Wednesday, February 24, 2016

So, You've Got A Fast Car...

We* interrupt our** previously scheduled posts*** to show you this:

*there is no "we", it's really just me
**there is no "our," again, it's just me
***I had no previously scheduled posts... rocky start, no?

Let's put up some "traveling music" to help us get through this post. It's optional, but recommended.

Well, as you surely surmised, I made a "boo boo" with my car today.

When I left the house, I was a couple miles out when I attempted to make a call using the Bluetooth in the car. Nothing. I forgot my phone at home. And that is the precise moment I said to myself, "Oh dear. I hope I don't have an accident. It would really suck to get into an accident and not have my phone." That internal dialogue was followed up with mental reminders that I'd driven for many years before cell phones were around. Long trips even. Did I have an accident? No. Did I get lost? Horribly. But, I survived it. Really, I was just being a baby about the whole thing, and I decided to (mostly) not think about it.

But, I couldn't help but mention it to the clerk when I was checking out.... again indicating that I intended to drive exceedingly safely because I'd forgotten my phone. We both agreed it was a real pain when you forget your phone, and I was on my way. Less than 2 miles later... kaboom.

So, you must be thinking, "How did this happen with such a deliberate intent at avoiding said accident?" (You do know that I kinda knew this was going to happen before it did, right??? Usually I'm not all that psychic about myself, but I had a feeling.)


I was making a left hand turn (busy intersection). The light had gone yellow. I'm out in the intersection. OBVIOUSLY, I thought it was clear. I thought the oncoming car was too far to make the light and went. BUT, this is Jacksonville and "yellow" doesn't mean stop, but instead means "go faster." So, I turned and she went faster... and kaboom.

The crazy thing was I didn't even see her until she was impacting my car. After pulling my car onto the triangular median (and off the road) a Navy Corpsman (as well as several non-Navy folks) stopped to ask if I was okay. I was. Surprisingly, I was. I don't know if the not seeing it coming prevented me from tensing in anticipation or my guardian angels in heaven wrapped me up and held onto me, but I was good. Not a scratch.

So, as I waited the hour for the police to arrive I noticed several things. 1) I didn't melt down. I didn't even cry. This is major progress, people. I simply prayed a little prayer and thanked God for bringing me through this whole thing. I also thanked the good Lord that my mom was NOT in the car (as she hit the passenger side). 2) I felt really good about people. So many people who were turning right (directly in front of my car) rolled down their window to ask if I was okay. That was outstanding. Made me think that people really are good at heart (once again).

Tonight, as I moved further into the contemplative I wondered if this accident was a wake-up call. Was this a prod from up above to start living? I've pretty well been living like Benjamin Button, but I'm not actually getting any younger. Instead, I've been idling for years in the land of hoping and wishing that my life will improve. Not saying I'm doing nothing, but I haven't been attacking life with ferocity and vigor, either. Truth be told, I've kinda just been hanging around waiting to die. I hate to say it so harshly, but that's pretty much the truth. My enthusiasm for the living got buried in the pain of the migraines. Not to mention that it's just easier to not do it. Not go out. Not meet people. Not give anyone the opportunity to emotionally wreck you. Just not.

But, that isn't living. And when that car crashed into me I realized that I didn't want to die. I wasn't ready to die. I'm young. I don't exactly have my health, but I'm gaining on it. I'm not ready for that hotel in the sky.

So, I'm going to get back to my novel, join that Meet Up group, and say "Yes" more. Don't let me skate on this stuff. If it looks like I'm lounging around just waiting to kick off, give me a jab in the rib cage. I most certainly don't want another car crash to remind me to live.

Monday, February 22, 2016

BOTB Results and SOML ~ Promised Land

If you followed the voting (at all) on my last battle, you'll know it wasn't even close. Dave and Vanessa chocked the first two votes and that was it. Those votes saved them from a Shut-Out, because The Strokes ran away with it after that. I found The Strokes video first and the duet second. I wanted something different, which is why I chose the duet, but I also wanted something competitive. Different: yes. Competitive: not so much. I really like Dave Stewart in that duo, but didn't care much for Vanessa Paradis. From your comments, many of you felt the same way. Ergo, The Strokes took it by a huge margin. Oh, and Lou Reed got one vote, despite the fact that he wasn't in the contest. He nearly tied Dave and Vanessa... sigh.

