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.


< chicago blogs >





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

 
Saturday, March 11, 2006  
I hesitate to even bring this to anyone's attention because it would a) prove that I have read Ask Amy at least once, which is one time too many; and b) indicate that I am either hurt, offended or in some way provoked to emotion over Ask Amy which is troublesome in ways I cannot articulate at the moment.

And I am not in the business of being a better journalist than the published journalists in "credible" news sources. I leave that job in the good and truly credible hands of Steve Rhodes and his Beachwood Reporter.

But.

Friday's Ask Amy hit very close to home for me and any other single people with married friends.

This is a letter which ran in Friday's (March 10) Chicago Tribune. A married woman has concerns about one of her single friends. The married friend, rather than just asking her single "best" friend directly, chose to ask a complete stranger, a stranger with a published advice column, no less, for advice regarding her "best" friend's "weird" and "strange" behavior.

Let's join the column already in session, shall we?

Dear Amy: My best friend, "Betsy," is a lovely, independent, funny thirtysomething who has not had a mate for a few years.

Betsy has nurtured a friendship with "Glen" for the past few years -- sometimes "hanging out" with him, having long phone conversations and that sort of thing.

My husband and I have known Betsy for nearly eight years. She comes over for dinner and parties, and we always include her when our extended families get together. Some weekends she spends the night with us because the drive between our houses is a long one.

Betsy is my best friend -- and by association one of my husband's best friends.

We have recently been pressuring Betsy to include Glen in some of our outings -- offering dinner, tickets to sporting events or to visit us at home.

We still have not met Glen!

Don't you think this is weird?

Betsy says that it doesn't make sense for her to introduce him to us because they aren't "dating."

Believe me, I've tried to figure out what that means. I told her I didn't care if she was dating him or not. The fact that he has been a part of her life for a few years and we have heard a little about him but have never met him (even though we have extended invitations repeatedly in his direction) is strange.

What do you think?
-- Wondering


Dear Wondering:
Here are a few possible scenarios:

"Betsy" might be gay and not want to disclose it to you at this time.

"Glen" might be married.

Betsy might be embarrassed. Glen might be a figment of her imagination.

Why are you worrying so much about this? I'm sure that every time you bring this up, Betsy wonders why you are so invested in her having a "mate." You never mention that she is unhappy with the state of her life, so why are you?

Let it be.


Great. Problem solved! Where would we be without Amy? She makes it all so obvious and easy to understand.

It's simple, really. If you're a single woman in your thirties who has not had a mate "in years" yet has a male friend she doesn't drag on a "long drive" to her "best" friends' house for dinner, sporting events or visits at that far away home you are either a) a lesbian, b) having an affair with a married man, or c) psychotic, making up imaginary friends.

Wow. Where would we be without sound advice from Amy Dickinsin? I feel so much better about my life now. Now all I need to figure out is if I'm a lesbian or psychotic. (or don't realize I'm seeing a married man which would make me a psychotic adulteress.)

I am bothering to bring this to attention because "Wondering" could be one of my friends. Not one of my "best" friends, because luckily for me, my best friends talk to me. They ask questions and know enough about me to not have to seek out advice from a complete stranger about my lack of desire to invite one of my male friends to their houses for an evening of, "so, when are you two going to get married?" or even the matter of dealing with the sleeping arrangements during that visit. My friends may think I'm weird, but they accept my weirdness and don't splatter what they perceive as my "strange" problems all over an advice column in the Chicago Tribune.

I have several single male friends with whom I talk on the phone and regularly "hang out" with. I talk on the phone and hang out with these men because they are my friends and they have time to talk and hang out with me. They have time for me because they are not married or parents. And they live within a close distance. Unlike my female friends who are married and some of whom have children and live a "long distance" away. These guys, my friends, are single city dwellers like me.

We're not "involved" because we don't want to be "involved." We're friends. Period.

Some of them are gay. (and one of them has questionable mental acuity which may manifest an imaginary friend or two) None of them would be remotely interested in schlepping a "long distance" to any of my married friends' homes for dinner or a sporting event, and none of us would be comfortable sharing a bedroom at one of those houses for an overnight visit.

