Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Observant ≠ Nosy

While Remus is a rather generous and thoughtful gift-giver, he is kind of crap at maintaining the element of surprise that often accompanies giving gifts. Not being huge on surprises, this doesn’t bother me much, but as one who likes to think he’s a 007-level smooth operator, it infuriates him to no end, and has even led to me being accused of being nosy and prying. To which I have to say: No. I am not nosy, I am observant, and there is a world of difference between the two.

A nosy person goes searching for information. They’ll scroll through your text messages and look up your browser history at birthday and Christmas times in hopes of uncovering what you have in store for them. They’ll rifle through your wallet and pockets looking for receipts and question your friends and family about possible gift conversations that may have been had. They’ll dig in your dresser drawers, under the bed, and in the backs of closets looking for any hints they can find.

An observant person notices things as they occur. They’ll notice you showering, putting in contact lenses, and grabbing a spritz of cologne 10 minutes before they leave for a manicure appointment on a day where you supposedly aren’t doing anything, which always translates to pajamas all day, glasses instead of contacts, and a shower right before bed if they’re lucky. They’ll pick up the empty plastic bag you tossed on the floor in order to use it in the future as a trash can liner and spot the $400 receipt you left in there. While sober, they’ll listen to your drunken ramblings after your company party and hear things that you still don’t remember you revealed.

I would never employ the desperate tactics of a nosy person, but I am observant as fuck. So if the element of surprise is that important, time to step up your game, Mr. Bond.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

They Smile In Your Face…

My first job after college was, inexplicably, being the financial coordinator for a cancer research lab at Boston University. Seeing how my degree was in English and I had passed every science class since 7th grade by the skin of my teeth, I still have no idea how I wound up managing the finances for a bunch of scientists. Fortunately, most of my coworkers were pretty nice, if slightly socially awkward, people who cared passionately about their various projects and little else, making life pretty easy for the admin staff.

And then there was Newman. Grossly overweight with questionable personal hygiene habits, rude and condescending to all, lazy with a habitually filthy workstation, he embodied every stereotype one would imagine when thinking about a nerdy science lab type with poor social skills; I don’t know where he lived at the time, but if someone had told me it was his mother’s basement, I wouldn’t have been surprised. Imagine if Comic Book Guy and Sheldon Cooper minus the drive for excellence had a baby. That baby would eventually grow up to be Newman.

To paint an even clearer picture, rather than working on whatever he was meant to be working on, Newman would often spend hours out of the day on the phone with someone who apparently specialized in making and selling DVDs of movies that had yet to become legally available on DVD (this was the early 2000s). On one particular day during my various treks back and forth through the lab I overheard him having a heated argument with his connection about obtaining a DVD of the movie Excalibur.

Needless to say, Newman wasn’t exactly a fan favorite among his fellow lab workers. Oftentimes when they would cruise through my office to pick up paychecks or drop of expense reports they would vent about something rude he’d said to them, recount something he was supposed to have completed but hadn’t, or simply comment on how many food wrappers were littering his area that day. Thankfully, my interactions with him were minimal due to his distaste for getting off his lab stool.

Then one day Newman got fired. Not just a warning or a polite “we’ll call it a layoff,” but an out-and-out “pack up your personal belongings and you’ll be escorted off the premises by security” firing. I didn’t know it was coming, but apparently all the lab employees--who had repeatedly complained about him to the department chairman--did, and when Newman saw their lack of surprise at him being let go, he went into a tirade, accusing everyone of being evil backstabbers. Then he stormed into my office.

“Did you know I was going to get fired?!” he demanded. And luckily, I could honestly tell him that no, I had no idea.

“Huh…well, then were you one of the evil backstabbers who complained about me?!” And, again luckily, I could honestly tell him no, I never filed a complaint against him, omitting the fact that we barely ever had direct interactions, but I did know that his cohorts couldn’t stand working with him.

“Huh…well, then would you like to go out some time?”

I believe my elegant response was something along the lines of, “Uh…what?”

“Well, I always thought you were pretty and you didn’t talk about me behind my back, and now I guess I’ll never be allowed back here, so do you want to go out some time?” he clarified.

At the time I was in the midst of one of my bullshit early-20s non-committed relationships, so I politely informed him that I was already seeing someone, leaving out that seeing other people was allowed.

“Huh…well good for you!” Newman huffed, and stormed out of my office to be (presumably) escorted out of the lab, never to be seen or heard from again.

Later that afternoon the lab manager stopped by and asked if Newman accused me of being an “evil backstabber,” as he had with all of them.

“No,” I replied, “but he did ask me out on a date.”

The lab manager paused, letting this sink in, then wrinkled his nose in disgust. “I think I’d prefer to have been called an ‘evil backstabber.’”

Had I been given the choice, that probably would have been my preference, too. Or maybe I missed out on a golden opportunity to enjoy a romantic Excalibur movie night in Newman’s mom’s basement.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

My Subconscious Hates Me

I don’t always dream, but when I do, I dream that Remus is an utter asshole.

