Total Perspective Vortex
What really happened to Trillian? Theories abound, but you can see what she's really been up to on this blog. If you're looking for white mice, depressed robots, or the occasional Pan Galactic Gargleblaster you might be better served here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/hitchhikers/guide/.

Otherwise, hello, and welcome.
Mail Trillian here<





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Women, The Internet and You: Tips for Men Who Use Online Dating Sites
Part I, Your Profile and Email

Part II, Selecting a Potential Date

Part III, Your First Date!

Part IV, After the First Date. Now What?


"50 First Dates"






Don't just sit there angry and ranting, do something constructive.
In the words of Patti Smith (all hail Sister Patti): People have the power.
Contact your elected officials.

Don't be passive = get involved = make a difference.
Find Federal Officials
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or Search by State

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Contact The Media
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Words are cool.
The English language is complex, stupid, illogical, confounding, brilliant, beautiful, and fascinating.
Every now and then a word presents itself that typifies all the maddeningly gorgeousness of language. They're the words that give you pause for thought. "Who came up with that word? That's an interesting string of letters." Their beauty doesn't lie in their definition (although that can play a role). It's also not in their onomatopoeia, though that, too, can play a role. Their beauty is in the way their letters combine - the visual poetry of words - and/or the way they sound when spoken. We talk a lot about music we like to hear and art we like to see, so let's all hail the unsung heroes of communication, poetry and life: Words.
Here are some I like. (Not because of their definition.)

Quasar
Hyperbole
Amenable
Taciturn
Ennui
Prophetic
Tawdry
Hubris
Ethereal
Syzygy
Umbrageous
Twerp
Sluice
Omnipotent
Sanctuary
Malevolent
Maelstrom
Luddite
Subterfuge
Akimbo
Hoosegow
Dodecahedron
Visceral
Soupçon
Truculent
Vitriol
Mercurial
Kerfuffle
Sangfroid




























 







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Highlights from the Archives. Some favorite Trillian moments.

Void, Of Course: Eliminating Expectations and Emotions for a Better Way of Life

200i: iPodyssey

Macs Are from Venus, Windows is from Mars Can a relationship survive across platform barriers?
Jerking Off

Get A Job

Office Church Ladies: A Fieldguide

'Cause I'm a Blonde

True? Honestly? I think not.

A Good Day AND Funyuns?

The Easter Boy

Relationship in the Dumpster

Wedding Dress 4 Sale, Never Worn

Got Friends? Are You Sure? Take This Test

What About Class? Take This Test

A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away, There Was a Really Bad Movie

May Your Alchemical Process be Complete. Rob Roy Recipe

Good Thing She's Not in a Good Mood Very Often (We Knew it Wouldn't Last)

What Do I Have to Do to Put You in this Car Today?

Of Mice and Me (Killer Cat Strikes in Local Woman's Apartment)

Trillian: The Musical (The Holiday Special)

LA Woman (I Love (Hate) LA)

It is my Cultureth
...and it would suit-eth me kindly to speak-eth in such mannered tongue

Slanglish

It's a Little Bit Me, It's a Little Bit You
Blogging a Legacy for Future Generations


Parents Visiting? Use Trillian's Mantra!

Ghosts of Christmas Past: Mod Hair Ken

Caught Blogging by Mom, Boss or Other

2003 Holiday Sho-Lo/Mullet Awards

Crullers, The Beer Store and Other Saintly Places

Come on Out of that Doghouse! It's a Sunshine Day!

"...I had no idea our CEO is actually Paula Abdul in disguise."

Lap Dance of the Cripple

Of Muppets and American Idols
"I said happier place, not crappier place!"

Finally Off Crutches, Trillian is Emancipated

Payless? Trillian? Shoe Confessions

Reality Wednesday: Extremely Local Pub

Reality Wednesday: Backstage Staging Zone (The Sweater Blog)

The Night Secret Agent Man Shot My Dad

To Dream the Impossible Dream: The Office Karaoke Party

Trillian Flies Economy Class (Prisoner, Cell Block H)

Trillian Visits the Village of the Damned, Takes Drugs, Becomes Delusional and Blogs Her Brains Out

Trillian's Parents are Powerless

Striptease for Spiders: A PETA Charity Event (People for the Ethical Treatment of Arachnids)

What's Up with Trillian and the Richard Branson Worship?

"Screw the French and their politics, give me their cheese!"


















 
Mail Trillian here





Trillian's Guide to the Galaxy gives 5 stars to these places in the Universe:
So much more than fun with fonts, this is a daily dose of visual poetry set against a backdrop of historical trivia. (C'mon, how can you not love a site that notes Wolfman Jack's birthday?!)

CellStories

Alliance for the Great Lakes


Hot, so cool, so cool we're hot.

Ig Nobel Awards

And you think YOU have the worst bridesmaid dress?

Coolest Jewelry in the Universe here (trust Trillian, she knows)

Red Tango

If your boss is an idiot, click here.

Evil Cat Full of Loathing.

Wildlife Works

Detroit Cobras


The Beachwood Reporter is better than not all, but most sex.



Hey! Why not check out some great art and illustration while you're here? Please? It won't hurt and it's free.

Shag

Kii Arens

Tim Biskup

Jeff Soto

Jotto




Get Fuzzy Now!
If you're not getting fuzzy, you should be. All hail Darby Conley. Yes, he's part of the Syndicate. But he's cool.





Who or what is HWNMNBS: (He Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken) Trillian's ex-fiancé. "Issues? What issues?"







Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.


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Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Smart Girls
(A Trillian de-composition, to the tune of Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys)

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

Smart girls ain’t easy to love and they’re above playing games
And they’d rather read a book than subvert themselves
Kafka, Beethoven and foreign movies
And each night alone with her cat
And they won’t understand her and she won’t die young
She’ll probably just wither away

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

A smart girl loves creaky old libraries and lively debates
Exploring the world and art and witty reparteé
Men who don’t know her won’t like her and those who do
Sometimes won’t know how to take her
She’s rarely wrong but in desperation will play dumb
Because men hate that she’s always right

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains





























Life(?) of Trillian
Single/Zero

 
Friday, April 15, 2005  
Dear True,
I use your dating site. I have met some nice people there. I have also met some jerks. I’m not blaming you for that.

I would continue to use your service because you do have a different group of men than other sites, and most seem to be nice people. Maybe not exactly matches for me, but then I’m not an easy match. eHarmony won’t even let me join because their in depth analysis of me is that I’m in the small percentage of people even they can’t match. Not one person in their vast pool of prospects current or prospective is a close enough match for them to go ahead, take my money and let me join. See, they don’t want losers in their pool. They’re trying to run an effective and high caliber operation. They want to advertise all the wonderful people and glorious matches they make. Having people like me in their database would unfavorably skew their success rate.

But you let me join. You even found a few “perfect” matches, some with a 105.7% chance of success. Imagine my excitement and anticipation!

