Friday, June 1, 2012

Annie, are you ok? Are you ok, Annie?

The best meme George Takei  (The Greatest Gay) ever posted and shared, and certainly the most personal/topical, given my Dorito-looking, uneven sunburn from Monday and subsequently wearing my winter coat on Friday. If I have to define a "meme" to you, for shame. That's what online dictionaries are for, for you non-English major types, though this term has found its way into mainstream talkety talk. If you're not a "Star Wars" fan, this is a picture of Anakin Skywalker (who'd later become Darth Vader's) burned body after a big fight with Obi Wan Kenobi, whereupon the evil Emperor Palpatine overtakes his lost, dark soul. Anakin's nickname was "Annie." Weird in itself, but:

By the way, I made George Takei's signature, bass-voiced "Oh, Myyyyy" my new ringtone and changed my voicemail greeting from the drab, lengthy "You've reached the voicemail of Andrea...." to "Hi, it's Annie. Leave me a message. Thanks. Bye." A) It's simpler. B) I hate being called "Andrea" by anyone other than Kate, as it's usually only said to me when I'm in trouble. C) It confuses people whom I don't want calling me in the first place and uses less cell air time when people accidentally (?) butt-dial me.

Sometimes, it's hard to come up with just the right words to say in any given situation.  We all could use a semester in Charm School from time to time, myself included. Though a prolific and verbose writer, and VERY chatty (especially when nervous), despite the (now over) 10,000 word thank you note I wrote my guy friend for a book he gave me, I suddenly found myself actually at a loss for words recently. Thus, I just made up a bunch of my own someecards this week, in response to recent events, with commentary.

I don't even remember how the topic came up at the tail end of my birthday fete, but I seem to remember claiming to be more of a daredevil than some people. I wouldn't be caught dead (actually, that's a bad omen, Hare Krishna!) in a bike helmet, and I don't force Luke to wear one either. (My brother, on his crotch rocket? Damn straight, that motherfucker better have a helmet on. But that's different. That's going 125 mph.) I mean, come on. Bike helmets are the head-gear equivalent of Crocs. (Factually. And I mean that nicely, wearing a pair of Uggs right now, which are a big Glamour DON'T. Crocs? Function over form. Went well with scrubs. But, unlike a bike helmet, don't threaten my hair, which is a most certain Glamour DO.) 

My son fell off his bike recently as a result of Dad not tightening the seat properly, into a pile of jagged rocks, maiming up his arm. Did he cry about it? No. He picked himself up off the ground and walked home with his bike, dripping blood through the park, cussing. Similarly, when his mother (moi) sprained her ankle severely in the alley taking out garbage one night by the dumpster, before Craig and I were divorced and living in the townhouse next to my mom, did I lie helplessly in the alley crying "Someone help me!?" (Did Craig come out to see what was taking me so long? No. Douchebag.)  No. I couldn't walk. So I fucking crawled. Through the unpaved alley, up the courtyard, until I was within earshot of my house. THEN I started screaming for Craig to fucking help me right fucking then. Myself, cut up with jagged rock embedded into my knees and elbows, though, I still didn't bawl in hysterics. Miklaszes are tough and built to last. 

Luke took pictures of his gore, and showed all of his friends (lest we forget: Craig Face. Annie Personality. Hello, Facebook! FYI, the abundance of Neosporin was at Camp Annie, so Craig just "put a big Band-Aid on it." Luke was still picking out gravel the next day.)


Details of how said topic of bike helmet safety made their way into dessert conversation are sketchy in my head, but I CAN tell you every single song that shuffled on my iPod the whole time we were all in the dining room (the party remainders: me, SuperJuls, my guy friend and his wife), from memory, and there were some pips in the mix that I found ironic and comical, that sort of were telling this musical narrative of our entire friendship, amid pleasantries and bantering and me *not* escaping upstairs for my anxiety drugs, which I'm sure went undetected by my guests entirely, the list of said songs I'll keep in my head, thank you, unless I decide to make a CD out of them for my guy friend. Yes, I can engage in a conversation and pay pretty close attention, while memorizing the background noise (Idiot Savant Trait # 4,598) OK, you twisted my arm. I'll share two: "Eminence Front" by The Who (ironic, as it's about being at a party and hiding behind a facade, and loosely about consuming too much cocaine) and Michael Nesmith's first take of "Carlisle Wheeling," about the disintegration of a long-term relationship. Then there was *that* song...

