Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sorry Friends

I owe most of my friends an apology.

Lately- while traipsing through some relationship troubles- I've been an awfully high maintenance friend. You know, the kind of pal who answers the standard "Hey, how's it going?" with a 10 minute monologue ending in some panicked version of "...and I just don't know what to do."

Yeah, it's not pretty.

At the end of an especially confused rant over the phone last week, a friend who's known me more than half my life casually replied: Is it possible you just stirred up some drama because things were quiet?

I paused. Sucked some tears back in and thought about it.


Later, I shared this thought with my new roommate.

Maybe, she agreed. We decided to explore the theory.

She asked me if I've ever really dated. I quickly nodded yes. Of course I've dated. I'm 25.

She wasn't convinced. I offered a quick synopsis of my past.

I moved to New York newly single after a 4-year relationship. I dated the very first guy in the city who asked me out for a couple months, another for a few more, then jumped into a 5th year with the ex. After it ended again a couple of 3-6 month "relationships" followed- some more serious than others but all exclusive.

That's dating right?

Wrong. Apparently, that limbo NY girls know well- where you hang out with someone constantly, don't see other people but don't use a title-doesn't count as dating.

As a result, my roommate assured me: Vanessa, you have never really dated.

Really dating, I learned, should be casual. It should be with multiple men at the same time. You don't invest emotionally. And, most notably, it offers a healthy does of entertaining drama- aka: a horrendous first date, a really good first kiss, wondering if he'll call etc. It's fleeting, unpredictable, commitment-free fun.

Under that definition, I suppose I haven't really dated. Most of the dating I've known has always been just a quick segway into a serious (or pseudo-serious) relationship.

What's so wrong with that? I instinctively defended my serial commitment.

Potentially a lot is wrong with it, my friends advised. Dating- under the definition above- teaches you a lot about what you want and what's good for you. Every interaction offers it's own lesson, for better or for worse. Most importantly, it can help you develop a sense of independence that's difficult (but not impossible) to foster when your committed/leaning on a boyfriend. You must learn to make yourself happy. It's nobody else's job.

And, of course, there's that dose of drama that most of us crave- the dating push and pull that eventually gets old but, at the right moment, can be absolutely exhilarating.

I guess I haven't dated much. But, is it possible (returning to my friend's theory) that I just pushed away a perfectly perfect mate because I haven't met my quota of dating drama?

I'm still at a firm maybe (and a hopeful no).

Whatever the answer is and regardless of what happens, I'm grateful for friends who put up with me- single, dating or otherwise.

In advance, I'm sorry friends.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Abuela Zuckerberg

My mother and grandmother are on Facebook.

My grandmother's not only on the book- Abuela Zuckerberg is wildly active. She comments on every status update, every uploaded photo, every wall post. Everything. These comments are never fewer than three sentences long and unfortunately for any friends who innocently "liked" or commented before her there is always a follow up, or four.

I joke but it really doesn't bother me. She lives in Argentina and if it wasn't for this knack for technology (Facebook, Gchat, Skype) we wouldn't be able to communicate weekly like we do.

Mom uses Facebook less often. She's had the same profile picture since she joined- on a boat, in a leopard print blouse, tipping a ship captain's hat. She'll occasionally thumbs up a Republican fan page or write on a younger cousin's wall in all CAPS because she can't figure out how not to. Mostly, she uses it for stalking. She recently called specifically to let me know that my boyfriend- who she's never met before- needs a haircut. And, a few weeks ago, her status for at least three days was simply "Trici Garcia", my older sister's name. Unlucky for Mom, the status update field on Facebook happens to be a confusing couple inches below the search field, so her attempt to snoop my sis was accidentally blasted onto our feeds.
Mom's Facebook activity is far less endearing than my abuela's, but I can at least count on it for entertainment. And isn't that what Facebook's all about? A little stalking, a little judging and pure unproductive fun.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


They say bad things happen in threes.

Last week I found myself ranking all of the recent unlucky happenings in my life, trying to figure out exactly which qualified as the official three.

Every time I'd pick a third, another whooper would give it a run for its money.

In two short weeks:

I took an icy fall on a snowboard and sprained my tailbone. (I'm still sitting on a foam donut at work.)

My debit card's pin number was stolen by some evil scammer in Amsterdam who cleaned out almost $1,000 from my checking account, on rent day.

I came home to (brace yourself) a swarming fly infestation caused by the crazy old ladies who live/may or may not be dead in the apartment upstairs. (The exterminator got rid of them but I spent at least 30 hysterical minutes swatting at black clouds of bugs cursing the day I ever moved to this god-forsaken filthy city.)

Then there was my lost iPod, the un-returnable kitchen table I ordered online that arrived in 4 broken pieces, and, most upsetting of all, my love life got real wobbly.

I debated writing this post. Nobody likes a Debbie Downer and we're all dealing with our own strains of misfortune. I realize a broken butt and biblical plague hardly qualify as blogable. But, I'll admit, this loss of mojo has me a bit out of sorts. Mostly because I'm usually a pretty lucky gal.

I'm that obnoxious friend who wins raffles, runs into Madonna at the grocery store (true), scores last minute tickets and pretty frequently stumbles into great opportunities/free stuff.

Sure, I'm no stranger to the occasional funk but it's really been a while since I've taken so many punches, one after another.

After a quick visit to Tampa last weekend, I boarded the plane for New York reluctant to leave Florida's sunshine for my black cloud in Manhattan. Even after landing and pushing my suitcase through the taxi line at La Guardia, my stomach tied itself into a knot. Slouched into the backseat of the cab, I tried to psych myself back up. Then, we turned onto the Triborough bridge. The Manhattan skyline- giant, glittering in the mid-day sun, pouring over the river- grabbed me fast. It yanked me out of my slouch by both shoulders, shook me and slapped me around a little. That's where I live- in the middle of that beast. As we sped toward it, I finally relaxed.

Unlucky in New York is still pretty damn lucky.