Not In Kansas Anymore...

Click your heels, and see if home is where you hang your hat, or somewhere else inside yourself as this simple, postmodern girl takes on L.A.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

I got a job. Yes, small letters, no exclamation points. Not that I'm not happy about job; I am. I am quite happy about my new job. I only work three days a week ( Thurs, Fri, Sat) all day and then I'm off the rest of the time. I'm making more money than I did at The Spa, and from what it appears, doing less work. I just answer the phones. I take the money. I look up client records ( did I mention this was at a hair salon?) for what their color preferences are. That's it. That's all. And they dont take out taxes, which is great, since I will doubtfully make enough to have to file ( I never do, I just file anyway for the bonus) and I can keep all the money. Not sure of the perks yet ( free salon treatments? God, can you imagine? Lawdy, lawdy. ) and they'll be moving to a second location shortly, so my hours may decrease. But it's perfect for me, and I'm so FUCKING GRATEFUL right now, I could jump up and down.

But I won't....not yet.

I can't keep a job in this town to save my life, which is partially ( 30%) my fault for having the perennial 5-10-minutes-late problem, and partially the fault of LA employers ( 70%), who will fire anyone for anything because they know they'll get another one just like ya in a snap, the job market is so saturated. ( That reminds me of a funny Bill Cosby bit : his dad is yelling at him, telling him not give any lip because, " you know, I brought you into this world, I'll take you out, make another one just like ya. Makes no difference to me." It's very much like that, only more like, " you can go back home, you non-native. We don't need more of you here searching for your Big Moment, okay? If you don't like it, split. We need your parking space." Or as Jeannie so succintly put it, "Welcome to Hollywood. Now get the fuck out.") They want to work you like a dog and pay you like a migrant worker, and disabuse you of the notion that you have any personal integrity, and if you find this unappealing, then you're outta there. Hard to keep a good attitude going when that's the case, and I have a problem with authority (thanks Dad/ Catholiscism) I'm always fighting down anyway ( passive-aggressive tardiness, anyone? Eye rolling? Sighing audibly?) so it's not a good match, as history has shown.

Still, Viv, the girl that hired me, kept asking me if I had any conflicts coming up ("You're not planning on leaving the country for months at a time? Starting school? Anything like that?") because "we like to train people to stay with us forever." I told her I would like to stay forever. I hope that wasn't some legally binding verbal agreement, if they turn out to be Satan's Happy Hair Salon, but you know, some stability REALLLLLLY couldn't hurt about now. So, I'm hoping. Hoping. Hoping.

Tenatively. As that seems the wisest way to go with my job luck, and in my life as of late, all 'round. Keep the good vibes and prayers comin'.....

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

It's POURING here. Totally weird. You know that stupid song, "It Never Rains In California"? Well, it DOESN'T. The only time it's supposed to rain is when it's "winter" ( quotation marks there to imply irony): from about October to mid-March, it rains pretty regularly and stops pretty abruptly. No breakthrough storms, no sudden surprise showers. It just stops. ( Unless you live at the beach, and most people don't). So it's been raining pretty regularly and staying pretty "cold" (again, those ironic quotation marks- I mean 60degrees) too late in the season. Here it is almost May and raining!!

And I'm so bored, I'm writing about the weather. Still no job. I've done every bit of laundry in the apartment. No boys, but should that be a surprise? They've been a great deal of trouble anyway lately, and I'm not in the mood for more crap. Still, the deisre doesn't go I've making close friends with donuts. The money will run out for donuts soon, and then I'll be screwed. Or NOT, which is the problem to begin with.

And, since it's not May Sweeps, no new episodes of anything til well, May. "Alias" is new, because the show is ending. But since they killed off Vaughn, what's the point of watching? Even the cats are going crazy, because they want to be outside, rolling around in the sunshine. Except there's no sunshine to be had. I've been dreaming of exotic vacation locations, as if I had the money. I just want some wartmth. Some sun. Some loveliness.

Can't get any satisfaction on that one, weather-wise or any way else.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

I did my little Guerrilla Leafletting Campaign in the neighborhood two nights ago, putting my yellow letters on everyone's car and doorsteps. No response, but hey, if YOUR kid did that, would YOU pay to have the person's car shampooed? Being the kind of person who parents a kid like that, I mean. I mean that question rhetorically, because I'm sad to say that in this day and age, parents just don't parent very much any more ( especially in L.A., where the per capita ratio of brat kids just reigns supreme. I can assure you of that having worked in retail here and in other parts of the country). Rather, they seem to want to get out of taking responsibility themselves, so how can they possibly teach that to their kids?

But God knows if I or my brother had done anything like that, my dad would have been all over us: " You DID WHAT???? Oh, no. My kid doesn not do that ( insert a good 45 minute lecture on personal property, costliness, embarassment to the family, moral issues, etc.)! I'm gonna tell you what's going to happen here: YOU'RE going to go over there and PERSONALLY APOLOGIZE. Then, we're going to pay to have their car cleaned. Well, YOU are. You're not getting an allowance untill ( some random number of excruciatingly long weeks)!!!" And then that's exactly what would occur, under Penalty of Death.
Hell, if he'd've evem gotten the flyer it would have been, "Do you know anything about this?" "Um, no." "Do think you know who did it?" "Um, NO." "WEll, keep it that way, okay? This is not good. I hope they catch those little shits. Marie, make sure to roll up the windows from now on, all right?!?!"

My, how times have changed...

Although I have been floating around a Possible Second Explanation, which I cannot believe I didnt consider right away: what if it was just that I was blessed by
His Noodly Goodness, The Flying Spaghetti Monster ?? My faith is so lapsed. I'm sorry, Oh Great One! Come back and show your blessed presence again!!!

