Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Your relationship is not my relationship.

Soon, I will be joining a club that I hadn't thought I would ever join. In a couple days, I'm getting married and to some people's chagrin, I'm very laid-back about it. Don't confuse “laid-back” with “not being excited” - I'm excited that I'm marrying someone that I think is very amazing and my best friend and all those good things. But I've never been much of a “jump up and down and squeal” sort of gal, and I'm marrying a fellow who isn't much of a “jump up and down and squeal” sort of guy. I suppose if we were getting in a more traditional fashion, with the big-ass ceremony and big-ass reception and bouquet-whipping and chicken dancing, I imagine I'd be more traditionally “excited” - and wishing I'd fucking eloped. So knowing myself as well as I do, it's for the best that he and I are rollin' to the courthouse, dropping a ten-spot, and making it legal in less time it takes to get an oil change.

We kept our relationship quiet for quite a while, only letting those who needed to know know about what was happening on our personal planet. Now, of course, thanks to those handy Facebook buttons, it's no secret and, at my workplace (the Evil Empire), it is no secret either. Which has resulted in my experiencing a strange phenomenon – people expressing their own loathing for their relationships in that weird, uncomfortable “joking” fashion. I was trapped on an elevator today with a co-worker, a co-worker who has in the past given me other pieces of “advice” which included never letting my future husband anywhere near the finances and to NEVER NOT KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON WITH THE FINANCES. I'll let you connect the dots as to what causes her asshole to pucker in her marriage. Today's precious moment began with her laying out a fresh chafing dish on her bad news buffet, with the expectation that I would happily step up and hold out my dish to hear about what new fuckery her husband was up to. I wisely stepped back from the sneeze guard. But that didn't stop her from saying, “are you sure you want to get married”, capped with a laugh I can only describe as the kind of laugh that can be heard in space and causes astronauts on the ISS to wish for puppies to punch. I replied, “I want to marry Futuregroom”, to which she stated, “get back to me in 20 years” (cue cackle from Satan's crotch). Another co-worker let me know that I would be officially relieved of my freedom the second the ring hits my finger, then did that weird uncomfortable laughing thing to assure me that...I'm not quite sure. That whatever shit she dealt with on a daily basis in her marriage was destined to be visited unto mine? That all men are infantile morons who are incapable of functioning without a woman at the helm to steer them into the appropriate ports (or icebergs)? That I would morph into a squalling harpy barking orders at my hapless spouse?

Look, I'm 40 fucking years old and I've spent a LOT of time ensuring that a) I've checked myself before I've wrecked myself and b) I am solid with what sort of bullshit I'm willing to put up with from other people. Everyone's got bullshit that's on display and I'm well aware of my bullshit, bullshit that I work on on a consistent basis to temper and minimize. Therefore, I am really quite solid and comfortable with my determination that the man I'm going to marry ISN'T A STEAMING DOUCHEBAG and that he, in turn, is not marrying A STEAMING DOUCHEBAG. If he had glaring personality defects that would shoot up multiple red flags on every planet in the solar system, I would not be marrying the motherfucker. Honey, I'm good with myself. I figured out a while ago that I didn't need to hunt down someone in order to make me “me” and that if I wound up being single until I died in a spectacular fashion involving perhaps a tiger, pyrotechnics, and a gunfight, I would still be capable of having a really gorgeous life. So I'm not getting married to fill a void or complete me because I was done to perfection before he careened into my life.

No relationship is perfect, fucking amoebas get that concept. It's not a sweeping romantic epic from start to finish. If you can't get over your life not resembling the lies that are sold by pretty much every piece of media that exists, you run the risk of being one of those people who get all shriveled and bitter and cynical and works quite hard to shit upon other people's contentedness because you haven't summoned up the spine to do what needs to be done in order to get right with yourself and the other person involved. Marinating in a years-long stew of misery because you think that's how it's “supposed to be” is a load and you do yourself or anyone else any favors.

So if your advice (hopefully solicited, because just dropping “advice” on someone who hasn't asked for it is a dick move) to someone else is a barely-disguised napalm job of your own relationship peppered with creepy “jokes” about the old ball and chain, you need to step back, stop, drop, roll, and resist the urge to paint everyone else's life with your crap-laden brush because your brush is the brush you own, and perhaps it's time to clean it.

Christ riding a chimney sweep, that was one of the more belabored metaphors I've constructed in quite a while. Must be that old ball and chain dragging me down.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Growing up is not giving up.

I'm about to turn an age I couldn't comprehend turning back in my 20s. The year 2000 seemed like a science fiction dream, for Christ's sake, let alone turning 40 YEARS OLD. Back then, 40 was a wretchedly old age. It SOUNDED old. And I certainly wasn't going to be OLD, I was 21 and getting loaded every weekend and just barely managing to attend my part time job and living in the SUPER-COOL CITY. Shit, I even wrote a comic song called “I Hope I Die Before I Hit 30” (I was going to be what I now recognize to be one of the more evil things in the world – A STAND-UP WHO PLAYED NUTTY SONGS DURING HER SET – AUGH).