So far, though, well, what looked so promising online hasn’t turned into reality in person. But that’s okay. It’s not you, it’s me.

However.

Your current online marketing campaign has raised a few questions and concerns.

You advertise that you are “the safer online dating site.” You claim to be the only truly scientific compatibility test online, measuring 99 relationship factors to help me find my most compatible match. You offer men coaching on writing “killer profiles sure to be a hit with women.” The coach is a former “lead advertising executive for a prominent magazine skilled in designing and writing winning ads.” Who feels “finding a soul mate (and helping her find you) is not much different from selling. Every day I’ll tell you a new secret to finding your special woman.” Gosh, what a swell service. Believe me, I’ve seen the good, bad and incomprehensible in online dating profiles. A lot of people need this service. Way to go, True.

I especially loved this bit of advice: The secret to start succeeding on TRUE, is to focus on the positive relationship you deserve. If you think positive, positive things will happen! Imagine that you’re in the perfect relationship. What does it look like? Feel like? What qualities would your girl most likely possess, and how would you relate to one another? Keep that picture in your mind and act positively. When you know what you want, it’s much easier to see just what needs to be done to attain that goal! Your goal this week: Visualize a positive relationship. That’s really great advice! Wow. How insightful. Especially since you laid out that bit of insightful text next to this enormous photo.
A Better Profile and Fresh Breath Will Get You Her!

Apparently this advice is intended for men only. Men who are looking for a woman who looks like she could be a low budget or internet porn movie tart. (Maybe this advertising gig will be her big break into legit films. Or at least buy her some implants. Or a decent dye job.)

I know a lot of men. I’ve met a lot of men. When you tell a man to visualize what qualities a perfect girl would most likely possess, most of them will literally visualize someone they’ve seen in a magazine. Especially when they are not so subliminally barraged with that image next to this bit of sage advice. With the image of that blonde burned in their retinas, they are not going to start conjuring esoteric visual metaphors for things like good listener, faithful partner, intelligence, sense of humor and mother of my children.

Thank you, True, for planting even more physical beauty is perfection seeds in men’s minds.

I wasn’t terribly bothered by this, you know, hey, whatever, you’re just trying to get men motivated. I understand. Sex sells. See, I too, am not only a former lead advertising executive, but a current one, too. So I saw and read that with a wink wink nudge nudge to your efforts to get men encouraged and motivated. I was even hopeful that maybe once they were suckered in by the pink dress diamond necklace tart they'd do some serious work on their profiles and go on a journey of self discovery and enlightenment.

And they say I'm without hope. Ha.

But then this week I have been barraged with lots of True banner ads. Finally got some money in the old advertising budget, eh? Good for you! Show those other dating sites what for!

But.

Much to my disappointment and concern, you chose a confusing and offensive tactic.

Sex sells, True, I know, I know.

But this is immature, stupid and offensive to women, all women, and especially women who are current members of True.

Dive into Love?

Dive into love? With a huge pair of perfectly shaped boobs spilling out of a too small bikini? And a small inset of the same woman, but now an arm/neck/boob/torso shot, in the classic woman on top position, straining against the hurts so good enormous manhood of a guy she met on True who took the profile course and apparently passed because oh boy, look who he's doing!

For shame, True, for shame.

This is something I’d expect on one of those other sites. The don’t ask, don’t tell sites. But you, who claim to be the safer online dating site with a rigorous screening process complete with background checks (because people with criminal backgrounds or marriages are always honest and will use their real names so of course we trust your screening process!), personality profile assessment made by the experts at Psychology Today magazine, and an advanced matching system which tells us right away if we’ve got the stuff of successful couples or if we’re doomed before even meeting should be above this chauvinistic, degrading, objectifying, sophomoric titillation.

As a female member of True I am embarrassed and degraded.

Thanks for single handedly setting women back at least 35 years. Back to the days when women’s brains and abilities got a lot of lip service but they were grossly underemployed, underpaid and underused, while their bodies were even more exciting and objectified because of the new Pill and “worry free” sex.

Double standards, mixed messages and sexual harrassment were supposed to be a thing of the past. Remember? We’ve come a long way, baby.

But apparently your former advertising executive hasn’t got that message. Perhaps that’s why he’s a former advertising executive.

“Boys will be boys” of course. That’s not going to change. Ever. Sex does sell. It always will. Even to women! Imagine! But when it comes to the business of helping people who are by definition lonely and desperate, or at least lovelorn, find a prospective partner, a "perfect match" who is a good personality match (based on Psychology Today’s advice) a pair of obviously surgically enhanced boobs with with nothing but the message Dive into love and "take our compatibility test" is a very mixed and inappropriate message to be sending to the public about the services you offer.

Based on your apparent advertising strategy, I should forget the photos I have posted which highlight my green soulful eyes and nice, sincere smile which says, "Hi, I'm Trillian, I'm super nice and I have a functioning brain!" and instead post a photo of my more ample and more real than your model’s boobs with the message, “real and spectacular.” Or like the other inset photo of the same boobs but including a torso and wet stringy hair implying hot steamy woman having woman on top sex, (empowered! you go girl!) I should go one further and break out the video camera and artfully make an erotic composition of myself and post in your video lounge. Apparently that’ll get me the man of my dreams. A perfect match. Compatible in every way.

A guy who’s interested in my boobs and ability to have an orgasm.

I wonder what Psychology Today would have to say about that.

One curious aspect of this onslaught of banner ads geared toward men objectifying women is why they're geared toward men in the first place. Men outnumber women on dating sites by a huge percentage. You yourself, True, offer free services to women because, well, there are lot less of us on there and you give us ladies night every day in hopes of padding your database with eligible women. I know I'm only a current advertising executive, not a former advertising executive, and I hate to point out the obvious, but, um, really, shouldn't these ads be geared toward women? Shouldn't they be objectifying men?

Oh yeah. I forgot. Your former advertising executive is a man.

Silly me.

Thanks for clearing up the confusion and misguided notions I had about your site and how I should present myself to prospective “perfect matches.” With this advice and renewed outlook I am hoping to have more and better dates than ever! I can’t wait! Let the objectification begin!

Trillian

PS: I love the whole campaign, it was a toss up which ad I found more offensive and degrading, this was almost #1, but there was no sex scene so it came in second. The "Two good reasons" headline is real classy. Love the bikini and cowboy hat look complete with sassy snarl, gotta hand it to you for having your finger on the pulse of what men want. Unfortunately for the guys, I haven't seen women like this in actual profiles on your site. Funny, that...
Two Good Reasons
This is another piece of good objectification work, too! Love the gauzy filter and the wanton come hither/reckless wild abandon of the outdoors! Kudos!
Gettin' Hot in Here!
...and this one where you just come right out and say the words men long to hear.
sexybrownhair_120X600

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9:22 AM

Thursday, April 14, 2005  
Everyone who likes me better when I’m not in a good mood will be (ironically) happy to know the good day was just that: A good day. Not the start of a new Trill order.

