Your Memory Is A Monster

Completely anonymous, letting the guilty live free and the interested live happily.

A blog for real-life grown ups. September 23, 2008

I am an adult. This means that I deal with my feelings instead of hide from them. This means that I make jokes that aren’t cool but am alright with that.

This means that I take people seriously when they talk about their feelings. because that’s what I want from my friends.

This means that when I screw something up, I don’t just mentally acknowledge that I screwed it up, I say it to the person or people involved.

Being an adult doesn’t mean I’ve lost my fear of being honest about myself and my feelings. It does, though, mean that I admit this fear to the people being harmed by it.

It also means that I don’t just acknowledge my flaws in the painfully self-aware way that all my fellow writes have been doing. I admit to them. And, finally, I try to do something about them.

I know this reads like a high school journal entry. But I just get mad at people who are otherwise almost perfect, people whose primary flaw is that they are not just emotionally retarded (literal meaning of the word “retarded”) but who also think it’s OK for them to be this way.

My students’ willful ignorance makes me so troubled that some days I sit in the classroom after they’ve all left, staring at the back wall, forcing encouragement into my mind, trying to think of a way to interest them in something. 

But people my age, people I love and care about and spend time with, they aren’t willfully ignorant. They are contagiously curious. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t be all over my life. But there exist among you the willfully immature, the willfully childish. Really, what you are is selfish.

Having an idea does no one any good.

Feeling bad about something does not help anyone.

Admitting that you are “difficult to be around” doesn’t make you easier to be around. Four of my friends have said something like this. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that all of them are men.

Your feelings about me, our friendship, our time together, they do me no good. They benefit me in no way. They change my life in, at most, a marginal way. What you do is what matters.

You see something that needs to be done and you do it.

You see someone who needs something and you get it for them.

You have the time, you do it so someone else doesn’t have to. 

You don’t keep score.

You don’t wait for someone else to.

You go beyond admitting your faults to actively trying to improve on them. Even if this means asking for help in doing so. Especially if it means asking for help in earnest. 

I’ve been writing an essay for a while. An essay about being old. Of course this approach is humorous because I’m not actually that old. Writing an essay is a mysterious process. It requires that I admit that my life is tremendously interesting, or, at the very least, it requires that the way I see my life and the world in which I live it, is valuable outside of my immediate life. 

What I wasn’t expecting, though, was to discover how much I like being old.

It means that the only reason I need to end a relationship of any kind is that the other person isn’t ready for a grown-up, real relationship. I’ve ended friendships for this reason in the very recent past and it was relatively painless. For me.

And, upon reflection, I have no remorse about abruptly ending value-less relationships, because I know that I shouldn’t be in a relationship that provides me with nothing. To a less-than-adult, these relationships are crutches: access points to other people, guarantees that we’ll have something to do, validations of our likability, something we see as easier to maintain than terminate.

We cannot let people hold us hostage, though. Not for any reason. 

I have so many friends. I have so many true friends. But they are not a beacon of my value as a person. Their quality as people and as friends, even the number of them I have in my life, in indicative of both my quality of friendship and my capacity to truly value them.

I don’t expect someone to be my friend if I don’t value them.

So why would I be friends with someone who is so clearly selfish that they cannot go beyond admitting they aren’t a very good friend? Someone incapable of genuine apology? Someone who escapes at the sign of trouble?

If I think my friend is mad at me, I can’t stop trying to solve it. Why is it that so many people just ignore it, knowing that the person will have to let it drop?

I’m not afraid like I was when I was 18. Not afraid of being seen as dramatic, no longer allowing someone else to make me feel or act like a crazy person. My response is, I assure you, warranted. I am, again, hyper-logical, hyper-vigilant, hyper-self-aware. 

And here is my secret source of mental power. I don’t care if you think I am over-reacting. I don’t care if you think you don’t deserve to be admonished. 