It’s not surprising that Remus would make frequent appearances in my dreams, but for reasons I’ll never understand (but that some psychology undergrad would have a field day with), when he is featured he more often than not is treating me like garbage and/or leaving me. Why these visions would manifest now with him, when in the past I have actually dated guys who actually did treat me like garbage and/or left me and never got dream cameos, I don’t know. I say it’s my subconscious waiting for the other shoe to drop, worried that things are going just a little too well for me. Remus thinks my subconscious can “go fuck itself” (direct quote).

Some of the dream behaviors I can recall:

  • I was in college and juggling two relationships: one with Remus, one with some unidentifiable woman. Remus insisted that I choose between them, but I was indecisive, so I texted the woman saying I had to choose but didn’t know what to do. She replied that she wasn’t that into me, so I should choose Remus. When I excitedly told him the news, he got upset that he won by default and not by choice, and dumped me.
  • Remus casually left me me out of the blue with a simple, “I just don’t think we should see each other anymore,” moved out of our shared apartment, and immediately started serial dating a string of random women. I was devastated, but any time I tried to reach out to anyone to tell them how I was feeling, I was told that people break up all the time and that I should just “get over it.”
  • Remus and I got married on a boat, and when we docked after the reception, he was nowhere to be found. I wasn’t answering my calls or texts, so I just went home alone. He returned the next morning as if nothing had happened, and when I angrily questioned where he went, he got really defensive, saying, “I went out with some of my friends after the wedding, so what?” I did not take this well and started yelling about how it was not OK to ditch me on our wedding night, to which he replied, “Just because we’re married now doesn’t mean I have to always let you know what I’m doing; I’m still going to have my own life.”
  • Remus and I were getting married in a seaside town in Italy (because in my dreams we’re millionaires!). To kill time before I had to start getting ready I decided to take a walk on this strip of land that ran along the water. When it came time to head back and start getting ready I realized that this strip of land never connected to the mainland; it just kept going and going, surrounded by water on both sides. I start running, but I’m getting nowhere, and I wonder if I should just dive in and swim, but I can’t even see the shore so I don’t know which direction to head toward. I woke up before ever figuring out what to do.
  • Not long after Remus and I moved in together, I discovered that he was still casually hooking up with several other women. When I questioned him about it, he informed me that, “we’re not fucking married; I can do whatever I want.”

There have been several others, but I think you get the gist that they’re all terrible and conclude with me miserable and alone. Though there may be a light at the end of the subconscious torture tunnel, as I recently had a dream where Remus simply put on one of my shirts and I yelled at him to take it off before he stretched it out.

“Did I then promptly dump you?” he wearily asked when I shared this with him.

“Nope! This was just a run-of-the-mill cross-dressing dream!”

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Gift of Your Misery

If you know me personally or read my last blog (which you wouldn’t have unless you knew me personally, so I guess I could have omitted the second half of this opening sentence intro), you know I’m a bit of a theater geek. One of the things I miss most about living in NYC--and the main thing that kept me living there a few years past the point of me being kind of over NYC--is the nearly limitless supply to all the plays, musicals, comedy, dance, and other performing arts. Which isn’t to say that Chicago doesn’t have its fair share of live entertainment, but it certainly pales in comparison.

Remus is not much of a theater fan, to put it mildly, which isn’t surprising--I’m fully aware that it’s not for everyone, and heterosexual men seem to be the least interested demographic (based on my completely personal and non-researched experiences). In an attempt to introduce him to one of my favorite worlds, but conscious of his aversion to the medium, in the earlier days of our relationship I brought him to a selection of shows I thought he might at least somewhat enjoy (sorry Rodgers and Hammerstein--ya burnt!). The most well received outing was to a Cirque du Soleil show, primarily because so many of their gravity-defying feats can potentially lead to catastrophic injuries.

Since the likelihood of bodily harm isn’t particularly high in most theatrical experiences, I resigned myself to the fact that I’d being going to see most shows on my own, which is fine. I was single until I was 34 and have always been kind of crap at making friends; doing stuff I like solo is not a new concept.

For my most recent birthday, Remus gifted me with a card featuring a comically large cat that resembled his comically large cat that I affectionately refer to as “fatty girl,” inscribed with the promise of dinner, drinks, and tickets to a show of my choosing that he would “pretend to enjoy.”

His thinking: Wolfie likes musicals and shit, so taking her to see one of those is a good gift.

My thinking: He’s giving me the gift of his misery.

Don’t get me wrong; show tickets for a theater geek is always a good gift, and it was incredibly generous of him to offer to do something he wouldn’t particularly be into solely because I would enjoy it. But I couldn’t get past the fact that my night of enjoyment would basically be a night of mild torture for him (depending on what show I chose), and--despite my asshole-like tendencies--I’m actually not happy when the people I care about are unhappy.

I protested that he didn’t have to accompany me to something he wasn’t interested in, that I was perfectly happy to go alone to the shows I wanted to see, but he was adamant.

“Going to shows makes you happy, and I want you to be happy, so for one night I can join you in something that makes you happy. Just make sure you pick a good restaurant for the dinner part of the evening.”

Fucking nice guys, am I right?

I ultimately decided on us getting tickets to the upcoming Broadway tour of Cabaret, a musical I like that features scantily-clad showgirls, Nazis, and a subplot about abortion. It’s not as good as trapeze artists potentially plummeting to their deaths, but hopefully he’ll get something out of it.