I am increasingly dreading visits to my married friends' homes. Why would I subject an evening of "married life is great in the suburbs" to any of my single friends, male or female?

To Amy's credit she did, eventually, make the point that this is effectively none of "Wondering's" business, but the implication is that it's none of "Wondering's" business because "Betsy" has some deep, dark secret she's hiding.

Maybe, like me, "Betsy's" deep dark secret is that she's struggling with feelings of envy and resentment over her "best" friend's marriage, house and lifestyle that affords tickets to sporting events. Maybe "Betsy's" struggling to maintain a friendship with a person whom she has increasingly less in common. Maybe "Betsy" is a really tactful and swell friend and knows swutting well "Glen" would be miserable visiting "Wondering" and is trying to spare "Glen's" and "Wondering's" feelings.

Or maybe she's a psychotic lesbian having an affair with an imaginary married man.

Amy really blew an opportunity to speak out for single people. I suspect (hope) there's some sarcasm in Amy's three chosen possibilities. I really hope she's trying to point out the extreme weirdness (her term, not mine) of "Wondering's" inappropriate concerns by offering extreme possibilities. But I'm not convinced Amy was being sarcastic or extreme. And she completely ignored the opportunity to point out single person/married friends social and emotional issues.

"Wondering," if you're out there, here is a response from a single woman who has not had a mate "in years," probably far more accurate to your "best" friend "Betsy's" point of view than Amy Dickinsin's.

Dear Wondering.
First of all, let's give Betsy a big round of applause for traveling a "long distance" to your home to visit you and your husband. She sure is a great pal and apparently a gracious guest. That's why she's your "best" friend, right? She's swell. She's always there for you and really takes a lot of effort to visit you.

Since you're married, it's possible you've lost touch with single life. You have a husband and a home, perhaps two incomes, at least a married tax break, and you and your husband sound like you're satisfied with your life. So satisfied, perhaps, that you are a bit smug in your accomplishments. Not intentionally, of course, but, by virtue of being married and successful, you are calling attention to the fact that your "best" friend Betsy is not married. Even if that's not the case, you opt to make it the case by continually inviting one of Betsy's male friends to join you, calling attention to the fact that as is, on her own, Betsy is not enough. You are implying she needs a man because on her own she's incomplete and needs fixing. Your repair is a man, any man, so she can be like you and your husband.

Let's look at your motivations with your issues with Betsy's life. Why do you care about Betsy's friendship with Glen? Do you exhibit the same interest and concern over her single female friends? If Glen were instead Gina would you push Betsy to invite her to dinner, sporting events and stay over visits? Have you invited any of Betsy's other friends? Have you offered an open invite instead of one directed at Glen? Something like, "We've got two spare tickets to the baseball game next weekend, we'd love to have you join us, bring a friend, it'll be fun!" Or, "We're dying to fire up the barbecue, we'd love it if you could come out and join us next week. Bring whomever you'd like, the more the merrier, let's have a party!"

I realize you're happily married and enjoying the fruits of that union and you want the same thing for your "best" friend. But by continually inviting a male friend to join her in visits to your home, a "long distance" away, you're effectively telling your freind she's not enough on her own, you want a couple to visit you. This could also be perceived as pimping out your friend. You're essentially saying, "I keep harping on this Glen fellow because he's a guy and you haven't had a mate 'in years' and I'm going to do whatever I can to see to it that you two get together in the same bedroom."

Maybe that's not your actual motivation, but, the more you harp on the Glen issue to Betsy (and spend time dwelling on it in your own mind) the more it's going to seem that way to her. Trust me, she knows you want to see her happy and in a good relationship. She understands it's sometimes painful for happily married people see the loneliness and struggle their single friends endure.

Don't single her out, literally, by trying to couple her up with one of her friends. She's a "lovely, independent, funny thirtysomething." She can and should define the boundaries of her relationships.

Let's talk about Glen.