But seriously, even my dad, a man of faith would agree: I've got my eye on those little shits down the street.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Suppose you have this friend. Whom you've known for 22 years. Who emails you after a long time because they're dying from a busted heart. Who then, drawn in by your charm (?- or perhpas some strange agenda on their part) proceeds, after a time to pursue you so ardently and passionately that against your better judgement, you're drawn in. They come to visit. It's decided that although there are Big Feelings afloat, it's just not The Right Time for them to have a relationship. But things get confusing, with kissing and hugging and 'honey' and 'sweetheart' and snuggling, and stay that way, at least for you. And then they go home. You don't know how things are going to turn out, but who knows, right? At least that's what you're pondering.

Then you're talking to them on the phone one night, and they're telling you how great they're doing since they got home, as it was such a blessing to have had the time with you, how healing it was. THEN this person, who spent so much time and energy to get your attention, keep your attention and went on and on about the loveliness of you informs you they have a DATE. Just a first date, but a date. When you're appopriately surprised, confused and hurt, they get snippy and say, "oh, come on Jessica. I never promised you anything. I went out of my way not to lead you on. And what am I supposed to do? Have a long distance relationship with someone straight out of an engagement? Please." You're floored, because apparently, you've not had the Script as To What Was Actually Happening. And then the real kick in the shins comes: " I dont need any negativity or guilt going forward at this time. I'm starting a new phase of my life.... and I should not have called. And I'm going to get off the phone. I dont think we should talk on the phone anymore, just email untill we can handle more. Okay? I'm going. " CLICK.


Which would you choose first?

a.) Calling him back immediately and telling him he has turned in to a Class A Jackass and not to bother EVER calling you again, although that would play in to his game of trying to make you somehow crazy/psycho bitch for feeling hurt and confused
b.) Sit on your couch and stare into space, trying to sort out WHAT THE FUCK just happened
c.) Email your best friend and temporarily flip it til you can actually get a grip.
d.) Start plotting a Walk-A-Thon with all the women he's dated over the last 10 years to raise therapy money for whomever this date is with next. Since it's never his fault that his crazymaking behavior pushes these women overr the edge, and they're just nuts to begin with ( probably true, but I doubt he makes it much better...) a substantial donation could even come from him directly!

I did both b.) and c.). ( I don't really have the energy for d., unfortunately) Oh, and I emailed him that my main complaint was that he handled it so rudely, dismissively, and cruelly. Could he have said, "Jess, I know this is hard, but....." and told me that way? Yes. Could he have treated my subsequent feelings with respect instead of disdain, disgust and "I don't want to deal with you" evasiveness? Well, I think after taking him into my home and having known him for 22 years, I might have earned that right.

But apparently not, because you know what? He hasn't bothered to contact you since. Hmmm.

Unfortunatley, a.) is far more true to form for this old friend; some new terrible twist in his character that was never there before, and about whom you were glowing just a week ago. It's sad, but his selfishness and utter self-centered approach to relationships and feelings were all apparent prior to his arrival, but you didn't see it. And even when he got here, and it was more and more clear, and you had A Big Talk with him about it, nothing changed, but you chose to believe it did. It was confusing, he was confusing, fair enough. He's a master at being so, because he's so lost himself. Okay, fair enough. But you're a bright, bright girl, and you have strong instincts and intuiion about things, So he hurt you, betrayed you, but really, you betrayed yourself. As is evidenced in detail with startling clarity- clarity you didnt particularly want, but hey, there it is- in the emails between you and your best friend:

Oh, honey, I'm really sorry. Please don't let this mow you down… your sexual/romantic self is so much bigger and better than that. I know you know that's true—just listen to the words you use to describe it. It's chock full of that Defeatist Depressive Verbage. I know you need some time to wallow in "poor me", but I hope you can snap out of it quickly because I don't want such a trivial thing to cause such a hard setback.

No, I don't call it trivial to make you feel bad for having the feelings you do—I totally understand why, and I don't judge that. I just mean that in the grand scheme of things, in the bigger picture, you KNOW he's right, in sentiment, anyway. He is far too emotionally stunted and socially retarded to have handled it with any sort of grace or consideration, but logically, practically, he is right. You know that a real relationship is impossible due to the distance, so there was never any hope for any lasting connection (in his mind). He shut off that possibility from the beginning, it was never an option. The thing is, you knew that, and thought you had prepared yourself for it. You knew it intellectually, but I think you (and pretty much every other single woman I have ever known) don't really know it * emotionally*. We cling to this fantasy that somehow, somewhere, there is our Prince Charming, who will be so entranced, so magically and magnetically drawn to our inexorable inner and outer beauty, that he will climb any mountain, swim every ocean, slay the dragon, surmount every possible obstacle just to be lucky man to be by our side. It's a wonderful fantasy. And sometimes love like that happens, but it doesn't just * happen*… that kind of love is the kind of thing that grows over time in a healthy, stable relationship. When you start a relationship out (no matter how seriously or not seriously either of you are taking it) with a "It's really great, BUT…" ['I'm moving to L.A.' 'He just got divorced.' 'I hate his roommate.' 'His mother is annoying.' 'He won't let me drive.' etc.] it should be a GIANT red flag: THIS RELATIONSHIP IS TEMPORARY. It can only last as long as both of you are willing to tolerate the "BUT…" or change it. You can't change the distance between you. And clearly you were both only really willing to tolerate it for the duration of his visit.

