Tag Archives: friendship

betrayal, rejection, the usual and then the six month plan

the great theologian and my personal adviser on all matters of faith rev. mike coglan once asked me to imagine for just one moment what it would feel like if i knew, really knew, that God loved me.  exactly the way i am.  even with the things i have done or, perhaps especially, the things i have considered doing.  regardless of how anyone might feel about me and their criticisms or snubs of no mind because God loves me.  hold that imagining for a moment.  and then another moment.

turnpike

this is not a thought experiment to perform while driving on the ohio turnpike. when i did it, i had to pull over because the emotion was so overwhelming. otherwise, that eighteen wheeler behind me would have started a mosh pit of cars and trucks and amish carriages. our tippy cups are filled with self loathing and guilt when we are young. i was able to work up to ten seconds or so with that thought. then i’d be my usual self.

 

stick with me here, we’re going to get through the bad news like a quick liver sausage dinner and save the good news for last like a delicate tiramasu!

i absorb all the negatives and slings and arrows of outrageous (and some spot on) circumstance and influences.  maybe you do too.  i’m not good enough.  i’m too fat.  i’m too stupid.  i’m too old.* i’ve done too little to deserve to suck oxygen in the same planet as (insert anybody’s name here).  i’m not good enough for any expenditure of the two greatest treasures–time and talent–that any worthy person has.**

rejection

ugh, you can’t sit at this lunch table!  have you ever noticed that the cool kids had the power to reject you and that made them even cooler?  and we didn’t have taylor swift whispering in our ear “shake it off off off!”  i sometimes feel like i have never functionally graduated high school.  oh, yeah, i forgot.  i didn’t actually graduate high school.

some people i.e. the coolest of cool kids can oscillate rejection and acceptance in just the right way.  third period they’re sharing their snickers with you and seventh period they boldly announce that you’re a bed wetter.  the truly bad news is you’ll still think they’re cool and that you’re not.  you’ll hold onto seventh period until you’re on your deathbed and you tell the story of that betrayal to a nurse who will just assume that you’re mumbling again.  the baddest of all bad news is that you can’t be betrayed by a stranger.  only by someone you love and trust and think you know.

cute puppy

oscillating acceptance and rejection is a sure fire way to make your dog go crazy. putting a picture of a cute puppy in a blog post is a sure fire way of making people go “awwwww!”

 

are we done with the bad news yet?  well, actually, not quite.  just one more smidgen of liver sausage coming in for a landing on your tongue.

all this bad juju makes for bad choices, bad health, bad consequences.  i’ve got more than my share.  too many sleepless nights thinking of what did i do wrong.  too many sleepless nights standing in front of the refrigerator sniffing through boxes of leftover Chinese carryout.  too many times i have gone along with something i didn’t feel right about.  but thought that if i did, i’d be liked, loved, accepted.  i am invariably wrong.

how about you?

are we done yet?  are we done yet?  yes, stop it we are!  we’re at the good news and the six month plan.

 

my dear friend and couturier jeweler designer susan laid down the law in a very tender but firm way after the portland airport incident.  i had collapsed just after being molested in the usual but invasive way by a tsa agent.  i had a seizure.  a concussion.  i woke up in an ambulance with a paramedic asking

“what’s your name?  do you know your name?”

“i don’t remember,”  i replied haughtily.  well, as haughtily as one can do when one is in an ambulance and doesn’t remember one’s name.  i added “lots of people do not remember their name.”

“what about your birthday?”  asked another paramedic crowding into the scene.  “you know your birthday?”

