Archive for August, 2006

Lori, You’re Going to be a STAR!

I believe I have mentioned my former career in amateur competitive roller skating. My obsession with roller skating began when I saw the outfits that Melissa from church got to wear during her competitions. Oh! The lace! The rhinestones! The flutter hems!

After my first lesson, I became convinced of my destiny. I was headed for the big time: The Keystone State Games! And one day, it was inevitable, they’d make roller skating an Olympic sport. I’d be a (chunky) vision in a lavender sweetheart neckline with pointed sleeves. Oh yes, I was on the path to greatness, skating over anyone who tried to get in my way. Did it matter that my father had to do janitorial work at the skating rink to pay for my obsession? It would just make my biopic more interesting.

I used my toe stop to catapult me ever higher through jumps like the loop, the salchow, even the axel. I could spin until the people watching got dizzy. And boys, I have the medals to prove it. I was a Queen of the Rink, I owned it and they all knew it. Me and the other cool girls made up “routines” to such classics as the Tiffany version of I Think We’re Alone Now and every Debbie Gibson song, so that we could impress all the troglodytes who came to the public sessions and had to wear rental skates.

The broken nose that I got slamming into the back of someone’s head during a race? HA! That only enhanced my cool factor. Yes, that is my blood soaked into the floorboards. Yeah, you wish you were me.

And you just wait. One of these days, inline skates will go the way of the LeCar and real skating will come to the forefront once again. That, my friends, is when I stage my comeback.

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I’ve known for a long time that my brother was HIV positive. I’ve known for a long time that he would be at the mercy of an endless array of drugs, treatments, and doctors for the rest of his life. I’ve even known, deep down somewhere, that more than likely one of the myriad opportunistic diseases that prey on the weakened immune systems of HIV patients will eventually be what takes his life. I know that he works hard to live, but that sometimes it feels like more than he thinks he can bear.

Always, though, there is a disconnect. Maybe no more than that I am not my brother. Maybe no more than a human inability to truly acknowledge mortality. Maybe distance. Maybe fear. Maybe denial. Maybe selfishness. Maybe weakness. Maybe.

I can hug my brother, laugh with my brother, eat with my brother, share a soda with my brother and not acknowledge the fact that he has HIV. I have talked to him about how the side effects of his medicines make him feel tired, or tingly, nauseated, or itchy. I have looked in his cabinet and seen rows of white prescription bottles, and watched him take pills from those bottles. And while I certainly wasn’t completely unaffected, somehow none of these things were able to penetrate the thick skin I had developed to deal (or not) with his disease.

Now I’m standing beside him with a hypodermic syringe in my latex-gloved hand. My other hand rests on the shoulder on which I used to ride. Part of my brain is listening to my brother tell me how to angle the needle–“no, a little bit more than a 45 degree angle”–and depress the plunger. Another part is thinking “I can do this because I love him.” I prick him once because I pull back suddenly. His blood looks just the same as mine. And then I do it, just like he does three times every day–stick the needle in, depress the plunger, extract the needle. . .

For that moment, the needle under his skin had penetrated mine. For that moment I was fighting his HIV just as hard as he was. Right then, I knew, and I didn’t think anything could ever be the same again.

Things in my Office that Line Up

In light of yesterday’s revelation, I decided to see how extensive
my penchant for lining things up was:The blurry, but already documented, lined up bulletin board.
Lined up pictures.

Lined up lip balm.

Lined up hidden quotes under my desk that only I can see (although these are looking a bit worse for the wear).

Lined up according to size

Lined up pictures (see me and Becky?) Lined up stars. A twofer.

A whole cart full of lined up.

A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy?

I swear to you that I’m not a bad driver. I’m not. I’ve gotten one ticket at 2am on my 20th birthday for running a yellow light. I had my (old) car in the body shop once, and that was when my neighbor hit my parked car in our driveway. I may have a bit of internal roadrage, but I don’t do anything more than yell in my car. I don’t tailgate, and while I might not exactly obey the speed limit, I don’t go any faster than the state of the roads dictate. People willingly let me drive.

There is one person in my life, however, who thinks I am a bad driver. And I am constantly proving him right. Every time he’s in my car I do something stupid. Every. Single. Time. (Luckily for my car, he’s not in it very often.) It used to really tick me off, but the more I had to slam on my brakes, or passed too close, or made a left on red with him in the car, the more I was willing to let him drive. I simply cannot operate a motorized vehicle in his presence.