It is very probable Glen is not interested in you, or at least not interested in investing time and effort to travel a "long distance" to your home for dinner or a visit. He's either a single guy or is married or he has a girl/boyfriend. His marital/available status is insignificant to everyone in this situation. He's friends with Betsy. They talk and hang out because they have things in common and enjoy each other's company. This in no way obligates him to meet any of her other friends, much less spend a lot of time and effort traveling have dinner or attend sporting events. Maybe he doesn't like sports. Maybe he has strict dietary concerns. Maybe he's busy living his life and couldn't care less about you, your husband and your nagging insistence on judging Betsy's life and his. Maybe he has a girl/boyfriend/wife/partner and the little free time he has he spends with Betsy, therefore spending a lot of time traveling a "long distance" to your place is out of the question for him because he's got other priorities and obligations.

Maybe Glen's political and life leanings are in direct opposition with yours and Betsy is doing the right thing by avoiding awkward social moments when the differing opinions/biases hit the fan.

I guarantee Betsy has discussed you and the invitations with Glen. While Betsy is a swell pal and your "best" friend, the fact is that she has probably relayed some of your less attractive qualities to Glen. She has told Glen about your inference as to the nature of their relationship. This probably, and justifiably, offends Glen. So out of respect to your mutual friend Betsy, he declines the invitations.

Frankly, Glen is sounding like a much better friend to Betsy than you. She doesn't have to travel "long distances" to see him, he has the time and desire to talk to her on the phone and hang out with her. If he's single he is probably very aware of the cost of living on one income and he and Betsy probably hang out doing low or no cost things because they both understand they cannot afford to do much more than hang out. They're buddies in similar circumstances.

Be honest, are your conversations with Betsy short and frequently cut off because you have to tend to a child or leave to do something with/for your husband? Are you able and do you give Betsy one on one gal pal time? That's what single women with married friends miss most when their girl friends get married. Do you listen with sincere concern when she talks about a singleness related issue or do you dismiss her with, "you need a man?" Do you do most of the talking in conversations with Betsy? Are these sporting events and dinners going to cost Betsy and Glen more than $20 each? (remember to factor in travel expense, a bottle of wine or other food item(s), parking fees, cost of beer at the sporting venue) It's impolite to discuss money, so my guess is that Betsy and/or Glen simply cannot afford the $20+ visiting you for dinner/sporting events would cost. And yes, $20 is a big deal to most single people. The choice may come down to traveling to see you and having dinner v. going to a movie/having a drink after work/getting back and forth to work the rest of the week. Betsy, in her swell pal way, makes that sacrifice. But Glen should not be expected to do the same. Do you really remember what it's like to be single? Can you honestly relate to much of anything in Betsy's life?

Leave the poor woman alone on the Glen issue. Being single in a world of married friends is difficult enough. Do not call constant attention to Betsy and her single status by continually inviting Glen to join her. If she felt strongly enough about Glen, in any capacity other than friends, and if you are "best" friends, she would have introduced you to him and he would want to meet you.

Instead focus on spending time with Betsy in a girl friend capacity. Your husband's probably swell and Betsy probably really likes him. But. She's single. She likes doing single girl things like chick flick night or in home spa day or shoe shopping or whatever it is you two have in common that makes you "best" friends. Assuming you are her best friend she undoubtedly really misses the time you two shared together before you were married. Fortunately for Betsy she found Glen to fill a void or two you left in her social life when you got married.

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12:06 PM

Friday, March 10, 2006  
Gone in 120 Seconds
Right, so, my mother’s doing better which is really great. And that's the only thing which matters to me, you know, keeping things in perspective.

But now that I'm not camped out in ICU or racing between work and ICU, I've got some breathing space to catch up with my life.

I’m trying to focus on my life which has lacked even less than usual focus over the past two months.

Work’s work. It hasn’t changed except that it’s more nausea inducing than ever. A couple of people have become engaged to be married so there’s a lot of talk about weddings which never fails to a) annoy me and b) upset me. And someone else quit, got a great job as a VP at another company. You probably already assume this, but I’ll say it anyway, just to make myself feel even worse about myself: This person is several years younger than me, several years less qualified, and no, not bright and clever. In fact this person is kind of stupid and dull. So they should fit in really well in the executive lounge at the new place. I’m not jealous of their title, I’m jealous of the salary I’m quite certain this person is now bringing in over there at the new place. I’m jealous that they got out of my company. I’m jealous that they're moving on with their life in a positive direction. This person got married last year and they have a tiny condo and this new job will help them move into that dream house of theirs. Yeah. Good for them. Excoworker is stupid and dull and is now a VP and making a ton of money, they have two SUVs now, and house with a yard and room for all those little tax deductions they want to have.

