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Chasing The American Dream

January 30, 2006


photo courtesy of Joan Marcus

I decided late in the game to buy tickets to go see Billy Joel and the play Movin’ Out. My Billy Joel tickets weren’t great, but I guess I was lucky to get a ticket in the first place. So I figured the same to be true for my Movin’ Out ticket…

The Jackie Gleason Theater has good memories for me. I was there in June when Alanis Morissette gave us such an outstanding performance. Maybe there are good vibes or something because as the usher walked me to my seat, the closer I got to the stage. She asked me how I gut such a great seat. I told her I had no idea where the seat was. She proceeded to show me. “Here you are sir, front row and center.” Holy shit! Indeed. Somehow, I got a front row, center seat not more than 10 feet from the stage. As per my usual, I looked to the left and right of me. Darn, no on e to share my excitement with. But I was excited nevertheless. I think the last play I attended was Guys & Dolls back in 1983. As I sat and admired the view, I remembered what the usher told me before she left. She said it was important for me to read the storyline in the Playbill so I could follow the story. Well, you know me. I don’t like to know much about a movie before seeing it. I don’t read reviews and I don’t like watching trailers. So I hesitated as I glossed over the storyline. Darn, it revealed too much for me so I stopped reading. Instead, I waited with grand anticipation for the curtain to rise.

After the lights were dimmed and the curtain rose, it didn’t take long for Twyla Tharp’s choreography to grab the audience’s attention. The play opened with a big dance number with the entire ensemble. James Fox, our Billy Joel for the evening, belted out a very Joel-like rendition of “It’s Still Rock and Roll To Me.” The set up was interesting. As the cast played out the acts on stage, Fox and the band were housed on a cat-walk high above the stage. It was hard to focus on both at the same time. I probably paid more attention to the band than I should have. But as I watched the play unfold, I wrote down a couple of observations.

First, I realized why the usher told me to read the Playbill. The play had no dialogue. Instead, the story was conveyed through a unique chronological arrangement of Joel’s familiar hit songs. And honestly, if you’re not familiar with the songs or don’t particularly care for Billy Joel, you’re probably not going to like the play. I don’t want to give away too much of the story, but the plot follows a typical 1970s Vietnam War era storyline. You know the one. Boy meets girl. Boy goes off to war. Friends die. Boy comes back confused, lost, and drug dependent. Boy and girl break up. You get the picture, right? But yeah, I had to cheat and read the storyline a couple of times to remember who was who. But I thought it was amazing that the plot was easily followed without words and only via the songs and the actors’ innate ability to express themselves simply through facial expressions and complicated dance and ballet moves. And that’s quite an accomplishment; perhaps even more impressive than memorizing speaking parts. Now I must say, I have no critical basis with which to judge how good the actors performed those moves. I was surprised at how physically demanding that all was. And I realized about the only move I could possibly perform was that whole sliding into second base-type move. But beyond that, I can say that dancing and ballet were most definitely entertaining.

During the 40 minute Act I, we heard familiar tunes including Italian Restaurant, Just The Way You Are, Uptown Girl, We Didn’t Start The Fire, She’s Got a Way, and The Stranger. See? Bet you can follow the story already. I was really impressed with James Fox. He sounded to me like early years Billy Joel, circa Piano Man vintage. His voice slightly higher as Billy’s was back then. I tried to close my eyes and imagine if Billy was singing. It worked for me.

After a 20 minute intermission, we were treated with 50 more minutes of songs that included Angry Young Man, Big Shot, Captain Jack (My personal favorite), Innocent Man, Pressure, Goodnight Saigon, River of Dreams, Keeping the Faith, and Only the Good Die Young. Once again, I’m sure you can imagine the story line. Kudos to leads Holly Cruikshank, Brendan King, and Sam Franke. They possess talents I can’t even imagine. And what a thrill to be doing something you love for a living.

At plays end, I think the story and the audience appreciation were both happily ever after. As for me, I’m glad I got a little Broadway culture. It has been too long. I’ve got the itch now. I wonder if I can get a ticket for Wicked?

January 26, 2006


(Note, this post was inspired by the captivating and talented writer known as Sass)

At least there were *some* benefits to my Comcast debacle. Last Saturday, I did the T-Mobile thing over at Starbucks. I kept the tiny moment in my head and in my heart until I read Sass’s post. Now I want to share this simple story that’s still frozen in my memory.

