On Googling, Selfishly and Nostalgically

Oh man, the googling yourself business is bound to unearth a mountain of information. For me, who has lived in some form or another on the internet since I was 15, I have links. Some of those links I am entirely proud of and some I’m not.

For example, a video of me during the weird Charlie Sheen internship competition has been archived somewhere that’s not YouTube. I guess I’ll have to write to them and tell them to take my idiotic rambling offline, so that the four people who would ever stumble upon it can save themselves a few minutes of wasted time and me some cringing. (I’m cringing now – the preview image is me frozen, mid-sentence, doing air quotes and baring my teeth with both eyebrows raised. Oh dear.)

I remember starting a project to move my own pieces of actual writing from my hidden medium so that they might preserved in a more public place (and also removed from the endlessly amusing drivel of my adolescence) and never finishing it. In all fairness, three-plus years of nearly constant teenage secret internet diary writing is really hard to parse out into “decent” and “what the hell?” and the seventeen other categories such as “melodrama,” “bemoaning,” “possibly insanity or maybe just hormones,” “naiveté,” and “solid insight, way to go Past Me!”

Anyway, this all came about because of the Google – you should always Google yourself. It’s an anticipatory move, like placing a rook in front of your king when the queen is closing in. It buys time, or at least admits knowledge of eventual defeat. But at least you see it coming.

That date you may have read about? He writes. People who write are insanely attractive to me. People who write intrigue me. People who say, “I don’t trust someone who doesn’t have divorced parents,” also intrigue me, because I agree entirely. There’s a unique element of human experience ingrained in the psyches of products of divorce that is so understated and unquantifiable and yet absolutely real. But that’s another story entirely.

Now that he knows my full name, I imagine he’ll stumble upon some internet trace of me at some point. I’m curious as to what conclusions he’ll draw.

So I began a preemptive Google search of myself and was immediately distracted by my own stuff. It’s like cleaning my room. I never get very far because I’m like, oooh, haven’t seen that in a while! and then proceed to spend the next hour messing around with whatever it is I’ve just found, and then whatever I find while I’m doing that….two weeks ago I found pictures, and then a photo album, and then decided to make a scrapbook. Why? Why would I do that? That’s ridiculous and even I knew it. But I persevered, long enough to get to the store where I promptly forgot to buy the glue I’d need. The project was then abandoned in favor of newer and better distractions.

But mostly, the itsy bitsy bit of narcissist that lives inside me wanted an excuse to go back and read her own writing, because I’m one of those publish and bail people who rarely reviews their own work. (It’s problematic, possibly repetitive, and I miss out on a lot of awesome stuff.) So, for your reading pleasure, bits of previous posts that made me smile, made me think, or made me cringe (lots of cringing – when I feel something, it’s all or nothing, and the all is intense):

“In Memoriam (Part One)” – [note that there is no part 2] – posted 2010 or earlier

I spent three hours today pretending you were dead. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll spend four.

I sat on the bus, riding through your neighborhood, and hung my head in imitated sorrow. I bought a flower from a man with a cardboard sign. It cost me a dollar. I paid him in change. I walked through the gates of the cemetery and wandered until I thought I’d found you. I laid the flower there, squeezing my eyes, staring into the sun.  No tears came. None would come if you died, I think.

A woman there sat silently, kneeling on a grave, her arms across the headstone, silently weeping. I left, because I knew my fraud was nothing compared to her genuine sorrow.

On the way home, someone asked about the ring you’d once given me. I told them I was recently widowed. Me, a war widow, imagine that.

You were late to work, I could see that. The 147 flew by you, running next to me. For an instant, I thought to stretch my hand to find you, but then my hand hit glass and I snapped back. Good thing you were never fast.

All the mourning made me hungry. I ate at that cafe we pronounced “quaint.” I called it delicious today and you weren’t there to argue when I used three packets of jelly for two pieces of toast. I drank my coffee black, just the way you said I never would. I hated it.

There were no messages on the machine, except one I skipped yesterday from a wrong number. Those always are the best, I think. Of course dead you couldn’t call me, I was stupid to think you might’ve.

But they say that dead men tell no tales. What tales would you have to tell me? What did you do today? Probably nothing.

Maybe something.

I’ll never forget you, but that’s not a good thing. I’m not going to smile fondly when I see the mailman who told us we would have beautiful children. I’m going to wretch violently and drink hard liquor.

