Friday, July 17, 2009

I take a gamble that this bottle is a twist-off as I sit down to assess my life. Twenty-five years ago at this moment, my mom was probably already in labor. This wouldn't have hurt as much as that, even if I was wrong.

So why'd she go through the trouble? What am I today?

Age is a number. I used to admire people who said that bullshit. And, yeah, I know it's terribly infantile and self-centered to be having a midlife crisis at the age of twenty-five. If you've ever read a single post on this blog before, I hope to god you aren't surprised.

It took me a while to figure out exactly what the two things that have been bothering me lately are, and a little while beyond that to see how they fit together. I text messaged Sam earlier, and the conversation brings both themes into the mix nicely. Let's go ahead and put the whole damn thing up, while I can pretend I'm already drunk enough to think that's not a bad idea.

Linda: Six hours of relative youth left. What should my final act of rebellion be?
Sam: Hmmmm, infidelity?? (I'm not going to post his mispelling of the word. I found it terribly unattractive, and come to think of it, terribly ironic, that he of all people could not spell that word.)

This is actually all of the conversation we need to establish the two things that have been bothering me lately. Number one: That I feel like twenty-five is the age where I really need to stop giving myself slack for making mistakes, the age where I need to buckle down, finish what I'm going to finish, and stop writing things off because I'm young. I'm not saying everyone, at this age, starts to turn their life around. I'm saying that if I don't, I will be much, much older when I realize that I forgot to.

And number two is the line from "No Children" that's been making me want to cry-- if you read that in the last post, because you're a loyal (or a new) reader. Not because that post was at all interesting. But I owe it to you to wrap it into this post somehow, so you feel rewarded for wasting your time on that one.

"I hope I lie,
And tell everyone you were a good wife."

It took me a while to figure out why that song fucked me up. Oh yeah, my secret shame. I am a bad wife.

Lest all you loyal friends of mine come immediately to my defense, let's examine the facts, here. First, the "domestic goddess" clich├ęs. I am a slob. I cannot cook. Not because it's difficult, I hate people who offer to "teach me." My problem with cooking is organizational, and to do with the fact that I am a picky eater. I do not have children-- until recently, could not have children, but at twenty-five, even I would only fault myself for that intermintently. So let's move on, beyond that. Let's move on to "sex goddess." I am bad at sex. I don't take much pleasure in pleasuring my husband, or being pleasured by him. I need therapy for this, which I have been very slow in getting. Despite all this, however, I am ready and raring to go when it comes to other people. Which doesn't mean I have been exactly unfaithful, but let's face it, I was, once. A long time ago, when things were very bad between Zack and I-- and yes, you can trade blame back and forth all you want, but really, things wouldn't have been bad at all if not for the lack of "sex goddess" status. So, I spend more time than I should lounging in the arms of people who are not my husband. And, maybe sometimes, they are someone else's. I am completely, completely honest with Zack about this, and I ue that as my defense. But then I harbor this secret shame about it.

What else? Well, I can offer abject compliments to these other men, but rarely to Zack. I find it hard not to criticize little things about his physique that would kill me if he said the same thing to me-- tommorrow, he is getting a spray tan for my birthday, because I'm curious what he would look like if he were tan. I forget to be respectful of his job, how important it is-- I tell everybody he gets paid for doing nothing most of the time, and this seems to be true, but the books will tell you (the christian relationship advice books, don't ask me why I've read them) that you need to offer respect towards a man's job, or else he will be belittled.

He is home now, petting the dog behind me, and when I walked to get my second bottle of Smirnoff Ice, I definitely felt dizzy. I'll get heartburn soon-- ahh, there it goes. The dog. I defend the dog a lot when Zack gets mad at him, even when the dog is misbehaving. This undermine's Zack's authority, another thing the Christian Relationship books would not have me do. And I accuse Zack of being a budding alcoholic. I don't think I'm wrong. But I should wait for more evidence, so as to be less hurtful. Especially when I am currently the one drowning my heartache in heartburn. (Not that I'm accusing him right now...except where I just typed it, there. I think I type faster when I drink.)