“a gentleman never asks that question of a lady,”  i said.  full throttle maggie smith vigor.  “i wouldn’t presume to ask yours.”

portland hospital

what a great hospital! really nice doctors and nurses. they gave me the functional equivalent of a checkup in just a few hours and concluded that i’m a pretty much healthy femme d’une certain age but that i might need a neurologist/neurosurgeon and definitely should check back in with my primary care physician when i got back home.  and i’m still a bit wonky because of the accident with the 75 pound dog excited to go for a walk in the snow and the 45 degree pitch driveway that i never followed up on.

i don’t have a primary care physician.  i haven’t been to the dentist since cyndi lauper put out her best album.  i don’t get my hair done or my nails did (slight reference to drake — you fancy huh?) i’ve sort of given up.

“you need to take care of yourself,”  susan advised.  “you’re the only one who will.  you need to spend six months taking care of yourself.  putting yourself first.  nobody else. you’re number one for the next six months.”

she’s known me since i wore leg warmers over my jeans so i trust her.

excuse me?  where is the good news here?  i thought we were at the good news part.

well, there is good news.  i am going to spend the next six months repairing myself.  maybe you need this too.  maybe we do it together.  i’m starting small.  but i’m going to work my way back to whatever i was before the tippy cup sprayed all over me.

number one i’m not going to buy any article of clothing that is black for the next six months.

black

i have half a dozen black sweaters. no colors. same with skirts, pants, jackets, shoes. in the eighties (nineteenth not eighteenth) it was a sophisticated choice. now i just look like i’m going to my own funeral. ashes to my ashes and dust to my dust. do you have a similar wardrobe quirk?  or a similar habit that tends to reinforce a sense that you’re not worth much?  btw, black as a wardrobe choice makes it possible to disappear.  can you see me in this  picture of my dress?

 

my next project is to get myself a primary care physician.  oh, and a dentist.  i am taking recommendations. bon vivant and devastatingly handsome seventyish bill seymour has given me the name of one i hope will take me on.  a little rough getting a primary care physician these days bur we’ll give it a shot.

party girl

goodbye black dresses. and goodbye, or at least au revoir, to the negative. one moment by this moment. kind of need to pull over on this ohio turnpike.  at least until february 5, 2017

 

*lately, i’ve been getting the “too old or otherwise invisible” message from folks.  guess my age.  anything less than 56 gets you a prize.  i don’t know what the prize is.  it might be a pony.  or backstage passes to (insert name of hipster band here).  or it might just be a thank you note.

**that one is not quite true.  my good friend and theater impresario chris johnson is directing a play i wrote while on a thirty day road trip to canada.  i did not drive and write at the same time.  otherwise i’d have to insert that picture from the ohio turnpike again.  the show was produced by theologian slash accountant jim masini

remembrancestsebastian

the show is this weekend at the st. sebastian players in chicago — https://www.facebook.com/events/149459822146863/ — but it’s not the first time it’s had a run. two runs of the show were done by blockbuster producer marion scully. and another time at the chicago literary club. actors, sound engineers, musicians, even the nice lady beverly parkhurst who takes the tickets–every one of them, every single one of them gave up time and talent for the play. i’m going this weekend and i hope to see you there! and ps if you’re a broadway producer feel free to contact me!  if you’re an actor or actress, please understand that only the dumbest sleep on the casting couch of the writer.  it won’t advance your career at all.

 

p.s. i managed to get an appoint august 22 with a doctor in glenview.  first thing of course is getting approval from the insurance company. . …

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will you be my beta reader?

 

 

 


facebook breakup

Tuning out Facebook for weeks at a time is commonplace, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, which found that a majority of the current Facebook users it surveyed have at one time or another tired to the point of avoiding the social-networking site.

 

Pew used Princeton Survey Research Associates International to conduct the actual telephone interviews with a representative sample of 1,006 adults in the U.S.

The Pew study found that 61 percent of the Facebook users who responded have taken extended, weeks-long breaks from the site. Those who have taken Facebook sabbaticals did so for the obvious reasons: 21 percent were too busy, 10 percent lost interest, and 10 percent felt it was a waste of time.