Envy is really ugly, isn’t it?

I try to avoid it.

But.

You know.

I mean, kind of difficult to avoid it when everyone around you moves forward, onward and upward, doing all the things people do in life. Fall in love, get married, buy a house, get a promotion/better job, buy a bigger house, have children, get another better job, retire with a place to live which is paid for except taxes, be able to afford health care, you know, all the normal steps through life.

It’s all so normal that it’s not even worth mentioning. Unless you’re not moving through life like a normal person living in a developed nation, in which case if you’re not taking those steps forward through life you are considered a failure.

I finally finished my taxes. That was fun. Lessseeee. Deductions....hmmmm. Mortgage? Nope. Children? Nope. Income high enough to bother with a tax shelter or itemized deductions? Nope. Single. Zero. Single zero. Paying those mandatory federal, state and local taxes of 33.7%! Single and loving it! It’s comforting to think about how much I mean to my government on those long, lonely single zero nights. “Alone. Single. Zero. Nobody loves me, but that’s okay, it makes me more valuable to my government.”

My health insurance company loves me, too. The bills are coming in almost every day for three doctor visits, six prescriptions, two chest x-rays and an EKG. I have no idea why I had an EKG, in fact I’m really not certain I had an EKG. But the administration office at the hospital says I did, and the insurance company says I did, and insurance companies are always right, so I’ll just pay the $165, the portion of the EKG I don’t remember having not covered by my health insurance. So far the total I owe, the portions not paid by my (allegedly “very good,” “very comprehensive”) health insurance company is $485. That does not include what I paid for a co-pay on those prescriptions, $150. Asthma’s on the rise, people are being diagnosed in staggering numbers. Isn’t it interesting that the two most effective and commonly prescribed medications for asthma are not counted in health insurance “formulae” and are not available as an unbranded generic medication? I would never insinuate there’s a correlation between one of the fastest growing health issues and the price of the medication to treat it, and I know my government has nothing to do with my healthcare, so I’ll just happily pay the price of the medicine and thank the Universe for giving me a job which affords me the luxury of healthcare and the income to pay for the expenses my health insurance doesn’t cover.

We had a retirement preparation seminar at work. I don’t plan on ever retiring. I’m going to die before I’m 67 or 70 or whatever the new retirement age is, or, I’m not going to be able to afford retiring and will be working until the day I die of old age or whatever ailment I can’t afford to treat kills me. I know this. I’ve made peace with this. I’m hoping, daily, for an early death. But just in case that doesn’t happen, and just in case I got hold of some silly notion that I might not want to work until the mortician appears at my door, I decided to take the charts and pamphlets on planning for retirement.

Single. Zero. Loser. The adage that $1 million is not enough for most people to retire on is true. I did a couple of cost projections. If I stay in my compartment and the rent increases at a rate of 4 - 5% annually (normal rent increase), $1 million will cover about three and a half years of rent in my compartment by the time I’m 70. All the more reason to buy real estate! they say. True enough. I couldn’t agree more. But. How the swut is a professionally employed lower - middle -middle income single person with no dependents supposed to afford a down payment, much less even qualify for a mortgage on one salary that’s taxed at almost the highest rate when they can barely afford the cost of going to the doctor and subsequent medication? Anyone else figured out a solution to this? And by the way, I don't have a $1 million. I can see no way that I will have $1 million saved by the time I'm 67 or 70. After much going over the budget and doing my taxes, projecting cost of living expenses (rent increases, health care expenses, fed, state and local taxes) and salary increases based on the typical 2% - 4% I get as a "far exceeding, exemplary" worker, taking an extra job to put money in the ol' 401K, I'll be feeling lucky and smug if I have $200,000.00 saved by the time I'm retirement age. I'm going to have to work til the day I die anyway, so better to die sooner, not spend years working and struggling to keep a roof over my head and paying for prescriptions my health insurance doesn't cover. That's not my idea of living. It's: Work, work, try to sleep for a few hours, work, work. With a second job that'll be the routine 7 days a week. Until the day I die. Sorry. I don't think so. Not for me, thanks. The "system" doesn't work for educated professional middle incomed people who are not married. And, we get the bonus of paying a high rate of tax, taxes which are ironically used to fund housing, medical and education programs for low income citizens, taxes which are used to fund schools for children we do not have. We are penalized for getting an education and working and for not getting married and having children.

