Maybe, Never

On Super Bowl Sunday, following a languid day of yoga, food prep, more yoga and of course, the Puppy Bowl, I found myself standing in my lovely friend M’s kitchen between quarters, searching for a bottle opener amid solo cups and mountains of chips. I heard a loud “LB!” behind me, and turned to find M striding quickly in my direction, stopping close enough to put her hand on my shoulder, lean in my ear and tell me something I was absolutely not expecting to hear. It’s not a secret, it wasn’t shocking in content, and granted I was a *few* beers in, but it was enough of a surprise that for most of the third quarter, I sat next to H the Scot, halfheartedly yelling at the television screen while I let this new information roll around in my thoughts, testing the words on the tip of my tongue, trying to figure out how I felt about them. I finally put the words away for a while, since there’s only one way I’ll really figure out how to feel about them: I just have to wait and see.

That next weekend was the ever-epic Nickname Posse Does Atlantic City weekend, my last “hurrah” after 36 hours of funemployment before starting the new job. While wandering around with drinks on Friday, trying to find a good spot to settle for a steady drunk on the first night, we saw on a poster that freaking Lil Jon was going to be spinning at one of the clubs in the casino on Saturday, and in the spirit of “EPIC WEEKEND,” we knew we had to go. Despite a mishap where our dinner restaurant apparently thought “we have a reservation” meant “you can wait around for 30 minutes,” we made it to the show with enough time to get primo standing real estate (complete with perfect stage view) and enjoy a few drinks before the dulcet tones of “SHOTS” started thumpa-thumping. Somehow towards the end of the night, H and I ended up as the last ones standing, downing whiskeys by the bar and having one of our classic drunk heart-to-hearts about everything and nothing. He brought up the content of the Super Bowl conversation and we talked about it for a while. It’s so dumb, how much I’ve thought about the content of that conversation; it’s almost embarrassing, a delusional dreamer who can’t get those two conversations out of her head. But H and I came to the same conclusion that M and I did: I can’t figure out how I feel about the situation, so I just need to wait and see.

I have a hard time waiting things out. Blame it on my Irish roots, my miserable attention span, an after-effect of the gimme generation or a combination of those factors and more, but my personality is not one that gravitates towards situations where the only conclusion is “wait and see.” Usually it’s harmless: I’ll read spoilers for movies I don’t want to see that badly (and some that I do), open the oven door 2 minutes before the cookies are done “just to check,” or post a video on Instagram of my partner-in-crime R and I dancing to Lil Jon in Atlantic City before watching it because I want to show off our sweet moves. Other times it’s harder: I’ll decide I want a tattoo and a week later I’ve got one, or I’ll buy a bottle of wine the night before a date with the assumption I’ll need it after the date turns out terribly and I’m alone with little miss again. I’m impatient and impulsive to a fault, and knowing there’s something coming in the not-so-distant future that can change everything or change nothing has set off my internal Uh-Ohs; I’m desperately searching for answers or even just a clue as to whether all these weird emotions are completely insane or if it’s okay that I find myself daydreaming of the summer sun on FiDi rooftops like it’s five days instead of five months away.

Something non-single people love to tell single people is “You never know.” As in, “I know you didn’t have a great time on the first date, but give him another chance – you never know!” or “Sure, you haven’t heard from him in days, but he’s probably just busy! You never know!” That’s all I’ve heard in any direction of a conclusion since hearing those words on Superbowl Sunday, in Atlantic City: “Well LB sure it’s kind of crazy, but come on, you never know!” It’s an evil yet powerful statement to hear in any situation, much like “everything happens for a reason” and “free booze till 10.” I know I need to keep those words tucked in the back of my mind for now, safely guarded within the stone walls of what are either delusions or fantasies, until I have no other choice but to deal with them. Maybe this wait-and-see will turn out to be a false alarm, or maybe it won’t even be a relevant factor in my life when the time comes. Or maybe it’ll surprise me, and waiting will have been worth it the whole time. I mean, maybe it’s crazy – but hey. You never know.

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The bad days

Standing on the subway platform with three bags and sore feet, I leaned against the railing, closed my eyes and tried not to give into the frustrated tears that had been building for a few hours. I played the same mantra over and over: Deep breath, LB. You’re going to be okay. Everything is just fine. The more I said these things the less true they became, and at that moment, a fat tear dangled precariously at the tip of my left eyelid, not enough to spill over yet but already far too much. Deep breath, LB. Cycle through the things you can hold onto: you just had a great day at work. You’re about to see little miss for the first time in three days. And the subway finally arrived.

In spite of a day that started with a final snuggle from R’s pooch, a very welcome run-in with a blast from the past and a successful five hours in various meetings at my client’s office, I couldn’t shake the morose mood that had taken over. Sometimes it’s hard not to internalize a problem when it’s just stress, lack of sleep and a disrupted schedule messing with your state of mind. I’ve had to work hard in my adult life to fight back at the anxieties that rise like a tidal wave, looking so small from far away until “far away” has swept you away completely. The last few weeks I was able to push back, hold steady to the mantra that I’m in control, but as I stood on that platform watching time tick, tick by, waiting for the train for two, five, ten minutes, I gave in just a little, enough for that one tear to fall as I stepped onto the long ride home.