I know you don’t want me to succeed. Because then you wouldn’t have a gauge. No one to hold up as an example of things which could be worse. I know this, I understand this. I long ago realized this is probably one of my main purposes for existing. Society needs people like me. Society needs losers. If everyone were all up and successful and happy there’d be even more dementia than there is already. It’s like the Christian excuse for why there is evil in the world. We need it to keep the good on course and to serve as an example of what will happen if we stray from the flock.

I strayed, look what happened to me.

Let that be a lesson and warning to you.

See? You’re sniggering. You really do not want me to be successful or up or happy. You need me to be the malcontented example of what happens when you don’t behave and do as you’re told and blindly believe anything and ask the uncomfortable questions and speak the realistic and honest words. You need me to do this so you can go about your life knowing there is at least one person who’s got it worse than you.

It’s okay, really. I don’t mind. I’m used to it. It’s my public service to the Universe. My gift.

Don’t sit there feeling all guilty and uncomfortable.

It’s not just you.

Even my friends feel this way about me. They need me to fail and be plagued with weird and unfortunate events so they can feel good about themselves and their lives. I’m the Rhoda, remember? Every Mary needs a Rhoda.

But then there are the foul weather friends.

Which are horses of different colors than Marys.

Marys genuinely like you. They subconsciously like that they’ve got it better than you, but they feel genuine compassion and concern for you. They’re there for you every time you get kicked, no matter how many times, no matter how weird or bad, they’re there, not judging and trying to help or at least listening, yet again, to another tale of woe or disbelief. They’re supportive. And hopeful that this will be the day things change for you and you get just one lucky break.

Foul weather friends, though, consciously like that they’ve got it better than you. They may feel genuine compassion and concern, and every now and then they’ll do their time and be there for you. Which is how they view it: Doing what they’re supposed to do only because it’s the thing they’re supposed to do because Rhoda’s always there for them and it would look bad if they didn’t return the favor once every three years or so.

I’m painting them in a bad light.

Which isn’t totally the case.

Foul weather friends don’t usually start that way. They’re usually just regular friends, maybe even Marys. Until they start to accumulate more success, more good things, more up moments than you. The disparity between your continued Rhoda-ish life versus their growing success makes them uncomfortable. After all, you’re working and trying just as hard as they are, maybe even harder. But success continues to elude you while they are making great strides in their life. They might even start to feel guilty. Especially if you are in fact smarter, more clever, funnier, harder working and nicer than they are. They have by rights what should be yours.

I’ve been through this a lot. My friends, for the most part, are all very successful in most areas of their lives. I’m genuinely happy and proud of them. I am not jealous. At times envious of what they’ve got in comparison to my own pathetic life, sure, but not of them. I wouldn’t wish my life on anyone. I like and care about my friends and would hate for this to happen to them.

Them includes you, too, so relax and stop feeling guilty and uncomfortable.

Unless you happen to be a foul weather friend.

Because as of today, I’m cutting foul weather friends out of my life.

I never do anything expecting anything in return. I do whatever I do because I sincerely want to help - be it a work or family or friendship situation.

Yeah. I’m a swutting saint.

Well. Used to be. Not anymore.

There’s this friend. A person I used to hang out with a lot. He worked in the biz, too, and we shared war stories and helped each other out with ideas or tech help or manual labor when needed.

I never thought about the give and take aspect of the relationship. He was a friend. It never occurred to me to keep score of anything.

He happens to be a bit of a stud. Okay, a lot of a stud. Okay, he’ll sleep with anyone. As long as she’s slim, petite, blonde or Oriental, preferably Japanese. He never, ever factors in personality when he’s seeking a bed partner or girlfriend. It simply does not matter to him. “That’s why I have friends. I don’t need another friend or a best friend. I’ve got a best friend and loads of friends. I just need someone to fulfill me sexually and be my date.” Those are not paraphrased remarks. Those are his oft quoted philosophies.

But he is a friend and so I never judged, always tried to understand his point of view on this and other topics and respected his opinions and ideas, even though they smacked of a shallow, chauvinistic, immature lout, this area of his life was not causing him trouble or making him unhappy. Interestingly, he never seems to run out of women who fit his criteria. Willing women. Eager women. If it’s working for him and them, who am I to judge?

Since I’ve known him he’s steadily increased his income by rising through ranks and changing jobs for better paying higher level positions. He’s carving out a decent career for himself.

This has not hurt his ability to find willing and eager women.

A few years ago, however, he started using people, friends and colleagues, the way he uses women. He would charm and be nice to whomever could help him in whatever his current need was. Okay, that’s just business, I thought to myself. He’s doing more of what I should be doing. And these people are not stupid, and if they help him it’s because they want to or because they’re thinking they’ll get something out of it, too. He burned a few bridges in this process. I defended him. Because in one of these cases, I know the miffed person would have used anyone, anyone to get the job our friend got. As the jobs and girlfriends got more exclusive I saw less of him. He wasn’t crying in his beer as often. He didn’t have much reason to cry in his beer. The life he wanted back when he was crying in his beer was becoming his. Except now the beer was very expensive martinis at very swank clubs. Playing the game. I know that. I knew that. Occasionally we’d have drinks, “like old times.” It didn’t seem like it was mercy drinks, that he was doing his bit to remember the little people who got him where he was heading. Because he would bare his soul to me, and usually, after the fourth martini, he’d end up crying about his insecurities to me. Because, you know, he trusted me. We’re friends. So when he rang, I’d go. Even though when I rang he was busy.

And if he needed help with a work related issue, he continued to ring me. I continued to help him. I knew he wouldn’t call unless he really needed help, and I would never let a friend down in their time of need.

Yeah. I know. I’m a swutting saint.

Then he met The Woman of His Immature Fantasies. (WHIF) I didn’t like her from day one. But then, I typically didn’t like any of his partners or girlfriends. These are not women with whom I share anything in common. I actually possess a personality. I seek others with actual personalities. I read books. I keep current with news, even the stuff with big words about places where there’s not a Prada boutique. I have a permanent address at which I reside. I don’t work on a tan. I don’t sleep with men who only want me for sex. (Not that I have a lot of that sort of opportunity these days...) I don’t sleep with or be the “girlfriend” of men who give me expensive items or take me to exclusive places and events in exchange for sex. I don’t sleep with men simply because they’re good looking and wealthy. (Not that I get a lot of this opportunity, either...) I don’t have breast implants, veneers, extensions, tucks or other plastic surgery. I don’t have a vague job at a vague company yet drive a car more expensive than many homes. I don’t have unexplained unlimited amounts of credit cards with which I go shopping at very expensive stores three or four times a week, maybe more. You know, I’m not a slut.

But he was really taken with WHIF. This one lasted longer than three weeks and a trip to Fiji. So, you know, I tried to like her. When I knew there was no way I would actually like her, I pretended to like her.

And let me just take a time out to say this: Never, not once, in any way, drunk or otherwise, did I harbor any sort of romantic or sexual feelings for my friend. Really. It has simply never occurred to me to think about him that way. So no, there is no jealously at play here.