Of course, time rolled on and I stopped getting shitfaced every weekend and I started working full-time at that part-time gig and suddenly, I hit 30 (I did not die)...then 35...and now I'm staring down the barrel at 40. I have a car payment, I manage my debt wisely (mercy, that took a long time to do), I've worked at the same place for 21 years (!), and an exciting evening for me is lounging about my lair in the company of my futuregroom. I am solidly and firmly what would be described by most as an “adult”.

However, I feel like behaving like an adult is frowned upon more and more – that not having the desire to go out and do endless shots and puke in doorways (been there) means that I am a no-fun Francine. There's this very, very strange cult of personality that has sprung up around “party” people – people who happily brag about the assorted substances they ingest at any given time, how little they've slept, and how late they rolled into work (if they actually HAVE a job). And that it's somehow bad if those of us who aren't doing lines out of a Brooklyn hipster's hole look somewhat askance at those who don't appear to be interested in anything other than having some new, “edgy” story to bust out on the internet. Drinking a carafe and a half of Snakejuice and passing out in a dank corner of a club every other night is not “edgy”, sailors and sailorettes. Waltzing into work at the crack of noon and putting the nose to the grindstone for a grand total of four hours isn't “edgy”, fair dames and sirs. It's asshole behavior. It's the kind of bullshit you get to pull when you're in your early 20s and still convinced you're invincible and everyone above age 30 is stodgy, imperialist swine who have no idea what it's LIKE TO BE YOOOOOOU, YOU SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE YOU and then you have that moment of clarity where you realize that having a freezer filled with nothing but assorted flavors of vodka is not that cool because eating food that isn't three-day-old pizza is good and being current with your bills is a nice feeling and getting a good night's sleep is delicious.

When you have that moment of clarity, you may have an additional moment where you think “oh man, I'm so BORING and my life is OVER”, but unless you are a dope, you don't stop having fun simply because you're not belly-flopping on a Slip-n-Slide soaked with beer in the back room of a crap bar four nights a week. Fun is not ruled out because you have a 401K and you're not making lists of the shit you own that you'd be okay selling because otherwise, you're not going to be able to pay the electric bill. You are not a faceless drone like all the other squares, MAN, because you're not vomiting loudly into your trash can at work. You are, most likely, just an ordinary person like most people in the universe, and THAT IS OKAY.

I think the culture has evolved into this odd beast that gives the stink-eye to the regular Joe and JoeBobette – and not even so much to the regular Joe or JoeBobette, but to those of us who don't have that crazed need to be constantly looked at, constantly paid attention to, constantly ringing that bell and screaming “BUT WHAT ABOUT ME BUT WHAT ABOUT ME BUT WHAT ABOUT ME HERE'S WHAT I THINK AND HERE IS AN ANECDOTE ABOUT THAT THING ONE TIME THAT INVOLVED PYROTECHNICS AND A LEMUR AND SARAN WRAP AND LOOK AT MEEEEEEEEE HERE'S A PICTURE OF ME AND A WHATNOT AND LOOOOOK”. It's almost like everyone is compelled to trump the next fellow's story and the more places on the internet it gets posted, the better. And then there's the odd crew that applauds and fawns and giggles over the tales of getting popped for public urination or snorting chopped up cough drops or drinking lighter fluid out of a blockhead's crotch. I mean, if you're able to drink lighter fluid out of a blockhead's crotch AND make that eight am meeting AND complete your presentation on the debits, the credits, and the people we exploit? I guess I give you kudos, even if you do probably smell like lighter fluid. If your need to be a jackass doesn't fuck with my day, I reckon I can't complain. But just as an FYI – you're no more special or unique than the cat that's up at 4 am to take the train and the bus and another bus to put in her/his 10 hours so he/she can kick back on the couch at night after a delish dish of Hamburger Helper and fall asleep to “Hoarders”. You just lack the ability to not be the center of attention every single goddamned minute.

Now, as something resembling a writer, I am required to do a little LOOK AT ME so that people will read the claptrap I cough out on the internet whenever I can be arsed to do so and be entertained by it. As you can see from the amount of entries I have, however, my need to feed the beast is a fairly occasional scratch that requires itching. Back in the day, the beast demanded I learn how to eat fire, weasel my way onstage to be a part of a Penn and Teller performance, and do a one-woman show in a comedy festival. These days, the beast is content if a couple of my friends share my shit on Facebook. But Universe help us if I ever rediscover the Look at Me Beast and decide to write that book I've always threatened to write, because hoo lawsy, my beast is loud and has a lot of fucking time on her hands and is involved in a LOT of social media.

Blockhead = a performer in a sideshow who specializes in hammering nails or other implements into one's nasal passages