So. I'm a bad wife. And in keeping with that, let's have the rest of the conversation with Sam! (The fact that I still talk to Sam at all, citing the fact that I asked Zack, time and time again, if he'd prefer me to stop, and he said no, as my justification.)

Sam: Hmmm, infidelity?
Linda: Possibly, but I think you'd be second in line right now. someone else has been putting much more time into trying to seduce me, and he's local.

Sam: Well, I am in town...
Linda: I figured that was my luck.
Linda: He's no good for me, but he's much better for me than you are. No jittery side effects.

Linda: (After twenty minutes of no response) I didn't mean for that to be quite as insulting as it sounded, gorgeous.
Sam: Oh, I got it, don't worry...I guess I'm just no good for you.

There, I should have left it, because he's not exactly wrong. But it was heartbreaking. And I'm self-destructive. So I had to go and say this.

Linda: I'd been thinking for a momth I wish I could see you sometime near my birthday, that that would make me happy, and very little else would be worthwhile.

To which he never responded.

But you see in there how I do the right thing? How I don't see him? It's out of loyalty to the other guy. Not to Zack. And I must say, I find this fascinating. I guess the thing is, I know I'm not going to do any more with Sam than I already have, and so, it's enough to be troublesome to Zack, but it's not exactly infidelity. It is, however, the same exact amount of contact and affection I would be sharing with the other guy, under different circumstances. And so it feels unfaithful to him.

Of couse, let's not give myself too much credit. Probably, if I had taken Sam up on what seems like an offer to hang out there, he would have told me he was unavailable. Let's find out.

Linda (right now): For journalistic purposes, if I had told you I wanted to see you tonight, when you hinted you were in town, I would have found out you already had plans, right?

While we're waiting. There's this whole post I wanted to write the other day. When I was listening to Modest Mouse's Bukowski and thinking about Casey, and thinking about the word "Love." Loyal readers (as opposed to new readers) know that Casey has ruined the word for me, or been blamed for it, at any rate. Then again, thinking about the last time it tickled my lips as often as it does lately, without coming out, I am reminded of when I was first befriending Zack. This was well before Casey's influence. (A bit of trivia-- I actually met Casey before I met Zack, on the same day I met Jeff, my sophomore year of high school. It was an inter-school young writer's gifted and talented program, the first day of it, and the three of us-- Casey, Jeff and I-- all got put into a group together to discuss the essays we had just read aloud-- mine was about Jeff, who I had never met, which made it awkward. That's sort of a seperate story. Anyway, that day was the day that officially started mine and Jeff's relationship, but I didn't speak to Casey again for a number of years. On a side note, I can still tell Jeff I love him. He still says it back.)

It wasn't I didn't want to tell Zack I was in love with him-- I wasn't, yet. I didn't want to tell him that I loved him, as a friend. Or rather, I wanted to, but I was afraid he couldn't handle it. Creepy, obsessive self-mutilator. I mean, I loved him, I did, but I wasn't going to make the mistake of thinking he was stable.

And I guess I was still pretty fresh coming off of what I did to Andrew (Lunt.) Or what I thought I did to him-- I carried around the shame of "breaking him" for quite a while after we split. I guess I had already thought to think of "love" as a four-letter word with five-alarm consequences. (How cool that I can string together a sentence like that halfway through my second bottle of smirnoff. Though I'm drinking slower, now, and I really have no reason to be actually drunk yet.)

Sam: (right now) I always have plans, hun, it's more about whether what your (sic) offering is more interesting than my previous plans.

Thank god he responded right then. I thought I wasn't going to be able to tap dance around the topic anymore without undoing all the hard work I've done in not saying what I've wanted to say. First, do no harm.

"People say friends don't destroy one another.
What do they know about friends?"
~Mountain Goats, Game Shows Touched Our Lives

On with it.