 

(Credit: Pew Research)

 


friends for life, with or without facebook

my facebook (and real life friend) jeff barnes sent me this picture of best friends harry o. fischer and my grandfather  fritz leiber.  the two met in college and remained friends for life.  and this was before facebook!  the inspiration for fritz’ s series of novels set in the land of newhon came out of a board game the two created.  in february while others are fretting over what to do on the fourteenth, i’m going to be thinking about  the fromances of my life.

harry fischer and frtiz leiber

harry fischer and frtiz leiber

 


i really thought it was over: my stalker returns

i really thought it was over.  my stalker had claimed he would never attempt to contact me again.   i started to breathe a little easier, to forget this was happening, to start thinking about planning another trip.  i had been hiding in my apartment.  i had been avoiding facebook, my email, my phone because any one of them could contain another communication.  at his most energetic, william could email me, text me to tell me that i had to answer his email, and then the email might contain a request for me to check his posting on my wall.  this might happen in the course of ten minutes and when i failed to respond immediately he might add on more messages, texts, posts and calls to get my attention.  one day in september, he announced he wanted to quit his job in tallahassee and be with me. he has angered and been defriended by a half dozen of my facebook friends.  please understand i met him exactly once as part of my facebook friends project.  i blocked him on facebook and on hotmail, but wordpress still allows him to message me. 

yesterday morning, i checked my emails and found this message from an address and a woman (jennifer renalds).  i didn’t recognize the address or the name.  i will print it in full:

To miss presser. Arlyn is it? I am writing this to let you know of something that happened last night. My name is Jennifer, and Bill Taylor is a friend of mine. I want you to know that Bill attempted suicide last night. I have known bill for a couple of months and he is the kindest and most thoughtful guy I have ever met. he shared with me a lot of messages and emails you two shared. I admit he can be overwhelming, and he has always troubled himself over this. I also saw a message you left for him a short time ago saying everything was good with your friendships. My sister noticed a message in your blog yesterday, and told him about it. I stopped by his house and found him in tears, saying it all had been a lie. and I found he had taken a whole bottle of some medicine he had there. Miss presser, he will live, but I just wanted you to know what had happened. You let him believe for months that everything was okay and i can see from some of these messages that he tried many times to ask you if things were okay with you guys and you just left him hanging. I think you should be ashamed of your self miss presser! Bill deservse so much better then that. You hurt him. you hurt him very badly. I just wanted you to know. and I think you are a bad person for letting this happen. He never blamed you one bit! He was willing to leave you alone, and you you ended up calling him a stalker from the beginning. In the last couple of weeks, I think I have really come to care about him. I just wanted you to know.
 
i lost it. i couldn’t stop shaking.  i jumped whenever i heard a sound.  i felt responsible.  and angry that i was being made to feel responsible.  i finally did something that many of my friends have advised:  i went to the kenilworth police station just down the street.  the officers assured me that, based on the correspondence i was able to produce, including this last one, there was a problem.  they called the tallahassee police and ascertained that no william had been admitted or even seen for a suicide attempt.  the tallahassee police visited him at his home and were reassured that there had been no suicide attempt (intriguingly, he claimed not to know a jennifer renalds).  the police told him to never attempt any communication with me whatsoever.  including even contacting a friend and asking for a message to be passed along to me.  that last part is why i am writing this today.  to say please, if you are my friend and you are contacted, tell me about it so i can tell the police. 
 
it is a situation i let go on for too long.  i thank my many friends who have offered a safe house, weapons training, advice, a shoulder to cry on. . .
i have always had a crush on dolph lundgren.  maybe he would volunteer to be my bodyguard!  so if you're facebook friends with mr. dreamy lundgren, have him get in touch.  like really in touch with me!

i have always had a crush on dolph lundgren. maybe he would volunteer to be my bodyguard! so if you’re facebook friends with mr. dreamy lundgren, have him get in touch. like really in touch with me!