What is it about Starbucks anyway? Why is that place so comforting? Is it the great music playing? The soft-felt chairs? The people watching? The coffee drinks themselves? I think I could live there 24/7. But I digress as usual.

I was checking emails when I heard the song come on…

My life is brilliant. My love is pure.
I saw an angel. Of that I'm sure.
She smiled at me on the subway.
She was with another man.
But I won't lose no sleep on that,
'Cause I've got a plan.

You're beautiful. You're beautiful.
You're beautiful, it's true,
I saw your face in a crowded place,
And I don't know what to do,
Cause I'll never be with you.

Yeah, James Blunt's “You’re Beautiful.” Have you heard it? I get lost in it every time I hear it. I can’t help it. It’s the part of me that yearns to share that song with a special someone. Sure, some of the words slipped out of me in song. Sometimes, I just can’t help it. I looked to my left and noticed a young couple sitting very closely, sipping their coffee and listening to the song…

Yeah, she caught my eye, As I walked on by.
She could see from my face that I was, Fucking high,
And I don't think that I'll see her again,
But we shared a moment that will last till the end.

You're beautiful. You're beautiful.
You're beautiful, it's true.
I saw your face in a crowded place,
And I don't know what to do,
'Cause I'll never be with you.

I watched their expressions. The look in their eyes. I saw the invisible connection between them. Is that possible? I heard her whisper to him something about the song. About how great it was. She wondered who sang it? I watched them share this song together.

You're beautiful. You're beautiful.
You're beautiful, it's true.
There must be an angel with a smile on her face,
When she thought up that I should be with you.
But it's time to face the truth,
I will never be with you.

I smiled inside. It warmed my heart. “Yeah, that’s what’s missing from my life,” I thought to myself. Perfect little moments like those. I waited until the song ended. I looked their way and said to them, “Great song, huh? It’s by James Blunt.” They agreed and thanked me. I loved seeing the both of them smile.

They got up to leave and they told me to have a great day. “Thanks, you too.” They left hand-in-hand. Totally in love. I smiled to myself again. Little did they know, they already made it a beautifully great day for me.


Bizarre. I’ve been trying to describe to myself and to others a unique difference between the old me and the current me. It’s a certain state-of-being most prominent in the mornings. So I’m listening to one of my CDs and, BANG. It suddenly hits me. The song was What I Want by Autopilot Off. It wasn’t the lyrics or the song title; it was the artist that had the light bulb go off in my head.

I’ve told you before how I can be Rain Man and remember practically everything, yet I can’t seem to remember to bring my wallet or remember where I park anymore. This is the struggle with myself that has me wrestling the way I used to be versus the way I’m built now.

I used to be such an organized person. I used to be structured. I used to be able to do things quickly without even thinking. My mind could be on five different things and I could pick each one of them off one-by-one. No sweat. I never forgot anything. It was as if I was on autopilot. You know that feeling?

But I left home and, as you know, things changed drastically for me. 2004 changed me forever and apparently, that old me dude just isn’t coming back. Somewhere between the 2,500-mile drive across the country, leaving my wife and son, putting my dog to sleep, moving to new surroundings, working a new job, traveling 100%, going through a bitter divorce, finding a love and losing her, intense job stress, etc., etc., my autopilot broke.

And unfortunately, all the king's horses and all the king's men couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty back together again. Was I driven to depression or was I just built without certain brain chemicals? Maybe both? I’ll probably never know the answer, but the after effects remain. Imperfections. It’s all left me without my trusty autopilot and I’m somewhat lost without it.

Mornings for me are literally a blur. I seem to be in hazy fog. My mind is not sharp, my eyes can’t focus, and my brain struggles to remember even the little things. Tsk, tsk. Such a sharp contrast to the former me. Juxtaposition. Hardly a morning goes by where I manage to forget something. I seem to have to try to part that fog and think to myself, “Wearing a belt? Take your pills? Got your phone? Got your wallet? Got your keys? Got your coffee? Got your computer?” And the list goes on. With my autopilot, I used to be able to dash out of the house and not have to think about any of these things. But now that it’s been disabled, I’m forced to rack my memory and painstakingly try to check-off each and everything I need to bring with me. Not only that, but I really have to make an effort to even remember the laundry list of things I’m supposed to bring with me, let alone remember to actually bring them.

