Tag Archive | communication

Amour And More? Part One

Ah, February. I want to call it the month of love, but that seems obvious when you consider that Valentine’s Day is the midway point, it’s literally at the heart of the month. Hey, I rose to the occasion with the pun, and that one as well (rose? roses?).

Here in the Casa De J, Valentine’s Day was celebrated with us both getting a box of chocolates. I got him a tin that looked like Iron Man that was filled with chocolate, and since I wasn’t a fan of that brand of chocolate (regardless of the fact that they weren’t going to me), I bought him a bag of Valentine’s M&Ms as well. I got a Whitman’s Sampler box… from a Mr Smith, not from J. I didn’t get anything from J.

It’s been an interesting month, and I would have documented it sooner, but I’m still in the process of rearranging my bedroom.

I suppose I should begin somewhere. I feel like this is best told in two parts, his life and mine, yet it’s the overlapping events and emotions that connect the events of this month into a web of a story, it’s not simply linear. I will do my best to recap the whole thing, though any missing details are either for privacy or my brain skipped over them.

I suppose we should begin by saying that J is dating someone.

Their first date was spent here at the house, and it started before I had arrived home from work. When I got home, I presented myself and said a greeting, then I didn’t want to bother them or get in their way, so I excused myself and went to the kitchen to start doing dishes to pass the time. I don’t think I had been home for a full 10 minutes, in fact it felt like I had only been there for 5 minutes, and they were heading up to his bedroom.

I already had a weird feeling in my stomach prior to getting home, but suddenly I couldn’t settle down, I couldn’t do the dishes because I didn’t want to be standing or even in the kitchen, but I didn’t want to sit and play video games. I think a part of me wanted to be at the house, but part of me definitely wanted to leave and be somewhere else. I didn’t know where I wanted to go, though, or what I wanted to do. I just felt like, if I stayed I would have wished I had left, and if I left I might have wished I’d stayed.

I was supposed to be going out for karaoke and drinks with my cousin that night, but it was too early in the evening for me to get ready before we had planned on meeting, and I wasn’t going upstairs to get dressed while they were in his room, because I’d have to walk past his room to get to mine. I wasn’t sure what would bother me more, knowing they had to pause what they were doing because they heard me running around, or hearing what they were doing because they hadn’t paused for whatever reason. To be honest, I didn’t want to bother at all, but I was also not in the mood anymore to go out to karaoke.

I did leave the house. I put my boots back on, I got in my car and drove off to my favorite bakery where I got a piece of chocolate cake and an iced mocha. I hadn’t had dinner, but I was eating dessert. After I finished, I still didn’t know where I wanted to be or what I wanted to do, but I decided to drive past the house, only to find her car was still there. If I went back in, it would be like I had never left, so I drove to the mall. I found a decent parking spot in the underground garage, then sat in my car while trying to figure out what my next move was going to be.

I should add, I get this weird chill in my body a few times a day while at work, and I know it’s not from the air conditioning units because I don’t feel blowing air on my face or hands. Sometimes I feel that chill in my body when I’m at home. I felt that chill as I sat in my car, with the car turned off. Immediately after I felt the chill, I got a text from J saying that she had just left. I can’t explain anything about that chill, but just know that it happened.

I returned to the house. The scene that happened next could only be explained as me trying to verbally get out a feeling that I had no words to describe, and since I was overwhelmed, I was drawing from a place of fear. Thankfully, J was still on cloud nine, or at least he didn’t try to match my emotional output, because he remained calm and rational while I backed away from him when he tried to be affectionate towards me. It was as if I was processing everything he felt, as he later said he, too, felt scattered in that moment, but my mind was saying that any love or lust or whatever that I felt wasn’t aimed at me, even if it was.

I never went out for karaoke that night. I wasn’t in the mood to sing, or if I did, I’d have put too much emotion into it, and not the kinds of emotions you want to feel on a Saturday night. At least, I didn’t want to be that sad sap. But I was something sad, or depressed, or angry, or scared, or… something, even the next day when we went grocery shopping as usual. Then again, J has never yelled at me within the first 5 minutes of the drive to the store, threatening to drop me off at home and do the grocery run by himself because my company was less than pleasant. As we got closer to the store, he apologized for yelling at me, because he wished that he could make me feel better but didn’t know how. As we walked into the store, I turned to him and said that it was hard for me, because I wanted to be hugged and be comforted by the one person I had become too timid to hug. After we returned home and put away the groceries, I was starting to feel more like myself again, and I allowed him to hug me once more.

