Maybe a month and a half ago, I got into this video. Seriously into it. It showed a place I'd never been and never much considered. It showed a city different from anything I'd ever known. It showed Tokyo.
I could see dating him ... I could see something casual ... I could see something fun ...
But it was beyond that. It was whammo. I'd fallen, and I would never quite get back up again. I fell in love beyond anything I'd ever previously experienced. And he wasn't mine to have.
So I dated. I dated nice guys, professionals, smart and charming and interesting. Guys who were challenging, funny, and available. I told him about each one and he would just smile or laugh and I would think does he care?
Then things changed.
I was nearing my 30th birthday and I'd decided to stop fucking around. I got into grad school. I got my career shit together. I started caring about who I was and how I was treated.
Our friendship got rocky. We fought. Finally we had a heated phone conversation in which he told me "Fuck you!" and if I hadn't been sitting, I would've fallen down with surprise.
Then I stopped talking to him. For three weeks he called and text messaged. For three weeks I ignored him.
Then I sold my car. I sold the 1987 Toyota Celica, white with a frayed black convertible top, that he'd loved to drive. I'd bought my Corolla. The Celica was old news. I emailed him to let him know.
I sold it, I wrote. I figured there was no point in keeping two around.
Soon he fell too.
There is no explaining how much fucking work -- and just plain magic -- has gone into this relationship. I loved him before he was mine to love, and I still love him with everything I have. I have no business expecting anyone other than us to understand this, but I still keep hoping.
The sheer size and frenetic pace of Tokyo can intimidate the first-time visitor. Much of the city is a jungle of concrete and wires, with a mass of neon and blaring loudspeakers. At rush hour, crowds jostle in packed trains and masses of humanity sweep through enormous and bewilderingly complex stations. Don't get too hung up on ticking tourist sights off your list: for most visitors, the biggest part of the Tokyo experience is just wandering around at random and absorbing the vibe, poking your head into shops selling weird and wonderful things, sampling restaurants where you can't recognize a single thing on the menu (or on your plate), and finding unexpected oases of calm in the tranquil grounds of a neighbourhood Shinto shrine. It's all perfectly safe, and the locals will go to sometimes extraordinary lengths to help you if you just ask.
I never have any travel plans. Wandering is what I do.
While Adam and I were having our Starbucks wedding conversation yesterday, I realized that the people who typically are opinionated in weddings -- mothers -- have not been when it's come to us. Both of our mothers have basically said mazel tov, you tell us when and where and we'll be there. Awesome!
On the way home from Southern California yesterday, Adam and I stopped for coffee and stood outside in the windy warmth, holding our paper Starbucks cups. "We wanted the easiest, most low-key thing possible," I said. "I thought if anyone could pull it off, it would be us."
"I know," he said.
I'm learning that a wedding, no matter how low-key, opens the door to everyone's opinions and preferences:
Why are you ... Why aren't you ... Why don't you invite ... Why can't you have it here ... Why can't you have it on this date ... Why aren't you doing it the way we did it?
It could be that a wedding is a ritualistic opening of the relationship to everyone for their buy-in, a public seeking of approval. In any event, I have two very strong and conflicting feelings:
- The party's going to be great. - If I had the chance to do it again, I probably wouldn't have the damn party at all.
Get out the map Get out the map and lay your finger anywhere down Well leave the figuring to those we pass on our way out of town Don't drink the water there seems to be something ailing everyone I'm gonna clear my head I'm gonna drink that sun I'm gonna love you good and strong while our love is good and young
Spent the night hanging out at my brother's with his roommates and buddies, smoking hookah and watching Ghost in a Teeny Bikini. Beautiful.
My mother cleaned out the garage and found a school journal I apparently kept in either second or third grade. An excerpt:
February 26, 1982. I would like to be a puppy because they are very cute and fluffy and people like them a lot. People are not scared of them. I would not like anyone to be scared of me. A puppy can run free in the street. But most of all, people would love me A LOT.
“ 'There’s a difference between love as it is presented in movies and music as this jazzy sexy thing that involves bikini underwear and what love actually turns out to be,' said the psychologist Mary Pipher, whose book 'Another Country' looked at the emotional life of the elderly. 'The really interesting script isn’t that people like to have sex. The really interesting script is what people are willing to put up with.'”
My experience? Sex isn't the difficult part. You're stoked when you find it with someone who's awesome, and you share that sizzle and those romps. Companionship is harder -- I'm marrying my best drinking buddy, and I'm stoked. Working through the tough shit -- the fights in the kitchen, the angry and turned back in the bed -- now that takes a hell of a lot.