Work for the first hour is an extension of this. I’m in foggy pea soup and I’m trying to clear the cobwebs and remember all the things I need to accomplish for the day. Sure I’ve got calendars and task lists but my mental clarity just isn’t there. The fog seems to return around 3 p.m. for an hour or two. It’s all so frustrating.

I’ve also just spent the past four days without said meds. My scrip ran out and I had no refills left. It took me four frustrating days to get it refilled. I was a dizzy, jittery mess yesterday which was day four. Today is recovery day having taken the first dose last night.

Now, I’m totally convinced that this is who I am now and that I’m not getting my autopilot back. I guess the good news is that I’ve recognized it and I’m slowly learning to live with it. And I’m really glad that song came on because now I can explain this strange new me to people. Or perhaps more easily, I can provide them the link to this here post. Hmm, there was something else I wanted to say, but I can’t remember what it was…

January 25, 2006


Maybe my nightmare will be over soon. I noticed the truck on my way home from lunch today. I spent an hour yesterday yelling at countless Comcast phone analysts. My biggest frustration is that no one in that company seems to have any information to tell me. Yesterday, I demanded that someone call me last night to give me an update on the internet outage. Of course, I got no call. Further frustrating me was that I had to repeat the same stupid story over and over again when I know the case history must be in the notes in my account.

So I was all ready to yell at them again today when I noticed the truck. I ran, yes ran, over to that man you see on the cherry picker and asked him (nicely I might add) what was the problem and when they might fix it. He was nice. He apologized for the inconveniences, and he told me that the crew was not allowed to go home until they fixed the problem. Some sort of bad fiber optic line or something.

I have a feeling I won't see that truck when I get home, and I won't see all my little lights flashing on my modem when I get home either. I really miss my internet community. I can't express how important that is to me these days. And I'm sure you're getting tired of reading about this crap. Hopefully, it will be resolved tonight. Cross your fingers for me.

January 19, 2006


I’m sitting here at Starbucks. I’ll give you three guesses why. Got it on the first guess, didn’t you? Comcast. Are you ready for this one? I got home around 7:10 tonight and noticed my high-speed modem light was blinking. Sure enough, I couldn’t connect so I immediately called. My first attempt had me waiting in silence. Not even the familiar muzak I was accustomed to (yeah, I know I ended a sentence with a preposition). I gave it five minutes, hung up, and called back.

The second call got me to my familiar menu and my familiar holding pattern. But it was only for a minute as a phone rep picked up. I told her what was wrong. Three solid buttons and a blinking “online” button. I told her I already did all the normal tricks like unplug, reboot, reset, etc. She said the magic words, “Please hold.” She told me she’d check my neighborhood for outages.

After being on hold for 20 minutes, I got disconnected. Holy crap was I mad! After ridding myself a few F-bombs, I called back. I explained to my new rep that I would try to contain my anger and I proceeded to tell her the story. I gave her my modem ‘Mac ID number’ for seemingly the hundredth time this week. She told me that piece of equipment was not linked to my account. I was dumbfounded. I told her the girl before her recognized the equipment. I told her I’d just gone through equipment set up not less than a week ago. I told her all this bullshit must be in the notes in my account. She stuck to her story and said the modem wasn’t linked to my account. Therefore, they couldn’t fix it without a service call. And, oh by the way, the first appointment was two days from now on Saturday.

Can you even imagine how pissed off I was? I told her I wanted to speak to someone who could help me. She told me her supervisor couldn’t do anything different and that I’d have to call the local office tomorrow morning. There you have it folks. “Comcastic,” just like the TV commercial says. I wasted another 50 minutes talking to those idiots plus I'll be out of service for two days.

Seriously, I’ve had it with Comcast. Can anyone give me some alternatives???

