I feel like it’s exhausting to be me.  Having to think about everything, rethink, think again.  What’s going on?  I can’t get anywhere.  Depression check.  Anxiety check.  Did I exercise enough?  Am I eating right?  Did I get enough sleep?  Yes?  Then why am I still tired?  Why do I still feel crappy even though I am doing everything right?  (socializing…being creative…doing everything I need to do at work…setting and achieving goals…eating enough fruits and vegetables…)

People I deal with at work tell me how hard it is to live with a chronic illness.  And, yes, it is.  But I think, gee, if only I had a little magic monitor that I could check my depression/anxiety/repetitive negative thinking with four times a day like a blood sugar level and give myself an appropriate injection of happiness, of satisfaction, of whatever it is that other people have that I don’t have.  Just like a diabetic pancreas that doesn’t make insulin, my brain is just not…making…happy.

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Yesterday I got my hair cut.  Since I usually I cut my own hair, it is a rare occurrance to have someone else do it.   Other people always screw it up, whether it is a cheap chain place or an expensive place.  I can screw it up, pay nobody, and have only myself to blame.   So I  just drink a beer and get down to business with a scissors and a mirror.  But I was getting my hair colored anyway (I am less afraid of using a scissors than toxic chemicals) and I figured, what the heck. 

 

She screwed it up (using that crazy thinner tool).  WTF!!  With my glasses sitting on the counter, I couldn’t see- after several snips I realized that it sounded WRONG.  I will cut it myself from now on as usual.

 

I had told Jack when I left to go get his hair cut too.  When I got back, he knows he is supposed to say “nice hair” or some Jack variant of that, but he never does.  He said, “Cut my hair.”  So I did, as usual.  Nothing has changed.  As usual.  It’s like Gilligan’s Island around here: I plot to get off the island, something screws it up, and it’s banana cream pie forever after.

So Jack and I were looking for a place to eat dinner.  There is this one restaurant nearby that I’ve passed like a million times.  It has a prominent sign out front.lunch-dinner

As you can see, it clearly indicates that food is served.  Or am I reading into this?

 

So, I called them, as it was a bit late and I asked if they were still serving food.

 

The lady that answered laughed with scorn.  “Food?!  We don’t serve food!”

 

Right.

There was a period of time after college when all my friends seemed to move away in a drawn-out exodus.  Most of them gravitated toward another city just like ours but with longer, colder winters.  My good friend E was no exception. 

 

 For awhile I pondered the possibility of orchestrating a “friend trade,” thinking that some other person’s friend must have moved here, right?  There are people moving here all the time.  I thought about it.  Then I made it happen.

 

E had moved, sure, but we kept in touch and the last time she visited “here” she also visited an old friend from high school whom I had never met and who had lived in Europe, and recently moved back.   I Facebook friended the mutual friend, found out she was a knitter, and invited her to knitting club, picking her up because she doesn’t have a car and lives close by.  Weirdly, we hit it off by telling E stories and figured out pretty quickly what other unusual coincidences that we have in common.

 

Of course E caught us posting stories about her on each other’s Facebook pages, but they were all such interesting, funny, warm stories that- well, how could she be mad?  It is too hard to make real friends in this world, especially starting as an adult, to criticize how one can become friends.  I will have to post more about this.  Maybe tomorrow.

My physical therapist was so completely taken aback by the sex question.  The “rawkin’ out on bass” question was more her speed.  I have to come up with something new to ask her at my appointment tomorrow.

 

“Can I fly with my dragon again?  I miss the stunning vistas.  I don’t want to, you know, wear out my wings.  I could just ride, but hanging on is kind of slippery.  The scales.  You know.”

“May I visit my friend on Venus?  I mean, the atmosphere might affect the breathing exercises you gave me, so I thought I’d better ask.”

“When I asked you about sex, I forgot to mention that my husband is an elf.  Does that change your advice?”

 

Anything else I should ask?  I want to cover all my bases here.

Today was an ok day at work.  My boss was gone.  Days always go better when she is gone.  She micromanages me:  she only allows me to use one certain restroom in the building.   She has actually followed me to ensure that I was not planning to urinate elsewhere. 

You see, we have two groups of  coworkers: those that don’t have the decency to poop at home (alright; it can happen to anyone, but don’t plan it into your daily work schedule and get freaking paid to do it every day, ok?  [don’t get me started on the daily bagel rituals]) , and others  who cannot tolerate the scent of poop.  Therefore, we have automated dispensers in all but one of our tiny restrooms that spritz the horrendous  Amrep product Snappy Apple at regular intervals.  Snappy Apple has its own MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet.  I looked it up: it “treats up to 6,000 cubic feet in high occupancy areas.”  These are single-seater bathrooms, maybe 400 cubic feet each, and definitely not “high occupancy.”  (You know, not clown cars.  Really.)

