had. Basically, this over-compensation was straining my IT band, which connects from the hip down the leg past the knee.

Isn’t that fascinating? It’s amazing to see how connected your body is. They way you land on your feet can expoliate a weakness in your hip, which ultimately, manifests itself as pain in your knee! OK… I’m not sure that’s entirely accurate, but whatever, it’s still fascinating.

Regardless, I am in LOVE with my new shoes. Before I go for another run though, I’m going to discuss the pain with TR, and possibly make an appointment with a PT this week. A couple of opinions couldn’t hurt, right? Cross your fingers for me. I want to be healthy and strong for our 18 miler next Saturday. I have a feeling that I’m going to be fine.

Ready to Rumble
Fine is relative.

So, a few weeks ago, it came to the attention of @ and I that a flag football team in our neighborhood was in need of a few good women. Naturally, as we are so athletically inclined, we decided that we were the very women they needed.

We were in, and today was our first practice. Yes, today, as in the day after I crawled up the stairs to my 2nd floor apartment because my knee was in so much pain from running. Perhaps not one of my best laid plans?

Truth is my knee felt fine today, but I warned Coach that with the marathon training, I may have to take it easy in practice and the first two games of the season. Still, it was our first practice, and I wanted to bring it.

Turns out, football is not something I’ve played before, and it seems as though all of that sprinting and turning and catching and coordinating engages muscles that I’m not exactly used to using. I’m a bit surprised. I work out a fair amount. I lift weights, and mix it up from time time (like with Xtreme pilates). I run arguably far on a regular basis.

Apparently, all that doesn't really matter. I have not been in this much pain since… well, I honestly can’t remember the last time I was in this much pain. It’s my inner thighs and neck mostly. To lift my legs – say if I want to cross them or prop them up – I actually have to physically pick it up and move it to the desired location. Not a good sign. I have a feeling TR is going to be none too pleased when he hears about this.

Oh well.

Football – after competitive/contact cheerleading – is my favorite sport and I wanted to play it. I’ll manage. Even if I end up warming the bench the first couple of games.

The Bright Side
Somehow, in the midst of this Internet outage, I managed to screw with my network so much that I somehow ended up with my wireless actually working in my apartment. So, yes... right now... I am laying in bed, typing this, ready to post, thinking about how I should have gone to sleep two hours ago.

Sweet... sweet... dreams...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

So Much… So Little Time

You’ve probably noticed that my blogging has suffered significantly in the past few weeks. There is an explanation. Actually… there are six... I counted.

Explanation #1: Inspiration. As in lack of it. I have countless nearly formed posts in my head. I have so much to share with you -- my people -- and yet, when I put pen to paper (on the bus/train) or fingers to keyboard (everywhere else), I am stalled after a few sentences... unsure of what I was really trying to say in the first place. But rest-assured, once I get back into my groove, I have all sorts of fun stuff planned for ya’ll -- posts about running philosophy, marathon training, the pilates class I went to with @, Internet dates, the guy from Nerds, my dream "career(s)," and the always-popular, highly anticipated conversations with @. Just think... all of that is being held prisoner in my brain trying to escape to its rightful forum, and I keep failing myself. Or something.

Explanation #2: Perspiration. As in training for a marathon. Attempting to keep up with my training schedule amid a few physical setbacks – a bum knee, some exhaustion – has been difficult. I’m fairly amazed at how ingrained training has become in my daily routine. There are no excuses, even when I have real, live, valid excuses. Sometimes blogging suffers because training doesn’t.

Explanation #3: Termination. As in mine… from my job, if I don’t finish this HUGE project due tomorrow. Seriously. I don’t even want to talk about it. I could cry. On the inside, I already am.

Explanation #4: Destination. As in travel, my friends. I was in Wisconsin this past weekend visiting my one of my old roommates from college and her husband with her sister. It was good times had by all, but I was far away from the computer, and even with a four-hour bus ride, I lacked any real progress on writing a post despite making a valiant effort.

Explanation #5: Rejection. As in Internet dating. Deciding to spend an evening, or at least a few hours, of your already busy life with a stranger is beginning to feel like a major sacrifice. Especially when the stranger ends up reminding you of Screech from Saved by the Bell, and you realize that you could be home, laying on the couch, catching up on your too-long neglected Tivo... or – better still – sleeping (or blogging).

Explanation #6: Exhaustion. As in I’m really tired. Really, really tired.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

At Heart: The Remix

Yesterday: You know @, it’s Tuesday, and I feel the need to celebrate. In fact, I feel the need to celebrate with adult beverages and some like-minded individuals. And (AND!) the people who brought us Nerds at Heart just happen to be throwing all-inclusive party for gay, straight, single, and taken nerds! You know, people like us. Sort of. Some of them anyway. Whatever, I’m bored. Let’s go.