You’re dead to me. I hope your life, or what is left of it, is a miserable cloudy place full of misery and pain. That’s what you made mine.

“Good Intentions” – October 14, 2010

“You’ve always got one foot out the door,” she said.

She was right.

I’ve got nothing but good intentions

But somewhere along they line

I always seem to lose them.
I dig in empty pockets, feeling only lint and cotton.

And then it all goes to hell, always.

Can’t give it up when I should,

I put it off, waiting for divine interventions that don’t exist.

It’s usually too late for help anyway,

Half drunk on the pure adrenaline of new, I let go.

Push off and fly, a fire suddenly ignited.

I’m afraid to look back.
I don’t want to see your face.
I don’t want to watch you watch me let you go.

It’s the same ending every time.

And even now, I tell myself,

“It won’t happen again.”

This time will be different.

I’m another kind of addict,

The kind that gets away with it.

No scars, no marks, just scattered bits of hearts

and sharp shards of pretty memories lying around.

They hit me now and then.

You and me, or he and I,

His shirt, his song, his smile,

They’re all a part of me,

That nasty fabric I’ve woven for myself.

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions

But this isn’t hell.

This is here.

“Stand Off” – 2010 [I love this one. I had forgotten about it.]

She’s sitting on his couch, twirling her limp bland hair between her fingers, playing with it, rolling it around, twisting it, holding it up so she can look for split ends.
He doesn’t know what a split end is.
She smokes a cigarette, inhaling sharp little drags. She holds them for a moment, then releases, a slow exhalation of gray smoke.
He smokes one too, lighting it off the end of hers. He takes long, thoughtful drags, intent upon inhalation. He exhales quickly.
They don’t speak, there’s not much to say.
Things left unsaid? you wonder.
She sighs.
He doesn’t understand what her sigh might mean, doesn’t want to understand. That would require time spent thinking. It’s not high on his list. Asking her isn’t any good either. She’ll just roll her eyes at him and look away, wanting him to ask again, to want to know. He doesn’t want it enough to bother. She doesn’t care enough to try to explain without making him work for the explanation.
It’s simple, really.
She walks to the kitchen and fills a glass with tepid city drinking water. She watches the cloudy water swirl around into clarity.
He isn’t watching.
He’s sipping an equally tepid beer. He opened it when he got home from work and should have had it all quickly, but didn’t want to upset her.
She wouldn’t be upset. She doesn’t think he’s an alcoholic like he thinks she thinks he is.
She wants one but is afraid to ask. Afraid he’ll think she’s one. An alcoholic.
There are no alcoholics in the house.
Only cigarette smokers. Neither of them like the smoking either. They keep smoking because the other one is smoking.
She wants to stop.
He wants her to love him.
She doesn’t.
He’s not quitting now.
She’s taken a lover, someone she calls after he’s gone to work.
He’s taken his secretary four times this week, after hours, lunch hours, coffee breaks.
She meets her lover in hotel rooms she can’t afford. He’s wealthy. She doesn’t mind him paying. The lover thinks she’s lovely, she feels like a whore.
He thinks his secretary is only doing it for placement. How far can typing skills get you in an architect’s office? Maybe she’s in love with him. She isn’t. Or is she? She might be.
You never know.
Stranger things will happen.
She finishes the water. He gasps for the last sip of beer.
She walks to the kitchen, opens the refrigerator and sighs again.
He rolls his eyes.
She doesn’t see him.
“What’s for dinner?” he asks.
Silence.
The sound of shuffling ingredients. They’re not ingredients when they’re alone. Food stuffs, organic material, dressings, condiments, the box of baking soda.
She walks back and sits down, beer in hand.
She opens it crisply, the sound splattering a little onto the coffee table.
“I was just about to ask you.” She takes a swig.
Silence.
He crumples his can.
She sets hers down gingerly on the coasters she registered for when they were married.
He never wanted them. He’s never used a coaster in his life without having been first told to do so.
She sighs.
“Some things never change,” she says on the exhale.
“And I wish some things never would have,” he says, tossing the can toward the trash bin.
It hits the side and bounces away, clanging through their tiny kitchen before falling to the floor.
Silence.

And this one, which made me laugh out loud. February 13, 2011:

The best part of breaking up is getting the t-shirts. Always take the t-shirts.

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