Gee, it’s great to be back to my life. I did so miss it.

“Trill, old girl,” I thought as I sat looking lovingly at my shiny new asthma inhaler, “you need more money. You need a better paying job. You need to buy real estate. You need to get married.”

“By golly, you’re right. This single zero life is going nowhere but to a homeless shelter.”

So there’s this guy. A friend of a friend. She’s been trying to get us together for a while. His long time girlfriend broke up with him last year. Our mutual friend showed him a photo of me a few months ago. He asked her for my phone number. Yadda yadda yadda, after several phone calls and postponed meetings, we finally met in person.

I thought this guy might be different. When we talked on the phone, several times, there was no awkwardness. We got each others’ sense of humor. Heck, he has a sense of humor and is, you know, a nice guy. He left me a couple of really nice messages when he found out about my mother. He sent me a couple of nice emails. So I thought, “Hey, he does seem sincere and nice and all that. He’s seen photos of me and he’s still nice to me, he’s the one who wanted my phone number after seeing a photo of me, so maybe he really is interested in me. Maybe my luck’s changing.”

Yes. I was uncharacteristically optimistic because it seemed like there was a solid reason to be optimistic.

Big mistake.

I bothered for the date. Fresh haircut and color, had MAF do my make-up. Borrowed a friend’s alluring but not overtly sexy top. Nice heels. I put real effort into it because it was a date and because I wanted to make a good impression on him. I was a little nervous, but more the excited kind of nervous than the afraid kind of nervous. He offered to take me out for an evening of fun because of what I’ve been through in the past two months. “You need a break, a night out, some fun, and I’m just the guy to give it to you,” was his actual line.

Guys, advice, please: Where in that statement is there any clue that I should not have been optimistic or excited about this date? What clue did I miss that things were not what they seemed to be on the surface? I’d really like to know because I really do not want to go through what happened next ever again.

We arranged to meet at a restaurant/bar. We arrived at the same time. We met-up on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant/bar. I recognized him from the photo our mutual friend showed me, and by the clothes he was wearing which he described to me on the phone a few hours prior to the date. We never stepped foot inside the restaurant/bar.

Because he was gone in 120 seconds.

Here’s a slow motion replay.

“(Blind Date)?” I asked as he approached the restaurant bar from the opposite direction a me. (saying his actual name, by the way)

“Yes?” he responded, somewhat surprised.

“It’s me, Trillian!”

Silence.

Pointed, scrutinizing look up and down my body, a head to toe evaluation.

“Huh. You don’t look like the photo (mutual friend) showed me,” not trying to mask his disappointment, in fact showing signs of irritation.

“Oh. Erm. Sorry? (har har)”

“I'm not attracted to you. Let's forget this ever happened and go home to salvage our evenings. We'll just tell (mutual friend who introduced us) there was no chemistry and leave it at that. 'Bye,” turns and leaves me standing there in front of the restaurant/bar as he heads the other direction, gets out his mobile phone and walks into the night.

Um.

Okay.

I’m really good at handling rejection. I’ve had a lot of it. We’re old pals, rejection and I.

His honest and up front nature is nice, I suppose. No hidden agenda, no wondering what he’s thinking.

Shallow? Superficial? A jerk? I don’t know. I didn’t think so before those 120 seconds.

We talked on the phone a lot, he seemed nice, thoughtful, considerate. He talked about the things that mattered to him and never once did he mention anything about looks. He was hurt about his last relationship which ended because his long term girlfriend didn’t want to get married and have children. He said he values intelligence and compassion and sincerity and wants to meet a woman who is those things first and foremost. He said he cared about personality in a woman because he wants to find a lifelong partner. Nothing in there about looks being top on that list. He was understanding and supportive regarding what I was going through with my mother. He respected and liked that I made my mother my priority. He kept calling me. I was not chasing this guy. He was chasing me, albeit by phone. He’s been friends with our mutual friend since college. She speaks highly of him. She’s a nice person. She is a good judge of character.