Golly gee, what luck…

Dating: The “A” Game
Another post about dating… where to begin?

Quite a few of you responded to the post about my rejection from eHarmony. There were a lot of supporters, a few naysayers (fair enough, we all have opinions and I love the idea of "blog as forum" and "blog as dialogue starter"), and one blog stalker (Who the hell are you?).

But, of course I got stuck on Sean’s comment. I mean, who wouldn’t? I wasn’t personally offended or anything, but I felt like his comment did not represent me, or my approach to this whole “finding love in this crazy world” thing. I thought about it and discussed with @ the pros and cons of a response. I decided against it. Then, when I started this post, I decided in favor of response. Formal-like.

On one hand, Sean's point… it's valid. I see it. I have often been one to wonder what the big deal is about finding a significant other. I know a guy who went on three or four dates a week (facilitated by an online dating service) until he found a girlfriend. I never understood why he put all the time and energy into dating 100 million different women. The process seemed exhausting.

But, I have lived in Chicago for two and a half years. I lived outside the city while attending graduate school for another year. Yes… at one point I was in a relationship (long distance for nine months, living together for three), but other than that unfortunate mishap, while in the Chicago area, I have met only one person with whom there has been mutual interest and attraction. One person! Three and half years!

The truth is, before when I was single and living in Chicago, I wasn’t really looking. I dabbled in online dating; I maybe entertained the idea of meeting someone while out on the town. But, it didn’t happen, and for the most part, I didn’t care. And, as Sean so aptly pointed out, I ended meeting someone when I least expected it.

Then what happened? Oh yeah… it didn’t work out. Call it a rebound; call it whatever. I never expected it to be long term; however, it did make me realize that having someone around again was really... nice. And, considering that I spent years in Chicago and met only one person by not looking, what are the chances that if I'm actually looking, actually “putting myself out there,” I will actually meet more people?

It’s something to think about.

Also, for the record, I have no problem being single. I don’t go out desperately searching for love. I never have. I don't have unreasonable expectations that every man I meet is a potential boyfriend. And I think plenty of people in my life would agree that this has never been my M.O. And by the way, it has taken me a long time to feel as though it’s OK to admit that I would like to be in a relationship. The truth is most people do... whether they are willing to say it or not.

Full Circle
And we’re back to last night’s "Nerds" party, which wasn’t a "single’s event" per say. It was a celebration for the organizer’s one year anniversary, and so there were a lot of familiar faces from when @ and I attended back in April. Similar to the April event, there was trivia, board games, and – best of all – name tags! No wedding ring check, no discussion as to which "way" one is swinging. The organizers were smart enough to take the guess work out of the evening, and everyone had a color-coded tag signifying whether they were straight and single, gay and single, or taken (they had an option for bi-sexual nerds as well, but it required a desire to get a little artsy/craftsy with the cutting and the pasting of the various colored tags).

Overall this event was way more entertaining than the one in April. First, there was less pressure because the atmosphere was more “party” and less “dating event.” Second, there was the added bonus of people watching. I spent a lot of time staring at name tags thinking, “Wow. She’s cute; maybe I’ll go change my color,” and “Really, him?” Finally, the beverages were flowing, the cocktail waiter/writer/actor (presumably, aren’t they all?) gave us free shots, and I got at least one drink paid for by a nice gentleman.

And… speaking of... That nice gentleman just happened to be the same guy who contacted me after the first event (the same one I blew off because of that aforementioned "one guy"). Last time, when I met him, he barely spoke to me and I couldn't figure out what had piqued his interest. @ had to fill me in on various bits of information, such as what he did for a living, where he lived, etc. This time, I noticed he was wearing a shirt with the Chicago Accenture Triathlon logo. Turns out, he is also training for the marathon and – what luck – we had much more in common than I first suspected.

So... I guess we shall see what happens next...

Sunday, August 12, 2007

All Things Considered

Well, obviously we -- collectively, me and you and everyone we know -- did not light enough candles or whatever it is you do to get the weather gods to cooperate. Bummer.

It became apparent over the last few days that it was going to be hot... and humid... and hot... for today's Chicago Distance Classic Half Marathon. It was actually storming at 4:15am when I rolled out of bed, but the thunder and lightning quickly stopped, and it seemed as though the rain had cooled things off a bit. We (Meg and I) figured that if it sprinkled a little during the race, that might not be so bad.

So, all in all, at 6am, we thought we had cheated weather fate and that, for a moment (that moment lasting approximately two and half hours), it would stay cool, breezy, and all together lovely.

No such luck.

