Tuesday, August 28, 2007

How To Make Things Chilly When It's 100 Degrees Outside

My latest trip to Memphis to visit my girlfriend started horribly. I decided to catch a 6:45A flight on a Friday morning in order to spend as much time with her as possible during an extended weekend. But now that I get home from work at about 11:15 every night, I decided that in order to make sure I caught the 4:14A bus to get to O'Hare Airport, I should just stay awake that Thursday night after I got home. So on no sleep, wired by my excitement only, I made my way to the bus stop and got there maybe a minute or two before the 4:14 scheduled time. Twenty minutes later, still no bus. I wasn't sweating because that bus runs on average about every twenty minutes, and even if I missed the 4:14, there should be a bus coming along about 4:35 or so. Sure enough, at about 4:35 I look up and see a bus leaving from the bus depot a block in front of where I was standing to wait for the 4:14 bus. It sounds confusing, but this bus line has buses going downtown from two different places, and the 4:14 was definitely going to go past the stop I was waiting at, not at the bus depot. And I was still standing at that previous stop because I wasn't sure if the 4:14 was just running late and I didn't want to risk walking to the depot and having the bus fly right past me, which is exactly what happened the last time I tried to fly to Memphis.

In any event, now it's 4:50 and even if I catch the next bus at 4:54 it dawns on me that it might be cutting it close getting to an airport as busy as O'Hare at 6A (I'm an hour away on the bus and train but a half-hour away in a car)with 45 minutes before my flight and the long check-in line ahead of me. I had promised my girlfriend that I wouldn't miss this flight because I had miscues the first two times I came to see her and I had to think she was wondering how eager I really am to see her if I keep missing buses and flights. This promise is ringing in my head as I break out my cell phone and call 411 trying to get the number for Yellow Cab. It didn't matter that I was spending $30 for cabfare to the airport, I just wanted to make my flight. Well, my dumb ass kept giving the cab company the intersection I was standing at, which happened to straddle the line between Chicago and the suburb of Oak Park, and they couldn't get the intersection to register on their little computers. I could have just given them my home address, squarely in the city of Chicago, but I didn't want to walk back home. After numerous calls and statements from them that they would try to be at that corner but they weren't sure, it's 6:30, the sun is out, and I've already told my girlfriend that I am breaking my promise and will have to catch a standby flight and get there later. You could have fried an egg on my forehead, I was so frustrated, and not necessarily at the bus company or the cab company, but at myself for finding a way to disappoint my girlfriend and screw up something as simple as getting to the fucking airport on time.

With the weariness from being up all night, the frustration at my traveling ordeal, the disappointment at letting my girlfriend down yet again, and the rigors of flying all piled on top of my body and spirit, I wound up spending the first three days of my four-day trip curled up on her couch watching TV or eating or sleeping in her bed. It already takes a world of confidence in myself to make a move on someone, and this experience sapped my confidence from me, so by the time we had some pillow talk Sunday night about what we should have done more during our time together, I was painfully aware that we had not been very active intimately with each other. We're waiting until marriage to have sex, too, so it can get frustrating for me to get the motor running so to speak knowing the end result will not be the feeling that only making love provides. I told her that I wished we had rolled in the hay more, and she agreed. Then she said something that hurt and made me afraid that I wasn't being the man that I should be: She said she didn't feel "desired" that weekend. What's worse, when I later tried to move my hand under her shirt, she said, "I don't want you to feel like you have to make me feel better." Ouch. You know you've wounded a woman when she believes you're only getting closer to her because you're taking pity.