And I told him to change the sheets on his bed, I don’t sleep in his bed, but the thought of sitting where she might have been when they were, uh, cuddling,… I wasn’t comfortable with that. Thankfully, he honored my wishes.

Well, the whole thing cleared any doubts I had left, or at least most of them. So J is over the moon for this girl, and to be honest I am okay with it. But that means I should probably move on with my life. I can’t stay here forever, not while some part of me still thinks J and I should be a couple, and not while either one of us is in pursuit of a long-term romantic thing because potential partners may suspect we’re already a couple.

If it weren’t for the weather, I would have randomly driven to Patterson one day. Was it entirely the weather? At this point, I don’t think so, because I have a never-ending list of chores that I know I must do, and I probably did some of them instead that day. Nevertheless, I sent a message out of the blue to the friend who I was going to randomly try to meet for the first time, to let him know that I was randomly going to meet him. He asked me if it was a date, to which I asked if he wanted it to be one. He replied back and said that he was already in talks with this other girl, who he was going to meet in person sometime in May. I wished him well, then shrugged and figured the universe was punishing me for something and I was just going to deal with it.

But of course, it’s me, and I know the Powers That Be have a twisted sense of humor when it comes to my life.


The Dystopian Alternate Universes Often Go Unmentioned

There are some who believe in multiple universes, who envision the world with a slight change and suggest that the world exists in some way. The difference can be something as major as a different world leader in office, or something as seemingly insignificant as answering a phone call when you’re trying to get out the door to be someplace else. Maybe the South won the Civil War, maybe the Nazis took over or maybe Hitler never rose to power. Maybe Americans willingly sacrificed their rights to own guns because it was widely believed they weren’t needed, or maybe the gun-toting Americans rose up and fought to bring about a rebirth of their country. There are literally infinite possibilities for alternate worlds.

I’ve noticed one thing about the mention of alternate worlds. It’s always one pivotal event that changes everything, but nothing is ever discussed about how that world got to that pivotal moment or even what happened after that. Mind you, the end result is usually utopian in nature, because it seems as if no one really wants to think of how we could wind up in a dystopian society. And yes, it seems as if the alternate world centers around something large-scale, instead of assuming that there is an alternate world where everything is the same except that moment when you decided to hold the elevator for someone that you never saw again anyway.

With that said, imagine yourself in a world where you had a crush on a person, but instead of the real ending where it wasn’t to be, imagine you had a chance to date that person, and you did. Now ask yourself, if things hadn’t ended like they actually ended, but you actually got to date and become this person’s significant other, would your life be any better today or would it be worse off?

This entry has been in my head for a week or so, and it’s been anticipated by at least one reader. Fans of schadenfreude, rejoice! I hope I don’t disappoint!

The downside of letting entries occupy space in my head for extended periods of time means I don’t have the best recollection of conversations that are necessary to include, as a means of detailing how I acquired information in my life. But there was a conversation with J, which shouldn’t be a surprise because I occupy space in his house and pay him rent. And this was a wonderful conversation I had while crying, though I don’t remember why I was crying, I just remember it was leading up to or during that special time of the month that made me a bit more emotional than just having Pisces as my ascendant sign (yes, I am astrologically blessed, it is in the stars that I am to be an emotional wreck in life). So it was during this tear-soaked conversation that J said the words, “I had considered dating you.”

For those of you in the back who just snuck in, I was into J back in 2011 when I first started hanging out with him, over two years since we had worked together before I left that job. But I was angry about events in life that he was linked to (not directly, but more like six degrees of separation, where he was only separated by two degrees), and I kinda slapped his face, though not hard, just enough to get his attention. He asked that I leave his house immediately, and I did and thought I’d never look back. And now, of course, I live with him because that’s where life has taken me.

So of course I’ve been dwelling on all of that. He considered dating me, before I had slapped him. Why did I not care about slapping him, if I had a crush on him? Because I thought he just wanted to fool around, but I wanted to be in a relationship with someone again.