She hated me. It was obvious from the start. Maybe she saw me as a threat, but I seriously doubt it. Because she’s her and I’m me and he’s him and if she’s the sort of girl he chooses to sleep with clearly he’s not interested in sleeping with me and clearly she’s got nothing to worry about in regards to me interloping on her territory.

To say they’ve have a tumultuous and volatile relationship would be candycoating it.

She doesn’t like it when he has to work on something that isn’t high profile or cool or glamorous. So on those increasingly rare occasions when he’s got to get down in the trenches with the rest of us mortals, she pouts and falls into the arms of someone doing something more high profile or cool or glamorous. For some reason, this doesn’t bother my friend. “She always comes back to me. She likes to make the scene. It’s important to her. She’s got to be careful about where she’s seen. She always comes back to me. I could use a break anyway, she wears me out in bed.” Ah. That would be some reason.

But hey, you know, he’s happy. He’s successful. He’s got almost everything he wanted back when he was regularly crying in his beer and so I am happy for him.

I haven’t heard from him in a while. I got a Christmas card. A few emails. (“We’ve got to have drinks soon...”) But that’s okay. I know he’s busy. I’m busy. I’m not fond of his girlfriend. She hates me.

You know, the slow descent known as growing apart.

And then yesterday I got a frantic call.

“Trillian, HELP!”

“Hi friend, calm down. What’s up?”

“Huge crisis, Trill. The (expensive gifts) we’re giving out at the big opening tonight are sitting at the freight company dock and they won’t release them to the messenger guy and all my people are busy, and your office isn’t too far from there Trill, can you go with me to pick them up?”

“Sure friend, no problem, I can cut out for a few minutes, when are you going to be here?”

“I’m in your lobby.”

“I see. That soon. Okay. Give me a few minutes and I’ll be down.”

“Thanks Trill, I knew I could count on you.”

So off I trotted to tell my boss I was taking a late lunch to help a friend, donned my ever at the ready sneakers, and went to meet friend, bail him out and get back to work.

I haven’t seen him for a while.

He’s erm, well, changed. He’s had something beyond Botox. He’s five years older than me but now looks 12 years younger. And his lips, which used to be, you know, regular thin guy lips, are now plumper. Poutier. Prettier. But that’s not what really caught me off guard. His hair. He used to have brown stubborn curls which would fall in his face if he didn’t get a monthly haircut. He’s now got jet black hair gelled, but not too much, into a slicked back ‘do.

Yeah. Wow. Whoa. Midlife crisis for $500 please, Alex. With a daily double of Pussy Whip.

But you know, hey, he’s a friend, I’m not judging. Who am I to talk? I recently had very blonde highlights.

It’s just, well, to me this was the final step which said, “I’m not the guy I used to be. I’m the guy I wanted to be. The transformation is complete.”

Worse? He gave me one of those air hugs. You know, the non embrace hug?

Which is fine because I don’t want this person I obviously do not know anymore touching me. And I don’t want whatever’s in his hair on me or my clothes.

Off we went to freight company dock.

I learned something. Freight companies share docks. I never gave it much thought. Until I was forced to think about it. We were at the Greyhound Bus terminal.

I’ll do anything for my friends. Really I will. I’ve done a lot for my friends. I’m not proud, I have no shame, I get in there and do what needs to be done.

Have you been to a Greyhound Bus terminal?

Yeah. Me either.

Let’s leave it at: They’re everything movies and television makes them out to be. Multiplied by 50.

Within 5 minutes of entering the freight area I was filthy. Dust and dirt covered filthy. My friend had a big swanky do in a few hours, and didn’t have time to shower again. So it was me pawing through pallets and boxes and bulk shipments of you name it to find my friend’s boxes of very expensive gifts for the evening’s swanky do.

There’s weird stuff on freight company docks.

It occurred to me I might like working at a freight company dock. If it weren’t for the dust and dirt. It’s sort of like a customs check area, only without customs agents. Seriously. It’s really interesting. You name it, it was there, boxed or otherwise, coming from or going to destinations near and far. Where else could you see this:

Grrrr eyhound

Yeah. I told you it was interesting.

But time was a wastin’ and I was a gettin’ dirtier and already wheezing from the dust which would inevitably turn into a full blow asthma attack complete with watering eyes and sniffly nose.

We found the boxes, the dock guy and me, and loaded them on a push cart, and rolled them to my friend’s car, and of course they didn’t all fit, so of course I got a cab and we loaded them into the cab and of course I tipped the loading dock guy out of my own purse and of course I rode in the cab to the big swanky do event site and of course I was filthy and coughing and eyes watering and nose sniffling and was in my sneakers and looked like the full blown loser I am in front of all my friend’s posh colleagues and new friends.

But that wasn’t what bothered me. Anything for a friend in need, right? Of course.

I schlepped the boxes to the area they had set up for the gifts, a very white, very pristine, very regal looking display table. A woman with very sticky and tall hair said, “Oh, just set them behind the table, dear, mind that you don’t get the table dirty.”

No one, not even my friend, who had been grabbed and barked at by all manner of people who needed him right this minute the second we arrived, offered to help me. No one.

No big deal. I plopped the boxes behind the table, minding to not soil it.

I saw my friend with a swarm of people around him, mobile phone to his ear while signing something and talking to people. He’s busy. I know. I waved a “see ya” wave.

“No, wait. Trill, hang on a minute.”

“I have to get back to the office.”

“Come by after work, you’re on the guest list.”

“Okay, maybe, thanks.”

Right. Like I was going to stop by the swanky do after work wearing my now filthy clothes, wheezing at coughing and sneezing and eyes watering. Like I wanted to go anyway. Like I wanted to spend the evening with people who think I’m a delivery person. He knew I wouldn’t show. I probably wasn’t even actually on the guest list. He was just saying that because it looks and sounds good to him and the people around him.

But that wasn’t what bothered me.

What bothered me, in final analysis, is that my foul weather friend used me. Blatantly used me. And as yet anyway, has not uttered anything remotely sounding like thank you.

And no. Normally I don’t care about things like thank yous with friends. I don’t do anything expecting something, even a thank you, in return.

But this time around, this guy, whom I haven’t seen in almost a year, this guy who is busy getting a face lift and collagen treatments, didn’t ask one of his coworkers, hoity toity friends or even one of his minions and of course not WHIF to do his dirty work. He couldn’t risk asking one of them to step foot on a dirty freight loading dock, but worse, he couldn’t risk looking like he hadn’t planned ahead, or that he cut this to the last second and almost had no expensive gifts to give away. He had to call on someone a) he could trust and b) wouldn’t mind dropping everything to get dirty and schlepp for him and c) wouldn’t think less of him because of it.

He got it wrong on count C.

I know I’m good ol’ reliable there when you need her Trill. I’m okay with that.