And yet "I'm not attracted to you. Let's forget this ever happened and go home to salvage our evenings. We'll just tell (mutual friend who introduced us) there was no chemistry. 'Bye."

Disappointed? You bet I am. Hurt? Not really. I was, during my long walk home. In heels. Professionally applied make up running and hair curling in the rain. I was hurt because I tried, I really made a lot of effort for him. Apart from the weariness that showed through the make-up, I looked as good as I can possibly look for a guy who seemed like he liked me. And yet, "I'm not attracted to you. Let's forget this ever happened and go home to salvage our evenings. We'll just tell (mutual friend who introduced us) there was no chemistry. 'Bye."

Humiliated? No. I've been rejected, insulted, mocked, ridiculed, teased, laughed at, and generally criticized about my looks since I was old enough to care about my looks or what anyone thought about my looks. So much so that I have no pride or dignity when it comes having criticism about my looks thrown at me. It's impossible for me to be more humiliated than I already have been. Once you have to tell people the wedding's off because you've been dumped because you're ugly humiliation becomes a way of life. Every day you're "the girl who's fiancé dumped her." So no more humiliation than normal, in fact even less by comparison to some of the other criticisms I've endured.

He was right, the best course of action regarding our mutual friend was to tell her there just wasn’t any chemistry. It’s not her fault any of this happened. I don’t want her to feel bad about it, for his sake or mine.

No big deal, right?

It was 120 seconds out of my life. Better to find out now, before I even took off my coat, rather than after an entire life has been planned and a wedding dress purchased. I should know, I had that experience, too.

But hey! Spin it positive! Turn that frown upside down! It pushed me into getting a much needed hair cut. And it gave me a free evening to finish my taxes.

Single. Zero. Single zero.

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3:42 PM

Thursday, March 09, 2006  
Are You There God? It’s Me Trillian
“So, let me be sure I understand what you’re saying, doctor. The procedure could help her tremendously or it could kill her.”

“Yes, there is a risk of complications and fatality.”

“But your recommendation is to take the risk?”

“Yes. Her current status and prognosis is not very good and this procedure could greatly improve her condition.”

“Or kill her.”

“If there are complications, yes.”

Family meeting.

Never in a million years could I have predicted I would have to vote on a decision which could kill anyone let alone my mother. And yet there I was with my family weighing the pros and cons and registering a vote for surgery which could kill her or render her as good as dead.

Life’s funny that way. One minute you’re sitting in your office contemplating Twizzlers v. pretzels from the vending machine, and the next minute you’re in a neurological department consultation room deciding on whether or not you think a potentially fatal surgery should be performed on your mother.

The pastor was called in, I thought to help guide us to a sound decision, or at least comfort us while we tried to make the right decision, but all he did was pray. Which, I mean, you know, thanks and everything, not that I’m ungrateful, but not exactly helpful in the decision making process. I mean, I could do that, I do know how to pray. What I was hoping for was some sort of “this is what God or Jesus would do” with some parable back-up information. Counseling. Help. Guidance. Assurance. Something. Anything. There we were in our hour of need, and what did we get for my parents’ years of devotion, service, fellowship and money at their church? A prayer. A short, simple, “O Heavenly Father, keep (Trillian’s mum) in your care, be with the doctors and her family, bless (Trillian’s mum) with your everlasting comfort and love, amen.” Seriously.Um. Okay. You know, I’m no man of the cloth, but, I already pretty much thought the exact thing several days prior. I think anyone would have. Is that it? The sum total of religion? When it comes down to life and death there’s a one sentence prayer that’s supposed to help and guide you to the right decisions?

And yes. There’s a point where even the most agnostic person in the room (in this case, me) realizes there’s nothing left but to trust and hope. First, trust in the doctors and specialists and hope they are at their peak performance and that the patient is strong enough to make it through the surgery. And then, yes, there’s nothing you can do but turn it over to the specialists and think, “Okay, well, I guess, you know, this is one of the times that it’s probably okay and even appropriate to test the God waters and hand up a prayer. I mean, it couldn’t hurt, and even though I’m not a regular pray-er, or even much of a believer, the person going through the ordeal is religious so it’s probably okay and even appropriate to pray to their God for their well being.”