Naturally, he should have handled it so very much better than he did. He should have been a lot more sensitive to your feelings. That's where I have to remind you that you are asking an elephant to fly. He is not socially or emotionally equipped to have thought that far ahead. It's All About Him, remember? It didn't occur to him that you would feel jilted by his latest development. He was so proud of himself, he couldn't help but tell you, because he felt a connection to you—even with all his intellect, he wasn't able to recognize exactly what that connection was, or how it differed from the connection he has/had with his male friends. That's not to say he doesn't also feel a sexual or romantic connection to you—obviously he does. But he doesn't understand how that * should* color the other parts of your relationship. I imagine, to him, it went down like this: he found himself with you in L.A. feeling that rush of infatuation, the intense endorphins of lust, and just the all-around feeling of contentment, excitement, even bliss—all from being with you. And he didn't even have to have SEX to feel that way. All his past girlfriends didn't score that well. It's shocking to him to feel * so much* with *so little* 'cost' (i.e., sex). He got home and contemplated that turn of events, and realized that all the baggage he was carrying around for Bella was unnecessary, you had proven to him that he could be free to enjoy himself with a companion who gives him more than she did, that it was possible to move forward in his life and actually find a healthy relationship. He didn't make the fatal mistake that most women (sorry for playing stereotypes here) make: he didn't assume that the only way to achieve this is to attempt to continue a relationship with YOU. He saw the bigger picture—that the happiness was from having A connection, not THE connection. And again, it's not because you lack anything, or because he doesn't WANT to have that connection with YOU, it's because that option was already taken off the table, so he's shut it off in his mind and heart. With no emotional investment in the fantasy, there is no emotional cost when the venture fails.

I'm pretty sure I didn't say anything you didn't already know. I'm sorry about that if I seem preachy or condescending. I just know how easy it is to stop thinking about things altogether when you're really down and beaten up by something. I guess the question is, why is it you keep choosing emotionally crippled men? I know when questions like this are posed to me, I think, "But I * don't* choose them! They choose *ME*!" The fine line between the two is here: my momma never explained it to me (sure wouldda helped to know this at 14), you're not supposed to invest anything * emotionally* until you know him well enough to recognize these faults. The whole "Not on the first date!" thing—it's because dating is supposed to be about learning who this person is to make a PRACTICAL decision about your compatibility BEFORE you move on to the chemical/emotional/physical stuff that is SO MUCH HARDER to extricate yourself from once you've begun it. So yes, they choose you, but then you are supposed to inspect the merchandise before deciding if it's a wise decision. But I don't do that—when I am approached in one way or another by a man who expresses interest, I am SO FUCKING GRATEFUL for the attention, that I give him a chance, just because it's so FUCKING RARE for a man to express interest in me. I mean, the guy would have to be a Known Serial Killer or look and smell like a Sewer Dwelling Orc before I would shoot him down without a second thought. Heaven forbid if he's a decent-looking guy with a decent job or at least ambitions for a decent job and a roof over his head. Ding! Ding! Ding! It's ON, baby! And I dive right in EMOTIONALLY before really examining who he is or how he might effect my life if I decided to integrate him into it. Sound familiar??

In any case, you have to remember that the lack of "love" in your life isn't about what you lack, or a personal defect or anything of that sort. You know that you are attractive, smart, funny, and all the things that good, healthy, desirable men find attractive. Somewhere in there, you know it. I can't begin to know WHY Mr. Right hasn't shown up for you, though, and unfortunately, it's just one of those things you have to accept—it's part of learning to love yourself, being comfortable in your own skin. Maybe eventually you'll come to realize that your life is stable and you feel good about yourself and you are ready to actively look for Him… to sign up for online dating or speed dating or ask your friends to set you up, or maybe it's as simple as flirting BACK when you notice a guy looking at you across the checkout at the grocery store. But no, there's nothing final or devastating about not having him in your life Right NOW. Think of how messed up things are for you—you're not even sure you want to LIVE there anymore. How could you be in a relationship right now? How could that be fair to him? You know that's true. If you really want to be setting an extra place at the dinner table, then you need to get other things straightened out in your life, too. And that's not meant to be harsh, or critical—just that maybe it's fate, maybe it's subliminally calculated, whatever: the fact is that having a boyfriend right now would just complicate an already difficult situation, so it's * best* not to have a relationship to ruin right now. I constantly find it amazing that Rusty and I have survived all this time together in such a shitstorm. But I can see how it has been damaging to our relationship to be beaten up by the other person's baggage. It sucks, and I think we'd be much happier if we didn't have to deal with those things. Maybe you're just in a place where you get to work this stuff out before he comes into your life so that you DON'T beat him up with it. Above all else, have faith—not that God Will Bring You Love, but that you already have it. It's in your smile, it's in your wit, it's in all the ways you express yourself and your talents artistically, it's in the way your cats purr at you for dinner, and the way the sun shines through the window… nobody else has your life. It was given to you like a big piece of clay and you are molding it, making it into something beautiful. We don't always have control over what gets added to it or taken away from it, but we can always choose how to work with what we have.

Love and fluffy things,


So yeah, he promised me nothing, he didnt sleep WITH me on account that "I dont want to lead you on to believing that I can have a relationship when I can't" but is all confounding and confusing with regards to his feelings, and his actions, it was all Mixed Messages , ALL THE TIME. And I'm so confounded and so vulnerable and so I hope. Which was the foolish, wrong thing to do, clearly. Because...

... while it's stupid and insensitive and selfish and so, so hurtful that he could be so fucking clueless about how his actions afffect other people that he could wander in and DO all this maneuvering, and as you so aptly describe, go home, having all of this glorious healing and take a different course of action ( which, yes, is a wise course of action, I know) with so little regard as to how it might affect me, ( hard to believe someone could be so slow, but hey! ) PLUS when it is pushed in his face in the most tactful way possible that hmmm, you might have hurt this girl, be so cold and dismissive and careless about it, the worst of it all is ME. This is my fault. I did this. I let him come to my house, I let him sleep in MY bed, and I chose to do it all despite the red flags popping up everywhere and all the noise my skin and gut were making. I wanted to believe that all of it would sort itself out and we could really talk and that we could work something out, and that somehow, magically, I would end up happy. Even though all the signs were pointing to "he's a total wreck and has no clue as to what he's doing, and is going to HURT YOU trying to figure it out, and when he does he WONT GET IT" , I just said, " I need this" and jumped in. Stupid, stupid girl. Stupid, stupid girl....

