August 19, 2009

Patio Fires and Cigarettes…

Posted in Personal, Reflection, Relationships at 11:16 pm by Blondie

   It was a cool Southern California summer morning, so I pulled your hoodie on over my pajamas, while I completed my obligatory pre-getting-ready-for-work Internet surfing. I love wearing your hoodie, and as I waited for my Facebook page to load, I took a big whiff of the cotton sleeve. The smell of your body mixed with stale cigarette smoke filled my nostrils. I shouldn’t love the smell of cigarettes so much. One day I’m going to be an old woman, breathing through a hole in my neck, telling our friends “I wish my husband hadn’t been a smoker.” But today, the smell reminds me of our early days together.

I’m reminded of one of my favorite days with you: the day we decided that your backyard was incomplete without a fire pit. It was summer in Long Beach and the afternoon was cooling down. We made a batch of mango mojitos, and got to work lugging a cement board and scattered cement blocks into a square-shaped pattern in the middle of your patio. When our masterpiece was complete, we filled it with wood and lighter fluid, and lit it on fire! We spent the rest of the afternoon listening to Carol King records, sipping mojitos, and smoking cigarettes. We experienced dining at its finest by grilling our own bacon wrapped hotdogs over the heat of an open flame. When the smoke inhalation became too much for us, (there is a reason fire pits are not built under patios) we pulled out the hose, doused the flames, and went inside to take a nap. Thinking about that afternoon always reminds me of why I love you. You were all of my favorite things: young, fun, and carefree, with a love of music, and a steady supply of mango mojitos and bacon wrapped hotdogs.

But we’re not young and carefree anymore. I was painfully reminded of how grown-up we are when you lectured me last night on the necessity of paying the electric bill. “It’s due on the 21st,” you reminded me. I knew the due date, but wasn’t overly concerned about it. They always give you at least one or two notices before you get in any real trouble. And we have weddings and parties to attend next week. Let’s save our money for something important, like booze and fine dining. Perhaps I neglected to mention that I had already given over most of my paycheck to Smashbox, Bumble and Bumble, and Banana Republic. After a year of modest living, and Herbal Essences, I’ve realized that I cannot go another day without Bumble and Bumble hair products. Electricity I could quite possibly live without. Obviously, the bill could wait until our next pay period.

Despite my sound logic, you still paid the electric bill on time. As you proceeded to stamp and address our gift to the DWP, I wondered to myself, when did we grow up? When did we become so mature? When did I start taking financial advice from you? But this is what I wanted for us. I wanted financial stability, maturity, and the promise of a secure future together. And now that I have what I want, I miss the days of lighting the patio on fire while sipping mojitos and smoking a cigarette.

August 18, 2009

Self-Reflective Snoring…

Posted in Career, Personal, Reflection, Relationships at 6:25 pm by Blondie

As I lay beside him in the dark, he began to snore softly. He never snores. Well maybe he does. I wouldn’t actually know, as I am always, without fail, the first to fall asleep. Not feeling particularly sleepy, I slowly became lost in my own inner musings. After a stimulating inner debate on whether eating at local restaurants hurts the farming economies of the Mid-West and an exciting internal monologue on how the room could possibly still be so bright at 10 pm, I was finally overcome by the peacefulness of my surroundings. In my slightly darkened room, with a snoring man’s hand on my thigh, I realized that what I was feeling, was contentment.

As soon as I identified the feeling, I dismissed it with an overly analytical snark. How could I possibly be content with this? I rent a one bedroom apartment with popcorn ceilings in what I often call Woodland Hills, but if I’m really being honest with myself, is Canoga Park. The comfy bed I dream in every night is not a Pottery Barn Valencia Sleigh with 400 thread-count sheets, but his old Ikea frame adorned with a variety of old 90’s hip-hop band stickers. I just found out that I will be losing the job that I thought would become my career, and when I glance down at my left hand, I am most definitely not blinded by the glare of a 1.5 carat princess cut. I’m turning 30 in a month, and have not met any of my predetermined benchmarks. In the grading scale of life, I fail. So why do I feel such a pleasant easiness ?

If any one of my friends presented me with the same scenario, I would immediately launch into an inspirational diatribe on how the standards of society should not determine what makes you happy. But I can’t convince myself of the same. To stop wanting, is to stop moving forward, is to stop achieving, is to remain stagnant, is to die. Despite what I said as a snotty 21-year-old, I really don’t want to die at 30. I’ve always been ambitious, and yet lying in bed on a Monday night, I feel strangely at ease with mediocrity. Did content and ambition finally learn to get along, or was my ambition silently suffocated without my noticing?