P.S. I got back from Starbucks and would you believe it? The modem light came on. Friggin Comcast...
P.P.S. Came home tonite (Friday) and it's out again. I'm typing on a faint wireless signal. My kingdom for a gun.
P.P.P.S. Saturday, Comcast guy came and didn't even come inside. He said he already knew the problem and he couldn't fix it. Apparently, the problem is related to Hurricane Wilma. I may not get it fixed until Wednesday the earliest. What upsets me so much, beyond their incompetence, is the fact that I've lost my main means of entertainment. I can't post, I can't speak to my net friends. It's very frustrating. Regarding GG's comment, this IS a big deal to me. Right now, I'm in the car chasing down faint wireless signals and am lucky to find one so I can update this post. Given the choice between net and TV, I'd take net anyday. Hope to post soon.

January 17, 2006


I went alone and my seat was far away, but heck, I got to see and hear a legend. Sure I’d seen him 10 years ago with Elton, and the show was great, but it was a stadium show with a view even further away. I grew up with Billy the Kid. I was only 11 when Piano Man hit the charts back in ’73. Have I really been listening to this guy for over 30 years now? I contemplated buying a ticket. And his tour kick-off show didn’t get great reviews, but I decided this may be it for Billy. If I don’t see him now, I may never get the chance. So I plunked down $75 and decided that no matter how the show went, I’d take it all in and revel in his music and cherish the moments one last time.

He came out on the stage to a raucous roar. Dressed in blue jeans, a black mock, and a dark blazer. Sporting a grey goatee that matched his gray hair or what was left of his hair. He did look old. But he didn’t sound old, folks. At 8:20 p.m, he led off the incredible two-hour set with Angry Young Man and went right into My Life before he addressed the crowd. He acknowledged the somewhat obscure set had played last week to the confused faces of his fans. But he vowed he’d not make that mistake again and was quite confident we would recognize most of the songs this evening.

He played Everybody Loves You Now (pre-Piano Man) before dazzling the piano with a heartfelt New York State of Mind. As I listened, I was truly amazed at how strong his voice still was and how well he still sounded after all these years. He sang us the aptly-named Miami 2017 (better known as Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway) and closed with Zanzibar before addressing us once again.

He somberly lamented the brutal beating and murder of homeless men in Fort Lauderdale by a teenage kid from Plantation of all places. He told us to be kind to homeless people because he was once one. But he got a break. ''There by the grace of God I go,'' he said before booming into an awesome rendition of Allentown. I called my mom during the song and let her hear it. She got to hear the next four songs or so before the phone cut out. Lucky mom got to hear Billy the Kid, Fantasy, Pressure, Big Shot, and Movin’ Out.

My seat wasn’t great. Billy actually opened the show with his back turned to me. I was bummed but then was relieved when the piano revolved around to my side. What a great idea. Everyone got their fair share of Billy. That’s how he explained it. “Except for the poor bastards in the nosebleed seats,“ he joked. He continued with Innocent Man and then played River of Dreams which sounds so good live. I remembered it from the previous concert. The percussion and background singers really stood out.

After Keepin’ the Faith and I Go to Extremes, Billy donned a backwards Kongol cap and a guitar for a spirited version of We Didn’t Start the Fire. The fast pace continued as he closed the long set with It’s Still Rock and Roll To Me and You May Be Right. I looked at my watch; it was 10:10 p.m. What a glorious two hours that was. He left the stage for 10 minutes before coming back on before an even louder ovation.

Billy said he felt confident we would know these next few. Only the Good Die Young started the encore followed by the melodic Scenes from and Italian Restaurant. Some really great piano playing on Restaurant. Of course, he closed with Piano Man. Everyone was waiting to hear it yet Billy hardly sang it. Instead he let the crowd sing the most of the verses while he sang the chorus. A fabulous time was had by all. I didn’t want to hear that last closing note. I wanted the show to go on and on. But I still waited for something I wanted to hear. I was probably the only one in the whole arena waiting to hear it.

You see, back in 2001, I was writing my book when I happened to see a Billy Joel special on A&E. He closed his special with some words that I’ll never forget. I needed to hear those words at that particular time in my life. I’m glad he said them because it honestly changed my attitude. I closed my book with those same words. Quoting him. (Little did I know that my book would have to be expanded for even more unforeseen events). Maybe they would change your attitude, too?

So I waited for him. He bowed to each side of the crowd. “Thank You, thank you.” C’mon Billy say it. He started walking off the stage now. “Good night everybody and remember…don’t take shit from anyone!!” I don’t think there was a happier person than me leaving that arena. Thanks for the reminder, Billy. I haven’t forgotten!