 

So, one time I was minding my own private business in the restroom, and Snappy Apple automatedly dispensed a puff of Snappy Apple poison, and I had an asthma attack.  On the toilet.  In a locked single-seater bathroom.  Oh, the filling out of forms that was involved once bronchospasm abated (near-death=lots of paperwork).

 

 An action plan then had to be created.  Logic would indicate, dude, smash the damn Snappy Apple dispenser with a hammer.  I’ll clock out and joyfully do this for the benefit of all- (asthma is a common diagnosis; perhaps the 18th most common).  I actually used to remove the cans from the dispenser and throw them away, but locks then mysteriously appeared on them- funny how change occurs quickly when it is to human detriment.  My online research and subsequent letters to occupational “health” went unheeded. My guess: MY BOSS IS THE CLOCKED-IN POOPER  WHO CAN’T STAND THE SCENT OF HER OWN SHIT.  Is this a benefit of middle management? 

 

But getting rid of an unnecessary, toxic, too-concentrated, life-threatening product in a health-care facility was not the plan.  Once my survival was assured, I had to visit every restroom with my boss and find the only one that didn’t conveniently dispense poopsmell “disguiser”.  That is the only one I am allowed to use. Ever.  If someone else is using it (to poop, perhaps); or worse, if the adjacent rooms are locked (as often happens),  I just have to suck it up.  Like grade school.  Yeah, I’m ten years old again, raising my hand or waiting for recess.  I drink a lot of coffee to cope with work.  I pee, you know, a few times a day.

 

But, on a nice day like today, I could hold my breath, pee anywhere I liked, and feel free.  Free!  How wonderful is that?  Ah, the little pleasures of life. 

      I got this email about a week ago, from a male coworker, whom I’ll call “Dean”: “When are you going to help me find a woman? I’m looking for a real slut.”

 

      I have considered, in the past, formally complaining to HR about Dean, but have decided it is not worth the trouble. He’s about fifty years old, not tremendously unattractive, never married,  and probably mildly on the Autism spectrum somewhere. He has plenty of money and spends it on toys for himself. He just bought himself a motorcycle and talks about it incessantly. In fact, the walls in his small office area are covered with poster-sized photographs of himself with each of his vehicles; he is the only human being in any of these.  His conversations don’t start with any version of “Hi” or “How are you?” They start with “I rotated my tires today.” Or, “The rims I ordered on ebay came yesterday.”

 

     He didn’t like any of the helpful suggestions I had for meeting women, unfortunately- but being somewhere near or on “the spectrum” myself might have made me a poor choice as advisor (or a good one, depending on the day).

 

      But it did lead me to start thinking. I know a lot of single guys, all of which seem to be reasonable possible choices as a mate for any of the wide variety of women around. Barring sheer pickiness (and yes, we all make value judgments and choices); somehow, though, the number of single-and-unhappy men seems statistically greater than the number of similar women.  What is going on here? And, finally getting to my real point, why am I in almost the exact same situation, as a happily married heterosexual female? In other words, why don’t I have a Best Girlfriend?

 

      Everyone else seems to. You probably know what I’m talking about: the chica I could call when I want to see a girly movie. The one that comes over for margaritas on the veranda. The one that goes shopping with me and tells me which jeans make me look fat, without simultaneously making me feel unattractive. The one that I can complain to about whatever, and she’ll listen, and do the same. Is this some stereotype perpetuated on TV and in the movies? No, because I see it happening when I’m shopping alone, or in bars, or on the street, or in any number of public places. Girls, together, talking, laughing, stepping drunkly in front of my bicycle, doing whatever girls do when they’re together. Even online, for crying out loud, making cute girly Facebook comments to each other.

 

      So I’m stuck in sort of a vacuum. On the one hand, I could hang out with more guys, who are easier to meet, usually much more interesting, and have more free time, as they generally don’t have the responsibility of taking care of children- but, gee, what would Jack think about that?   Also, by definition, guys do not do Girl Stuff; in addition, I already have a husband to “not do Girl Stuff with”.  I do attempt to make friends with the interesting women with whom I am acquainted, but I get rebuffed just about every time. One reason, I think, is that females

tend to form impenetrably tight socialization groups.  This is only a theory.

 

      There is one woman I work with whom I have asked to do stuff with like seven times and every time she has said no, except once, never to be repeated. There’s a girl I know on Facebook, a friend of a (male) friend, who lives in town and whom I can tell has a lot on common with me, but…I probably flubbed parlaying that into a friendship when I tried to set her up with one of the many single guys I alluded to previously, a match that failed miserably– thus deeming my judgment– and even my character– suspect. To clarify, I do have female friends with whom I have deep friendships. They simply have all moved away and/or have small children, which I don’t and probably never will- creating an even wider rift. I need someone who lives in the same county, if not the same zip code.

 

     So I’m in essentially the same situation as Dean (minus, of course, the “slut” part): finding that elusive female, whether it’s for romance or a best friendship, seems an impossibility. She may exist only in fantasy. Or I myself may be just too picky- do any of you have insight into this?