Meeting your guy friend's or gal pal's family or dear ones is weird, in any circumstance when they're not active participants in your friendship. Made weirder when you're ill-prepared. When he met MY not-that-insignificant other last year, my best male friend, he had weeks of prep time to digest it, background info (not all the details, but enough at the time) and knew what he was going into (a circus), as did my best male friend (who KNEW my nickname for my guy friend was a Polish term of endearment that was not a romanticism), which was why I was surprised that, instead of a warm greeting, my best male friend, after hugging me tightly and dodging camera flashbulbs with a growling, gnarly face, shunned my guy friend, didn't introduce himself (not that he needs an introduction) and hostile-ishly said "WHO IS THIS GUY TO YOU?" TO ME, instead of, "Hi! I' must be....I've heard such nice things about you!" (He could've at least coined a Who phrase, and said, "Oh. Who the fuck are you?" Nowadays, fully aware of his name, he still refers to him as "your friend" or by his profession.)

 Back in the day, George Harrison said that not only was a "wah wah" a guitar pedal, but it was his own euphemism for a "really bad headache."

Conversation was awkward and kept deliberately casual and focused on me, and loosely on Luke, instead of the two men. At least my (new) guy friend didn't arrive anticipating getting into fisticuffs with my friend, threatening to beat him to a pulp if he talked out of line, like, well....anyway. That being said, when the last time you introduced a man to your best male friend, and THAT guy was the World's Biggest Fucking Fuckhead Whom Everyone Hated, I guess your expectations are pretty low, and his sour reception towards my *new* guy friend du jour was compounded by "HE gets to see you every day and I don't" babyish anxiety and please, the man just sweated his nuts off for 2 hours, being a genius musical badass, and still had to manage me and calling his, er, wife, before, er, she went to sleep that night. (Hey, it's not my fault all my close guy friends are married. At least my best male friend's wife is and always has been really cool with what's between us, all things being equal, which they're really not.)

(What made matters markedly worse the next night, when my best male friend was supposed to see, like, my whole clan?  When he said he'd have more time to hang? Douchebaggery to the Nth degree on his part, which is why Luke thinks he's kind of a dick. Try explaining how you were blown off by a lame excuse by a guy who just couldn't handle how heavy his feelings were...)

Which I, in no uncertain terms, made clear:

Anyway, back at the party, I could be totally off base, true, I mean, my guy friend's wife and I haven't gotten to know one another yet. I realize family means like 95% of his existence, a statistic he made up after disclaiming that his family was 50% of his existence, which means work's the other measly 5% and I guess that leaves God and friends and going to The Container Store left over in negative reverse excess of percentile, but conversation-making felt forced, competitive, & she refused to doodle on the Buddha Board in my, gasp, Chick Cave upstairs, unlike EVERY OTHER GUEST, which struck me as odd, chilly and defiant towards me and my art-celebration-oriented-zen party activity. I could be totally wrong, and perhaps she's shy, or didn't want to be there in the first place, in which case, he should've left her at home. I completely understand where he was coming from. He just executed his plan VERY poorly. No Buddha Board is the politeness equivalent of leaving no food leftover on your plate at a dinner in China. Had SuperJuls not been there, OMG.

 (I'm sure it didn't help matters that I'd just brought Hip Flip downstairs to show Christa how insanely inappropriate and hilarious it was when they wandered unexpectedly into my dining room and instead of Hip Flipping, Christa probably looked at my face, wondering if anyone in the room OTHER than THAT couple knew CPR. I think I left Hip Flip dangling in Christa's arms.)