I am too patient and too caring and too forgiving and too trusting and too kind and too generous and too fucking good to my friends. If I stop, it’s because I should have long ago. If I stop, it’s because I realize that I wouldn’t let someone treat my friend or sister the way you are treating me.

Here’s how to fix it:

Quit being a fuck.

Quit talking about quitting being a fuck.

Quit merely admitting that you are a fuck.

Quit being a fuck.

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I remember you being very different. August 16, 2008

Let’s say that you went to college with this guy. And you just loved him. Every time you saw him on campus, you found a reason to talk to him. You were friends, sometimes you hung out, sometimes you had lunch together in the caf or sat around on a front porch at a party talking. You weren’t crazy stalker asking questions about him getting people to talk to him about you. You just acted kind of goofy whenever you talked to him. You were the only person around who knew half of anything about music and you always argued about it with him, in that spirited, excited way you argue when you finally find someone your equal in such an argument.

He made you a CD of all his favorite music, and you still have it, 4 or so years later.

He was a safe and comfortable person. Someone you didn’t obsess over, but someone you couldn’t shake out of your brain when you left school. Unlike those countless people who you hung out with sometimes but whose names you don’t still remember, this guy somehow manages to come up in your memories.

If you think of that time his band played some shitty show a few blocks from campus, you think: “Why wasn’t I braver? Bolder? Why didn’t I realize then what I realize now?”

But it’s infrequent that you think of him. Let’s say though, for the first time in months, you think of him one morning and realize you had a dream about him the night before. A dream where the two of you were married and in love and comfortable with each other.

And so you find him on Facebook. 

And you do realize now what you hadn’t before. 

He’s kind of stupid. And he spells things wrong. And he quotes stupid movies. And his favorite books include novelizations of the Star Wars movies and Harry Potter. And that’s it. And there is a joke about oral sex. And his favorite movies Dumb & Dumber and Baseketball

It would, don’t you imagine, change the way you look at a lot of things in your past.

 

It really is terrible advice. April 28, 2008

Filed under: Men Life Gossip — memorymonster @ 7:11 am
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A 13 year old could give you this advice: “Don’t be sad it’s over; be glad it happened.” They won’t say it (or punctuate it) so well, but they get the idea, and they know that somewhere between 13 and grown up, we probably kind of forgot.

But 13 year olds are idiots, try not to forget that. 

We are always sad when things are over. Vacations, weekends, parties. The bartender says “Last Call” and, if we aren’t ready to drag ourselves home, if we want to keep talking or playing or flirting, we hate the announcement. We sometimes comes to acknowledge that, while it was a great day or party or date, had it lasted much longer, it wouldn’t be so great. We are, in fact, glad that it happened and glad that it ended when it did. Otherwise, we’d be facing sunburns, alcohol poisoning, or boredom. 

Everything is different when it comes to relationships. Marriages end and people start chanting that they’ve wasted so much time, because it’s over. They try to embrace that advice from the 13 year old, but it doesn’t seem to fit. Again, remember: they are idiots. It sucks that it’s over. Of course it does. And it wouldn’t have become worse for having gone on longer, it became worse because you discovered some kind of incompatibility. Things change. And so they end. And you think you’ve wasted time because it wasn’t right.

But you’ve forgotten that everything is a process. And that 13 year old has yet to understand this, causing them to give you nice-sounding, but ultimately ineffective advice. 

The failed relationship is a part of the process. When you get to the person who is right, well, you or him or it wouldn’t be right had you skipped the step of the failed relationship. You have been changed and therefore prepared for the eventual right person.

So again, be glad that it happened and glad it’s over. You will have “wasted” just the right amount of time.

Thank Jerkface McExboyfriend, Asshat O’Onenightstand, Friendwithbenefits Johnson and Exboyfriend McStillyourfriend. 

They trained you for your eventual happy ending. 

 

Protected: Apartment 9, Next Door.