 

actually, lundgren aside, i have spent close to six months being afraid and overwhelmed.  i have kept quiet because i didn’t want to hurt anybody.  but now i am worried about being hurt.  and so i want you to know what is out there, what i am afraid of, what i have get past if i’m going to get back out on the road and see my wonderful friends!  if you have any thoughts, share them with me!


poke!

this is right around the time of year when there’s a free treadmill at the gym, when the double stuffed oreos crowd out the kale in your grocery cart, when the pack of cigarettes behind the counter at 7-11 shrieks “buy me!”

the problem with most new year’s resolutions is that they’re hard.  and they’re based on the principle that we have to punish ourselves with a good dose of self-discipline and denial.  and we can only last two weeks before throwing in the towel.  january 14 is the day it all goes south.  well, at least it does for me.

in 2011, i had a new year’s resolution to meet all my facebook friends in person in one year.  that was 325 friends and a lot of travel.  a lot of interesting experiences.  a lot of new things.  13 countries.  52 weeks of packing my bags.  did i meet all 325?  no, but i got the asian f.  90%.

since then i have met new facebook friends.  and this past week i drove 900 miles in less than 36 hours so that i could meet jim hellman and connie conley in ironwood, michigan–just south of lake superior. i felt so 2011!

connie and jim have known each other forever.  well, it feels like forever.

would you believe that connie is younger than me???? i just want to know what moisturizer she uses.

in any event, the duo did not become romantically involved until years later.  and how did they connect?  on facebook, naturally!

connie "poked" jim on facebook and it led to true love and happiness.  maybe you should go to your facebook friends list and see if there's somebody you'd like to poke.

connie “poked” jim on facebook and it led to true love and happiness. maybe you should go to your facebook friends list and see if there’s somebody you’d like to poke.

a new year’s resolution won’t work unless it’s fun.  and i had fun with my two new friends!  they are the 332 and 333rd facebook friends i have met.


apple bacon maple

just a facebook friend.  how many of your friends are “just” a facebook friend?  with facebook, linkedin, myspace, twitter we can have friends from all over the world.  friends we never meet in real life.  friends with whom our interactions occur while we’re in our pajamas in front of our laptop or squinting at the smartphone or playing online scrabble (okay, busted on that last one!).  we think we know someone but we only know their atavar.  we can know them deeply with long heartfelt messages but we really don’t know what they’d be like on a road trip, in an emergency, for the long haul.

it’s especially easy to rely on these friendship when the rest of the world seems chaotic, hostile, and just plain scary.  i think a lot of anxiety, panic attacks, agoraphobia and depressions have to do with how fast and furious our interactions with the real world are.

face to facebook (f2fb) friend number #331 lesley riley did me the greatest favor of coming all the way from california to meet me!  we had a wonderful afternoon together and i encourage any facebook friends to say "hey i'd like to come see you on your own turf" otherwise i show up on their turf!

face to facebook (f2fb) friend number #331 lesley riley did me the greatest favor of coming all the way from california to meet me! we had a wonderful afternoon together and i encourage any facebook friends to say “hey i’d like to come see you on your own turf” otherwise i show up on their turf!

i have  been isolated for the past two months and i knew that i really needed to change.  i was lucky enough to receive an invitation from facebook friends jim hellman and connie conley to visit them in bresmere, michigan—right near lake superior.  connie and jim have been my facebook friends for roughly a year and a half.  i have never met them before but they invited me.  and i am never one to pass up an invitation to visit a facebook friend!

tuesday was sunny and bright.   out the door of the bat girl cave by eight o’clock.  according to mapquest, it would be a seven hour drive, which means in arlynn driving time nine hours at least.

i find that every new geography means a new food.  in this case, something that sounded somewhat disgusting but damn, i ate two of them:

i ended up at the americinn of ironwood michigan and was presented with a slight problem:  i had booked my hotel room for monday evening–the day i was online.  i didn’t read my reservation confirmation.  maybe that would have been a good idea.  luckily, i have my own personal hotel clerk.


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