It's been something of a week. As extroverted as I am (nearly definitionally so) there are times when I need to recharge. Times when I need to be alone with my few non-public thoughts. Someone (and I know this anecdote would be better if I had a name there, instead of "someone" but I don't know it) was once famously described as never having a private thought. I've sometimes felt that applied to me. I tend to find it relatively easy to share my thoughts. And really in this case share suggests that my thoughts are things I believe to be of value to others. I don't. I recognize that sometimes my sharing is really more like junk mail.
This ability to be perfectly public about most thoughts has some benefits, however. For instance this past week I was unafraid. In a week where my ex (Ann) hung out repeatedly with Jesseca, I was unafraid. Paul kept insinuating (or flat out declaring) that there were things to be feared. They would snicker and conspire, share notes and remind one another my myriad foibles. But the thing is, neither of them had to seek an external source for a retelling of any story. I'll tell pretty much any story involving me. From the most laudatory to the most repellent. They're all a part of who I am, and I'm okay with that person. I'm not ashamed, even when overwhelming evidence suggests that such a position might be more warranted. But it turns out they had a great time.
Ann arrived on Thursday. In fewer than 24 hours she would find herself in the middle of a large coterie of my voluble (mostly), frisbee playing (mostly) friends. Turns out everyone got along famously. The incredible generosity of the party guests meant I ACQUIRED beer by the end of the evening. Note to self, continue to invite generous lightweights.
We played Mafia. I am attrocious at this game. It's entirely predicated upong misdirection, lying and false accusations. I tried to get into the spirit of the game, but lying stirs in my stomach the same sensation as poorly prepared Chinese. There is the suggestion of a "reversal of fortune." So we can safely assume I was the weakest link. Except, of course for Libby, whom I will say is even less capable of lying than I am. Or maybe it's more a function of failed secret-keeping.
The other main attraction of Friday's party was my "corpse-foot, " as Paul dubbed the swollen, discolored and generally Rubenesque appendage.
Corpse-foot (hereinafter CF) was reanimated and given a chance to prove its mettle on Saturday. Ann and I set out to see the city. We walked down 18th. Travelling through Adams Morgan and down to Dupont. CF was by this time reminding me, quite vociferously that its appearance was, in fact, not accidental, but rather an effort to communicate persistent injury. My pain receptors often seem to be pretty useless in passing along pertinent information like, "Hey fuck up, your ankle is screwed up. This is a good time to stop walking." So I pressed on, aware that my foot didn't feel *good*, but not really understanding the degree to which this was true.
We took lunch at Moby Dick's, and then made our to Eastern Market. More walking. I found some great old maps that I loved. It's strange I love giving maps as a gift, but can't really recall ever getting one, or buying one for myself. Maybe when Mark and Stacy visit I'll get a map. After Eastern Market we headed home. My foot was, by this time, quite insistent that some sort of line had been crossed. It was sore. That's what I'm trying to say. The little pain receptors apparently returned from lunch to find many missed calls...and they worked dilligently to return all those calls. Oh, I should also explain that I forgot to take any Ibuprofen that day, so my, oh let's call it, "call waiting" was not working.
Upon arriving home, I collapsed on the couch and Ann did the same. We both nodded off. Later Jesseca called and the three of us moseyed (with IB having been eagerly and voraciously ingested hours before) to Tonic and got burgers and other curatives.
As I am growing weary of writing this like a fucking 4th grade bookreport, I'll skip around a bit. Next day was brunch at Rosemary's Thyme. A caper-filled omlette is a thing of indescribable beauty, so we'll just say, I liked it quite well. Took a cab home. Makes me feel decadent to ride in cabs. I generally don't like that feeling, but CF was clear to remind me of the value of motorized transportation. Spent the rest of the day watching movies on my couch. 12 Angry Men, Catch me if you can. Immediately after this bonanza of movies, I collapsed. There is only so much time you can devote to a needy CF, an old friend, to worrying about the previous two items, etc. I just checked out. To be clear, Ann was a joy to have as a guest. But most of the stress of hosting is self-imposed. I felt myself lacking as a host and by 7PM on Sunday was excessively weary. Falling asleep face down in a pool (I can only imagine) of my own drool, I made myself an even less capable host. But it had to be done. Basic biological rules dictated as much. I woke up to the sound of Jesseca and Ann talking, and fresh pizza being served. Mirage or not it tasted quite nice and I regained some of my strength.
I believed I would need it as Monday was the day I was supposed to see Jen.
I had been really worried about seeing Jen. I hadn't seen her since leaving Seattle. Anyone who knows me knows the intensity of that relationship. Part of this fall was spent feeling really low, and generally awful, in part due to a moronic desire to rehash and rethink that relationship. So seeing Jen was inbued with a lot of psychic energy. Turns out, it didn't have to be. It was a great time. TDP came along and we just talked and had a good time. The best of all hoped for results was achieved. I remembered all the reasons I really like and respect Jen, and I was reminded that we shouldn't be together. So I left that dinner knowing I was in the right place in my life. Dating Jesseca is, and of course must be, very different. But on the whole, I'm really quite happy. We do a good job of listening to one another and make space for eachothers troubles and worries. Which is tricky, because I sometimes bring a lot of both to the conversation.
Simultaneously across town, Ann and Melissa (another ex) were sitting down to their first meeting since college. Our senior year ended poorly. Ann and Melissa did not speak at the end of college. Monday's dinner sounded quite pleasant. Apparently time does heal wounds, or at least bring focus to greater problems.
It's much easier to be angry about someone having something you want when you feel it's the only one. Melissa and Noah are happily (as best I can gather) dating and have been for a long time. The initial shitty part of any ended relationship is the realization that you've lost certainty. You've changed from one person back to the entire universe of options. And that opening of choices can be scary, especially when you don't know what's out there. Ie, I was irrationally frustrated for some of the fall at having "lost" Jen. A little perspective reminds me that, sure there is only one Jen, but that clearly wanting to be with Jen is silly. What I want are the good parts of that relationship. And there's no functional limit on the number of people with whom I could have those experiences. And what's more, I am having those kinds of great times with someone right now. It's pretty nice. A little bit of perspective, and some much needed medicine, and well, things start to make more sense. I'm in a better place (CF notwithstanding) than I have been in a long time.
As I return home from dinner I recall that tomorrow evening Trish will be coming to visit DC. This means that on Tuesday night, Washington DC (and its metro environs) housed every person I've ever "dated" in any real way. (and I realize that is a fairly strange definition, but go with me on this).
How strange. Not that it's a particularly large number, rather small in fact. But it made me laugh to think about all of them getting together.
Tuesday morning I got an email from Stacy. She asked if the week had met my sweet imagination. Many thanks to Paul Simon. It's the perfect summation.
If you took all the girls I knew
When I was single
And brought them all together for one night
I know they'd never match
my sweet imagination
everything looks worse in black and white