I dont know what to make of it all. I know he didnt mean to hurt me, but he did. What he did was wrong, and I deserve better than that. And he'll probably never get that, because it IS All About Him. And he will go on and screw up again with whomever comes next and when that tanks, probably come around again. But I wont be such a sucker again. Not for him, anyway.

I feel like such a loser. It's funny you talk about why I pick these busted guys; he commented on it while he was here and was giving me dating tips! I keep letting these busted guys come around because I dont date, am not a good dater and dont think of myself as particularly attractive. And so I take what comes around, and I hang on, hoping they'll be better, I guess. Leo at least got me over that. He at lest helped me see that I am beautiful and I can get these skills. Not that I'm feeling like getting back on the horse any time soon, mind you.

And I know you say all these things about my life needing to be in order before The One shows up, that would be so much better. But Sassy, part of the reason I'm so vulnerable and stupid is because I dont want to do this by myself anymore. I dont feel like hacking it out in the world on my own anymore. I dont mean to sound condescending- please dont take it that way, I dont want another conflict on my hands- but you dont know what its like to have NEVER been married. NEVER to have even been asked. NEVER had a hand to hold through anything, even Shitfoot's rotten hand. I've had to do this ALL BY MYSELF since I was old enough to see over the countertops. And yes, my life being a mess right now would put additional stress on the relationship, but frankly, I would take a whole lot of stress OFF of me, because I would feel less alone, no matter what came around. I would hope it would be the same for the man I was with. And I WANT to work out a life with someone- I dont want it to be all about me, and whether I want to live here or not, or whatever. I WANT someone to come in and say, " This is me, this is where I am, lets work it out." Its sort of a cop out, I realize- am I so lost in my own life that it would be easier to have to negotiate it with someone else versus having to make all the decisions myself? Yeah, it would. But I'm just tired, Sassy. That's all. It physically wears me out to have to come home to an empty bed and just cats every night. You're right, I'm creating something beautiful from nothing, and I try to hold on to that when things get sad. But its a cold comfort sometimes. And its probably why I employed such ridiculous magical thinking with Leo- I saw two people who were despreately unhappy with their lives, the direction their lives were going, lonely, and hating where they lived, and I thought, perhaps a solution can come together. And I think Leo was thinking that too, quite honestly. But he's the scientist, and far more in denial than I, so he'll just go back to putting it all in compartments untill he spins out for real someday. Me, I just get to feel it all. And try to find a way to live with it. And wonder why, and try to make it better. And stay afloat and sane. Its hard.

I dont want to get all dark. I do have beautiful cats who adore me, and I'm so fucking lucky in so many ways. I have wonderful friends and generous family and a great apartment in a silly city that while loathsome, is never dull, and full of great shopping!!! And I have Jeannie and Irv and Joannie right down the street as my de-facto family, and you and the kids as far away family. It isnt all shit. It just this area that is so totally broken, and I dont know how to fix it that is so awful.


But I went to group, which was a good choice. I went and told this story, and said how I could be angry at This Person for the rest of my life ( which I might damned well be, I dont know. I am for now, but that takes a lot of energy, so I'll probably let it go sooner or later... but I doubt if I'll be speaking to him any time soon. Before I die.) or I could take responsibility for my own stupidity. And then I cried. And I didnt stop crying for awhile. And my wonderful, wonderful group members said, ' Jessica, we love you. Don't hate yourself for making a mistake. You only did so because you're human, and you need love. Be gentle with that child-like part of you. Don't call it stupid. You're not stupid. You're A Work in Progress. '. It helped. It did.

I'm still hurting. But I do what I do. I get up. I've been doing a great deal of that already this year, and it's only April. I keep saying that. Oh, I found that T.S. Eliot quote ( funny, because I got this book from my high school library, approx. 22 years ago. I was obsessed with Eliot then. I'm sure Leo was in my class, or in and around and about thereof when I first read it):

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
(-- from "The Waste Land", 1922)

How totally, totally apt. Thanks, Tom.

I'm done here for today....

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Guess what I did today. No, guess again. Nope. Still don't have it. Curious, are you? Well, I'm not sure you could even GUESS anyway, because it's just weird enough to not be guessable. Which, of course, is par for the course in Jessica's life.

I went to get in to my car today and promptly discovered that it had been attacked with spaghetti sauce.

Yes, I'm serious.

Why, you might be wondering, and know that I wonder right along with ya. I had left the driver's side window cracked a bit, and lo and behold, what had to have been an entire jar of spaghetti sauce was all over the side of the seat, the backseat floor, and the interior panels. Most of it had dried, luckily, so I didnt sit right in it, but you know, the smell was still good and ripe. I dont know if some drunken, half-wit neighbor of mine accidentally dropped something and was too rude to let me know, or if it was something more suspicious.

I was so irritated, though, that I knocked on Asshole Neighbor Dale's ( you know, the guy who lives behind me and says I make too much trash) window and asked him outright if he did it. I was polite, but if the answer would have been anything remotely affirmative I would have been ready to throw down. Dale doesn't really like me much, ( that trash thing, I "make too much paper"- what am I? A wasp?- I "put down the toilet seat too loudly", I shut my front door "too hard" and I'm "rude and selfish". I think he needs to quit hiding those bottles of Jack at the bottom of the trashcan, and get some help so his hangovers will stop and all of my ruckus will cease to be so annoying.) but THIS was beyond him, I must say. Even he said so. He came out, looked in my car and said, "What the FUCK? Jessica, I think that wasn't an accident. It was deliberate. I don't know WHO, but come on. If I REALLY hated you I'd do better than THAT. I'd put sugar in your gas tank or something MATURE!!" Cross Dale off the list ( but keep an eye on him for just in case....). He suggested we go talk to Pat, the neighborhood Know-It-All, and see what SHE had to say.

