The Post Game Show

Monday, February 16, 2009

Do you smell what Chris is cookin'?

Thursday afternoon was a sure fire indicator my weekend was going to suck. As I got in my trusty Bonnie to go pick up some dinner, a weird bumping, crashing, grinding sound forced me to stop the car shortly after I left my apartment building's parking lot. I couldn't get the car in gear after that and had to slam on the emergency brake to keep from rolling into traffic, and that's when I was afraid that something was seriously wrong.

It took about three hours to get the car out of harm's way and a garage diagnosis, but my axle was shot and I'd be lucky to have a car, let alone have it back by the beginning of the week. I could only laugh and shake my head as I forked over the money for a rental car through the weekend and hoped the mechanic could work a miracle so I wouldn't be forced to buy another ride.

Meanwhile, as I highlighted in my previous entry, Valentine's Day is NOT a day I look forward to, but since I knew I wasn't going to be able to do too much traveling, I figured I may as well live up to my promise to set aside a week to learn how to cook a favorite dish. I decided to start with a classic, spaghetti and meatballs, because I seriously had a jonesing for it and hadn't partaken of the Italian (or is it Chinese? Thanks, Marco Polo) dish since I moved to Maryland 16 months ago. My mom gave me the ingredients and Saturday when I was ready, she sat with me on the phone for a good 90 minutes while I navigated my way through it. It was good to talk to my mom without family drama dominating the conversation and it was really fun to have her teach me to cook long distance.

I boiled and drained my noodles thoroughly, mixed them with my sauce, heated my meatballs, made a plate, and after dashing some grated cheese on the spaghetti, I stabbed a couple of meatballs with a fork, twirled spaghetti around them and took a bite. Success - sweet, delicious success. 27 years into life and I've made my first successful home-cooked dinner. I was on a high for the rest of the weekend, so much so I made a buffet-sized Sunday morning breakfast with waffles, pancakes and sausage patties. Talk about hitting the ground running.

Cooking will not only become a cost-cutting measure to keep myself fed, but I can also see it becoming a therapeutic hobby to help take away from the stress of work and the frustrations of living in solitude. I had a grand time talking to mom and making dinner on Saturday, and an even better time the next morning singing along to Rachelle Ferrell's "I'm Special" while flipping flapjacks and checking on my waffle iron. There's something fun and liberating about cooking for yourself while you blast your favorite songs in your I remember why I wanted to be grown so bad.

As you can see, there were no mental or emotional breakdowns, I didn't even bother trying to find a quick fix for this Hallmark Holiday - I was able to find other ways to keep myself entertained, and that's so necessary when something has a hold on you the way my situation usually seizes me. I felt happy with myself, cleaning and cooking and watching NBA All-Star weekend online, never once thinking "I'm so alone," "women hate me," anything like that. I had fun by myself. And it was long overdue.

Oh, my car? Well, the mechanic was able to find a like-new axle and I got my car back this afternoon, running like she's supposed to run. Things always find a way to work themselves out. You just have to remain hopeful that they will, and I plan to from now on.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Trying To Let Go...

10 years is a long time to remember anything. Having an excellent memory can be the gift and the curse because you can call on it when you need it for something important, and of course it will come out of nowhere and remind you of something that you've really and truly tried hard to forget. This really holds true for me, especially since next weekend will mark 10 years since my dealings with and my views of women were forever changed.

She was a short, brown-skinned, thick girl with a high-pitched voice that always seemed to sound like music to me whenever she addressed me at school. After spending much of my sophomore year lusting after her, she who must not be named pretty much told me my junior year that she wasn't looking for anybody or anything, but that we could be "friends."

At 16, how do you know that you were being shut down gently, that this was a polite way of saying "you have no shot?" You really don't, even if you claim to be wise with experience and understanding as most of the guys at my high school claimed to be. I figured being close to her in some way was better than her not knowing or caring to know that I exist, like 99 percent of the girls treated me. I accepted the offer.

Senior year comes, and at the start of 1999, she's still (so I thought) single, I'm still single, so I asked her if she would be interested in maybe getting together for Valentine's Day. The response was a shocker.