This weekend I went out with him and his fiancee (who happens to be my best friend). Based on past experiences, and to avoid screwing up my new car, I let him drive it. But on the way home I thought, “Screw it, new car, new luck right? I’m not going to let him jinx me anymore!” And I slid into Miranda’s driver’s seat. Adjusted my mirrors, turned the key, put the car in reverse and promptly backed over a stack of two railroad ties that were being used as a barrier in the parking lot.


And speaking of driving, should this worry me?

My route to North Carolina Friday and the projected path of Ernesto:

Playing with the Camera on my new Phone

Views of my office. Note how all the papers on both my bulletin boards are all lined up. I don’t know what that means if anything–I just noticed it myself.

View from my office.

A Lackluster Monday Post

One thing I can hear right now: The person in the office next to me hacking, sniffing, and coughing. Ergh.

Three things I did before I came into the office:
1. Pulled the covers over my head and tried to pretend it was Sunday
2. Got Dunkin’ Donuts coffee
3. Filled up my gas tank for $2.83/gallon

Two things I have to do tonight:
1. Much laundry
2. Get passport photos

Artist that fits my mood at the moment:
David Gray

Word of the Day on my calendar:
Elucubrate: to produce (a written work) by working long and diligently.

Question of the Day:
Would you rather be a team leader, a team member, or work alone?

Here’s to Us!

I like to use words. I wouldn’t call myself a writer because I don’t practice enough and there are people who work very hard at it, one being Sally, who has just finshed her book and is in the editing process. But sometimes, you come across something and you know that although the style might be raw or just not yours, you could not possibly have said it any better.

Yesterday, I was wandering through Technorati see who used the same tags as me. And I came across something that I want to publish in its entirety. It’s very long, but both Becky and I agree it’s worth the read. It’s from an as-far-as-I-can-tell anonymous posting on Philadelphia Craigslist.

Rant: Ode to the Nice girl

Date: 2005-11-27, 9:18PM EST

Ode to the Nice Girls
This rant was written because a nice girl finally snapped.

I’ve read the tribute to the nice guys; this is my response.

This is my tribute to the nice girls. To the nice girls who are overlooked, who become friends and nothing more, who spend hours fixating upon their looks and their personalities and their actions because it must be they that are doing something wrong. This is for the girls who don’t give it up on the first date, who don’t want to play mind games, who provide a comforting hug and a supportive audience for a story they’ve heard a thousand times. This is for the girls who understand that they aren’t perfect and that the guys they’re interested in aren’t either, for the girls who flirt and laugh and worry and obsess over the slightest glance, whisper, touch, because somehow they are able to keep alive that hope that maybe… maybe this time he’ll have understood. This is an homage to the girls who laugh loud and often, who are comfortable in skirts and sweats and combat boots, who care more than they should for guys who don’t deserve their attention. This is for those girls who have been in the trenches, who have watched other girls time and time again fake up and make up and fuck up the guys in their lives without saying a word. This is for the girls who have been there from the beginning and have heard the trite words of advice, from “there are plenty of fish in the sea,” to “time heals all wounds.” This is to honor those girls who know that guys are just as scared as they are, who know that they deserve better, who are seeking to find it.

This is for the girls who have never been in love, but know that it’s an experience that they don’t want to miss out on. For the girls who have sought a night with friends and been greeted by a night of catcalling, rude comments and explicit invitations that they’d rather not have experienced. This is for the girls who have spent their weekends sitting on the sidelines of a beer pong tournament or a case race, or playing Florence Nightingale for a vomiting guy friend or a comatose crush, who have received a drunk phone call just before dawn from someone who doesn’t care enough to invite them over but is still willing to pass out in their bed. This is for the girls who have left sad song lyrics in their away messages, who have tried to make someone understand through a subliminally appealing profile, who have time and time again dropped their male friend hint after hint after hint only to watch him chase after the first blonde girl in a skirt. This is for the girls who have been told that they’re too good or too smart or too pretty, who have been given compliments as a way of breaking off a relationship, who have ever been told they are only wanted as a friend.

This one’s for the girls who you can take home to mom, but won’t because it’s easier to sleep with a whore than foster a relationship; this is for the girls who have been led on by words and kisses and touches, all of which were either only true for the moment, or never real to begin with. This is for the girls who have allowed a guy into their head and heart and bed, only to discover that he’s just not ready, he’s just not over her, he’s just not looking to be tied down; this is for the girls who believe the excuses because it’s easier to believe that it’s not that they don’t want you, it’s that they don’t want anyone. This is for the girls who have had their hearts broken and their hopes dashed by someone too cavalier to have cared in the first place; this is for the nights spent dissecting every word and syllable and inflection in his speech, for the nights when you’ve returned home alone, for the nights when you’ve seen from across the room him leaning a little too close, or standing a little too near, or talking a little too softly for the girl he’s with to be a random hookup. This is for the girls who have endured party after party in his presence, finally having realized that it wasn’t that he didn’t want a relationship: it was that he didn’t want you. I honor you for the night his dog died or his grandmother died or his little brother crashed his car and you held him, thinking that if you only comforted him just right, or said the right words, or rubbed his back in the right way then perhaps he’d realize what it was that he already had. This is for the night you realized that it would never happen, and the sunrise you saw the next morning after failing to sleep.