Pat seems to think it was some young hooligan skateboarder kids that have been hanging around our street at all hours in a pack. I've seen said skateboarders and while I never like to judge kids because they're annoying and adolescent, these guys ARE, indeed, hooligan-esque. They never get out of the goddamned road when you're driving in it because they're too busy with this makeshift ramp they got goin', and if you honk, they heckle. And I'm not sure why they're out there in the middle of the DAY, since, hey, shouldn't they be in school, but apparently, according to Pat, they aren't being raised particularly well. Well, that's my euphamism. She just rolls her eyes and nods in the general direction of their parents' houses. Anyway, she promised to keep an eye out.

Which means I'm stuck with a cleaning bill for the interior of my car, which, by the way, is going to run me around $60. Unless I want to try and do it myself, which I might have to because I don't have $60. And I LOVE cleaning my car, did I mention that? Right up there with washing the cats, something else that is sure to set me weeping in total frustration. I'm sure looking forward to it.
My secondary plan, which might make all the neighbors mad and get ANOTHER jar of WHATEVER dumped in my car is to post these leaflets that I printed up:

Dear Neighbors:

Today I got in my car only to discover an ENTIRE jar of spaghetti sauce had been dumped down the driver's side window. I am assuming this was an accident that someone made on the way to the trash. Regardless, it is VERY RUDE to just leave a mess like this for someone to clean up.

I am hoping the guilty party will come forward and help with the costs of having the car rug shampooed, in the interest of keeping good relations among the neighbors.

In any case, PLEASE be more mindful of open car windows when disposing of your trash.
Very respectfully,
5555 Someplace Street
(black Model with Out-of-State Plates)

Of course, it's ludicrous to say something like " accident on the way to the trash", or "being more mindful of open windows when disposing of trash." I mean, seriously, who thinks of THAT?!?! But that's my point exactly; I'm trying to say, "whatever loser did this needs to step up because I KNOW it wasn't an accident, even though I'll pretend here it is". I doubt if it will do any good, but maybe if it was one of those hooligan kids, they'll think twice about messing with me again, because let's face it: Burbank police have NOTHING but time on their hands and are more than happy to use it harassing people. It's true- it's not one of the safest neighborhoods in LA for nothing. And everyone knows it.


Oh well. I guess I'm glad it wasn't salsa....

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Finally sitting up today for longer than an hour at a time. I actually left the house on Sunday and visited Joannie for Easter, but then I had to go straight home and go back to bed. I'm telling ya, this sick business is just too much damned work.

IT's going around, though...sick, sick, sick and tired all around ( and it's only April!!):

1. ) So my leaving Joannie a little short this holiday was a stroke of luck ( for me only). A trip to the pedatrician today reveals that she has contracted conjunctivitis in both eyes and an ear infection from the little girl down the street. She was not thusly afflicted on Sunday, but was probably contagious. I was trying to NOT touch her because I was sick, and that's a damned good thing for the both of us, I'd say, or else Jeannie would have a kid with pinkeye, an ear infection, and bronchitis right now. Can't tell you the last time I had pinkeye, but I do recall it was not pleasant. They're going to have to boil everything in that house before I show up again....and $10 says Jeannie ends up with it next.

2.) Leo, at my urging, is trying to quit smoking, and is miserable. Then to add injury to the pile, he decided to go to the dentist yesterday. Don't worry: I added insult to injury when I said that was definitely A "What Were You Thinking?" Moment. Still, he's hurting in all kinds of ways now, I'm sure Death seems like an easier option than the ones he's currently suffering...

3.) R lost his job today. THAT'S going around, too, apparently. When I finally got him on the phone, he was surprisingly sober and had a plan; I asked if said plan involved anything like firearms and should I call the police or his wife? No, he promised, it just had to do with getting some incriminating papers out of his office so he could be assured unemployment. he promised me later that he'd be getting good and drunk over it, and that pulling the trigger is pretty difficult in that state, so no worries.

4.) Finally, Katie and Tom finally hatched that Pod Kid, and while all of Hollywood has been awaiting the arrival, I don't know if a single one of the residents of this fair city who are actually not just a wee bit scared. The kid is probably okay ( so far as we know as of yet), but Tom is still allowed in to public places without psychiatric supervision, so who knows how it could go?

I know, I'm more strung out on Robitussin than Courtney Love circa 1992. But somebody ( I'm pretty sure it was T.S. Eliot) said "April is the cruellest month", and dammit, if he wasn't right.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

What the fug? I'm sick with bronchitis, or some kind of bronchial thing. I blame Leo. He got me SMOKING while he was here, and I've been hacking up a lung ever since. Now I have some sort of phlegm issue and fatigue ( I know, TMI), so I think all that inhaling just made me more susceptible to whatever-the-hell I have now. I've been downg Robitussin, which helps the cough, but the oh-so-sexy wet cough deep in my chest still remains.

It's just not fair. Everyone else gets to have a vice or two, and not me ( *pouting*). Can't drink, won't do drugs anymore ( there's not any good ones left, and I have become woefully responsible with this in my old age), and apparently, can't even suck down some nicotine and carbon monoxide when I damned well want to without getting sick. What else is there? Sex. Yeah, well we know where I am on that.... what else? Trans fats? Shopping for shoes? Gum snapping? Or -god forbid- running or some other form of excessive exercize?!?!?!