January 13, 2006


I’m so frustrated at my crapass internet/cable company. I came home last night and my high-speed internet wasn't working. My connection worked, but all I got was a logon screen. So I called Comcast, and they told me my service was cutoff because I didn't pay my bill. I told the guy that I just moved 3 weeks ago and that I never got any bill from them. Plus, it hasn’t even been a month since I’ve had the service so would they cut it? AND, why would they do this without calling me first?
So he told me to hold. He came back on to say the Sales Department cut my service in error and that they will restore me tomorrow. There’s nothing they can do now because it’s after business hours. I told the guy this was totally unacceptable. I told him I need access tonight because I have a very important presentation for work and I simply have to have my service now (so I lied a little). I told him they better contact someone on-call and restore me now. I asked to speak to his supervisor, but he told me it would be a long wait because the supervisor was with another customer. Apparently there was only one supervisor???? I told him I'd wait so he patched me through. I waited. And I waited. And I waited. That damn muzak is still ringing in my ears. I finally hung up after being on hold for an entire hour!

Today, I called Comcast to make sure they restored me as promised. This time I got a woman on the phone. I relayed the whole debacle from last night. She told me to hold so she could research the problem. She came back and you know what she said? Yeah, she said I didn’t pay my bill. I reiterated my story from last night that this was *not* the case, and that someone mistakenly cut my service. Apparently she didn’t believe me. She said the system was showing that I didn’t sign up for any service. So I asked her how did I obtain a user ID and password if I didn’t’ sign up? *Someone* would have had to issue me this information, no? I gave her my user id, and she said it had been deleted. Exactly. I told her that’s what the guy last night had said. Someone in Sales deleted my account.

Well after 15 minutes of this back-and-forth, she put me on hold and called Sales. So I wait with the all-too-familiar sounds of Comcast’s muzak. An hour of it last wasn’t enough, I suppose. Bad memories. 10 minutes later, she came back and asked me what speed I want? I asked her for prices. “Please hold.” Muzak. She gave me prices, and I told her that when I signed up I got an intro rate and that I wanted that special intro rate. “Please hold.” More muzak. She came back and gave me the rate, and said I needed to call back tonight and reset up my modem. I asked why my account got deleted in the first place. Did anyone really know why? “Please hold.” Muzak. She came back on to tell me, “No one knows.” I asked her if any one over there really cared about how much of an inconvenience this was for me and asked her if anyone wished to compensate me or adjust my rate for all this trouble? “That’s the billing department. Please hold.” Muzak.

So I re-relayed my never-ending story. I told the billing lady that all the previous phone analysts seemed mad at me for complaining yet it was nothing I did. They cut off my service, yet no one seemed to really care. So with all this inconvenience, what were they gonna do for me? Guess what she told me. Any guesses? Right. “Please Hold.” Muzak. After a short break, she came back to tell me that my account hadn’t been deleted and that it was, in fact, active. “No, no, no,” I said. I explained that they just this minute activated it. I complained about their lack of customer service again. She finally offered up an inconvenience fee. I asked her the value of it. “Please hold.” Muzak. Finally, she told me the fee credit was one month of free internet service. “Deal,” I said. She gave me one more ‘please hold’ for the road and processed my credit.

Now I ask you folks. Why in the hell does everything have to be so damn difficult? Between Comcast and my pesky condo president, I’m beginning to wonder whether there are any signs of intelligent life on this planet? Do I really need to have Scotty beam me up? Please hold while I ponder that.

January 11, 2006


Well, I didn’t waste any time, did I? It only took me three weeks to show up on the tenant complaint list. My landlord called me to tell me a complaint was filed against me. He said it involved something about parking. And that’s all I needed to know. I already knew what the complaint was and who it was that complained about me…

Before I moved into my new place, I had to be interviewed by the condo association president to see if I was worthy enough to live there. When I finally got a hold of this guy on the phone, I almost immediately had a dislike for the guy. He was pushy and arrogant. The anti-me. I told my landlord about the conversation I had with the president, and he confirmed that the guy was basically a jerk. Swell. I could hardly wait for my interview.

The interview itself went well, but I was right about the president. He walked, talked, looked, and acted arrogant. I guess being a condo president (and no, I’m not going to capitalize president for this guy) is a lofty achievement for him. Ooh, all this power! And that was it. I was approved and never heard from the guy.