Let's move on from that disappointing bit of business.

I'm going to do something fairly unusual for me and "nutshell" a big chunk of my NYC story.

J1 joined the Army and requested placement in Germany, which he got. We went through the letter fiasco, the him not calling, and finally the me calling him, followed by a brief meet during his layover in NYC. I don't know what would've happened if Desert Storm hadn't happened. Had he just remained in Germany (likely not calling me), I think the relationship would've just died a fairly quiet death. The ole out with a whimper versus the bang.

Instead, Desert Storm did happen. That generated terror all the way around. I lived in a constant state of anxiety to the point that I developed enough severe gastro-ntestinal issues to seek medical help. I can say with certainty that an Upper GI is no fun. Fortunately, I didn't require the Lower GI for them to see the problem. I also discovered therapy. As for J1, I suspect being in that high stress situation caused him to hold on when he might otherwise have let go. (No, it never occurred to me at the time that if not for his facing death on a daily basis, he wouldn't have been so interested in connection with me. Or, to put it more plainly, if he was just living it up in Germany, he might've met some nice German girl!) However, he wasn't meeting nice German girls. He was in the desert concerned about his next breath.

So, in the irony of ironies, this actually brought us closer. He used what phone calls he had to call me or his parents. I ended up calling his parents and becoming very good friends with his mother. J1 and I didn't talk daily, but I did talk daily with his mother. It sounds strange on paper, but the reality was it felt very normal. We were both scared to death for his safety and loved him. The bond formed easily.

As for my daily reality: I liked my job. I made some good friends at work. Sag, Jennifer the Second, and I liked living together (in Queens). In 1991, Jennifer the Second and I moved to Manhattan and Sag moved in with her boyfriend. That was also good. We spent a good deal of our free time in that Queens apartment playing cards and listening to music. The song that sticks with me is this one. I always thought of J1 when it played. I realize (now) that it took me a really long time to allow myself to be angry with him for his choices (choosing the Army, choosing Germany, choosing not to call me, etc.). It took even longer for me to accept I was angry with myself. But, it must've been there all along, because when this song played it resonated with me.

My blood is running dry, my skin is
My skin is growing thin 
For every time you find yourself
You lose a little bit of me 
Honey, from within 
It's just a raging cycle
Why can't we bring it all to the end of the line (I'd like to bring it to the end of the line)
From inside this existence, oh sweetheart
Time is not on my side

I'm lonely tonight, I'm missing you now
I'm wanting your love and you're giving it out

I'm not your promised land
I'm not your promised one
I'm the not the land of Canaan
Waiting for you under the sun

I'm lonely tonight

If you're enjoying these posts, feel free to share your own Soundtrack. This isn't a hop. No requirements at all, but a suggestion to do it one song at a time. (If you participated in the hop several years ago, you can still do this. Just post them one song at a time, with the freedom to add more songs if you'd like.) I'll link to all participants at the bottom of each of these posts:


Cherdo on the Flipside 

Holli's Hoots and Hollers 


Mean Who You Are

Wrote By Rote

Monday, February 15, 2016

Battle of the Bands/Soundtrack ~ The Wild Side

Once again, Battle of the Bands has collided with Soundtrack of My Life.

Let's begin with the story.

I lived in NYC from 1990-1992 and worked in the Publicity Department at St. Martin's Press. That department was full of some fun characters. It was my first experience working with gay men, and I must say that was eye opening. I'd go into a meeting just hoping to get through it and, more than once, one of the fellas would come up to me after the meeting to tell me he had an excellent idea for how I should wear my hair, fashion accessories that I really should try, or just general clothing advice. Sadly, I needed all three, so those tips were always appreciated.

Notice the fancy haircut AND the manicured nails! Not to mention... the DRESS!