What I’m not okay with is his complete lack of gratitude for me helping bail him out of a potential work disaster. (Yes, at these things, not having an expensive gift to give away is a bona fide disaster. It’s all relative.)

He’s a foul weather friend. He calls when he’s down or when he needs help.

When things are good, he’s nowhere to be heard or seen.

I wasn’t feeling bad about being a chump, I helped him because I wanted to, and I’d do it again. But as I laid there trying to breathe last night, knowing he was on his 10th glass of champagne, WHIF on his arm all decked out in her cut down to here and up to there dress with her perfect implanted boobs and tucked bum, making the rounds, calculating what this event will mean to his bottom line, I realized how much I really don’t know him anymore, and that there is no way we could be construed as friends.

It’s not about “what’s he ever done for me.” I don’t think that way, I don’t want to think that way.

It’s about him becoming someone else. Someone I don’t really like. Someone who only calls when things are bad in his life.

Things are generally bad in my life, no one even asks anymore, they just assume things are bad and either don’t want to be depressed or don’t want to feel guilty for having good things in their lives. A roll of the eyes and “what now” are reactions I get a lot. I’m okay with that, too. I understand. So I keep quiet about most stuff and am honestly relieved when no one asks. But I can’t understand or excuse complete and total lack of appreciation or gratitude.

Friend expected me to help him. Friend expected me to drop everything for him. Because I haven’t changed, and my core values probably never will. I’m, you know, reliable.

And that bothers me. It wouldn’t bother me if we were still buddies. But we’re not. WHIF hates me, I don’t like her, and he’s whipped by her and by his need to be the person he wanted to become. The only place for me is as his foul weather friend.

And what really bothers me, to the point of resentment, is that he’s put me in the situation of having to decide, make a conscious choice, the next time he calls with a problem, to not help him. Either by way of polite excuse lie or out and out No!, I have to either stop this person from making me feel used and stupid and even lower about myself by refusing to help him, or I have to accept him, changes inclusive, WHIF inclusive, and continue to be a supportive, reliable friend and have these moments of feeling low about myself after the fact.

Yes. The irony here is that I am so reliable, I am so “good ol’ Trill” I even have to take on the responsibility for ending what’s left of the friendship, which, is just another way in which foul weather friends use you. They don’t even take on the guilt inducing role of never calling and just letting the friendship drop.

Do I miss him? Would I miss him? Not anymore. I did miss him when he first stopped crying in his beer. I mean, I didn’t miss him crying in his beer, but I missed hanging out with him. It was always interesting to watch him go from crying in his beer to drunk again and lookin’ to score with a slim, petite blonde or Asian. He could make that transformation in an hour on a good night. Very interesting to watch. But that was then. This is now. He’s changed. Things are different now.

Evolve or die aren’t just pretty words. I’ve got to change, too. So. This is day one of No More Foul Weather Friends. Fortunately, so far, none have surfaced so I haven’t been faced with a dilemma of conscious choice.

So actually, that makes it a good day. I haven’t had to decide to go against my nature and tell a using former friend that I will not be allowing them to use me. Things could be worse

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1:33 PM

Tuesday, April 12, 2005  
Is this the start of another heartbreaker, or something better beginning?
I have declared this to be: A good day.

In my ongoing pledge to seek good and beauty in small things, I present to you proof that I can do it. I seek and can find joy in the very small things in life.

Several serendipitous events have already occurred. I know, the day's not over yet. Lots can and will happen. This is the Life(?) of Trillian, after all. We don't put the (?) there for nothing. Still. The Universe has sent me a bunch of little things, small favors, things which make me, well, not euphoric, or even happy, as in smiley whistley happy, but, well, better than normal.

Which is sad, ironically, because on these increasingly rare occasions when I feel better than normal, I realize just how bad my new normal is. But we're not talking about that today. Because I don't feel normal today. Well. I don't feel normal any day. I have no idea what it's like to feel normal. What a blissfully happy way to feel that must be. I envy normal feeling people. I remember when I realized my normal was abnormal. When I discovered I wasn't well, you know, like other people. Wait. That's another blog for another day. But for reference point, I'm talking about my normal. Which is abnormal. So when I don't feel like my normal (abnormal) self, I think I'm getting a taste of what it's like to feel normal (normal). It's a nice way to feel. Sort of, kind of, almost, like being in love. Okay. Well. Not really. But I don't know. Something different. Something better. Someone else. Someone good.

First: I overslept. Yes. You read that correctly. I overslept. Which means not only was I sleeping, but I was sleeping really hard and didn't wake up, fitfully, every 38 minutes. And I didn't finally just get up and start the day at my usual 4:30 AM. I woke up to the sound of Furry Creature meowing inquisitively, almost shyly. Within seconds there was a tentative paw poking at my face. Then purring in my ear. Another inquisitive meow. "Hey, fella, you feeling okay? What's up?" I said concerned he wasn't feeling well. Because the nocturnal creature who is my roommate doesn't usually meow like that in the night. Drop toys on my face, snuggle himself into weird and uncomfortable places on me, race back and forth across the bed in a flurry of kitten frenzy, attack the bed mice lurking under the covers (my feet), yes. But meow inquisitively, purr in my ear and paw at my face? No. He doesn't do that in the night. So I was worried. I assumed it was around 3 AM.

I looked at the clock. It was 6:15 AM.

Not only did I oversleep, I slept in! No wonder Furry Creature was confused! I had that instipanic thing, "Oh no! I overslept! Quick! Dash around like you're on hot coals! Take a shower! No! No time for that! You're not too smelly and you can put your hair up! Grab the first clothes you see who cares if they match! Just brush your teeth and get out of here!" That lasted about two minutes when I said, "Wait a minute. You didn't oversleep. It's 6:15 AM. You slept longer and later than you usually do, but in no way can this be considered oversleeping. You may have actually got five hours of uninterrupted sleep last night. That's almost healthy. Almost normal! Chill, girl, chill. Give the cat his breakfast and chill."

"Yeah. Yeah! You're right! Normal! Almost normal...normal" turning that word over thoughtfully, saying it as if I were an alien visiting the planet and learning a new word.

So I gave the cat his breakfast and chilled. And then marveled in my accomplishment of sleeping five whole hours. Without the aid of drugs or alcohol. "Wow." I thought. "Wow."

I trotted over to my window to take in my morning Zen moment of looking at the Lake. (I know, that's such a brag, it's even bragging and name dropping, but hey, I earned that swutting view. Blood, sweat and toil and far too long in a horrible apartment in a crappy neighborhood, three muggings, that stupid gross train every day, I swutting earned my sliver view of the Lake. I earned it, dammit, I earned it.) The sun is on it's Northward trek, so this week the sunrise is perfectly centered in my little sliver view of the Lake. Today is a cloudy, rainy day. Which should mean nothing in terms of the sunrise except that it's not visible. But no! Because today is not like other days! Today is special! Here's the amazing phenomenon I witnessed out my living room window this morning:

Rain on Window Sun on Horizon 1

Rain on Window Sun on Horizon 2

If I'd been awake at my usual 4:30 AM, I might have missed this. I would have already been working out or in the shower or online or walking to work. But today is obviously a special day. It was already becoming obvious today is special. I slept in and woke up just in time to see that. There was a 7 minute window of opportunity to catch a glimpse of that, before the sun disappeared into the low lying clouds. And I saw all seven minutes of it. (Which is why I didn't dash up to the roof deck and take better quality photos instead of shooting it through a rain soaked window.)