We ended up with blistering sun, high humidity, and temperatures that had to be topping out in the 80s. It was rough. It was even rougher when the race organizers ran out of Gatorade and cups at the Mile 7 aid station.... and at the Mile 8 aid station.

I knew that, all things considered, 2:38 should have been a conservative estimate, and on a great day, I had a chance of finishing somewhere between 2:30 and 2:35.

This was not a great day. This was a killer. But, I was only a minute off -- still a solid 10 minutes faster than last year -- and finished at 2:39:41.

Could have been worse.

The aftermath: Meg and I at breakfast. Woo Hoo! Let's eat.

Another medal. I like medals. They suit me.

What, you ask, is next for Lou? Well I plan to spend the rest of today attempting not to vomit, and then... The Chicago Marathon. And though I am currently questioning this choice... it is official. I'm in.

What have I done?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Walking the Line

There are certain things I shy away from – let’s say – “announcing” on my blog. However, I often offer these tidbits of information up freely, sans prodding, practically as conversation starters, when face-to-face with someone:

Hey wanna hear something funny? I was rejected from eHarmony.

It’s true. Most of you already heard it. So, it’s not really groundbreaking, earth shattering news. I didn’t really want to be “on” eHarmony anyway, but I was duped by their savvy marketing tactics (damn you marketing!), and managed to be persuaded by an email telling me that if I finished filling out the questionnaire I started eight months ago, I could join for the low, low price of $20 a month.

I probably had nothing better to do that day.

I finished it, and promptly received this message:
eHarmony is based upon a complex matching system developed through extensive research with married couples. One of the requirements for successful matching is that participants fall within certain defined profiles. If we find that we will not be able to match a user using these profiles, we feel it is only fair to inform them early in the process.

We are so convinced of the importance of creating compatible matches to help people establish happy, lasting relationships that we sometimes choose not to provide service rather than risk an uncertain match.

Unfortunately, we are not able to make our profiles work for you. Our matching model could not accurately predict with whom you would be best matched. This occurs for about 20% of potential users, so 1 in 5 people simply will not benefit from our service. We hope that you understand, and we regret our inability to provide service for you at this time.
This is how my brain processed the information in those three paragraphs:

Paragraph 1
  • What do married couples know? Did your research show that half of those “couples” you talked to will probably end up divorcing? (I detect a hint of leftover teenage angst in there, like, yeah, you think you know... you don’t know shit, romance authority figure! You don’t understand me. No one understands me...)
  • I am undefinable. I actually initially thought this was pretty cool. I’m different. I’m special. Then I became concerned. Maybe I'm too different. Maybe I fall outside the bounds of societal norms. Maybe I'm a sociopath (this fear was quickly squelched once someone explained to me that sociopaths are people who tortured small animals as children and have no ability to feel human emotions like guilt or compassion - I'm paraphrasing. Anyway, I have boatloads of guilt... and I never tortured any animals.)
Paragraph 2
  • There’s no one out there for me. Of the thousands of people (probably hundreds of thousands) using eHarmony, the Romance Authorities have decided that odds are against me finding a mate. Awesome. This pretty much proves my long-standing theory. I am doomed to be alone forever. Poor me. Life is complicated. But, it's OK... I can fill the void with a never ending pint of Ben & Jerry's.
Paragraph 3
  • 20%? 1 in 5? OK, so I’m not so different. Oddly, this makes me feel the opposite of better. Maybe, Relationship Authorities, if you hadn’t rejected all those people I would match with 20 percent of your lil' database o’ love ya got there.
  • They are sorry. Maybe sorry that they aren't getting my money, but are they really sorry? A form letter from human resources rejecting me on the basis that my qualifications are not adequate for the job in question would have included, "We wish you luck in your search." HR would, at the very least, claim that they're keeping my resume on file, in the event that a job match presents itself... never. Hey! eHarmoney! A little encouragement, perhaps? A "Good luck searching for a soul mate who probably doesn't exist," or "We truly hope you will not die alone," or "We're confident there is another online dating service available that can better fulfill all of your boyfriend-finding needs," would be cordial, sympathetic, and not all together hopeless. But instead, I got the polite equivalent of "tough shit."
Fine then. I’ll give someone else my money.

Despite my “never say never” caveat when I last wrote about how much I hated online dating, it nonetheless seems like a best option to weed out smokers, drug users, people who do not have jobs, or can’t explain why they decided not to go to college, etc. It also appears as though an online "dating" site has popped up for every subset of the single... or not so single... population. Looking for weird sex? Want to meet a hipster? Need to find a mistress? Open to having an "open" relationships? There's a place for everyone. It's very inclusive.