"Sure, we can do that, we can set something up."

Whoa. She didn't turn me down. She...actually agreed to it. Oh man, this is great! I spent days trying to tell my mom I'd need her car because I might actually have something like a Valentine and that she'd probably want to go see a movie and eat out and yadda yadda yadda...then the disappearing act.

For weeks, I hadn't seen a sign of her, not even around school (which was tough, considering our student population was less than 800), and the Friday of Valentine's Day weekend, I finally caught up with her at a basketball game in our gym when she was giving me the shifty eyes and the "ummm" treatment. I was the videographer for the boys basketball team in those days, so during a timeout, I left my video camera to try and ask her again what was going on and then as I walked into view, she who must not be named was holding a balloon and a bear...and another guy as they kissed. She looked at me as if she had seen a ghost. The stare, the furrowed brow, the frown that seems to automatically take shape whenever I'm around a woman was born at that moment. The one that I have yet to remove from my face.

The cruel joke that was Valentine's Day 1999 has stuck with me for close to a decade, and for obvious reasons, has hindered whatever situations I've encountered when it comes to women.

This is my explanation for my unequivocal hatred of the term "friends" - I simply don't believe that a woman genuinely wants to be friends with me or wants to strike up a friendship with the intention or the hope of becoming lovers. This has been proven to be true because a lot of women who claim to want to be friends and weren't looking for anything, were - if you'll pardon my francais, fucking out of both pantlegs. Of course, they weren't doing this with me.

Out of sheer frustration, several times I've tried to adapt my personality to that of guys who seem to have all the luck with women, but all it gets me is verbal attacks on my physical being and cruel statements that range from "you should be gay" to "that's why no woman would ever want your fat ass."

This situation also began a fascination and comfort with the internet that has been my only mode of interaction with women SINCE that fateful day. And of course, that has not helped, as I've had all of my problems with women from chatting online and not trying to approach women in person like most guys do.

It is also, not the only reason but surely a main one, why I have earned somewhat of a reputation as a misogynist. According to another E-book I've read, a misogynist is a person who is physically attracted to women, but hates them as human beings and as people. I can't even argue to the contrary. I've found myself mumbling obscenities and cruel jokes about women I've never even talked to as I navigate my way through daily life. "She must be bent over for every other dude around..." "you can TELL that broad loves her some thugs..." "Damn, what is she looking at? I wish this whore WOULD say something smart to me..."

But as I'm going through year number 27 of life, I start to feel like a WHOLE lot has passed me by. I really feel like my issues with women have stopped me from being happy with myself and having a good time in life, because all I do is work and come back to this quiet, dark apartment and sit on the internet all night. It's all I know, and I'm tired of it being that way.

However, I still have this monkey on my back, this albatross that won't move an inch, this 10-year situation that has held me back from even trying to see if all women are as bad as the ones I've encountered so far in life. People will surely tell someone to "get over" a traumatic event because it's easy for them to say, it's convenient to dole out "tough love" and a "kick in the ass" when they've never been hurt to the degree that some folks have been hurt. I would LOVE to let go, you just don't KNOW how I'd love to wipe the slate clean and try things differently than I have been doing them, but my mind will always think of 02/12/99 and how it pretty much ruined me for 10 years and ruined my thoughts and feelings about women from that point forward.

I guess this is my time to say that I will change. That I will stop my hatred towards women I don't know, accept responsibility for my inability to let go of something that happened years ago and start being more open-minded and taking more risks in the pursuit of a woman's companionship and affection.

My best friend reminded me of something the other day, something he said he's admired me for since we've been really close (about 15 years now). He said "whenever you're challenged, you rise to the occasion, and you do your best." I never knew he felt that way until he told me that via facebook chat that day, but I guess I need to start rewarding his faith, my family's faith, God's faith in me to change whatever I don't like.

So the time to stop guessing is now. It's time for me to get over the hurt that I've endured and will endure and keep an open mind and heart for the love that somehow, someway, will find it's way to me. It's time to let go.