Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sheriff John Brown Always Hated Me. For What, I Don't Know. Every Time That I Plant a Seed, He'd Say "Kill it Before it Grows."

8:00 am: It's Thanksgiving Day and I'm bound up in a deep depression that I'm getting good at masking as merely a tepid but snippy funk to those close to me.

Church was alright last night, having had a laugh with Luke while singing the insipid verse to one of the hymns which had the following line: "First the blade, and then the ear. Then the full corn shall appear!" Trying to behave since Pastor's family was right behind us, we just looked at each other strangely, elbowed one another in the side and snickered. Luke was supposed to be doing a sermon summary for Confirmation class, but instead he was drawing a pictorial, captioned rendering of the humorous verse, which only made me laugh harder. Reading over his sermon summary after church, before he handed it in to the DCE, he wrote, under the question: "What is the point of the sermon?" or something to that effect, "If you don't believe in God, you will burn in HELL!" Seeing as that's sort of the point of *all* the sermons, I let his unusual banality slide, because in all honesty, I hadn't paid enough attention to the sermon to answer the question in detail myself. I was distracted, by lots of things.

The pie social after church was challenging, however. Luke ran off to sit and eat pie with his friends, which was fine, and I was relegated to my mom's table full of fogies who watched me pick at the cherries in the piece of pie I slapped onto my plate. When I went to get something to drink, I ran into my friend Wes en route back to my table. He asked me if I liked the 3 words he used to describe me when he participated in my self-esteem experiment. Wes' answer was "a trusted friend." "Were you having kind of a down moment? You look great, by the way..." he asked. "Yeah, I said, a down week or so. Honestly, it's been really hard lately," I said. "Chris?" Wes asked. "Yeah, to tell you the truth. He really did a number on my self-esteem," I answered. "What a scuzbag that guy was, but he seemed *so* nice!" Wes said. I told him how cunningly perfect my ex-boyfriend was at charming everyone, winning the affection of the masses, seemingly really friendly and outgoing, but that I felt that deep down, he was full of the devil inside him. I explained that he and I have no contact with one another anymore but that I was having a hard time processing all the awful parts of our relationship that still haunted and scared me, and I took the time to explain what some of those things were, which incensed Wes, who's always been very protective of me. "Who are you with now?" Wes asked me. "No one," I said. "Flying solo for a while." "You need time to regain your sanity," Wes said and I agreed. "You like tough guys, Andrea. Too bad all the tough guys I know are jerks," he quipped. "I wish I could find you a nice guy." "Yeah," I sighed. Needing to get back to our pie, he hugged me again and we went back to our respective tables.

The chairman of the congregation approached me at the beverage area and said, "I see your name's not in the bulletin anymore!" (That means I'm no longer included in the "which-members-to-pray-for" section.) "Nope," I said flatly. "That must be a good sign!" he said. "It must mean you're better." I told him, "I have my good days and my bad days. I'm still not well. Having trouble gaining weight. Still a lot of stuff wrong that they can't figure out." "Well, you look great," he said, and I thanked him. "I haven't been in the hospital for a while, so yeah, I'm not in the bulletin anymore. Either that, or everyone got tired of praying for me," I said as I stirred. He laughed. Sorry, Mr. Chairman, but the pathetic and sickly thin (though I look fucking better than any of the other 39 year old women in my church, married or single) drummer for your Praise Band needs to eat the denomination-consuming ritual pie, gather the chattering family and get the hell out of there, STAT to go home and take all the drugs that keep me on what's lately a very uneven keel, since I forgot to bring them with me to church and it was already approaching 9pm.

Hang on, I gotta go throw up again.

Well, we're all set to go see The Band's "The Last Waltz" on the big screen on Wednesday night. Too cool for words. Hell, if he didn't go, I'd either drag along another friend, force Luke to sit through it or go alone, which is something I've never done before--see a movie by myself. I want to see it in a movie theater THAT badly and oh, to have it critiqued by Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot, it's a music geek's wet dream.

Before I left last night, I reminded him about the film: when and where it was, what time we'd have to leave work, et al. "I'm working on it," he said. "Working on what? What's there to work on, I thought we were going," I replied. He then announced that he'd invited one of his daughters (which one, I don't know...he has 3, and I don't know which is which) and her friend/friends to come with us. Surely he must have seen the surprised look on my face. Trying to process that, he went on to say that she's out of school until January something-day, and she might like the film, though I maintained it's likely she has no idea who The Band is, and that it was "music for old people," like him/us. By "working on the details" of the evening, I didn't realize it was the inclusion of one of his children, whom I haven't met before. I didn't have the heart to tell him that it would've been nice if he'd asked me first if I thought this was ok, so I brushed it off and said where it was and that tickets were available at the door, so whatever.

It's WHY he wants to bring his daughter that has me confused. If it's honestly because he has met my whole family and would like me to meet his, that's marvelous and fine and I'd gladly have her meet us there, which I told him via text last night, to which he didn't respond. (See "Not Talkin' 'Bout My Generation: Being Friends With a Boomer," August 2011.) I also told him that if it's because someone perceives me as an intruder into *his* world, whether that's his wife, his kids, or what'd be the worst, HIM, then no one gets it. I told him, "We are friends. Period."