In subsequent conversations, she has expressed that she doesn't feel like that weekend was a threat to the relationship because she understands why I wasn't as physically expressive as I usually am. But I was afraid because what person wants to go through a long-distance relationship just to finally see the partner for the first time in months and then spend four days feeling undesired? That's a problem. I actually floated the idea several times that weekend in my head to just turn around and kiss her and show you are happy to be there, but I was just feeling so despondent that I didn't want to do that. After lying to her and promising that I'd be there only to drop in late again, it was just nearly impossible for me to gather the self-confidence to start jumping her bones and acting like I'm something special. And, like I said, despite her talent at giving hand jobs, when it's predetermined that you're not getting anything beyond that, it makes it more difficult to initiate intimacy. Since then, I've explained that in those times when I'm not feeling very forward, it might work out better if we got intimate and cozy without an orgasm looming over our heads, just roll around with each other and enjoy each other's company, and she agreed. She said there are times where she doesn't have to get naked and start playing with me to feel intimate, too, so that's something to look forward to. I bet as soon as we have a time where we say at the beginning that we're just going to kiss and cuddle and don't have to get naked, the spontanaeity will come back and we'll wind up naked anyway.

There's nothing easy about relationships, but when they're long-distance, you have to work that much harder to communicate with each other. I was mad at myself for not communicating how down I was feeling to my girlfriend that weekend BEFORE it got to the point where she was feeling undesired. But with time and talking, things are much better now. She's been so supportive during the last year and a half, and she's never made me feel undesired. I'm very anxious to put in the work to demonstrate to her that I still desire her as much as I did in the beginning. The reason I love her is because I'm pretty sure she already knows that.

Friday, August 17, 2007

What You Need Is An Adult Education

Me quoting bad Hall & Oates songs must mean one thing--I'm gearing up to return to school. I'm sitting in the computer lab at Harold Washington College waiting to speak to an advisor and figure out what three classes I want to take this fall. I'm only taking three because four was killing me back when I had temp jobs or no jobs at all, and now that I'm working full-time, I don't want to wear myself out. Also, I would be angry at receiving a free bus pass for the duration of the semester, which everyone taking twelve credit hours is eligible for, knowing that I can't take the bus home from work at night because the bus route a block from my house stops running by the time I get off work. A train system called Metra has a stop three blocks from my house, so I'm able to come home at a decent hour every night, but the Metra system does not acknowledge that free student pass. C'est la vie. (More bad 80s music references--blame that damn iPod of mine. And if you even remember the song "C'est La Vie," then you're as disturbed as I am.)

I was planning to return to school after I got used to my new work schedule and settled into my house, but I'm inspired also by my aunt's oldest son, my cousin Thomas, preparing to attend the University of Illinois this fall. His family threw him a congratulatory bash a few weeks ago. I kept glancing at him throughout the party, amazed that the same little boy who used to play "bat and ball" with me (what he called baseball) and kept bursting into my bedroom when my first girlfriend and I would be getting it on was now three inches taller than me, sprouting facial hair, and going to college. And man, is he smart as a whip. I tried to tell him at the end of the party in a private moment that if he needed advice on anything that he could always give me a call, and I added that my first piece of advice would be: "All women are evil." Without missing a fucking beat, he turns to me and softly says, "Except (my girlfriend), right?" "Of course," I responded. I'm very excited about what becomes of him after he spends a few years out from under his mother's thumb. He's got the potential to destroy the world in whatever area he wants. Unfortunately, despite his size (he's close to 300 lbs. and about 6'4"), it won't be football. He never played in high school. He's much more interested in using his brain. He could have made a tremendous left tackle, in my opinion, but whatever he winds up doing, I have a feeling he'll be great at it.

I will have more free time to blog now that I'm back in school because I can use a computer that actually works well, unlike the one I have at home. Plus, I do all of my fantasy sports stuff when I'm on the computer at home, and by the time I finish that, it's time to jump in the shower and go to work. So I'll return with another post soon, certainly sooner than the one a month I seem to have been doing this year. I visited my girlfriend in Memphis a couple of weekends ago, so I'll talk about that. She and I don't have a lot of issues, and boy am I happy about that, but we had something during my visit that could be a sign of a major problem down the road. You'll have to wait to find out what's going on, but if you're insane enough to still be checking in on my blog, then you're certainly used to waiting by now.