Thursday, July 28, 2011

Come On

I had plans for this summer—yep. During the freezing months of wind and rain and ice, I dreamt of them: the dog-days of summer—days by the pool, work days that flew by without a struggle, plenty of sunlight and pretty-please mild temps.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

Good ole' Murphy strikes again. Stupid Murph.

I am thankful for the moments of peace I have had, but I'd be lying if I said they weren't few and far between. Work has been nightmarish. The days have been unbearably hot. Emotions have been running high—so much going on with so many different people in my life. The country is being pulled in four different directions while the economy continues its downward slide.

But, us? We're good—things are smooth, as we approach one year of marriage. The world around us seems to be spinning out of control, but we are enjoying modest dinners, compelling films, day trips, guests in town, fair-weather sun tans.

Outside of our cocoon of happiness and simplicity, I often find myself treading water.

If you don't work full time (darn you) you just don't understand. You can't comprehend a summer in glimpses, tasting only droplets of the the heinously hot and the beautifully mild days—making your way to your car as the sun sets just breathing in the air, office meetings that drag on for hours without end in sight. Photos and posts of others playing, sweating, twisting and bending in the light and the humidity. It can make a sane person lose it. I have been practicing my breathing and keeping jealousy at bay, which hasn't been easy. It's been lots of prayer, breathing exercises, caffeine and pep talks help, but I still need more.

Way more.

So, there's this:

Key West, Florida or Heaven on Earth?

And yes, in case you were wondering, I AM drooling right now. We will be here in four weeks. Four teeny tiny weeks that—Lord willing—will be quick and painless.

Come on, little weeks.

Come on, one-year anniversary.

Come on, no work in sight.

Come on, only bathing suits for days.

Come on, lasting sun tan.

Come on, late-night star gazing on the beach.

Come on, cocktails.

Come on, romance.

Come on, little bungalow.

Come on, cutie Goodwins.

Come on, diet out the window.

Let's wrap this silly summer up and put it all behind us. Shall we?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sobriety Awareness Week

his week I made up a holiday and told myself that it was my moral obligation to observe it. And that made-up holiday would be Sobriety Awareness Week. Yeah, that's right, I gave up drinking for one week.

Now, let's not get all hasty and say, Wow, if you have to force yourself to not drink for one week don't you think it's likely that you have a problem? (Love ya, Mom) This is not a alcoholism test, it is more of a holy-shite, I drink way too many calories reality.

We all have our cross to bear, right?

So last night, approximately 24 hours into my drinking embargo, this scene takes place:

7 p.m. in the Dangelico household

Me: Babe, you want a beer?
Dave: Sure, thanks.

[End scene.]

Just kidding.

So, I crack open a beer, and then I stand there in the middle of my kitchen—a mature, adult, well-adjusted independent woman—and I sniffed that beer. Yes I did. And when I sniffed it and imagined the frothy goodness that waited just below the mouth of the can (Yes, all of this for a CAN of beer) I thought: Well, I could probably have just a sip.

I thought about it.

As my will-power wavered, and the randomly formed and seemingly pointless goal slipped farther out of focus, I almost took a sip. I almost pressed my lips to the mouth of the can and took an itsy bitsy sip that not even David would have noticed.

But I stopped.

"No, no, no," I actually said outloud to myself, placing the now heavily sweating can down onto the kitchen counter. "I'll just have tea," I said. "YUM, tea."

So, after all that, here I am almost 48 hours sober, and feeling great. Strike that, I am feeling sluggish and crappy but let's just blame that on summer allergies and not jump to withdraw-symptom irrationalities.

In an effort to last the week, I am drinking excessive amounts of coffee and tea—I've got the shakes and heart palpitations to prove it.

Next week it will be on to my next goal: a week without caffeine.

Only kidding, of course. I can't afford to lose my job, husband, friends and all human contact right now. :)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Black and White

I had big plans for this post—yesiree. Yesterday, I was like, Yes, I'm going to write a good, funny post about our court case today and it will get like eight comments and gain me world-wide recognition.

I actually didn't really think all of that, but I did have an idea for a post in mind. I even had a general framework of the words I was going to say.

But, as some insightful and very old philosopher once said:

shite happens.

Shite is right. Court was fine—when fine means the guy who hit us was indignant and the judge was LENIENT AS HELL, letting offenders off the hook left and right while I sat there with my mouth agape, often making slightly-louder-than-whispered exclamations of disbelief along the lines of "Are you joking?! I have paid more in fines for a SPEEDING TICKET—a speeding ticket, I tell you!" David had to "sh" me several times. And because we were in court and I could have gotten arrested for talking above a whisper in the courtroom, I even let him slide for it.

It was a little bit like watching a movie. Like watching Ben Affleck get away at the end of "The Town," but instead of being happy that he got off scott-free being pissed. Pissed that the guy who hit you—basically totaled your car, could have killed someone, really—can get away with being 30 minutes late to court, being rude to the judge, saying "huh" and "what?" a criminal number of times, NOT pleading guilty, mayyybe presenting falsified proof-of-insurance evidence and paying less in fines than you have for a speeding ticket (for going 12 over coming down a mountain, so shoot me).