Dammit, a girl should be able to smoke a few Camels and wake up the next day just coughing a bit ans smelling like a bar like everyone else. Fucking fuck fuck fuck. Can't I have anything that allows me to be Bad every once in a while??

Friday, April 14, 2006

In other news ( I'm making up for all the entries I didnt manage to get to in the last few weeks...), I saw this beautiful and amazing video , and fell in love with it. ( You have to click on the "Not Ready To Make Nice" link to get to QuickTime player). I think Sophie Mueller is just great anyway, but to do such a visually and thematically powerful video for a band like the Dixie Chicks ( who really personify my personal iimage of strong, sassy women) is a stupedous feat for the country music world. No sign of hay or tractors anywhere, it sort of breaks the mold in that genre, and stands on its own as a wondeful piece of work all by itself anyway.

Oh, to make work like that....
Oh, and did I happen to mention I lost my m*&%er f%$?!ing job???? Oh yeah. The last day Leo was here, I got called in to work and they fired me.

Why? Well, my lack of punctuality ( 5-10 mins) was just TOO much. I agree it was problematic, but nobody DIED from it. Never mind that the other receptionist is also always dragging her ass, too. They've never missed client because of me, and I work my ass off when I get there, running hither and yon.
Reason #2 was just the kicker, though: they had a complaint that I was going into the men's sauna area and it was making people uncomfortable. Well, lemee tell ya, I didn't WANT to be going into the men's sauna area; the timer on both the women and men's sauna only runs everry 20 mins, and they were on me CONSTANTLY to be checking it. They told me I'd have to get used to seeing people's bodies, etc, and were harping one me, "Jessica, the sauna isn't on!!!" So I made a point to check it every time I went to the back. And when I checked it, I'd knock on the door, back into the area averting my eyes, switch it on, and leave. After about three weeks of this, they told me," don't go in there. You're not a man." Perplexed, I just kept doing it, not wanting to get yelled at. Apparently they had a complaint, ( I know exactly who it was, too, since he spoke to me directly about my forgetting to knock once and I apologized profusely) and that was unacceptable. As my fat, bitter, irritating boss said, 'we're here to make people comfortable, not get a free show." FREE SHOW? Oh, because I so want to see *that* all day long. Right, right.

But in the end- and I hate, hate , HATE to say this-- I think it was a cultural thing. I was only one of three non-Latino people working there, and none of us were related or neighbors, etc. The other two were massage therapists, so they're not gonna get fired. But the lone white girl, that's easy to dismiss. And why would they? You're gonna love this.... they thought my sarcastic sense of humor was an attitude problem ( the comment in question was to the Younger Daughter, who had come in on her day off, "B, what are you doing here! Go enjoy your day off!" Gosh. It's just damn near DISRESPECTFUL, isn't it?? *Groan*) My direct supervisor ( who happens to be the Daughter-In-Law) told me one day that Bitter Fat Daughter thought I was giving her "attitude" when she was sitting around waiting for a fax, and there was nothing for me to do and I said, " L, is there anything you need me to do? I could wait for this fax if you need to be doing something else." She got all huffy and told Supervisor that I was trying to get her out of the office and run the whole show myself. WHAT?!?! Supervisor explained to me that she told them they were being ridiculous, and that I was just trying to be proactive. But she told me flat out that they didn't get my humor and my personality. I - god FORBID- laughed at work, and jested with the therapists. I tried to be friendly and get to know my coworkers, and that was just NOT how they did things, she said. "Work is work to them, and they HATE gossip. They dont want to tell you anything about themselves, they keep everything close to the vest. And they thing because you have fun at work you're not taking it seriously." Um, okay. I tried to tone it down, but I guess I just didnt get the clue. I'm not a part of their world, and to them, I just didn't fit.
Plus, the new receptionist is their neice. So out I went.

Fine. You know? Just FINE. I'm not Mexican, but I sure was trying hard to do a good job, and understand their way of doing things. At least this time I KNOW it wasn't me. I don't miss it at all, strangely enough. I AM pissed I didn't get that free massage, but alas....

At the time, though, I was so angry and frustrated that Leo offered to stay an extra day ( he couldn't- holiday travel weekend). So yesterday I had to deal with him leaving AND losing my job. Good times, eh? I'll survive it, but as Lynnie said, " I know it gets to the point where you're thinking, 'why do I have to keep pulling on my resources? Why can't it be a bit less chaotic?" Exactly. But who knows -- I'm feeling that it's time for a change anyway. Not just in job, but in whole life. And I have this deep-in-my-bones feeling that the world in turning on its axis and it's going in a different direction, and if I'm smart, I'll go with it. So be it, then.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

......and now he's outta here. After not even a week, Leo's back on home turf ala' Hollywood, FL ( I made a joke that he flew from Hollywood to Hollywood, but technically it was Ft. Lauderdale to Burbank). How was it?

How was it. Hmm. Words fail me, that's how it was. "Terrifically fun" and " incredibly intense" would be some words I might use, but they wouldn't be as all-inclusive as the terms should neccessarily be. Dani said tonight that it seemed the best descriptor she would use would be "just so damned INVOLVED", and I think that's probably the truest fit. Of course this begs the question: WHY? Well, as to not bore the reader with some onslaught of anecdotes, direct quotes and detailed retelling of events better suited for something like TV y Novelas , I shall summarize:
* disclaimer: all of the perspectives written here about that which transpired in the last four days belong to Jessica and Jessica only, as if you didn't know that already.*

When I picked him up at the airport, I didn't see him at first, as he was standing back out of the sun and I was focused on the annoying Armenian couple in front of me using two entire loading/unloading spaces at the curb ( he said he spotted me right away because he could see me mouthing the words "fucking MOVE!" through my car window. Good to know I haven't changed too much, eh?) When I did spot him, I recognized that same boyish grin a mile away, only this time with handsome grayish hair and in a swanky expensive suit . I was so excited to see him, after all these weeks and weeks of hilarious/ardent/intellectually stimulating/infuriating/emotionally sustaining emailing that I yelped his name and ran to hug him. Whereupon, he, feeling similarly, ran back, dropped his bags and pulled me in. Then he pulled my head back and planted one of the longest, most intense kisses on me that I've had in awhile. It lasted so long that the security guy had to ask me to move my car.

