Sunday, March 26, 2006

Originally, there was a post here about Pandora. I'm going to put it back up later, but I wanted to devote this to something else--i.e., another song I heard that made me stop, listen, and notice.

About two months ago, I broke up with Maria. It was not easy for me to do, and I didn't do it because it was something I'd planned on doing. Some guys let go of their girlfriends because the fire has died, or they noticed someone "better," or they were bored with the situation. For me, it was something my brother Joe put into words long before I broke it off: "Will, you've wanted a relationship for a long time. Now you're in one. You have to ask yourself, is this the relationship you wanted back then?"

As it turns out, it wasn't. But that doesn't negate what it was to me, and what it did for me. The problem with ending a relationship is finding a song about it that isn't a bitter screed or a teary reminiscence, but something that expresses both the regret and the joy of what had been and what's past. Things fall apart--the center cannot hold. But for the short time that it does hold, when things stick together...well, who's to say that's not worth celebrating? That there's time to look back and smile past the frustration, bitterness and anger and say "I accept and love that for what it was"?

I'm not sure how long it takes me to move on. Sometimes I seem to hold onto things longer than I really need to. But sometimes, after nights like last night, after songs like this one, you can look back and start to loosen your grip on the past a little, learn to live with what you are instead of who you used to be.

The Difference
by Matchbox 20

Slow dancing on the boulevard
In the quiet moments while the city’s still dark
Sleepwalking through the summer rain
In the tired spaces you could hear her name
When she was warm and tender
And you held her arms around you
There was nothing but her love and affection
She was crazy for you
Now she's part of something that you lost

And for all you know
This could be
The difference between what you need
And what you want to be

Night swimming in her diamond dress
Making small circles move across the surface
Stand watching from the steady shore
Feeling wide open and waiting for
Something warm and tender
Now she's moving further from you
There was nothing that could make it easy on you
Every step you take reminds you that she's walking on

For all you know
This could be
The difference between what you need
And what you want

Every word you never said
Echoes down your empty hallway
And everything that was your world
Just came down

Day breaking on the boulevard
Feel the sun warming up your secondhand heart
Light swimming right across your face
And you think "Maybe someday,
Yeah, maybe someday"

For all you know
This could be
The difference between what you need
And what you want...
This one's for me, this one's for me
Not for anyone else, I need it you see
I threw all I had into the sea
Now I want a little back, this one's for me
(-Tom Petty)

This weekend was Waltz Ball. So yeah, I guess my pledge to be a misanthrope lasted the better part of a week. Give me the chance and I'll leap right back in with both feet. It's kind of a strange combination, being a gregarious extrovert, but I can't really help myself. Social situations that involve dressing up are kind of hard to resist.
Speaking of which:

March 25th, 2006: the first time I've ever worn a tux. To my right is my lovely date, Stacy. (Note: I'd post more pictures, but the brightness/red-eye problems with most of them has to be taken care of first.)
As per usual at Waltz Ball, I danced with ten ladies. I get kind of single-minded at the Ball. You see, at something like this where you're encouraged to find partners for each of the ten waltzes, I kind of feel like I have the advantage. At so many dances, if you ask a girl you don't know to dance, you're running a big risk--or at least, I feel like I am, though that may be more about me than the girls I ask. At any rate, I had a 100% success rate asking girls I know only in passing, or not at all, to waltz with me. Even if it was the situation was geared towards that kind of success (thankfully), it sort of bolstered my flagging self-confidence.
Among my partners were a friend from NKE that I hadn't talked to in some time; a girl I'd met through Facebook but never actually met in person; and a friend from EYC that I've known since I was 14. And, unlike my freshman year, all the waltzes were danceable, and none of them were insanely fast. Altough throwing Nora Jones' "Come Away With Me" as the last waltz was kind of a bad idea on whoever's part--it's so syncopated that even if you find the beat, you end up losing it ten seconds later.
I also danced with--though not during the waltzes, just during the drivel music they play after the waltzes--a girl I met freshman year in an English class. It was gratifying to meet someone who also a memory that was good for at least two years back--and gratifying to meet a nice Irish girl, as well.
Afterwards, Stacy and I came back here and watched the Firefly episode "Out Of Gas," which I did a post about not too long ago. And now I'm doing a post about this. So I guess it comes full circle.
Waltz Ball taught me something very important. No matter how bad at waltzing you are, there's usually one partner who will apologize for being worse than you.

"Mighty fine shindig."
-Mal Reynolds

Friday, March 17, 2006

"You see? This is why I'd rather be alone."
(-Ben Folds)

During Spring Break (last week), I talked over AIM with a girl I knew while I was in high school. She's three years younger, but she'd been really nice and friendly when I was going through a rough period in my life. When she added me as a friend on Facebook, we got back in touch and talked for a while. I asked her if she'd be interested in getting coffee with me, and named a day. She agreed readily, and asked for my phone number. I gave it to her, along with my email. To this day, I have not heard from her. Nor did she respond to my instant message wondering why she hadn't gotten back to me.