I was mindful that the morning routine would have to be somewhat reduced, so the workout session would have to be scrimped (hey. at least I try to do some sort of exercise in the morning) I pulled out a tape I haven't used in ages. It's got 15 minute "power" sessions. Perfect for a morning like this. Maximum workout in minimum time. (Check out Get Fuzzy, there's a great Satchel exercise moment today, another serendipitous joy) I'm not fond of this tape. It hurts me. They're not kidding with the words power and maximum. But I decided to give it another try. After all, I didn't throw it away when I moved, I must have some feelings for it. I selected a power abs session. (yes, possibly the worst and most painful session) I not only did the whole session, but I did most of it with Furry Creature on my chest and stomach. (See diagram A) (Yeah, we're real close.) I felt like Rocky. Furry Creature is not exactly a petite cat. He lost a few pounds when he was ill, but he's rapidly regaining them. (The vet assures me he is not overweight, he is just truly an enormous, fluffy cat well within his healthy and normal weight range. Which is alarmingly high for, you know, a domestic cat.)

Diagram A
Diagram A

When I finished the whole power ab session I did some of the power arms session, using Furry Creature as a free weight. (See Diagram B) He obliged for a few reps and then, well, he had other things to do and decided this was above and beyond the call of feline companion duty and well below feline dignity standards.

Diagram B
Diagram B

I also decided I really should be thinking about getting to work.

I took a shower. I took my time. It was a good shower. Showers are underrated. Good ones, anyway. This one was a good one. I felt exhilarated and very, well, clean and fresh and revived. (which probably has more to do with the five hours of uninterrupted sleep and vigorous workout than the shower)

I even decided to blow dry my hair. I have no idea what possessed me to do this. It's raining, it's damp and kind of humid. Blow drying my hair is counter intuitive considering the environmental forces of the day. It will get wet and curly the second I step outside. Nonetheless, blow I did. And for a brief moment, as I was putting the dryer away, I caught a glimpse of my freshly cleaned and dried hair in the mirror, and, just for second there, I didn't hate what I saw. For a very brief moment, before I stood up and saw the full me again, I didn't recoil in hatred, self loathing, anger and depression at the reflection. A first in years. I'm ugly, but I have swutting amazing hair. When I bother to "do" something with it it's almost advert quality hair. For a few moments there, as my reflection was only partly visible, the part mostly visible being my hair, I saw a view of me that's, you know, normal looking. If I could walk around half bent over with freshly cleaned and dried hair swirling over most of my face all the time I might actually not be considered ugly. Well. Except for the half bent over thing. Still. There might be a guy out there who would be okay with that. "Yeah, she's half bent over all the time, but once you get past that she's really very normal looking and she's got great hair. It's really quite alluring when she's in the bathroom getting ready for work."

That was my second serendipitous moment: I have very, very few moments when I don't hate the way I look. One second, just one small second of not hating my reflection is a swutting huge gift from the Universe. If you're not truly ugly or if you don't suffer from BDD, you don't understand. Just trust me. A few seconds of not hating yourself is bliss. It's a huge deal. (For the curious, there's a description here You will be hearing more about this in the coming years as images of genetic "perfection" become even more prevalent. It used to just be the Hollywood, advertising and fashion industries who fostered this image as lifestyle attitude. Then MTV. Then all regions of the internet. It's now seeped into prime time television. Well, I mean, it's been there since the dawn of television, but showing only the prettiest, fittest and most well dressed and coifed of the species as "normal" wasn't enough. Now completely overhauling someone's genetic "imperfections" is lauded and held up as a social service to allegedly DNA challenged humans. I'm telling you here and now, genetic engineering is coming folks. Line up to get your helix reconfigured now before the craze catches on and you are the last flawed and imperfect person on Earth.) So yeah. I could have called it a good day right then and there.

But.

It got better.

My morning door person, whom I like more and more every day, said, "Whoa. I thought maybe you were out of town again. Running late but looking go- oo- ood! this morning! You got it goin' on! What's his name?!"

"No man. Just work. All this useless beauty...har har...I bothered fuss with my hair this morning. But thanks."

"If fussing with your hair is all it takes, I want you to fuss with MY hair. There's something else. Different makeup? New coat? Something different about you."

"I actually slept last night."

"Ha ha. That must be it! Sleep! Now go out there and show 'em how it's done."

"Okay boss. It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it."

"Huh," thought I. After that brief moment of not hating my reflection, I stood up and saw the full horror once again, so you know, it wasn't as if there had been some magic transformation. Yet the door person noticed something different about me. Must be the sleep. Maybe the power abs. Looking down at less than Sports Illustrated ready abs and quickly dismissing that theory. "No. Must have been the sleep. Or traces of the euphoric glow of that incredible sunrise."

One really great thing about my new neighborhood is that I feel safe enough to wear my Podphones on low as I walk to work. I know this is foolish. I know I'm begging for it. But with the volume low and vision and attention on high alert so far I feel at least as okay as I did in the old 'hood without Podphones. Which isn't really saying much at all. Because I never felt even remotely safe there. But. For now I sometimes listen to music on low volume when I walk to work. (Attention all would be muggers/assailents: Touch me and I'll swutting kill you, I swear I will. I'm not normally a violent person. But. I've been through this three times and I'm mad as Hell about you and your kind so don't mess with me if you want to live.) I stepped outside. Sniffed the air. Looked around. Got a full sensory report. And deemed it a day safe for Pod use. Shuffle, of course. No playlist. Just random shuffle.

And the Universe saw fit to give me the most perfect mix of music for my walk to work. Planet of Sound. You know it's going to be a really, really good day when your Pod gives you your favorite song by your favorite band at the very first click. Some people might find the best air guitar song ever recorded a bit extreme for the first song of the work day.

But not me.

Yes, I agree, a dirge is really more in keeping with the emotion of going to a job you hate. But not today. Hey, you just sit there drinking your second Coughupalattébucks caffeine and sugar bomb and don't judge me. I say: Who needs caffeine and sugar when there are screaming guitars and The Pixies? In fact, I've been thinking about a Coughupalattébucks rehab plan which mainly consists of listening to certain songs as a way of overcoming the addiction plaguing the planet. I'll tell you about it later.