We had one guy in our department (also newly graduated from college) who was not gay. His name was Len. He and I became very good friends. I think it's because I was so welcoming on his first day. Or that first meeting. Not sure which came first. But, he walked in and there was an open seat next to me. He paused and I said, "Sit down. I don't bite." I probably should've added most of the time, but it worked. He sat, and we became friends.

I'd like to say I taught him all sorts of handy things. Sadly, I think the reverse was true. Through him, I learned a whole bunch about hockey I never knew. Did you know it is the sport with the longest season? I didn't know that. He also took me to a Rangers game (which was super fun). He worked the "free stuff exchange" like nobody's business. He gave me some of the cassettes (yeah, I said cassettes) and CDs he didn't want. I also learned a wee bit about what it was to be Jewish. In short, he was one of the coolest people I'd met in my life, and I felt really privileged he wanted to be MY friend. We even exchanged mix tapes (on cassette). If you want to know where you rate on my scale, only people I think of as the "best of the best" get a mix tape. Through that experience I learned the way to end a mix tape is with The Beatles montage of Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End. In point of fact, whenever I hear those songs I always think of  Len.

In 1992, St. Martin's published the book A Low Life In High Heels: The Holly Woodlawn Story. The entire department was invited to the book party at a place called The Limelight.

The Limelight

Do you see the resemblance to a castle? Perfect for Halloween or a dress up party, no? Well, this was a dress up party. Holly Woodlawn is the Holly from A Walk On The Wild Side by Lou Reed. "Holly came from Miami FLA..." Holly brought all of his his/her friends to this book party. (Pronouns still are confusing for me when it comes to cross dressing.) Fortunately, I'd already experienced this phenomena several times already, so I was now a pro at this sort of thing. A few days ago, I sent an email to Len asking if he remembered this party. HE DID. He said the thing that stuck with him was seeing the people shooting up in the bathroom (and feeling so tame in comparison). I'm so glad I didn't see that. What I remembered from this party was a dude dressed like a lady in western wear, including the holster and toy guns. I was standing next to Len when this "cowgirl" raised her gun and shot it at Len. He grabbed my arm and said, "See that guy in the cowboy outfit. He just fired his gun at me!" Once again, I was the bridesmaid and not the bride!

Here is a picture of Len and I from one of our many nights out after all the work was done (but not the night of The Limelight party):

Other bloggers participating in the Soundtrack of My Life:


Cherdo on the Flipside 

Holli's Hoots and Hollers 


Mean Who You Are

Wrote By Rote

If you were paying attention during the story, you probably already guessed the song for this installment of Battle of the Bands. Walk On The Wild Side. Not including the Lou Reed version as it would run away with it, but I think I found two good covers.

The first is by a band called The Strokes.

The second is by Dave Stewart and Vanessa Paradis (don't watch if you are influenced by the video).

Please vote for the version of this song you prefer. If you want to get into the Ins and Outs of why you like one better than the other... I LOVE long comments!

For more Battle of the Bands fun, check out the other BOTB bloggers to vote on their battles:

Monday, February 8, 2016

BoTB Results and SOML ~ NYC For Dummies

In some ways, this last Battle of the Bands was my favorite in a while. It collided with my Soundtrack of My Life and Lost and Found. I'm still having difficulty managing my life (shocking) and my migraines, so I didn't get to as many of your posts as I'd like, but I'm still planning on visiting... soon.

As for the Battle... The song was Say Something. The contenders were Boyce Avenue and Pentatonix. I'm still undecided with my own vote, but you guys came out strongly in favor of Boyce Avenue. Pentatonix got votes (and strong ones when cast), but it really wasn't even close. Final tally:\

Boyce Avenue: 15
Pentatonix: 8

Let's continue on with my Soundtrack story.

The year was 1990. I just graduated college and moved to NYC to pursue a job in publishing. I found a job fairly quickly in the publicity department at St. Martin's Press. Turns out, there was a "hubaloo" in that department that resulted in almost everyone quitting and finding other jobs. I had NO IDEA of that when I went in to interview. I was the first person the new director hired. And I will write more on the job later...