The complaint itself was filed anonymously to the third-party company who manages the condo association. Here’s how it was read to me:

The tenant in #103, Todd Moser has some issues:
His parking spot is right outside of his unit, next to the gate. It is in the corner outside his door against the gate. There is a guest spot right next to his spot. He has been parking in the middle of the two spots taking up both the guest and reserved spot.

He has also been deliberately parking in the guest spot next to his spot. There has been no evidence of anyone parking in his spot while he has been taking up the guest spot.

I found a bag of garbage the other day sitting outside the dumpster gate next to the recycle bins. It was left overnight and animals were tearing into it b/c there was garbage from the bag strewn around. I took it upon myself to remove the garbage and dispose of it properly in the dumpster. There was a fed ex bill in the garbage that was addressed to Todd Moser in #103.

You guys cracking up, or what? I look pretty bad here, don’t I? Well here’s the story. My assigned spot is directly next to that gate that’s mentioned. Encroaching on my spot is all the electric boxes used to work the gate, plus two safety poles designed to protect the equipment. So the spot is undersized. Now if there is a car directly next to that spot, the so-called guest spot, there is no way I can turn directly into my spot without hitting that car. You need a bicycle to negotiate that sharp turn. So I gotta drive around in a circle, reverse, and come at it at a different direction.

Then I have to slide in between the car parked in the guest spot and those friggin poles. The best possible scenario is to angle park. I guess this is what’s meant by ‘parking in the middle.’ But what was bugging the hell out of me was that this red sports car was *always* in that guest spot 24/7. Once it finally moved, I decided to block it by parking in the guest spot and leaving mine open. This also made it easier to move my stuff in and out as I was still moving boxes in and out. I did this for the first week, but then returned to parking in my spot.

Meanwhile, the red sports car continued parking in that damn guest spot. I wondered who the hell was the car owner of that damn car. Well you guys already know where I’m going with this. Sure enough, I saw him driving around the parking lot in that red car. “That Motherfucker,” I thought to myself! That’s how I know it was Mr. Arrogant Asshole complaining. He wanted his own personal guest spot. I already knew where he parked his other car which was basically right behind that spot. I guess he was usurping his presidential power to stop me from parking in a guest spot. Funny, I don’t recall parking in a guest spot as being a violation of association rules. I guess me parking there was just eating away at his ego, and I guess it was the garbage bag that put him over the top.

It’s true. I left a garbage bag next to the recycling bins one morning. Being new, I didn’t have a key to the dumpster which was locked. Normally, it wasn’t locked. The bins said recycle only so I didn’t want to put the bag in there. So I just left it conveniently next to the bins thinking the garbage truck would be picking it up within the hour. The truck comes daily and early in the morning so I figured what was the harm. Just my luck that “animals” attacked my bag. Wonder what these “animals” were? Pumas? Panthers? Hyenas? Hmmm.

Sure I had to reply to the association with a letter explaining my “issues.” And I guess I’m not going to be evicted either although I really wouldn’t care to be honest with you. To me, this whole thing just boggles my mind how some people in this world live their lives for them and no one else. I just don’t understand how people can worry about such small shit when there are so many more important things going on in this world. I really dislike people like this guy. I mean really. Sneaking behind someone’s back and tattling? Good grief. Big-headed yes, but pea-brained. Every day, I see that red car parked next to me and I just want to bash right into it. I can’t wait to see that guy one of these days. I’m gonna tell him the next time he has a complaint against me to have the balls to knock on my door and confront me about it. I know one thing about this guy. He’s a big Steeler fan. So this weekend, I’m going to be the biggest Colt fan this country’s ever seen.

January 09, 2006


Incoming emails from online dating sites are rare. At least for me they are. That’s pretty much why I canceled my subscriptions. If I do happen to get an email, I can’t view who sent it or view the message because I have to be a member. There *is* a little trick to figure out who sent it. You can look at the ‘who’s viewed you’ box. This is a good work-around because if I think the person is interesting, I can always re-subscribe and view the message.

Well it’s been like eight months since I’ve subscribed. I finally got an email over the holidays. The woman’s profile was interesting, and she was attractive. I pondered whether or not to subscribe again. I guess being bored out of my mind over the holidays made the decision easy for me. So I signed up for a month.