Meanwhile, the short time my guy friend was in the Chick Cave, *being supervised by SuperJuls anyway*, he was interested in seeing all my wacky shit, like Pastor Dave was, though unlike Dave, he wasn't taking pictures of the quirky art in my bedroom:

The missus scrambled for the bathroom (with the lady-like announcement that she was going to "empty her bladder," which...a simple, "I'm going to the bathroom" or the old-fashioned "I'm going to powder my nose" was TMI enough) and thus avoided the activity. He took his turn at the Buddha Board and only missed a roundhouse kick by my thigh-high combat boot by expeditiously sitting down in my office chair. She'd return while he was looking at some music memorabilia on my closet door, including but not limited to a picture of my best male friend making a smoochy face for me and me pointing out Kate's picture so he could get a visual of my best FEMALE friend. Pretty soon thereafter, we all got the fuck out of there.

During birthday gift exchanging for both he and I, while he was impressed with and grateful for the bragging rights of being the only guy on his block with a plot of Authentic Irish Sod to plant in THEIR garden, and I said the gift was for BOTH of them, to which the wife said, "BOTH of us?" (Good save, Annie!) I'm afraid the snarky "Irish dirtbag" joke that he (hopefully) understood in my accompanying card was lost on her, which was too bad. He not only knew who the authors of the book I gave him were, but he also knew I knew them personally, which he impressed upon his spouse, who was clearly not all that impressed.

Inside the book he gave me, he dedicated it to a creative artist who "could only be described as MAGICAL," which was very sweet and a compliment I take to heart (and now I know why he used that term specifically). I don't know about the magic part, but I'd give my right arm for the gift of clairvoyance.  He's very, very, very hard to stay angry at for any length of time, a trait in me he's grateful I harbor, though he knew I was irked that he unexpectedly brought Mrs. Him to the party without telling me beforehand.  I had enough legitimate social anxiety trying to pay attention to the rest of my guests, not to have this markedly uncomfortable stranger watching all the action as I quickly, mentally unraveled.

Kate said he should thank his lucky stars I'm not Kate, who said she would've made a scene, and while Kate is direct, biting and to-the-point, I hide behind passive-aggressive e-cards. I'm too timid and kind to have done that (read: I have no chutzpah). Besides, I really wanted to see him, even accessorized by her. (My best male friend is likewise glad I don't stay mad at him for very long. But that's largely because when I get mad at him, he writes me love songs as an apology.)

To put it another way, it wasn't in a neutral setting where either we would a) all be comfortable or b) at least ALL be uncomfortable in which to introduce his spouse. Maybe he thought it was neutral territory by virtue of the presence of a Lutheran minister, I don't know, but it was on my turf, and if I'm not mistaken, his verbal RSVP said "I'm coming," not "we're coming." My little "dream" meeting with her would've involved the pair of them perhaps coming to see my band play at church some night and then eating together, with Luke included, who is my #1 man, even knowing that they haven't been exposed to a pop/rock band playing in a sanctuary, nor is that their version of church. It's casual, I know what the hell I'm doing and less anxiety-producing.

I'd like to meet my guy friend's offspring sometime, though his are all adults and my son only acts like one, most of the time. And they're all chicks. But! My guy friend at least referred to one of them by name in his "thank you note/BTW, I'm skipping town for 2 weeks and will be incommunicado email". Otherwise, I can't keep track of who's who.

My 12-year old (frequently armed) guard is my best judge of character and is overly polite (even HE doesn't announce, at a party, that he's going to, essentially, take a leak). He approves of and feels my guy friend is safe purely because he has a wife and kids. They've met before. Bonus of tagging him along anywhere? Luke can shoot iPod videos of people unawares, add special effects and make them incinerate, get run over by cars, subject to rifle assaults or otherwise eliminated, or have power lines fall on them, which always is a hoot at ANY get-together. (Just ask my sponsor. Best. App. Ever. See

I'm not sure if I exceeded or fell short of his wife's expectations, whatever they were, not that I, at heart, would give a hoot, though I'm sure her first impression of me was that I was a hot mess. I was nice to her and smiled and shook her hand firmly, once I hugged him and my head stopped spinning.