But, I want to talk about "adjusting to life in NYC" in this soundtrack post.

Turns out that I was pretty naive about everything NYC, up to and including job hunting. My friend, Sag, graduated a year ahead of me and had a job in the City. We got an apartment in Queens, and she did her best to teach me the key to survival in this new place. There were a few important lessons I got right away. 1) Don't look around when you're walking in the City. That screams awestruck tourist. 2) Never greet anyone with a pleasant "good morning" or "how are you?" on the street. If you forget yourself and do this (I did), you will scare the crap out of any sane person (saw this firsthand). You will invite conversation from insane people (experienced this for myself), which will then scare the crap out of you. 3) Always zip your backpack from the bottom. If the zippers meet at the top, anyone can just unzip, stick their hand in, and walk away with your stuff. (Never experienced this, because I always remembered this rule!)

It was the stuff Sag didn't tell me that got me in trouble. For instance, while I was still job interviewing, I spent a day in the City. Had about three interviews that day. I was still green at navigating the subway, so I planned my route ahead of time for minimal opportunities of tragedy. Picture this: it was a sunny afternoon. My interviews were done. I was wearing a suit and heels and really just wanted to go home and collapse. A frantic woman approached me with a horrific story of being robbed and not able to get home. There were plenty of tears and she looked panicked sure enough. I felt terrible for her (easily imagining myself as her) and gave her all my money in my purse. That amounted to the trifling sum of $10. However, it wasn't until she walked away that it hit me: I gave her all the money in my purse. I needed that money to buy a subway token to get home. Instead, I walked about thirty blocks to Sag's workplace so she could pay for my subway token back to Queens. By the time I got there, my feet were leaden (and blister-ridden) and I was ready to beg money off a stranger with my own sob story. Sag and her co-worker nearly laughed themselves to death after hearing this tale of woe.

Apparently, there really is a sucker born every minute. That same sucker often becomes hardened and vows not to donate money to strangers ever again. Ergo, there is also a smarter, savvier person born the next minute.

I could tell you dozens of New York City stories. Because, let's face it, I'm one of those people who has to fall into every hole in order to accept there really is a hole there. I'm only giving you one more and then we're moving on in the next post. Jennifer the Second moved in with Sag and I. On the weekends, we'd often go out clubbing or drinking or something. Each one of these occasions always resulted in some sort of epic story. On this weekend night, we were trying hip new places. I think this was a one and done sort of experience. Turns out hip is another term for expensive. At our last stop for the night, the cover charge was something ridiculous, $10, which was a lot back then. The beer was something like $7 a bottle. I couldn't tell you what a mixed drink was, because I knew it was more than I wanted to pay. So, we're standing there trying to decide what to do in this uber-expensive place we paid to get into. Heck, I didn't even like the music. It was all very electronica and not all that danceable, to my way of thinking. So, we're just taking it all in when this guy in white lingerie (yes, women's lingerie) weaved through the crowd blowing a whistle. This happened quite a few times. We ended up not staying too long. We couldn't afford the drinks. We didn't like the music. While the guy with the whistle was mildly entertaining, after the third blow I was pretty well over it. We walked outside and Sag said something like, "Well that was something new and different."

And I said something like, "Yeah, the women were really tall."

She just looked at me and said something like, "You're an idiot."

To which I said, mildly offended, "What???"

"They were men, you dope."

And there you have it. I pretty well spent those two years with my mouth hanging open and chin scraping the sidewalk.

If you're enjoying these posts, feel free to share your own Soundtrack. This isn't a hop. No requirements at all, but a suggestion to do it one song at a time. (If you participated in the hop several years ago, you can still do this. Just post them one song at a time, with the freedom to add more songs if you'd like.) I'll link to all participants at the bottom of each of these posts:


Cherdo on the Flipside 

Holli's Hoots and Hollers 


Mean Who You Are

Monday, February 1, 2016

A Three Way Crash: BOTB runs into SOML and Lost and Found

What we are seeing here today is a collision of epic proportions.