That was the beginning of the weekend. And in the interest of maintaining your attention, I will now provide a short FAQs area, for the sake of all your inquiring minds that want to know:

Did I sleep with him?
Next to him, yes. WITH him, no. That ex thing was just. Too. Recent for him ( I know, shocker!). But it was okay, because both of us said we were going to take that as it came, and I myself wasn't all too sure about it, anyway. You know, just hopping in the sack with someone and getting all attached to them and having them have to go off to Florida a few days later. Or the prospect of some long-distance relationship, either. I think we both comported ourselves with a great deal of restraint and smarts in this area, quite the contrast to being 17 ( but really, who shows alot of that when you're 17 unless they're Amish? Precisely.).

Did any of my worries ( of being too fat, too poor, too whatever) really turn out to matter?
Well, Christ knows I was still neurotic as hell about them all til at least yesterday, and him being, well, an Alpha Male, was not the squishiest, most reassuring guy ever made, but essentially the answer is no. Of course not. After some fumbling ( him) and some sulking ( me) it was made clear that he a.) still found me very attractive ( that kiss wasn't the last) , b.) understands LA far better than some of the people that live here and was actually found my standard of living to be comparatively high, considering and c.) has grown up enough to know that his 17-year-old self couldn't judge where life had taken us 20 years later. He was generous, kind, friendly to my friends, sweet to my animals, and a total gentleman. He settled right in to my little house , so hated seeing me so unhappy in California that it spurred a 3 hour discussion, adored my cats and was caring enough to want to make sure I was okay about his being here and not confused about any of his feelings, agendas or plans regarding his visit.

What did I make of any of his feelings, agendas or plans during this visit?
As mentioned previously ( re: email to Sassy), he's been doing this "come here/go away" thing for a bit, simoutaneously wooing me so hard and then disappearing just when I concede enough to reciprocate his attentions. None of this made much sense to me, and he wasn't giving it up when confronted about it in emails or on the phone, so I tried to make him clarify as much as possible when the moment arose, as I knew it surely would. The sum total of it was that, as I suspected, he's more messed up than he realized about the whole Bella thing, and didn't know his ass from a hole in the ground regarding me/romance/friendship/whatever , and his plan was to see what happened when he got here, without much thought to how I might feel about things being so loose and undefined. He's such a typical Leo ( yes, as I said, that's his astrological sign): "what, you mean I have to explain myself? " This made me pretty mad, and rest assured, that was a Long Talk Much Warranted, But Eventually Resolved. So, not surprisingly, when I pressed on and he finally gave up his agenda, it was a quite a little revelation: he not only wanted to see an old trusted friend and "wise soul" for comfort, relief and a little vacy, snuggle into my lap and repair his broken heart, but he also wanted to take me on a Real Honest Date to see. See if he could, see if I wanted to, see if there was anything there from Way Back When left that might be teneable Now.

So, was there? Did I? Could he? No. Maybe. Yes, definitely. In that order. Which brings us back to the program at hand:

In an evening that I thought we were just setting to " finally have that date I never took you on 20 years ago", I not only got THAT, but was taken on one of the best current dates of my whole adult life, with this wonderful dinner in Malibu and scintillating conversation, funny stories, singing in the car, serious talks about life, God, the Nature of The Universe, and some very much appreciated compliments. ( According to Leo, I'm completely captivating, beautiful and brilliant, to use his words. I'm also completely wasted in LA, where I'm " the highest bill you can get, which is what? A $500,000 bill? Okay, let's say that. You're a $500,000 bill living in the middle of a bunch of crumpled-up $1 bills, and everyone wants the $1 bills. And you're thinking there's something wrong with you because you're not like them." Pretty high praise from someone who would know from $500,000.). But you know, it's just too soon for him. He seemed surprised at that. I was surprised that he was even getting out of bed every day, and that he WAS surprised at not being ready to leap into something new. I was pretty depressed about it for a day or so, because shit, didn't I just get run over by this "It's Not You, It's Me" Train not even 4 months ago?!?! A bit of a buzzkill, to say the least....still, it's not like I could begrudge him his greif. Or would even try.

In retrospect, beside, it was for the best, because as days went by, I saw that he has become more intractable than ever about some things ( like politics, gender roles, communication styles) , and developed some crappy lifestyle habits ( smoking too much, having too many cocktails, working too hard, and disdaining any form of talk therapy as "unscientific and unmanly" ) that would be key for the two of us to get on the same page about if anything were ever to work out. We fought bitterly for a day or two ( or, rather, I waited some atrocioulsly moody days out while simoultaneoulsy wondering if I should ask him to go to a hotel, because he was driving me insane; fortunately, I got the chance to chew him a new one and he got the chance to apologize profusely before it came to that), even. It's funny to me how you can have the most incredible chemistry with someone, just adore them, and then turn around and want to rip their head off. Then again, what did I say earlier? Some things don't change at all. They just come in new packaging.