(Am I even considered *nice?* I mean, really, it seems like an awful lot of people think I'm a conniving ho-bag who preys on bored, randy gits all over the United States and Europe, famously and infamously.  (The  middle-aged, Welsh punk rock star who happens to live 10 minutes away was really just sort of a fling, and he's fatter and grayer than...long story.) Kate, who trusts me implicitly, even thought for a moment, once, years ago, that I was having an affair with HER husband, which, she said, if it had to be anybody, better me than some other, average ho-bag. Moot point. We didn't and wouldn't. Hey, ladies. I'm just me.

 I never landed George Harrison, not for lack of stalking his estate gates with my husband on my fucking honeymoon. Had George emerged from the gardens, I would've left Craig then and there. I tried. He died.)

(Probably intimidated, like I was. Though Yoko always exhibited admirable self-confidence. Move it, Cynthia. Either I pre-sedate myself OR next party, the brownies are being augmented with cannabis.)

My guy friend, right away, made a comment about my come-hither boots out of earshot, after I (am pretty sure I) introduced him to my posse, which consisted of my minister, my band and my closest friends, including two toddlers. I tried to convince him that yes, wearing thigh-high, black combat boots with a mini-dress was entirely appropriate even given the warm weather and it was MY party anyway, and I wasn't the one in khakis (yawn!). Because those boots are hot, period, regardless. Fuck, I wore them to church the following Saturday. (Form vs. function. They're smokin' to look at, and you have to have the right legs to pull them off, but difficult to drum in. HOW Peter Criss ever drummed in 10" platforms boggles my mind.) 

Later, though, the wife said she didn't think my bird's name was "nice". I assured her "Nitwit" was a) Luke's idea when he was 7 and b) befitting. I was so out of it, I forgot to serve dessert before the majority of party guests LEFT, literally throwing a container of cupcakes to-go at my Pastor and let SuperJuls handle the knives as well as my fragile, post-party psychosis, until she had to leave. Her gift was the best of all that I've received thus far. With the most heart and meaning in it. If my guy friend thought sod was cool, it pales in comparison to the "12 Reasons Why I Love Annie" that SuperJuls gave me.

 When I told Pastor Dave to bring beer, I'm not sure if I thought it was he or I who would need a drink worse by nightfall. And my poor sponsor missed it all by being sick and exhausted! Damn her!

The pair left with his birthday gifts in tow, and had some mild, cranky disagreement walking away, whereupon she downsized him for not mind-reading her about a glow-in-the-dark garden decoration. Back out through the ghetto alley, to their car and off to the safety of the upscale suburbs they went.  I spent the rest of the night talking to Kate in the wee-hours of the morning, unable to relax, being talked off the "Wow, that went badly!" and "He had PLENTY of chances to tell me beforehand!" ledge and being reassured that hey, this guy still loves me regardless, or so I assume, tact or no tact.

All in all?

But as the Buddhists would say:

At least we'll always have this unique, special trait in common, even if he doesn't appreciate it yet:

Overall, his thank you email to me was really sweet if not extremely to-the-point. He said he was "overwhelmed" by his gifts (a book I already read and a bag of dirt?) and that I was generous and that my heart was two sizes too big, which I hope he meant emotionally, not from a cardiac standpoint, which would be cause for alarm. True. When I love someone, I give a lot. With thought, passion and vigor. That love and generosity is seldom returned (by most men, anyway), which I've grown ok with (but bitch about to my best friends anyway). 

Thinking about the songs chosen for my guy friend's birthday CD, which I made during a depressive period in April, I put Syd Barrett's "Dark Globe" on there, knowing what a fan of Pink Floyd he claimed to be. He seemed nonplussed about the song selection with the missus in the room, though he did tell her that I'm a relative savant at making CD's, which she was, herself, nonplussed about. (She's not into music and enjoys James Taylor.) Then it dawned on me:

Look at all the Pink Floyd albums before "Dark Side of the Moon!"