I opened up the email and it was very sweet. She said she’d found my blog and was enjoying what she read thus far. She said she liked writers because she was one, too. “Wow, how perfect is that,” I asked myself? I replied back to her and off we went, into the wild blue online dating yonder.

We probably exchanged a good four or five emails during the holidays. It seemed like we were both comfortable enough to arrange a first meeting. In one of her emails, she asked me about privacy. She wondered how I could be so open with my life and how was I so willing to put myself out there. She wondered because she was an extremely private person.

The reasons I gave her are all too familiar to you guys now. Venting, dealing, coping, therapy, garden state-of-mind, etc. I assured her that if we went out, I wouldn’t write anything about her without her permission. I asked her what her New Year’s plans were not that I was going to ask her out. We all know first dates on New Year’s Eve are a bad combination, right?

I didn’t hear back from her so I wrote her an email saying Happy New Year, blah, blah, and I also asked her what she thought of my privacy answer. I got the answer later that day. She said she admired how I could be so open and honest and believed me when I said I wouldn’t write about her. It was signed “Good Luck.”

Well, that was the end of that. A typical online dead-end. But it got me thinking. Have I been *too* open and honest? I have always made it a point for people I meet to have them read my blog to understand who I am and what I stand for. If they don’t like the blog then they’re probably not gonna like me and it saves the trouble of meeting and all that. But is this really true?

I suppose if the first post you read about me was 28 months, or if you read how imperfect I am, you might get the wrong idea about me. Maybe you conclude I’m some sort of player or a mental basket case or too needy? It’s certainly conceivable if you happen to read just the right post. Maybe this blog is too much too soon, you know what I mean? I know one of you out there agrees with me because you already told me so. What about the rest of you? Should I reconsider and keep the blog to myself until I get to know a person better and vise versa? IF I ever get another email, it might be time for a change.

January 05, 2006


So the USPS is raising the price of a stamp from 37 cents to 39 cents apparently so the post office can make a $3.1 billion escrow payment required by Congress. I find it interesting that I haven’t heard many complaints about it. No watercooler chatter at work, no picket lines, no protests, no Geraldo Rivera, and no Anderson Cooper running down the story. Heck, it’s only two cents, right?

But you know me, my mind works differently. I look at it this way. The price of stamps is being jacked up 5.4%. To me, that’s a big number. Here’s how I equate it. At $2.50 a gallon, gas would cost me $2.64. My $200 utilities would cost me $211. My $183 car payment would go up $10 for a quick $120 a year. My $1200 monthly rent would cost me $1265 or another $780 a year. What if I wanted to buy or lease a new car? A $20,000 car would now cost me $21,080. How bout a house? Can’t get anything around here for less than $250,000. Well, that little 5.4% bump would cost me an extra $13,500.

5.4% is a big number, people. The last postal increase was back in 2002 when stamps went from 34 cents to 37 cents, a whopping 8.8% increase. I’m not gonna do the math again, but can you imagine? Listen, 2 cents may not seem like much but someone should take a closer look at this. Plus, there are more increases, too. Registered mail is going up from $7.50 to $12.75. A 70% increase??? I read the post office made $68.9 BILLION last year and spent $65.8 billion. They *MADE* $3.1 BILLION and now they need help. Dontcha feel sorry for them? Hey, you know what? I’m getting killed in taxes and need to buy a house. I need help to make the payments. Can you please raise my salary 5.4%?

January 03, 2006


A Co-worker friend of mine stopped by and wished me a Happy New Year. He told me he got remarried last week. I don’t know if it’s a coincidence, but lately I’ve been thinking a lot about this very same topic. I’ve been trying to answer my own rhetorical question, “Am I ready to remarry?” Or perhaps better stated, “WILL I ever remarry?” Hmm, I guess they’re really two different questions, aren’t they?

I’ve foundered back and forth on this marriage topic. During my times of struggle and need, the answer to both questions was an unequivocal, “Yes.” But now that the demons have been exorcised and I’ve had time to adjust to living the single life, the scale has most definitely tipped in the opposite direction.