This week, after I'd gotten settled back in, I was going to watch some Firefly. The person I normally watch it with on Tuesday nights couldn't make it, soI asked my PChem lab partner from last semester if she wanted to come over and watch an episode. We'd spent four days a week either in lab or in lecture together, and she seemed pretty cool, so I was rather gobsmacked when I got this response:

Me: I was going to ask if you'd be interested in watching an episode tonight
Me: my friend was supposed to come over but he couldn't make it
Former Lab Partner: i appreciate you asking, but i feel like it might be awkward because we don't really know each other outside of class
Me: ...what do you mean?
Former Lab Partner: just that working in lab together was fine, but it would be weird for me to start hanging out outside class

I'll leave you to make of that what you will. My translation was: "I'd watch a movie with you, but you're really not good enough for me...sorry."

Finally, I got tired of watching Firefly alone and asked one of my friends, whom I'll call Primo, if he wanted to come over and watch it on Wednesday. He told me that he was busy that night, but that he could come over Thursday (last night). I asked another "friend", whom I'll call Secundo, if he wanted to come over. He told he had midterms to study for on Monday all through this weekend. I can respect that, as I have several midterms coming up next week that look pretty hellacious. So, imagine my surprise when Secundo called Primo while Primo was over here, asking him if he was free to hang out. Primo told him that he was over at my room watching some TV and chilling. Secundo consequently hustled over here in record time, his midterms apparently either magically disappeared or suddenly forgotten.

So, in a week, I have had three cases of people who I thought were my friends, or at least people who had some respect for me, treat me with intentional disregard, outright rudeness, and blatant hypocrisy in furtherance of avoiding me. The only person who treated me with any regard was Primo, who is one of the few people I don't feel paranoid about.

But, really, what's the point? Why even bother reaching out to people? When they aren't ignoring me or brushing me off, they treat me with scorn and disdain. There have not been three subsequent cases in which I was more sure that I was being deliberately made into a pariah--not a pariah as a consequence of my own actions, but a pariah as a consequence of other people's contempt or maladjusted social tendencies (I'm still not sure which is more prevalent).

I'm not anti-social as a rule. I used to like people. I used to be interested in the dynamics of social interaction. But now, I have to admit I really don't give a damn. There are a few people in my life--my PMA brother Eric, my freshman hallmate Lauren, and my good EYC friend Peter spring to mind--that I trust and love, and whom I know return my respect. But beyond those few I no longer have any interest in broadening my circle of friends. "You can't help me, not you guys/And all you sweet, sweet girls with all your sweet talk/You can all go take a walk," as Lou Reed famously sang.

There is a line from the Great Gatsby that, although I have not read the book, really sums up certain aspects of this situation: "... he must have felt that he had lost the old warm world, paid a high price for living too long with a single dream." My dream? My dream was that once I got away from high school, from the mindless misery of being 15 or 16 and feeling unloved, that I'd find a place where I could reach out to others and have them reach back, where I could love and be loved for who I was instead of being an outcast. And now I guess I've paid the price for living with that dream.

Pale-faced and hollowed eyes
Buried under ruptured skies
Not every smile means I'm laughing inside
Two-faced and compromised
I've enraptured you with lies
Everything means nothing
And tonight everything is mine
(-The Wallflowers)

Thursday, March 02, 2006

It's Sunday night, I am curled up in my room
the TV light fills my heart like a balloon
I hold it in as best I can
I know I'm just another fan
But I can't help feeling I could love this secret agent man
And I can't wait anymore for him to discover me
I got it bad for David Duchovny
David Duchovny, why won't you love me?
Why won't you love me?

My friends all tell me
You know it's just a show
But deep within his eyes
I see me wrapped up like a bow
Watching the sky for a sign
The FBI is on my mind
I'm waiting for the day when my lucky stars align
In the form of David Duchovny floating above me
In the alien light of the spaceship of love
I need David Duchovny hovering above me
American Heathcliff, brooding and comely
David Duchovny, why won't you love me?
Why won't you love me? Why won't you love me?

So smooth and so smart
He's abducted my heart
And I'm falling apart
From the looks I receive
From those eyes I can't leave
You can say I'm naive
But he told me to believe

My bags are packed, I am ready for my flight
Want to put an end to my daydream days and sleepless nights
Sitting like a mindless clone
Wishing he would tap my phone
Just to hear the breath of the man, the myth, the monotone
And I would say David Duchovny, why won't you love me?
Why won't you love me? Why won't you love me?

David Duchovny, why won't you love me? Why won't you love me?

David Duchovny, I want you to love me
To kiss and to hug me, debrief and debug me
David Duchovny, I know you could love me
I'm sweet and I'm cuddly - I'm gonna kill Scully
David Duchovny, why won't you love me? Why won't you love me?

I'll be waiting in Nevada...

(-Bree Sharp)

[hat tip to Becky S.]