This is for the “I really like you, so let’s still be friends” comment after you read more into a situation than he ever intended; this is for never realizing that when you choose friends, you seldom choose those which make you cry yourself to sleep. This is for the hugs you’ve received from your female friends, for the nights they’ve reassured you that you are beautiful and intelligent and amazing and loyal and truly worthy of a great guy; this is for the despair you all felt as you sat in the aftermath of your tears, knowing that that night the only companionship you’d have was with a pillow and your teddy bear. This is for the girls who have been used and abused, who have endured what he was giving because at least he was giving something; this is for the stupidity of the nights we’ve believed that something was better than nothing, though his something was nothing we’d have ever wanted. This is for the girls who have been satisified with too little and who have learned never to expect anything more: for the girls who don’t think that they deserve more, because they’ve been conditioned for so long to accept the scraps thrown to them by guys.

This is what I don’t understand. Men sit and question and whine that girls are only attracted to the mean guys, the guys who berate them and belittle them and don’t appreciate them and don’t want them; who use them for sex and think of little else than where their next conquest will be made. Men complain that they never meet nice girls, girls who are genuinely interested and compelling, who are intelligent and sweet and smart and beautiful; men despair that no good women want to share in their lives, that girls play mindgames, that girls love to keep them hanging. Yet, men, I ask you: were you to meet one of these genuinely interested, thrillingly compelling, interesting and intelligent and sweet and beautiful and smart girls, were you to give her your number and wait for her to call… and if you were to receive a call from her the next day and she, in her truthful, loyal, intelligent and straightforward nice girl fashion, were to tell you that she finds you intriguing and attractive and interesting and worth her time and perhaps material from which she could fashion a boyfriend, would you or would you not immediately call your friends to tell them of the “stalker chick” you’d met the night prior, who called you and wore her heart on her sleeve and told the truth? And would you, or would you not, refuse to make plans with her, speak with her, see her again, and once again return to the bar or club or party scene and search once more for this “nice girl” who you just cannot seem to find? Because therein lies the truth, guys: we nice girls are everywhere. But you’re not looking for a nice girl. You’re not looking for someone genuinely interested in your intermural basketball game, or your anatomy midterm grade, or that argument you keep having with your father; you’re looking for a quick fix, a night when you can pretend to have a connection with another human being which is just as disposable as the condom you were using during it.

So don’t say you’re on the lookout for nice girls, guys, when you pass us up on every step you take. Sometimes we go undercover; sometimes we go in disguise: sometimes when that girl in the low cut shirt or the too tight miniskirt won’t answer your catcalls, sometimes you’re looking at a nice girl in whore’s clothing – – we might say we like the attention, we might blush and giggle and turn back to our friends, but we’re all thinking the same thing: “This isn’t me. Tomorrow morning, I’ll be wearing a teeshirt and flannel shorts, I’ll have slept alone and I’ll be making my hungover best friend breakfast. See through the disguise. See me.” You never do. Why? Because you only see the exterior, you only see the slutty girl who welcomes those advances. You don’t want the nice girl.. so don’t say you’re looking for a relationship: relationships take time and energy and intent, three things we’re willing to extend – – but in return, we’re looking for compassion and loyalty and trust, three things you never seem willing to express. Maybe nice guys finish last, but in the race they’re running they’re chasing after the whores and the sluts and the easy-targets… the nice girls are waiting at the finish line with water and towels and a congradulatory hug (and yes, if she’s a nice girl and she likes you, the sweatiness probably won’t matter), hoping against hope that maybe you’ll realize that they’re the ones that you want at the end of that silly race.

So maybe it won’t last forever. Maybe some of those guys in that race will turn in their running shoes and make their way to the concession stand where we’re waiting; however, until that happens, we still have each other, that silly race to watch, and all the chocolate we can eat (because what’s a concession stand at a race without some chocolate?)

Sometimes the nice girl gets sick of waiting

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A blog about my life and other stuff.

Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
A medley of extemporanea;
And love is a thing that can never go wrong;
And I am Marie of Romania.

Dorothy Parker, Not So Deep as a Well (1937)