Other members of my family have more religious faith than I do. They left the consultation room and went to the hospital chapel. I’ve been there a few times over the past months. (months, sheesh, it’s been two months) And no, nothing went up in flames, no lightening came down and struck anything (or me). Basically nothing happened. One of the nurses told me about the chapel when my mother went into her second Code Blue. “Why don’t you go to the chapel? It’s quiet and calm in there, a lot more peaceful than the waiting room.” It seemed like a sound, albeit potentially blasphemous or at least hypocritical idea. I timidly entered the chapel, which was empty, and took a look around. There were several pamphlets and prayer cards for various faiths. Business cards for local churches and church leaders. It’s a one chapel fits all place. A big Western European Jesus painting with a spotlight, an altar, and a book shelf with various religious texts. Oh. And an ornately carved Hindu sculpture. I tried, you know, I really tried to find some sort of spiritual, I dunno, something. Some spiritual something. Whatever it is other people find in religion. At that point, yes, I was honestly trying and hoping there’s a God and hoping (like Hell, har har) that He, She or It was not ready for my mother and would not let her die.

I prayed, the whole humble thing, “Hi, it’s me. Nice little chapel you’ve got here. Look, we both know I have a lot of unanswered questions and a lot of not so great experiences in my past, if you’re out there and you listen to people like me, could you please help my mother? She believes in you, she’s got a lot of faith and she’s a super nice person and a really good mother so can you please stop the suffering and help her recover from all of this? Because, well, because a lot of earthly mortal coil reasons, but mainly you know my dad? Yeah. He’s not doing so well with all of this and he really needs my mother to recover. But I guess you probably know that already. Actually, I guess if you’re the God they say you are, there’s nothing you don’t already know so I suppose there’s really no point in me trying to explain any of this. You supposedly have a plan for all of us so you already know how this is going to turn out so me praying for my mother is really kind of pointless, too. Which, as you would already know, is one of my issues with religion. If you have this big master plan all worked out for each of us, what’s the point in praying for something which may be the opposite of your plan? Isn’t is actually selfish and sacreligious to pray for something which may not be in accordance with your plan? If I sit here praying for my mother to recover, but your plan is for her to die, am I not being selfish and, well, bad by praying for something which goes against your plan? The problem is that I don’t know your plan. You don’t tell us anything about this big plan of yours. The closest we get to finding out is after a failure when the conventional solace is, ‘It just wasn’t meant to be.’ And as you would know, I’ve had a lot of those consolation lines thrown at me in my lifetime, so actually, if anyone’s close to knowing about God’s plan it’s me. I don’t know what it is, but I know a lot of what it is not. Anyway, you know all of this. I’ve gone over this with you many times in the past. So, yeah. Please look after my mother. Thanks.”

The nurse was right, though, the chapel is a much more peaceful and calm place than the waiting room. So when things have been particularly tense I’ve retreated to the chapel instead of the waiting room. Every time I go in there I am humbled and open and truly hoping for something, some new awareness, some enlightenment, something. but so far: Nothing. I keep praying for my mother, she’s still alive, but she keeps having set backs and traumas which is pretty much the exact opposite of what I’ve prayed for her. What’d she ever do to deserve any of this? Nothing. Nothing at all.

So much for an epiphany.

So much for finding solace. Reconciliation. Comfort. Anything. I’m open to it, you know, really, especially lately. Sitting in an ICU room for weeks, when you’re not the one who’s sick, really puts things in perspective. People die. Most of the time people die when it’s least expected. Life is fleeting. I’ve seen countless gurneys headed to the morgue. My mother has stopped breathing several times. This is it, you know, the real stuff, the heavy stuff, the meaning of life stuff. I want something spiritual to awaken or be reborn or somehow be found, I’m sitting there trying to find it, reaching out for help and, as ever: Nothing.

Not a swutting thing.

So off some of my family trotted to the chapel. I couldn’t make myself go with them. It’s weird. I’ve been going there for some weeks now seeking a calm and quiet place, and yet now, in the real defining moment of my mother’s ordeal, it was the last place I wanted to be. Probably because I would feel hypocritical and weird in there with my much more faithful and pious family members. It’s easier to be blasphemous and hypocritical and confrontational about God when no one else is around. And I’ve never really been much of a group religious experience person. My religion or lack thereof is a personal experience.