In the end the consensus was a spiritual one, believe it or not: I don't believe-- not for an instant-- that he wandered in to my life at this particular time, by coincidence ( and neither does he, for the record), even if things didn't go all Riding Off In To The Sunset Toegether at the close of this visit. ( I was ambivalent about that anyway; although I was keeping a close eye on things as I always do, I would have to admit to not being entirely sure what I was doing either til he got here. I played it by ear, too!) . It's funny how you can be told something again and again by people in your life, but when someone who's known you a certain way for an ungodly amount of time comes around and says it, you can really trust them, and somehow, really HEAR it. It's sort of this weird gift we gave each other this week. He got to see what my life in LA was all about, and he immediately picked up on the fact that it needed to be fixed and precisely how, just like a good businessman (such as himsself) would ( and in the days to come, I'm sure I'll be sharing those here, as I took them to heart). He knew exactly what skills to teach me and which ones to remind me I already had to repair the crackpot mess I'm in with regard to my self-image, my career, my ever-present quandry over moving home. It was so clear to him, of course, but that's the strength of Leo; he's so whip-smart and cool and composed, so crafty and pragmatic, he knows how to make a market where there wasn't one before and use what's already there to make a success. I, on the other hand, took one look at him, listened to him, then sat back and watched him for a few days and saw right away where his own heart and life and psyche needed to be healed, from Bella/relationships with women, to his smoking, his wounded heart, his working himself half to death. I knew exactly what he needed to pay more attention to and start to make whole, and had a complete map of his consciousness ( and unconsciousness ) laid out before his head hit the pillow on the third night he was here. But that's the strength of Jessica; she's intuitive and empathic and full of feeling, observing all the time all the things you think don't show, and taking mental notes, and she can find her way out ( or find the resources to get people out ) of an emotional foxhole with her hands tied behind her back. It's funny ( but not really) how we were both able to solve what the other couldn't because we were experts at what the other one lacked. And as I said to him yesterday, "I hope you see this as grace, because I do. It's a gift that we've been given to be able to say to each other what needs to be heard, and that we can do it with love and compassion and kindness, because of all these years between us. Grace is a free gift, regardless of our good works. It's uncondiitonal and it often comes when we expect it the least. No matter what else has transpired, this is what is valuable to me."

Another FAQ: Did he concur?
Why, yes. He did.

Not at all what I had expected, and surely as exhausting as the day is long. A roller coaster from beginning to end. All good descriptors. And all so true. When he got on the plane today I got in my car and cried. I don't know when I'll see him again, and I don't know that that's all that important, really. All I know is that I have to regard it, at the end of all the emotional math, as good, good, good. And Blessed be and Amen for that.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

A transcript of a recent email should bring things up to date:

April 5, 2006


In light of this outrageous acne/hives attack, I am going to Urgent Care. I keep putting medicine on it and it keeps getting worse. Frankly, I'm also wondering if I am not allergic/or reacting to some of the oils at work. I wash my hands> constantly there, but I have to change sheets, wash towels, etc, which after a> massage are loaded with bacteria and oil. I don't intentionally touch my face, ( in fact I make it a point not to, and swab down everything I touch with alcohol every chance I get), but I can't stop the phone from ringing off the hook. And when it rings in the middle of me doing 9 other things, I have to pick it up no matter what state my germ-ratio is, KWIM? At any rate, it itches like a motherfucker ( I suspect all the products I have> loaded on my skin has caused this irritation), so I took the afternoon off and am going to sit> there for hours untill some asshole can go "oh, here's a prescription" and let me go after 5 minutes. Arghhhh!

Like I mentioned before, I believe some of this HAS to be psychosomatic. I am very anxious about Leo's visit. He's been doing this sort of weird "I adore you/ I'm going to retract now" game and I'm damned bored of it. It used to be he'd email me several times a day, now he just goes AWOL for no reason. And I've tried to address a few concerns of mine ( where is this going, it's taking the shape of a real relationship, I think we should discuss parameters, etc) numerous times, and he> demurs, wanting to talk about it when he arrives. I know he's been flipped out lately about the> whole Bella Thing ( his ex-finacee), and she had the chutzpa to call him this weekend at 3am and want to come over! Never mind that she's married to someone else and ran out on Leo and all that. After that phone call, he spent the day in bed watching movies. Can't say I blame him. Anyway, he's clearly a mess. But I'm a person,too, and I can't , as they say in Al-Anon, court injury in the interest of someone elses> recovery. I can't neccessarily just be someone's Safe Lap For Right Now.In some ways, I think, the skin is a "Don't Touch Me" thing. Don't touch me, don't get any ideas,> don't hurt me, don't use me and throw me away,> becaus I can't take it. So my body is making sure anything sexual ( even if I want it, and my judgement is clouded by lust ) doesn't happen in the first place,> even if I dont have the confront him about what's going on between us. That's a conversation I dont want to have and a confrontation I dont want to make. He's too fragile and it's too hard, but I have to say SOMETHING, tactfully and gently. Argh,x2

Lastly, I have been working on this house in the> interest of his arrival for a month. It's just chaos around here and last night when I was up sewing at 3am, I reallized that the part of me that is so fucking concerned about what he thinks is this adolescent part of me. This part of me that has experienced his harsh judgements of situations in> the past, and wants his approval, as if I need it. It's like some out-of whack high-school reunion, where you have to look perfect and put your best foot forward so everyone> thinks youre successful.... it doesn't help that he's got this multi-million dollar company he owns and is CEO of, drives a Jaguar, flies all over the world, and is uber-mensch to his friends. I know I'm doing The Comparison Game ( as a therapist would put it) and that I shouldn't be,> because I am valuable to many and have a good life rich with friendships even if my checking account is perpetually overdrawn> and my yard looks like Desert Hoosier. Still, it's hard, Sassy, it's hard.

Well, I dont expect you to respond to all of this, I just needed to vent. Argh, x a million.
Love, J