Filed under: Actions Speaking Louder,Beer Bar Drunk,Men Life Gossip — memorymonster @ 12:19 am
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Protected: Sunday Morning Walks of Shame. March 9, 2008

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It’s Like This. March 7, 2008

When you find yourself shaking your ashtrays, digging through your ashtrays, fingers dusty with stale smoke, looking for any of his cigarettes in there, you should call for an intervention. The kind where your friends bring over a bottle of wine and you eat ice cream for dinner. Where you watch either stupid movies or tremendously sad ones, the kind with people who have problems bigger than yours.

You alternate between getting mad and missing him.

Between listing 100 of his flaws and thinking that he’s the only person you ever got along with so well, could talk to about so many different things. 

You listen to the CD he made you and then microwave it.

You roll your eyes at his lame jokes and remember how you’d never laughed so much before with someone.

You remember how he’d get drunk and forget to return your phone calls, but also that your conversations could last four hours.

You make a joke about his favorite movie being a musical, and then close your eyes and see the Saturday you spent in your bed together, loving all the same terrible shows.

You hate his shoes, you hate his haircut, you hate his stupid coat. You hope when you go home, your bed will still smell like him.The anger protects you, as it always has me, from feeling the loss and the fear too strongly for too long. But it’s not false. It’s genuine. You’ve always hated that damn suede jacket; it just never seemed to matter before.

Who else could introduce you to so many great bands, make you such great CDs, watch your favorite show for four hours, holding your hand the entire time, favor the same news anchor, mock the same presidential candidates, always vote for the same restaurant as a cure for hangovers, dissect the sociological implications of the reality shows you both have finally admitted to watching, and make you laugh–really laugh–in that way that hurts, that makes you jealous you didn’t make the joke first, that makes you like him more, saying things so funny and so clever that you want to write them down, remember them.Except now, you can’t remember his jokes, his commentary. You can’t even remember the kind of jokes he’d make.

Though you can remember that he’s the only guy who’d really let himself laugh at your jokes.But he was terrible at cards, he thought it was funny to hit on your friends, had a bizarre fascination with Zach Braff. 

 

I match socks. You match _______. December 15, 2007

So three of my best lady friends have joined the dating website referenced in the title of this blog. I refuse to actually refer to it.
One was uniquely lucky in that she started and has continued a lasting, long-term relationship on the second of her “match dates.”
One has been uniquely unlucky in that she’s been out with at least 10 guys, sometimes more than once, but has yet to meet a “match.”
These guys are real pieces, too, if you ask me.
Which, let’s assume, you did.
One talked to her on the phone, post-date, arranging a possible next date, only to minutes later send a text that reads “I had a nice time with you but don’t think we click. Sorry.”
One, after the first date, became her friend on Myspace, started messaging one of her top friends, and then started dating that person.
One spent an entire date talking about his ex-girlfriend/soulmate with whom he has one of those “if we’re not married by 35, we’ll marry each other” pacts. He brought up this ex on the first date.
My third internet dating friend is new to this world, and seems a little wrong for it.
Sure, she’s watched one friend succeed, and one, let’s say, continue to try. She’s seen them whisked away on dates, excited by prospects, arrive home late at night with stories to tell. She wants a piece, and we all do, really.
But she can’t describe herself on a profile because she’s the kind of person who doesn’t tell you she is kind and loyal. That’s how kind and loyal she is.
She can’t e-banter with these guys because she doesn’t want to hurt feelings with a sarcast remark I suggest. She doesn’t want to have to wonder if he meant to hurt her feelings with a short response or a strange comment.
I don’t know what drives them all to this means. They all have declared, either to me or on their profiles, that they are “independent” women who don’t “need” men. I believe them. But they surely do not.
I know that things change over time and that the most successful among us will always know when, exactly, to adapt and when, exactly, to resist passing fads. I know that online dating is not a passing fad. It is too easy of an answer for the most common of questions.
But should I, you, all of us single people in the world adapt to this change? I think it’s something that would make many so intensely uncomfortable that things are doomed to fail, reinforcing our ideas that we are, perhaps, unloveable.