Adam and I have had our share of strife. The upside is that that strife, nearly 95 percent of the time if not more, leads to a greater shared understanding of one another.
And to the occasional throwing of a remote control.
Hung out with Carl and Joseph in Russian Hill and had dinner at Miller's East Coast Deli on Polk. A little bit of NYC on the Left Coast. Carl and Joseph got along well, which wasn't surprising. It was a really fun time.
2:50 am: Adam pisses me off about something stupid. 2:51 am: I change my Facebook status to "Allison is wishing Adam would stop screwing with the software needed for her digital recorder and actually listen to the damn thing," or something stupid like that. 2:52 am: Snap at Adam. 2:53 am: Change status to "Allison is being petty." 2:56 am: Heartfelt conversation over. Grilled cheese is being made. 2:57 am: I change my Facebook status to "Allison is getting grilled cheese made for her."
US Air sucks balls, and for a while I thought I'd have to spend the night in Vegas (which if I were single would be fine, but when I have a boy waiting for me with Nation's burgers no less, I don't think so!), but I am HOME!
What an amazing, awesome trip. New York gives me tons of energy and confirms that I may yet be crazy, but I'm crazy in a New Yorker way, which makes it all right.
A few pictures for now. I hope to get the recording of my Speakeasy story up later today or tomorrow.
Tons of work coming up. Great for my bank balance, tough on my time. Since I don't plan to spend what little time remains in New York tied to my laptop, I'll have to put in my hours when I get home. And, more than likely, while in Southern Cal as well.
I've been listening to Tracy Chapman a lot lately. I love her. I love her voice, her songs, her lack of pretense, her strength.
I've seen her perform live twice: at UC Berkeley's Greek Theater and at The Catalyst in Santa Cruz. Adam came with me to that second performance and I'd like to think I showed him the ways of the Tracy that night. Then again, I think he was just amused by the extremely polite Santa Cruz crowd and adorable gay men in the audience that night.
I blog a lot while I work. I surf the web too, and I check my email, and I send messages to my boyfriend, and I listen to YouTube videos. This would not be considered proper office etiquette. It is a damn good thing, then, that I do not work in an office, nor do I ever intend to do so again.
My 18-year-old tabby's at the Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society right now, getting his nasty teeth cleaned. It's a risky operation as they have to put him under (would YOU want to clean a cat's teeth while he was awake? I don't think so!) and an expensive one at that -- I'm looking at anywhere from $440-$840, depending on if there are extractions, and the number of extractions if any.
As long as that fucker comes out okay, I'm good. But as I told the vet assistant when she called to confirm the estimate: That guy can't even hold down a job!
Back from acting class, sitting warm and comfy on the couch between Adam and Oliver, getting ready to make PB&J and chocolate-chip cookies ... at quarter to midnight. Planning trips to New York, Tokyo, Prague and Budapest, with stops in Austin and Southern California along the way.
When I'm in NYC, I'm going to go meet with the folk at the TONY Lounge to check out the venue and talk possible collaborations in the future. I'm also going to query SF-area venues about longer runs. I'm on my way!
From the window I see her bend to the roses holding close to the bloom so as not to prick her fingers. With the other hand she clips, pauses and clips, more alone in the world than I had known. She won't look up, not now. She's alone with roses and with something else I can only think, not say. I know the names of those bushes
given for our late wedding: Love, Honor, Cherish-- this last the rose she holds out to me suddenly, having entered the house between glances. I press my nose to it, draw the sweetness in, let it cling--scent of promise, of treasure. My hand on her wrist to bring her close, her eyes green as river-moss. Saying it then, against what comes: wife, while I can, while my breath, each hurried petal can still find her.
It's been an irritating week on a few fronts, so I'm looking forward to blowing off some steam at Sherry Weaver's excellent Speakeasy Stories on Nov. 15. I plan to tear off the roof and discuss my love of porn -- and, in particular, how it makes me want to be a real woman -- so bring some protective headgear and show up, won't you?
“ 'If anything characterizes the 21st century, it’s our inability to restrain ourselves for the benefit of other people,' said James Katz, director of the Center for Mobile Communication Studies at Rutgers University.”
This story's been going on under the radar, so to speak, for years. Very interesting.
I'm a writer and storyteller in Berkeley, CA. If you're wondering where that is, follow the smell of patchouli and skunkweed. There you'll find me with my kickass husband, gorgeous little boy, and manic Lab-Australian Shepherd mix pups. I'm represented by Miriam Altshuler of DeFiore & Co., but of course, my views are my own.