First, there was Battle of the Bands. List of participants at the end of this post.

Second, I started writing posts which I lovingly call The Soundtrack of My Life. A few others have joined in this endeavor. Who's participating in this one? These guys:


Cherdo on the Flipside 

Holli's Hoots and Hollers 


Third, I joined the Lost and Found Bloghop. You can find the entire list of participants HERE. Who is hosting this event? These guys:

Arlee Bird at Tossing it Out
Guilie Castilol-Oriard at A Quiet Laughter
Alex J. Cavanaugh 

For those of you new to this blog, I'm going through my entire life in song. Sounds tedious when I write it like that, but, surprisingly, not so much. We left off with me receiving a phone call from J1 (just as I was approaching college graduation) to say he'd decided to join the Army and requested a placement in Germany. We'd been on and off again (mostly off) for two years now, but I was still horribly in love with the guy.

In the face of this adversity, we decide to become "on" again. Makes sense, right? I'm headed for my first real job in NYC, and he's headed to boot camp. With promises of writing each other and a visit after boot camp, but before Germany... that's where we left it.

I made my move (lots more to tell there, but not in *this* post) and purchased enough stationery that I really should've bought stock in the stuff. And I wrote and wrote. (If you've read my rambling here, you have a fairly accurate idea about the sheer volume of words I'm attempting to describe). And I waited. Nothing came. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch. My mailbox remained perpetually empty.

Each day that passed with no word from J1, brought tears, anxiety, and too many meetings with Captain Morgan. My roommates got sick of listening to it. I got sick of listening to it. Why? Because I didn't understand it. I guess it should've been obvious after all the times he said he'd call, and didn't, in the two on/off years, but I really thought we'd turned a corner.

I daresay that the boot camp lasted six to eight weeks. So, it was in July when I knew he was outta there and sitting at home with his parents. I was sure he'd call. The plan was he'd visit me BEFORE Germany. So, a phone call was required, no?

That phone call did eventually happen. But he didn't initiate it. It was a Friday or Saturday night and I'd imbibed just enough Captain Morgan and Diet Coke that calling seemed like a reasonable, and right, thing to do. We had beautiful parquet flooring in that Queens apartment. I remember sitting on it (okay, sprawled on it) and drunk dialing him.

He told me that he got all my mail after boot camp was over. All of it. All at once. Turns out, he couldn't send or receive mail during his stint there. Ergo, as he read he saw I was spiraling out. I didn't call him names or anything, but there was a lot of "I don't know why you're doing this to me" sort of talk there at the end.

I could understand why he wasn't ready to pick up the phone and call someone who may or may not be riding the crazy train that first day. But, day two? Three? Two weeks later? What could possibly have kept him from calling me and putting me out of my (obvious) misery???

"He didn't want to hurt me anymore."

I was floored. Literally and figuratively. But, I eventually managed to wrap my head around this poor excuse and accept it. I suppose this is where the Lost and Found comes into play... because when someone tells you they are a jerk or don't have time for you or you're not the priority (and really he'd been telling me for YEARS) or he just doesn't want to hurt you anymore, you should say, "Well thank you for clearing that up. You're absolutely right. If we carry on down this path you will devastate me. This was good information to have." Instead, by accepting this lame rationale, I was signing up for more pain. My bad. I lost myself and found out just what it is to hurt. We think the pain is in the letting go. Often it's in the hanging on.

And that leads us to the Battle of the Bands/song portion of this event. This describes how I felt that entire six to eight weeks he was in boot camp. 

The song is Say Something. I'm pitting two covers against each other. Listen to them both and cast your vote in the comments. That simple! I recommend NOT watching either. I find both of these distracting, but I'm not the NSA and won't be monitoring you, so do what you like!

Here is Boyce Avenue featuring Carly Rose Sonenclar:

Here is Pentatonix:

Please vote for the version of this song you prefer. If you want to get into the Ins and Outs of why you like one better than the other... I LOVE long comments!

For more Battle of the Bands fun, check out the other BOTB bloggers to vote on their battles: