Sunday, July 21, 2013

Hard Drives

I haven’t put pen to pad in a year or so. The reason? I’ve been too happy. You know the formula – dream job, dream city, dream guy. Even more than that, I’m about to get married to this superman, and we’re dashing off to an exotic honeymoon across the world where we will start our adventure together called life. Maybe add a baby to the equation at some point soon. It doesn’t get better than this. It really doesn’t. So, why in the world have I taken up writing (again) today (of all days)?

A trigger.

Have you ever been truly blissful riding the waves of a perfect relationship when suddenly you see something you shouldn’t – like a photograph of your guy with his ex?

Yeah, you know, that photograph.

And you nearly choke on your own shock. You aren’t gasping at the picture itself, but at the frozen moment in time when your ex was – or appeared – just as happy with her as he is now with you? Worse yet, in that brief second (okay, maybe it was a minute or two) when you looked as closely as you could at those dozens of photographs of him with her (and her with him) (and them together), you could just swear that in a couple, he looked happier. Like, maybe just maybe, his smile was wider, less forced. His eyes could’ve dazzled a little brighter. His face was more relaxed, not as much obligated. He looked at her differently. Sweeter? Lighter? And it made you doubt.

Yes, that photograph.

In one – you know you saw it (in fact, it just may be emblazoned in your memory and not even the eternal sunshine of the spotless mind could erase it) – he held her hand tighter. He kissed her longer. He rested his head against her cheek, and it all just meant more to him. There was so much joy it nearly made you forget the joy you and he have together as you approach your upcoming future. Damn. Why in the world did you have to see those stupid pictures on his computer?

Well, I did.

In fact, as I was trying to upload our first engagement photo onto his Apple, as I was trying to make that photo “our” new screen saver, there “they” were – hidden in a folder that he tried so obviously to delete when we first started dating. But, in this day and age, you can’t “delete” anything, can you?

Because there are hard drives. And they drive a hard bargain. On the one hand, I get a larger-than-life movie theater computer screen with every application under the electronic sun and speed faster than light. On the other, I get a folder of tiny picture squares of him and his ex looking just as in love then as we are now.

So what did I do?

I did what any woman would. Of course I double-clicked on the folder, and lo and behold there was a larger-than-life picture of the love-of-my-life and his perky ex looking straight at me. With their arms wrapped around each other’s shoulders, a younger (and what appeared to be) happier version of my man leaned his head onto the shoulder of another (younger) version of me. It’s an image I’ll never forget. Even if he has already forgotten it, it’s an image I’ll wonder if he’s actually forgotten for quite some time.

Wasn’t it so much easier when we could just tear memories up?

It would take a mechanical engineer to figure out a way to get rid of that hard drive of his and, as a result, now mine.

This is one of the many pitfalls we face in our high tech world – we can’t really “delete” anything try... as… we… might. Computers have taken over our minds, and as consequence our hearts. No matter how hard we try to “start anew,” there is always an encrypted folder containing our past life. When we see those pictures of days gone by, we wonder how “past” they just might be. And we ache.

We ache.

I wish I hadn’t seen those pictures. I sure know that my soon-to-be husband shared that wish as he dashed to his computer to figure out a way, hopeless as he knew it would be, to erase them from his hard drive and, more importantly, my memory. But this is the world we live in now. Everything is saved and stored (and backed up after that). It doesn’t matter how deep we try to go, there’s an image – a thumbprint – that contains the original story and it just won’t go away. There is no way around it, except, I suppose, to throw out the actual generator. Toss the computer out the window. Burn it. That would seem extreme though. Who has the money to buy a new computer every few years? I certainly don’t.  

I guess there is only one solution, and it’s the basic one. How ironic that the solution amidst the crevices of the tangled web of code that surrounds us is the most basic. But it is. I have to accept that the person I love has a past (just as he has accepted mine). Amidst the electricity, it’s simply called… real life. And, despite a delete or pause or minimizer button, sometimes it hurts no matter what.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

It's International Chick Lit Month!

Check out the guest post I did for ChickLit Club's celebration of International Chick Lit Month titled "Am I Really... A Writer?"

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

First Dates and "Going All Out"

After a slew of horror dating stories, I feel obliged to actually blog about a good date – no, not a good date, actually a dream date.  Do they exist anymore?  I thought no, but my friend proves they have not gone extinct.

This one’s for all you romantics out there…

My friend (we’ll call her “A” since she asked to remain anonymous) lives in Savannah. She’s had a string of bad luck with men. Poor thing no wonder she enjoyed reading my book.  She’s not a pessimist when it comes to love, she’s just realistic… cautiously optimistic on a good day.

Anyway, she’s known this guy – we’ll call him “G” – for over a year. Apparently, he’s liked her for awhile but didn’t ask her out for various reasons all related to the complexities of life.  (I’ll let your wild imaginations fill in those blanks. She asked for anonymity so I am trying to respect that.)

G finally asked her out on a date – a first date. A “first” in anything must always be taken in with the right amount of symbolism. At the end of my first trial, my co-counsel (a veteran trial attorney) told me immediately after the jury returned its guilty verdict:

“Take it in. You’ll never have a ‘first’ again. After this it won’t feel quite the same.”

He was right. Lesson learned: a first is an experience in and of itself so don’t let it go without the right amount of reflection which is why I am posting this blog for A since she can’t do it herself.  I am hoping she will remember this.  A first is a first, period.

So back to the date… It was on Saturday, the day before Easter Sunday.  Here’s what G did right, according to her, and I’ve got to admit – I agree!

He arrived at 7:20 PM on the dot.  He did not arrive alone however – he arrived with a huge Easter basket.  Score!  Why?  Well, from a gal pal’s perspective, we all get to share in the spoils.  I plan to munch on her Easter basket for the rest of the month since one little girl can’t possibly eat THAT much chocolate.  Seriously though, the Easter basket shows a profound thoughtfulness which can be rare in this day and age.

After depositing the Easter basket on her kitchen counter, he took her to the Melting Pot.  They ate fondue which is a unique dinner choice.  It’s not pretentious like some of the ultra hip places he could have chosen.  Instead it’s fun and adventurous.  Two people cooking a meal together.  It can speak volumes for the future.  I mean, if the guy lets the girl do all the fondue-ing, well that’s not a good sign.  Vice versa is bad, too.  Hopefully, the meal is a collaborative effort which is really what life should be, right? 

At 9:15 PM, the dessert portion of the fondue was wrapped “to go” because a horse drawn carriage picked them up in front of the restaurant to take them on an hour-long tour of the city.  Can you say “romantic”?  Those good old-fashioned values we women dream about may not be so out-dated after all… And well, even though I may not know from personal experience, I can imagine that a horse drawn carriage through the cobble-stone streets of Savannah would be about as charming as it gets.  I just may have to take myself on one this Friday!

The carriage dropped A and G off in front of the newest bar in town.  I can’t remember the name of this place but it had an outside patio and that’s a good thing in my book!  They drank whiskey.  I’m not a whiskey fan myself, but A tells me that a common love of fine whiskey is as good a sign as sharing the same favorite movie to us film buffs. 

After a few more cocktails and great conversation, A and G went to some more bars, ran into mutual friends, etc. and so forth.  The rest of the night was a blur – yes, she was having that good a time.  Around 2 AM, they agreed to call it a night.  His car was parked blocks away so… and here’s the sweetest part in my opinion… instead of making her walk, he picked her up and piggy-backed her all the way so she wouldn’t have to walk in her high heels.

No kiss at her front door either, he was a gentleman.  A hug would suffice for a first date.

She called me at 8 AM Sunday morning with all of the details (as all good girlfriends should do).  I almost wish I’d gone on this date myself!

Later that night I got to thinking… why was I was so surprised about A’s date?   Why did I feel the need to call my mother and tell her about it, stunned that it had actually happened to someone I know?  What does that say about first dates?  Have we women lowered our expectations to such an extent that a first date like I just described above would seem unreal… out of a fairy tale even?  I mean, isn’t this how a first date is supposed to go? 


But we’ve gotten so accustomed to “playing it cool.”  We’ve gotten used to first dates being about “grabbing a quick drink” or “having a cup of joe” or “meeting up somewhere” that we’ve completely overlooked (and forgotten) just how important a first date can be.  It sets the entire ball in motion.  I “guess” I “get” if you want to “feel it out” before you “go all out” but honestly why?  Life is fleeting and unpredictable.  It can pass us by in a moment, and even when someone tells us that life is short we forget in a short time.

So from here I say:  forget about “playing it safe.”  If you like a girl, then hire a horse drawn carriage.  Pick her up and carry her when her feet hurt.  Buy her an Easter basket.  If it doesn’t work out, at least you can say you gave it your best shot.  And if it does work out, well you’ll have a great story to tell your kids.  Either way, you’ve only got one chance to make a first impression, and it could just end up being a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  You never know, and wonders… well… they never cease. 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Annie's First - AND ONLY - Date from Hell

So, my friend “Annie” who lives in Charlotte met this guy from Chicago who was visiting a friend (in Charlotte).  He was a friend of a friend.  (Note to reader:  Already way too many “friends” involved in this potential relationship which, if it implodes, will be most uncomfortable for all involved parties.)  There was an instant chemical connection so she agreed to go out on a breakfast date with him.  They ate eggs and bacon, and then she went to work.  He returned to Chicago. 

(First red flag - geographically undesirable)

The moment he returned to his home base, he purchased a plane ticket to visit her the Monday and Tuesday of the following week.

(Second red flag - too eager)

Due to bad weather, his flight was delayed.  He arrived in Charlotte (from Chicago) nine hours late last Monday – so much for an evening out on the town to get to know each other a little better, oh well.  Second day, Tuesday, Annie had to go to work all day.  So, the boy hung out in her apartment with her cat.  At noon, when she was supposed to be meeting him for lunch at some cute restaurant somewhere in town, he sent her a text message that read: "Hey! I just noticed this frozen lasagna in your freezer. So, I put it in the oven. Why don't we just eat at your place?"