One song after the other of My Favorite Songs Ever. I even checked to see if I had unconsciously cheated and clicked My Favorite Songs Ever playlist. Nope. Random shuffle. And let me tell you, if you've never experienced the joy that comes from Slim Whitman singing Una Paloma Blanca directly after Planet of Sound and just before segueing into Erotic City (the dirty, naughty, nasty extended version. yeah baby.), well, you do not know what true joy is. Try it sometime. Warning: This mix is for advanced music listeners. It is intended for open minded and mature audiences only. Hearing this mix of music may cause tension, irritability, and intestinal discomfort in some listeners.

Thinking surely this must be the end of my run of serendipity, because I was nearing the office, I began to mentally brace myself for the day ahead of me. I was getting in later than usual, meaning, there would already be several voice mails and tons of "urgent" emails waiting for me. Meaning the halls would be filled with the smell of coffee and alive with the sound of inane banter. Meaning I would be forced to make small talk and be all smiley happy about whatever the stupid morning conversation topic of the day was. Speaking of intestinal discomfort.

But what to my wondering eyes should appear? There, on a planter ledge, perfectly placed for someone like me to come by and see it, was one of the ultimate serendipitous and ironic found ready made artistic compositions ever. Sitting on that planter ledge, across from the twin towers of Marina City, which are commonly referred to as corncobs, because, well, they resemble corncobs, was an actual spent corncob. One of those corncob on a stick things those guys in the rolling pushcarts sell mainly on the West side. I don't think I've ever seen a spent corncob on a stick this far East and North. Its presence in this part of town is noteworthy all on its own. But in front of Marina City? This is artist manna from Heaven. So much so that people unaware of it's ready-made found composition status would naturally presume it was a tritely set up composition. I assure you, I found it this way. I have never partaken of one of those corncobs on a stick, and I did not touch or move the found spent object. In spite of how it looks, I did not have conscious premeditated artistic thoughts with that corncob.

I snapped a few shots. It was kind of busy there, there are a couple of hotels and some office buildings right there, so there was a lot of traffic. Cars, taxis, pedestrians, pigeons...I didn't have a really good chance (or proper camera) to do it the full justice it deserves, but I've got the memories. And a few photos.

Corncobs

The day really could have ended there. It was all good so far. Why ruin it by going into the office? I could turn back, go home, call in apathetic and be done with the day. You know, quit while I was ahead.

But I soldiered on. Duty called. And, you know, it had already been a very good serendipitous day, so maybe handling the office, the people, my job wouldn't be quite the usual treachery.

Almost there. Turn back or go through with it. What's it gonna be, work, or flee? Responsible or shirker?

Of course I went to work, silly. I am a) responsible and b) a sucker for punishment. I apparently like abuse. I'm not proud of that fact about myself, but it's obvious and true, so I accept and deal with it.

No. My office wasn't suddenly and strangely transformed into a busy hub of exciting work related activity punctuated by well intended jocularity. It was the same old dull routine with the same band of miscreants and misfits. (Myself included, for the record.)

Boob Job: Late.
Mini Me: The Temp: Late.
(needs a new nickname) boss: Present and accounted for with Twinkie and coffee in hand.

Right. Everything checks out here.

I dodged a potential conversation bullet with Smelly Coffee Woman. This could be considered a gift, too, because her coffee was especially smelly. "Ooooooh, I love that scarf! And look at your hair!" Fingering some strands of my hair, raising them and letting them fall and fluffing my itching to spring into action curls. For the record: I don't like being touched by anyone who is not: My mother, my father, a sexual partner, a very, very, very close friend, my cat or someone with a professional interest in my body and my express and prearranged verbal or written consent including doctors, hair stylists, masseurs and estheticians. Period. Do you see coworker on that list? No. You do not see coworker on that list because I do not want my coworkers touching me. I know I have issues. But lots of people do not like being touched. It doesn't make us vile, cold, callous people. Just the opposite. Most of us are very warm, open, expressive and physical people with acutely sensitive senses. Turbo senses, if you will. We reserve all that emotion and physicality for people with whom we share meaningful emotional bonds. Because of our extreme sensory attunement, we're very sensitive to, well, our senses. Smells, sounds, views, tastes, and touches barrage us more than normal people. A brief flicking of strands of hair might go almost unnoticed by some people. But to a person with turbo senses, that small touch triggers serious endorphins. You get the idea. Things happen. If it goes on too long, any seemingly slight sensory stimulation can turn into, well, speaking of Erotic City. And no, that doesn't mean I am harboring an attraction for Smelly Coffee woman or anyone else who randomly touches me. I'm just saying, I don't like to be touched by coworkers or other people with whom I do not share an emotional bond or professional need.

Just as I was trying really hard to squelch the flinch which is my natural reaction to being touched by a coworker without warning, TEETH walked by and said, "Trillian, I've been looking all over for you. We've got a copy problem. There's a complete rewrite for the Big Client project."

Normally this would bother me. "Looking for me all morning?" It was barely 9 AM. Technically I'm not even supposed to be there until 9 AM. I let that slide. Because he was getting me away from Smelly Coffee Woman and her groping hands in my hair. What bothered me was that I knew about the copy problem last week and have been waiting for TEETH to give me the revised copy but he didn't know I knew and now it's at the last minute and he's decided to grace me with the new copy. But today, I'm not letting it bother me. Today I see him as a serendipitously placed excuse to leave Smelly Coffee Woman wallowing in her own vapor trail.

When the morning kibitz sessions subsided in the break room, I ventured in for a bite of breakfast. Oh like you've never had breakfast at the vending machine. I didn't take time for my cereal at home. Sweet and salty mix with the M&Ms removed is a healthy breakfast. But today, when I ordered the sweet and salty mix from the vending machine, the coil thing just kept spiraling. A bunch of items came tumbling down. It was like winning on a slot machine. I won two packages of sweet and salty mix and a package of Funyuns!

I know! It is a good day!

Except what the swut are Funyuns?! Who cares?! I won them from the vending machine! Woo hoo!

Woman Triumphs Over Vending Machine. Film at 10.

It turns out Funyuns, my friends, are a perfect (albeit very salty and unhealthy) garnishment for soup. I know this because I brought soup, yes, that soup, for lunch. I read the Funyans package and quickly deemed them unhealthy and probably unfit for human consumption. But I won them, and by swut I was going to eat them. Even if it killed me. Which it probably one day will. The minute I ate them I could feel my heart straining under weight of the arterial clogging crap in them. My hips and bum grew a half inch. (My abs, however, still pumped up from that power session, seemed unfazed) I could feel my cells realigning and recomposing into carcinogen induced baby tumors. But you know, Funyuns are not as bad as I would have presumed something named Funyuns might be. As a soup garnish, they're better than not bad. They're pretty okay. In fact, if you want to experience a new taste sensation (and risk personal health) I would recommend Funyuns as a soup garnish.

So yeah, things went along, you know, okay. Apart from TEETH finally deciding to give me the copy changes, at the last minute, you know, okay. Not horrible. Could have been worse.

I took a circuitous route home. I try to walk different ways, zig zagging my way to and from work. Seeing different blocks, varying the routine. It was an okay walk. Nothing really special, nothing really bad or good. Just a basic city walk.