It was hard to stomach. Did I want him to suffer? No. Did I want to see his life ruined? No. Did I want to see him in a jumpsuit walking toward the electric chair—great scott, calm down. No. But I did want the judge to peer down from his position of wisdom and authority and say something like this:

"Young man, do you understand that you could have severely hurt these young (attractive) people standing to your right? Do you understand that your recklessness could have gotten someone killed? Irreparably changed their lives, their families' lives, forever? I expect you want a good life for yourself. Maybe you want to find success, find a nice mate and settle down, travel the world, have children. I don't expect that you want to end up in a vegetative state in a hospital bed, or in a jail cell with a life sentence, or worse, dead far too soon. If I'm right, if you want a good life then you need to stop, take the hair out of your eyes, straighten up, look me in the eye and promise me that you are going to think twice the next time your feet hit the floor first thing in the morning. You are going to sit there or stand there for one minute longer and consider how your actions affect the people around you–your family and even strangers—and ask yourself if those actions help or hinder those people. Every time you put your keys into the ignition of a car, chant it to yourself if you have to, but tell yourself that by getting out onto the road you are taking on a responsibility that is greater than getting to point A or point B. You have the power to alter, to help along, to end the lives of those around you. And I believe that you care about those people around you. I believe that you want to take care of your fellow man, not hurt him, or scare him. And I challenge you to do better. I challenge you to never step foot in a court room again, because you will never get in trouble like this again. Do you understand? These two (attractive) people to your right deserve that, I deserve that, your family deserves it and you do, too."

That would never happen. Never. Even though the judge did make a few stern warnings to other offenders, most of what he said was short and sweet. I know he's in his late 60s and probably just looking forward to the end of the line, the end of the endless paperwork, and questions and decisions and tears and half-hearted apologies, but I also know, deep down, that I believe actions deserve real consequences. Good and bad. And in all of my progressive, liberal leanings, I believe that when you do something wrong there should be a penalty, no matter how minuscule or grand-scale. In this life—whether or not you believe marijuana should be legalized—there is right and there is wrong. There is a choice.

I walked out of the courtroom into blinding July sunlight, my hands flailing in disbelief as I ranted on and on to David about how there was no justice, how it would certainly happen again, how we had just wasted two hours of our lives that we could never get back. His reaction was different, more quiet and kept inside.

It is what it is, I could hear his mother saying in her soft, Eastern Carolina accent.

I took the rest of the afternoon off, went for an uncharacteristic run and sat on my couch with the dogs cuddled close to me and a book in hand, the sunlight streaming in from the window behind me. Breathing in and out.

I'll let it go, I told myself. Not everything is black and white.

And it's not. But I wish I came away from the experience feeling like that kid understood, was sorry, would have one ounce of hesitation before getting into a car, let alone, racing again. I wish he knew that he will be with me forever. There forever in every third, fourth glance into the rearview mirror or blind spot, every turn that makes me shiver and brace myself for the blow—the inevitable blow of metal on metal.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


I'm worried about us.

Us kids. My generation. We have entered, we will enter—at least I think—the working world. What do we bring to the table? What product do we offer? What unique skill do we possess? Have you worked a job? One you got on your own merit, one you strived to maintain and to excel in? What have you learned? What do you take with you?

I'm worried we have little to offer in an increasingly competitive job market. We're lazy, unimaginative, selfish. So many of us are unable to grasp the concept of working "for the greater good." The greed, the lust for power consumes us. And it's not just the working world. It's emotionally too. We are all so convinced "we've had it rough," when most of us cannot even fathom what that really means. We have been given everything. We eat from silver spoons in high chairs. We have lived a quarter of a century—times of great great profit and success, and times of slightly less success—and all we ever want is more. And to convince everyone around us that "we've had it rough," so therefore, we know better.

We don't know better.

If you knew better, you'd take better care of yourself.

Be careful.

Study, get through school, but don't stay there for too long. Not so long that you grow soft and out of touch with the real world.

Because as sure as air enters and exits the body, there is such a thing as the real world. You can put it off with this degree and that, but one day, the time will come. There are no extensions, no group projects, no summer vacations. Only the reality of showing up, punching in and giving everything just to hang on, to stay in the game.

I'm sadden when I hear coworkers of mine say, "If we're going to fill that position, we should go for someone older, middle-aged, they'd likely work harder, respect the job, the fact that they've got one."

I wish it wasn't this way. I wish we got our directions from maps and had dinner conversations over candlelight instead of the dull glow from a smart phone. I wish we called people back instead of texting them. I wish we wrote letters, and listened to CDs and never suggested that "we're old" simply because we want to get some sleep. We're always so tired.

I wish we listened when we were told that "life is short," that "the grass actually isn't greener," that "hard work pays off." Because life is short, and sometimes there is no grass at all—only bald patches of earth—and even though sometimes hard work doesn't pay off it's always better to work hard. To have the satisfaction of a hard day's work. You sleep better.

We nod in mock understanding, but we are not listening. We don't hear those words. And oh how I wish we would. We're drowning and don't even know it.

I'm worried about us.