And so it was that I found myself in the coffee shop staring blankly at the zillion types of coffee menu that I realized: I resent my family because of their ability to have faith. Their ability to find comfort in that faith. These are people who are, pretty much, like me. My parents raised me for crying out loud, taught me stuff, showed me the way, and yet we differ so greatly on this fundamental issue. Why aren’t I like them? Why can’t I find the spiritual enlightenment they have? Why do I find the pastor’s one sentence prayer so inadequate and unhelpful while they find comfort and wisdom in it? I think I’m trying, I feel like I’m trying, I have made sincere and humble efforts, and yet: Nothing but a lot of questions.

Anyway, yadda yadda yadda.

That one sentence prayer apparently worked because my mother came through the surgery really well and she’s doing a lot better. There’s healing now, for the first time since this all began, there are signs of healing. When she’s awake the fear and paranoia is mostly gone, and she’s even sat in a chair a few times. She made a joke to a doctor the other day, and she asks me to fill in blanks she has regarding what’s happened to her over the past two months.

So I’m all thankful to the doctors and nurses, and especially the surgeon. But certain members of my family are giving all the credit to God and saying how great and helpful the pastor was. And while I am hopeful that maybe, finally, God did step in and do something about my mother’s situation, the fact is that it was a few mere mortal surgeons and specialists who actually came up with the idea and did the work. Some would say God’s working through them, and you know, maybe that’s true. I’m certainly not the person to make any sort of comment about that. But. Still.

A rather unspecific one sentence prayer from a pastor is all it took to save my mother? Somehow I don’t think so.

Nor did I find any comfort in that prayer regarding the difficult decision. Which makes me think I am a complete and total atheist after all. That it’s not questions and confusion, but outright doubt and cynical disbelief that’s keeping me from embracing religion and having that faith and spirituality other people have and get from religion.

That scares me.

Because, you know, as much as I question and raise an eyebrow at certain, um, aspects of religion, particularly organized churches, I generally think, “Well, okay, sure, what do I know about any of this? Oh yeah, nothing. Maybe there is some supreme being. That would be kind of cool. And for the most part my personal outlook and philosophy goes along with the principles laid out in many religions. So, hey, be open to it, be a good person, try to get along with other people, don’t hurt anyone, be polite, raise your hand and ask questions, respect people, cultures, ideas and religions, learn as much as you can and accept whatever happens or doesn’t happen with grace and hope for the best.”

But now I wonder if that’s just a total cop out, my way of justifying a complete lack of faith.

I am thrilled that my mother is doing better. I don’t mean to downplay that. And ultimately that’s the only thing that matters.

What concerns me is that I don’t really care how she got better. Surgeons, God, whomever, whatever, I don’t care. She’s alive and she’s starting to improve. She’s not suffering like she was. That's my only care or concern.

I thanked the surgeon and the doctors. Profusely. Repeatedly.

And then I went to the chapel and thanked God. You know, because everyone said He did it, it was all Him, so I thought, “Okay, I should go thank him.”

I didn’t expect anything, and I got nothing. I didn’t feel better or worse, I didn’t feel like I did the right thing or that I did the wrong thing. I felt: Nothing.

So. Now I’m all wondering and a little worried that I am a soulless, faithless, hopeless lump of flesh. Don’t get me wrong, I’m okay with that concept, I pretty much feel that way about myself most of the time anyway.

But that little, “Hey, do the right thing, be a good person, be open to the idea of religion and God” synapse isn’t firing like it usually does.

I feel nothing. And yes, for me, that is good. I’ve been trying to feel nothing for several months. But what’s a little disconcerting is that I seem to be losing my conscience. I think I might have lost a big portion of it in that hospital chapel.

As much as I don’t want to feel anything, as much as I want to void emotions from my life, I really do not want to lose my conscience. I’m not out to be a bad person, I just don’t want to feel anything.

But. Maybe. That, like my heretofore agnosticism, is a cop out. It’s an all or nothing situation.

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11:10 AM

 
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