Until I saw this:
Clouds over Lake Michigan

I know. Pretty cool clouds. Which I never would have seen if I had randomly walked another way home.

Which I deemed a serendipitous and full circle end to a good day. A day which didn't suck as much as normal (abnormal).

And that is how you find pleasure in very little things. That is how single, lonely people manage when they don't have a partner's presence and understanding or a child's laugh or new experience in which to find joy and excitement.

1:39 PM

Sunday, April 10, 2005  
:-|
There are times I literally scream, "I know what I had, I know what I lost, I don't need to learn this lesson! I passed the test with a 100% correct! I knew what I had, I know what I had, it wasn't my choice, okay? I know there are some horrible men out there, I've dated most of them!"

Another first date, another nonstarter, another early Saturday night. Another long and lonely night. Another unanswered cry to the Universe for help. Email written but not sent to HWNMNBS.

Because that's what bad dates turn into: Lonely nights after the date missing HWNMNBS. Because dates with him were always interesting or fun or intellectual or funny or at least always nice. I always couldn't wait to see him again. We were good and okay with being quiet together. We were lucky. Our quiet moods were always in synch. There was always that look in his eyes. There was always that understanding. There were always laughs.

I'm not one to bandy about the term boring. I staunchly believe boring people get bored.

But.

I may have met an exception to that rule. I may have met one of the most boring people on the planet. I say may because it's possible he's just quiet or shy. Which would be cutting an immense amount of slack. Because not only did he barely utter a word, he showed no sign of emotion. No sign of nervousness or introspection, no smile, no frown, no arch of brow, nothing even close to a laugh, of course, no visible sign of any sort of emotion. He was like an automaton. HAL has more inflection and emotion than this guy. For a little over an hour his face looked exactly like this: :-| . And no, you're not supposed to be seeing a cute little emoticon there. This guy didn't have enough expression to even tag with an emoticon. He is litterally the :-| guy.

Possibly the most boring person on the planet. I knew it was going badly when I realized I had a deeper more meaningful conversation with the woman at the dry cleaner. Who barely speaks English.

Oh sure, he's probably a nice guy. He's probably swell once you get to know him. Heck, he may be the life of the party once he gets going. But I doubt it. And there's nothing wrong with that. Nice is good. I like nice. I'm too nice for my own good, too. (Be quiet. It's true. Really. You don't know me in real life.) But this guy, I mean, there's just nothing. And if he can't bring his personality, or at least part of it, a hint of it, even, on a first date, then there's a problem. Not a challenge, a problem. Be warned shy or quiet or unemotional people: When you're on a first date, smile, laugh, arch a brow, sweat, act nervous...do something, anything, to indicate you are capable of feeling and expressing human emotion.

The other possibility is that he wasn't into me and wanted to get this thing over as quickly as possible and didn't want to encourage me in any way.

It worked.

I can laugh about the date itself, but the aftermath is another issue.

I miss him. I really, really, really swutting miss him. I just: Miss him. There. I said it again. Okay? Go read Belle du Jour if you want titillation. I'm so tired and frustrated with trying, really trying, to meet new people and find something, some shared something, some basis, some spark, something, anything, which indicates he could be a boyfriend. I'm not even talking spouse material here, I'm just talking about someone to date. I've given up the hope of finding someone to marry me. It hurts, but I'm a very realistic person. I know that hope is pointless. I had my chance, I blew it. So I'm not looking at men with a "is he the one" attitude. I'm looking at them with a "does he like me and can we tolerate each other for a few weeks or months" attitude.

Worse still is that these dates, while a rich source of comedic material, make me feel like the loser I am. This is it folks, when you have to scrape the bottom of the barrel, you get, well, the stuff on the bottom of the barrel. And yes. I know. I'm down there, too. I'm no catch.

Which confirms my theory: I'm The Rhoda. And not just the Rhoda to a particular Mary. Everyone else I know is the Mary. I am the Rhoda in all my friends' lives. I guess everyone needs a Rhoda, and apparently it's me. I am the world's Rhoda. Swut. I'm Rhoda's Rhoda. (oooh, good band name)

There's a television station showing all old shows, stuff from the early '70s. I've dropped in on a few Mary Tyler Moore episodes in the past few weeks. Funny as some of them are, I can't watch them anymore.

Rhoda hits too close to home for me. Instead of laughing with her and Mary over another of her loser dates, I find myself on the verge of tears for her and myself.

There's nothing wrong with Rhoda. She's cute in a '70s way. She's not rail thin like Mary, but then she's not diabetic, either. She's got a very kicky style. She has big bright eyes. I'm not a guy, but I think she's got a nice ass. She's intelligent and creative and sarcastic and funny and thoughtful and confident. So what's wrong with being a Rhoda, you ask.

You tell me.

The obvious answer is: She's no Mary. Everyone likes Mary. But then everyone likes Rhoda, too. Some people, except shallow Phyllis, like Rhoda better than Mary. But no one wants to date Rhoda. No one wants to marry Rhoda. No one remembers or covers the theme song from her spin-off show. Rhoda earns very little money and has to live in the crappy attic, but she makes the best of it with her creativity and flair for style and a bargain. She is the lovable loser who also happens to be the sane voice of reason, confidant, and very hip go to girl.

But she's no Mary.

Let's talk about Mary.

Mary, cute and nice and lovable as she is, is a doormat. And not a very intelligent doormat. She gets lots of dates and marriage proposals, but they're from guys with sports announcer hair and leisure suits who just want to get in that pull-out sofa of hers. She works at a pathetic news station with a bunch of pathetic nobodies managed by a neanderthalic, domineering, boozehound of a boss. She's the associate producer but doesn't do much of anything except type, answer the phone and go on long lunch dates. Oh sure, she has a great wardrobe, but so does Paris Hilton. She lives in an only slightly larger apartment than Rhoda, it's still only a studio with a balcony which she never uses. And she rents. She isn't rolling in cash, but then she isn't exactly working her tail off at a busy and demanding job, either. She lacks confidence which is obvious in her stammer and difficulty in standing up for herself and her ideas to her boss and her dates.

Mary's supposed to be the typical career girl. And yes, in many ways she is. Especially in one huge way: Her career is something she's doing until she finds a man. Which isn't working out very well for her. So she really needs to shore up another plan because that pathetic little low paying job of hers isn't enough to get her anything more than that crappy studio and a decent pair of shoes now and then.

Rhoda, on the other hand, is realistic. She's not expecting a man to come into her life and take care of her. She works hard, she's creative, she puts in long hours, and has ideas, goals and aspirations for her career and herself.

Mary wants the idea of a career. Rhoda wants an actual career.

But yet, even 30 years later, no one wants to be the Rhoda. Even the term "I'm the Rhoda" is common vernacular for being the loser friend.

So here I am, the world's Rhoda.

Batman's on. That should be safe. I may be the world's Rhoda, but at least I'm not a Robin.

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6:11 PM

 
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