I think I know the answer to the 'Ready or not' question. I’m not ready. I think it’s a combination of factors. First, it’s been two years since I left the ex and almost one year since the divorce. There’s still some marriage/divorce pain that lingers. Financial issues haven’t been completely resolved and revisiting them convinces me that I’m not ready to worry about this stuff again. But perhaps more importantly, I still feel like I haven’t figured out what I’m looking for.

Take kids, for example. Having kids is a huge issue that I’ve wrestled with. I used to think that if I met ‘the one,’ I’d sacrifice and have kids if that’s what she wanted. But that was back in my needy phase. Now, I’m really unclear in my mind what I want. Sure, I’d love to experience the high of having kids again, but I’m not sure if I can mentally handle the stresses involved in raising a child from infancy. Right now, I’m not mentally strong enough. And by that I mean that life has been too stressful and I’m only now beginning to mentally relax. I need this mental vacation, if you will. I need to re-energize. I need to regain patience. And I need to be honest with myself and whoever I may meet on answering the kids or not question. Right now, I can’t imagine going through it. I may not ever be ready, and I’m not sure when I’m going to know the answer to this one. I may need to live a simpler life in my 50s rather than being a parent of two or three kids. Yeesh, did I just say 50s?

And then there’s the whole idea of living the rest of my life with one person. Funny, that’s all I’ve been writing about for the past year, right? Finding 'The One?’ I just think I need more time. I need time to meet people and learn about what I truly want. My problem hasn’t necessarily been finding people I’m really interested in. Well, let me clarify. I’ve not had much luck in dating around in my local area. I’ve found that the people I enjoy most and get along with are those I’ve met online. Sure there’s a huge difference in meeting someone in person vs. online. But on the surface, the online people I’ve met share so many common interests with me and we have such great friendships. But there are so many complications. Long distance may be the biggest of those. I mean, just trying to meet a person with all the scheduling conflicts is usually a big to-do and I haven’t had much luck in that department as you know.

But what if I did, by some miracle, find her? Could I actually marry? Maybe it would be just safer to live together. Yeah, you’re rolling your eyes at me, but seriously, is marriage a necessity? I don’t really know. I’m really considering the ‘live-in’ scenario as a distinct possibility. I guess, like everything else, it would depend on a million other factors. See? I’m still confused. I don’t yet have the answer to the “Will I” question. Some days I think yes and some days I think no.

So out of curiosity, I asked my friend some questions about his remarriage. He told me it had been seven years since his divorce. He told me he gained the patience back that he’d lost all those years ago. Interestingly, he’s 48 and she’s 30. His third marriage, her first. I asked him about the kids thinking she’d want them. He told me he’s willing to have kids. Wow, bravo for him. Like I said, I’m not sure I could do that especially considering his ago although I guess I’m not that far from it. But unlike me, he’s never had previous children so his desire to experience that is there. He told me it took him three years to clear his head. He met someone and they dated for four years. He then played the pros/cons game when deciding whether to ask the woman to marry him. Ultimately, he said when you find someone you adore and puts up with you, it’s worth all the cons.

Interesting perspective. I’m glad I asked him. Now I won’t feel so bad if it takes me another five years to figure this thing out.

January 01, 2006


My friend New Year's Eve visited me last night and beat me up once again. I can't really figure out why we've never gotten along. I've never really had much fun on New Year's. I've read that some of you are in a similar boat as me.

Last night, I was going to watch my Florida Gators play which should lead me up to the Times Square ball drop. Well, my Gators weren't on because they're on tomorrow. So I played online Trivia (yes, I'm a nerd and a dork) to occupy my time until the ball drop. The TV was on but I was not paying attention until, at 11:50 p.m., it turned to snow. No, not the white fluffy stuff but the loud staticky stuff. Great, the cable went out. It never came back on. I missed the ball drop. I called my mom who 'talked me through it.'

I thought I might be spending the night with someone after her work shift, but that didn't materialize either. I tried to sleep it off but couldn't. So I stayed up all night playing trivia. I answered something like 91 questions over a nine-hour period. Looking back, it *was* sorta fun. An offbeat way to stimulate the brain. Not exactly how I thought it would be stimulated, but hey, that's typical New Year's Eve for me.

I still haven't slept and the cable is still out. Comcast said the cable was cut and they didn't know when it would be repaired. And so begins 2006. If I tap my heels together and whisper, "There's no place like home," do you think I could turn the clock back 24 hours?