Does he want to bring her because he doesn't feel comfortable being alone with me anymore? Then be honest with me about it, share your apprehensions and we'll work through them. That'd royally suck, because I don't see myself as a threat to his pleasant, yet seemingly sort of lukewarm existence. As a friend, I bring a unique perception of the world, of the arts, of intellectualism, of humor and intelligence to a like-minded man who has shown me support, strength--he's my rock--encouragement, compassion and Christ's true vision of agape love. I am deeply grateful for his having befriended me when I needed someone like him to be able to talk to, especially with the PTSD, which I'm still reluctant to talk about with him. I trust him implicitly, and feel comfortable telling him difficult things, knowing he won't think any less of me if those things are fucked up or unconventionally weird, dangerous or scary.

If it's to appease the wife, whom he TOLD me when I asked him a long time ago, that she doesn't mind him having opposite-sex friends, then the two of them need to have a discussion about his friend Annie who yes, is single and full of vim, but who respects her role in his life as long as she respects mine too.

He has his sports fan friends, his medical community friends, his church friends, his old pals from God knows where...and he has his artsy-fartsy friend Annie who's into all the same music as he is (though I made him a Flaming Lips fan by myself), with whom he can debate ethical credos and religion, rock trivia, Ernest Borgnine, my situational eating disorder, drug addiction and alcoholism, mental illness, writers, artists, et al, who works furiously to maintain a professional relationship with him as is necessary, but whom enjoys social time with him as well. I don't see what the big deal is about it all myself. Yes, I'm anti-puritanical, not a prude, unconventional, liberal, free, openly affectionate and someone who just happens *not* to have a boyfriend right now...probably a lot of things that simultaneously scare and engage him. I fully admit that I enjoy upsetting the apple cart, but his apple cart? I'll call a spade a spade (have you watched "Annie Hall" recently, anyone?) but I'm not about to wreck a bunch of important shit in either of our lives.

I sought the advice of one of my girlfriends, who doesn't know him or frankly, much about our history together. She thought me crazy to have bought 2 tickets to a movie and to have expected him to accompany me, when again, it was HE who said that he wanted to do more together, things we both enjoy, like live music, that our other friends don't necessarily like to do, hence I excitedly emailed him a link to the show and said "we HAVE to go see this!". My friend said I read too much into his proclamations and that he wasn't thinking clearly when he said them (yes, because I pried him at a bar with Diet Pepsi to get him to tell me the truth 3 weeks after we'd been at a concert together). Her opinion is that he's going to the film with me because he read my blog about him (the August blog) and feels guilty and awkward and unable to decline in favor of sparing my feelings, and that inviting his daughter and her friend was the way to help with how awkward he feels about going out with me. If THAT is the case, that also royally sucks, because we're both grown ups capable of handling our friendship without the need for a 20-year old babysitter. Or at least I am. I hope honestly that it's just me being paranoid and melodramatic and that he just wants me to meet the kids, and thought this would be a good avenue to do that.

He said he'd stay in better contact over the weekend, so maybe this can all get sorted out in the next few days, which would be good, because it's internal tension I don't need right now. I just want to go out with my friend, see a great movie and I wanted some time to talk openly and honestly with my wise, pragmatic, sympathetic buddy about the shit I've been going through lately dealing with my memories of Chris and how that's affecting my psyche and functioning, which affect my concentration and my general health, and he's not only my friend and my superior, but he's my physician and I haven't had access to a competent therapist in months.

I was *going* to suggest to him that when he (finally) decides to come and see my band play at church, that perhaps that would be a good venue during which I could meet his wife. I can't think of a more benign situation than meeting one another at church. He's literally met close to everyone, my band being the exception (and Kate) who is important to me, including the man I'm closest to, who turned out not to like him much because he was jealous of him, but that's my friend's problem, not mine or his. I've not yet met anyone in his family, and I would like to, though maybe THIS Weds it's not on my agenda because I did want to talk with him about heavy shit, which I didn't get a chance to explain, too flabbergasted. We'll see how the weekend goes.

Luke just left for his Dad's for the holiday afternoon, returning tonight after dessert to go home with my brother and nephew for the weekend. The poor kid hates having to trade holidays between Mom and Dad annually, and expressed that he wishes he could spend every Thanksgiving with me instead of having to go to his Dad's girlfriend's house. It was hard to explain to him why things are the way they are, which he intellectually understands, but it hurts nevertheless. Especially because we celebrate my nephew's birthday at Thanksgiving too. Jake is turning 19 this year.

This year it's only my brother and his son, sans my brother's soon-to-be-ex-wife and sans Luke. So things will be a little weird.