In regaling that fact, my best male friend was like: "That's rough. But a lot of folks who consider themselves huge fans only know the fuckin' 'Wall!' I know of one person like that. 'Dark Side' surprised them! Pretty lame. Tell your 'friend' that Syd was Floyd before Waters took over with his reactionary, cynical and paternally obsessed view of the world. Jesus."

(Wait a sec. Rogers Waters is a jerk. *I* have a reactionary, cynical and paternally obsessed view of the world. What was he implying???)

It was the "tell your 'friend'" tone thing that was the most biting, not his overt music knowledge superiority complex. Heavens, no. When one guy friend calls the other your guy "friend" in "quotes," cue the dog fight.

What did Syd Barrett look like in his Pink Floyd prime? Deathly beautiful and ultra-sexy. Exactly like someone else I know:

Ok, that was Syd. The following is NOT Syd. For Syd is dead. He died a few years ago from cancer coupled with diabetes, after becoming schizophrenic, leaving Floyd and becoming an artistic recluse painter/gardener. He literally went insane, like a lot of geniuses do. 

You want a living tutorial on what Syd Barrett was like in his prime? I offer you this, "How Could You Let Me Down Again?":

(Ouch. My best male friend still hasn't thanked me for a certain gift I gave him 2 years ago for a special occasion, after he got out of rehab, but whatever.)

I'll save this for my guy friend for next year, should he try and pull the rug out from underneath me again, though he promised no more surprises, and that he'd be more communicative with me heretofore (of which I beg! I have a heart condition as it is!):

Separately, speaking of my band, seeing as I'm but one of 2 musicians left: I'm so done being the Ringo of the band, just sitting idly by and doing what I'm told, and have to, de facto, start making some musical direction decisions, since I'm the only one who has played all the damn songs for 6 consecutive years. :

Our band is about God, not about us, anyway:

My simple, yet poignant way of signing off this mortal coil someday:

Either that, or a simple epitaph that simply says, "Oof."

The Miklasz Shot Heard 'Round the World, since 1901: a term my Polish grandfather and my Dad would exchange whenever anyone in the house said something utterly stupid:

At a certain point, a single woman can only handle so much tomfoolery with male friends anyway. There's this *thing* each of my "2 best male friends" (let's couple them together) do behind the other's back without even realizing it. They both do it and neither of them is emotionally evolved enough to realize he's doing it. But statistically, it's the norm, in the collective time I've known both of them. I'm emotionally evolved and even I didn't realize it until recently. Suffice it to say, without going into detail, that it involves...well, evolution.  I also don't help matters, because come on? Kate said if she wasn't my best friend, she'd be really, really jealous of me, which is ironic, given the amount of bologna I go through. Ultimately, neither male friend has my best interests at heart, which kind of sucks.

Luke's talking about date-dating already at 12 1/2, claiming he wants to win over the affections of the girl he's loved since 1st grade before she leaves the school at the end of this year. At some point, Craig and I must have told Luke he could date at age 13. I'm sure we came up with this number when he was in 1st grade, thinking "Oh, those years are so far away, let's just pacify Luke and tell him 13." 

I asked him finally why it is he should date but I shouldn't. (Nevermind his father and I won't let him anyway at his age and the girl's parents agree that the kids should wait a few before embarking on that first trip to Steak-n-Shake.) "Because I don't want another Chris," Luke said, "Never again." "Aha. You're protecting me," I said. Luke replied, "You're just realizing that NOW?" Sharp kid. Out of all of these doofuses, who's ultimately the one watching out for my heart the most? Who'd sooner let a pack of wolves devour him before harm comes to me?  Who'd rather throw himself in front of a freight train before an ant shat on me? Luke. And until proven otherwise, only Luke.

Sometimes, men act like boys and boys, by God, act like men.

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