The problem with giving in to anxieties on days like this is they supersede rationality, making me forget that my head probably hurts because I haven’t eaten anything besides a few slices of cheese in nine hours and not, as I’ll convince myself, that I’m bad at my job. I’ll forget that my schedule has been keeping me from going to the gym as often as I’d like, and tell myself it’s my fault for being lazy, and that I’ll probably wipe out at the Spartan race this June. I’ll forget all of the positive things I’ve done for myself in the past few months, and listen to the nagging voice in my head that says it’s my fault that I’m single and will probably die alone with my cat

This is my spirit GIF

This is my spirit GIF

I finally stepped off the subway into the cool spring night, breathing in the familiar scent of Washington Heights welcoming me back, all Latin food, stale cigars and fresh fruit from the stands. As I walked home, I had this grand plan of putting Taylor Swift on the stereo, catching up on Vogue and crying about nothing and everything. I needed to let myself give in to the anxieties for just a moment, just a night, so I could work past them and move on. And yet, as I settled down with the Kimye cover, “Last Kiss” flooding the apartment like slow molasses, I found myself humming along and smiling, feeling memories and a soft nostalgia warm my angry, frustrated self. As the music picked up, so did my mood, and all of a sudden I was dancing with the cat alone in the apartment, singing into the remote without paying attention to the tune, throwing my hair Willow Smith style and feeling just a little better as the bars went on.

I danced like that for close to an hour, unwilling to end a night in with myself and little miss, grooving and singing and maybe even feeling okay. We all need to give into the bad days on occasion, and let ourselves cry it out. I have to say though, walking into the office today where I was greeted with free breakfast and smiles from my coworkers, dance parties with little miss do pretty alright too.

Why getting a cat was the best and worst decision of my 20s

I am the proud owner of 6.5lbs of pure, cuddly evil. She snuggles like a champ and has a tendency to sit on your head and bite your hand as you try to move her away, knocks over anything valuable or breakable to get attention, and has a pretty dead-on BRF (ed note: bitchy resting face). Ah, cats. My little miss has been with me since I was in my very first NYC apartment, a decrepit 2-bedroom on the Upper East Side, where $825/month got me: no living room, the adjacent wall to two Russian women who loved to yell, and a bathroom that could only be accessed through my room. I barely had enough space for a full-sized bed, let alone a pet, but I had this vision of a snuggly, sweet cat that would be photogenic enough to make me Internet-famous for a few minutes and would love me forever.

dude srsly?

dude srsly?

Alas, the mild-tempered feline fantasy was shattered pretty quickly after taking little miss home back in March 2011. She’s skiddish, rude, generally hates anyone that isn’t me and pretty much hates me too. She’s also loyal, funny, energetic and completely devoted to me. She’s like a grumpy roommate who’s desperate for attention but hates all my friends. And yet, if I had the chance to go back to the shelter on that cold March day and choose again, I’d pick her every time.

There are, however, a few things I wish I’d considered first:

  • Everyone is allergic to cats. Everyone. Oh, your friend says they’re not allergic so they can come over? Nope, give it 3 minutes and their eyes will be watering and you’ll feel like an asshole, especially when the cat responds to their obvious discomfort by swatting their exposed skin with her razor-sharp claws.
  • Have you ever heard anyone say “I really enjoy cleaning the litterbox”?
  • People will call you a “cat person” like it’s an insult. First, it’s not an insult, cats are adorable and I’m all about it. But in reality, I’m an equal opportunity pet owner. Love cats, dogs, hamsters, fish, fennec foxes, you name it (except frogs, frogs are awful). Plus, if the most distinguishing feature about me is the fact that I own a cat, then I need to do some serious soul-searching.
  • Do you really like that sweater? Old wicker trunk? Glass object you keep on the edge of your tall dresser? Good, so does your cat and she’s going to destroy them to show you how much.
  • Hairballs. I won’t elaborate.

Hindsight. But with all of that, I also come home every night to this little bundle of energy that’s been waiting for me all day. She’s a great excuse when I’m trying to dodge a creeper at a bar (“Nope, can’t keep talking to you, gotta get home and take care of the cat.” Inevitable response: see first bullet above). She likes to meow at me when I sneeze and thinks its fun to sleep on the TV stand. She eschews people food in favor of cardboard, tape and stiff plastic and she figured out a few months ago that if she sleeps next to me when I’ve had a bad night, she’ll get extra attention and love in the morning for making me feel like I’m never really alone.

The most informed decision of my early 20s? Not even close. But a good reminder that sometimes the bad decisions turn out alright in the end.