It doesn't help (TMI alert for the fellas) that I'm having physical female issues yet again. Doctor says that if this crap keeps up, I have to go in for a D&C, which I've never had. And my first mammogram is scheduled for early December. Men get their assholes tapped into (I think, I don't even know what happens at a prostate exam) once in a while and their balls clung to but that's about all the chronic ick they have to deal with in their lives. We bear children. We bleed a lot. We cramp up and get irritable. We break out. Month after month until our bodies decide that we're finally old enough to stop suffering. That just compounds the irritability and general sense of blah that I'm feeling today.

I don't know if I have an appointment with The Useless Therapist tomorrow or not, but I'm not going until she quits and I get my new therapist. And I don't know if I'm meeting my Stephen Minister tomorrow for our weekly pow wow either; she hasn't answered my texts asking. So tomorrow could be crazy busy or dead in the water until band practice.

Midnight: So for what am I most thankful this Thanksgiving? As I told a few friends and my Pastor this morning, I am most grateful for the many times I was really sick in the hospital, or at home, or at work, and I prayed fervently that the Lord would just fucking call me home already and release me from my suffering, and He decided not to honor that prayer. God belched at me again. "Not your time, Annie, not your time... He said. I think it's largely just that voice of Chris in my head that tells me I'm not, in fact, good enough, smart enough and doggone it, not enough people like me that made me pray to be whisked on the fast track to Heaven. But goddamnit, the list of songs I want played at my memorial service is getting really fucking bitching, Steven Gregory Drozd, so make sure you sling your guitar and keyboard over your shoulder and do fly in to give me a proper send-off, m'kay?

Thanksgiving dinner with the family, though it was just the 4 of us, was great. I mean, it was great once the food was on the table and we started eating it. Beforehand, when Ma was multitasking and cooking, I was ready to crush an Estazolam and put it in her ginger ale. Most fortunately, when my big brother is around, it's 2 against 1 and we can usually outwit her and joke around with her enough to have her calm the fuck down. At least Steve can. But he doesn't live with her. We celebrated my nephew Jake's 19th birthday, a Thanksgiving tradition, ate like hogs, sprayed whipped cream across the table at one another (Ma did that to Steve), and Steve critiqued my (now hidden for the last several months) online dating profiles, as he's edging closer to getting into the dating scene since he and his wife filed for divorce.

Steve's just a fabulous guy. He's 43 but looks 17, is really cute, good at what he does (he's a food service manager at NIU in De Kalb for a big dorm), loves the Lord, a devoted father, kind, funny and offbeat. He's also one of the best drummer/percussionists I've ever heard. To know him is to love him. He totally deserves to be with someone who thrills his soul, whose soul he thrills, without abandon. It was so refreshing tonight to have him here and he could be himself, without walking on eggshells around his cranky, introverted, unfriendly wife who never talked to us unless we talked to her first in the 20 years we've known her.

Steve just signed up for, his first venture into thinking about starting to date. A veteran of rejection by interesting men and rejection of serial killer types from South Dakota in the online dating world (as well as an abuse survivor at the hands of someone I met online), I had some tips for Steve and let him read my dating profiles, all of which have been hidden or removed for the last several months as I have zero interest in dating anyone yet. He thought my profiles were certainly interesting and witty, and I had cute pictures posted, but he couldn't figure out why I am so damn undatable online in the first place. I told him it's a hell of a world out there for almost-middle-aged divorced moms. I pity the poor woman who was divorced with kids and took the risk of becoming Chris' new girlfriend. Once they got to know one another, a mutual friend told me Chris said the girlfriend had gone "off the rails" and that things were rocky, and that they unfriended one another on Facebook. That was the last I heard about their relationship, but naturally whatever went wrong had to be her fault, her neurosis, because nothing is EVER Chris' fault. Literally, every argument or disagreement ends with the woman having to apologize to him for something, because he plays his cards in such a way that he, like Satan, twists everything around to blame a woman for any transgression he can grasp that surely outweighs any wrongdoing of his. They met on OkCupid.

I told Steve the story of my adventures on OkCupid, where their mathematical algorithms guaranteed to find you the love of your life fucking 99% compatibility score matched me with not only THE MAN I WAS ALREADY MARRIED TO but also the guy who rejected me and said no to the Homecoming Dance when I was in high school, as well as Rob, the Carpenter Who Hates Me, who has rejected me on every dating site out there, all of which he found hysterical and I found typical of my luck. I'm anxiously awaiting's own algorithms to match me up with another Caucasian, mid 40's white drummer with whom I share most tastes, laugh at the same things, and am a Christian, so the online dating site can suggest I start dating my big brother. That's how marred I think online dating is in general, and half why I took all of my profiles down.

Otherwise, Thanksgiving was fun. Steve taught me how to beat the rhythm of the Purdie Shuffle, a famous drum pattern by Bernard Purdie, who's played most famously with Steely Dan, whose techniques were loaned out to John Bonham of Led Zeppelin on the song "Fool in the Rain." After half an hour of tapping on the floor and the dining room table, I pretty much got the beat down.

And John Bonham's take on it, "Fool in the Rain..."

Wowzers. I need some sleep before tomorrow, which I think is turning into a major snoozefest.

I remain "Dreamboat Annie."

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