Bottom line: against my better judgment, I joined... again... on a different site, with a different vibe with the hopes of meeting someone... different. I guess I realized that people can just as easily misrepresent themselves in person, so you know… you’re kind of screwed no matter what. You might as well hedge your bets and put yourself out there in as many ways possible. Online dating sucks because it’s like you’re consistently setting yourself up on blind dates, with people who no one but the Webernet can vouch for, but at least there's a date involved. I guess.

So I told my sister the following today via chat after completing offline date #1 last night:

Lou: its so hard to find someone who's a little artsy/nerdy/weird but not in a scary/bad way who is also active and kinda athletic.
Sarah: haha, yeah I'd imagine that's relatively hard to find.

Know anyone?

Monday, August 06, 2007

Halfway There and Back Again

Bad blogger. Sit. Write.

Knocked Out Dragged Down
I haven't devoted a solid night to the sole purpose of drinking since my birthday.

Allow me to rephrase: Until Saturday, I hadn't devoted a solid night to the sole purpose of drinking since my birthday. At least, not that I remember.

I ended Saturday night insisting to the people I was with that I was going to go home and eat pizza. Unfortunately, I didn't have pizza at home, but I was determined – against all odds – to eat pizza. A variety of schemes and plans worked their way through my head as I neared my apartment… maybe I would walk to the 24-hour CVS down the street, or maybe I would scour Grubhub.com searching for the few, but proud pizza joints that deliver until 4am. It didn't matter HOW it happened; I didn't care, but damnit I was going to have pizza.

When I arrived at my apartment I dropped my purse on the ground, kicked off my shoes, walked to my bedroom shedding pieces of clothing along the way and immediately passed out.

That night, there would be no pizza.

Needless to say it took me until about 3pm on Sunday afternoon before I started to function normally.

Madness. Taper-style.
I imagine that @ and I will have half a dozen conversations this week that go something like this:

Lou: Hey @.

@: Yeah.

Lou: You know what Sunday is?

@: Yeah.

Lou: It's the Chicago Distance Classic Half Marathon.

@: I know. I have it on my calendar. August 12: Lou Runs Far. See? Right there.

Lou: Damn right you have it on your calendar. Oorah.

(In the midst of my inability to get off my couch on Sunday, I watched the 25 Most Memorable Bathing Suit Moments or something to that effect on the E! network. Jake G. dancing around in a G-string and Santa hat in the movie Jarhead made the list despite the fact that it wasn't really a bathing suit. The clip reminded me of Jamie Foxx's line, "... I love this job. I thank God for every fucking day he gives me in the corps, oorah." It's likely that I will randomly say "oorah" through the day... maybe the week... who knows.)

Displaced Anger
I got mad at TV last week.

Romance is so misrepresented on television. In what world does an attractive, yet somewhat clumsy woman in an obvious rush plowing into a good-looking man holding coffee turn into a romantic encounter? The man subsequently spills the coffee on himself. The woman, flustered, attempts to help clean it up by grabbing the nearest stack of napkins or wad of tissue. Though he protests, she uses aforementioned napkins to wipe him off with until she realizes that she has come dangerously close to his crotch at which time she will retreat, embarrassed and hand him the napkins in order to allow him to clean himself off. The man, though put off at first, finds her behavior charming and when she looks up at his face, their eyes meet and BAM! Insta-chemistry. He asks for her number and she floats away on cloud nine. She probably turns back once or twice with a big shitty grin on her face, just for good measure, to get one last glimpse of him. And lest we not forget, this man just happens to be handsome, of an appropriate age, well-dressed, successful, single, and emotionally available.

Not only does this man not exist in reality, in "reality" this interaction would likely result in the woman being called a disparaging name like "stupid bitch" and told to "watch the fuck out." The situation would be riddled with embarrassment and awkwardness and these two people would, for a moment, connect on only one thought, which would likely be, How do I get away from this person as quickly as possible?

There ain't no love there.

And so, my point, dear readers, is that television attempts to trick us (and by "us" I mean "me") into believing in possibilities and soulmates and "accidents as fate" and frankly, for some of us, at this point that's just unfair and condescending. We don't need anymore false hope that a single, available, attractive, successful man is going to strike up a conversation about melons or some other innuendo-laden fruit in the produce aisle at the grocery store, or that the guy who stops to help when one falls on her ass, or drops whatever she is carrying, is going to result in an undeniable feeling of mutual electricity. Nor is it necessary -- in reality -- to encourage anyone to think that gestures bordering on stalker-like behavior are what women want (or what men want) or that standing outside someone's window declaring one's love will lead to a long term relationship. It's more likely to lead to a restraining order.

Hello cynicism, my old friend.

I've come to talk with you again.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Grand March of the Librarians

An explanation, perhaps?