(Third red flag - cheap and lazy)

After she got off from work at 5 PM, she met him (and a bunch of their mutual friends) at a local bar.  He was already wasted drunk since he had been there since 3 PM.

(Fourth red flag – potential alcoholic)

They ended up staying at the bar until 8 PM (the original plan was to actually have an evening together to get to know each other).  Then, they ate dinner with all of his friends.

(Fifth red flag - he's a groupie)

They finally got back to Annie’s place at 10 PM, and by this time she was highly annoyed so she said: "Listen, I'm tired, I'm going to bed. Are you staying here on my couch or at a friend's tonight?"  Well... and here's where he really face planted (because he had already crashed and burned by this point)... he wanted to TALK.  And by talk, he said this:

"Annie. I think we should get married. I think you're the One. I knew it the moment we met. When can you move to Chicago?"

(Sixth red flag - he's delusional and emotionally needy)

Annie told him that there was no way he could know anything about her, that he was wrong, and that she was tired and going to sleep.  At this point he got annoyed at her and said:

“You really have issues.  You are tainted when it comes to love which is why you're not willing to give into this fully.  Why are all girls these days so jaded?"

The conversation – and any hope for a second date – was over.

Annie immediately called me and relayed her horror story.  The moment she got to the ending, all I could think about was:

The lasagna.  And was it expensive?

What does that say about me?  Does that mean I’m jaded when it comes to love and that I rate a gourmet item from Whole Foods higher than a possible relationship?  Good God, I hope not. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

And There's More from "These Events Occurred in Real Time..."

N had this to report to me this morning:

12 unanswered texts and 5 VMs consisting of the following... I would not give up.  He was like the friggin' energizer bunny.  

"N, listen I'm sorry I would still like to see u. I just have been really hurt many times and I just don't want to get hurt again... Can we still start from tonite? I want to trust you?"

"I'm sorry I had a panic attack... I just thought you might be seeing other guys please forgive me."

"When you told me it would be a week before I could see you again, I just thought you might be seeing other people. I'm sorry please forgive me. I overreacted I apologize. Can we just start fresh?"

"N I'm so sorry about my outburst... I guess I just got insecure. Can we talk about this? I'm sorry for my insolence?"

"I'm so sorry I overreacted... Can u give me a chance to make this up to you?... I am an impatient person sometimes... Please? OK I really screwed up. I apologize for what I said... Can u give me a chance?  I promise u I won't make this mistake again. Can we still talk?"

"Hello? Why aren't you responding to my text messages?"

(At this point, I picked up the phone and left 5 VMs for N.)

(After N did not respond - because she is not crazy - my favorite text message of all...)

"Can I still see you Friday?"

Monday, March 14, 2011

Another Posting from "These Events Occurred in Real Time..."

"These Events Occurred in Real Time" is going to be my new favorite part of my blog, JUST HIT SEND. Why? Because I love nothing better than watching a crash and burn over the internet. Why? Because I crashed and burned over the internet! Kidding. Really though... here's a "real life" exchange that just (as in five minutes ago) occurred via text messaging.

Quick backstory - my friend, "N," just arrived home after a first date with "I." Yes, she met "I" over the internet.

I: I just wanted to say I enjoyed tonite so much with u... I really hope u want to see me again!? I hope u felt the same way? Did u not feel the same connection I felt?

N: Yes, I am looking forward to seeing you this weekend. Friday?

I: OK... U looked so good tonite... Wow... I really like u a lot... We have so many things in common... You are very sophisticated... Extremely atractive...

N: Thank you... I appreciate it. Let me know what you'd like to do. The Mansion perhaps?

I: Drinks at the bar then a romantic dinner at the mansion would be splendid... !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just curious are you dating other guys?

N: Cool. It's a date. :-)

I: Just curious are you dating other guys?

N: And yes I am dating. No one in particular. All plans for the week are with friends, in case you are wondering.

I: So you are talking to the other guys?

N: And why would it pertain to us if I was? I just met you less than 4 hours ago. Why don't we get through a date or two before we have this conversation.

I: Because I am looking for something serious... A committment... So incredibly hard to find these days... If your seeing other guys then I'm no longer interested... good luck in life, N.

N: Um, I think you need to crawl before you walk. It's not that I am not looking longterm - because I am - but I am more interested in taking this one step at a time. If you are not willing to allow me that space and time, then we are not a good match. Good luck, I.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

More Fun Pix... This Time from E Shaver's in Savannah, Georgia!!!

I'm REALLY happy to be there, can you tell? :-)

Yeah, full house!

With my gal pals, Nancy and Beth

Deep in thought... er, I mean, signing...

Check out that SAVE AS DRAFT cake!!! It looks like the actual cover of the book. Thank you, Renee, for the delicious and eerily similar cake. ;-)