Had I known he wanted to date me, would I have still hit him? This feels like the major question to ask myself, and yet when I do, it feels like I’m weighing greed against my own guilt. Would I have still robbed the bank if I knew I was going to win the lottery? Well damn, who would have guessed it? Maybe you see the third outcome, which would have been to walk away and not hit him, and while it doesn’t guarantee absolute success, it comes with far less remorse. But sure, if I thought I could have had what I wanted, I would have refrained. I don’t quite remember what I felt back then, but it was as if I didn’t care what the outcome was, I didn’t think he was going to date me and so I no longer cared what he thought of me. I wanted to get away from the situation I was in, that he was linked to. Now I don’t even remember if it felt liberating or if it hurt to leave him behind like that.

After parting ways, I became closer friends with an acquaintance I made a few months prior. I trusted this person with details about my life at that time, and they seemed to care about me and hold me in high esteem. After my ex fiancé ended our relationship and I was scrambling to figure out what my next move was to be, I trusted this friend when I was told there was a rent-free trailer home in the near future that I could live in. The trailer home existed, but it needed a lot of work which wasn’t being done in a timely fashion. Worst of all, my brand new furniture and mattress, along with some heirloom furniture, were all left out in the elements to get ruined during this time. So I think to myself, if J and I started dating back then, I wouldn’t have trusted this person with my life or with other things that I couldn’t easily replace.

It was with my time spent with the untrustworthy friend that I went to a convention in New Jersey and met Pete. Okay, Pete is cool, I have nothing against Pete. We didn’t exactly date, we weren’t exactly in a relationship so to speak, but I can’t say more than that because there are things I haven’t explained about myself. But Pete and I had a bad day together, which came after I was building up frustration towards him because my concerns hadn’t been addressed and taken care of. But it was because of that bad day that I ended up meeting my ex fiancé. So, sure, if J and I started dating, I wouldn’t have met Pete, but Pete is one thing I actually don’t regret.

However, my time with the untrustworthy friend caused me to meet Pete, which in turn caused me to meet my now ex fiancé. And I think to myself, if I had nipped that bud, I would have never left for New Jersey, I might have stayed in Syracuse this whole time, and I’d probably have more of my inheritance left. I might still be working for Wegmans, though I might have quit working after I reached my five-year anniversary and pursued something with a higher pay elsewhere. Who knows, I might have just taken a couple of weeks off to go to Japan, since I would have had the money and a stable living space in Syracuse (assuming, of course, that my Mom’s passing forced me to move in with J if I wasn’t already living with him).

That’s assuming, of course, that J and I had a relationship that lasted up to my Mom’s passing. I’d like to think that a year or two with him would have been enough, that if it all ended, I could say that it happened, that a chance was taken. After that, if he dated anyone else, I probably wouldn’t mind so much. At that point, I’d know I really wasn’t the right one.

That’s not to say that we would definitely part ways amicably. Maybe he would emotionally wound me to the point where I stopped talking about it, only to resent him more strongly as time passed. Perhaps I would be the toxic, abusive partner, possibly just making myself seem like a victim to coerce him into always feeling like I need his kindness. It’s actually something I fear, becoming the toxic partner, so I’m rather quick to add that my feelings are my own and they’re my responsibility to deal with them. I abhor the feeling that I’m ruining a good mood when I can’t share in that good mood, because I’d rather not bring people down. But who knows, maybe my inability to always be chipper and cheerful would be the reason why things ended, because I had stopped being fun and felt it necessary to be serious for a moment.

But in an alternate universe, I didn’t hit him, and we dated, and the things that are affecting me now had never happened because circumstances prevented them from happening. The things that mean so much now are the result of the smallest events from back then. I was a foolish 26-year-old, now I’m a 33-year-old who sees one event, one seemingly insignificant choice as being the moment that I lost something I’ve been wanting for so long.

Pardon my self-loathing, but I am responsible for all the things I wish had never happened to me, I caused myself to not get what I wanted, and I have to live with the remorse.

In an alternate world, well, maybe it would all be different somehow.

Girlfriend Litmus Test

I loosely decided upon a New Year’s resolution for this year. I decided I was going to finish one of the stories I’ve already started writing. I already have an idea of what parts I’m going to rewrite. The one major issue I actually have is finding the time to work on it, though I did come up with a solution to that.

I should back up a few weeks. J and I were returning from our weekly grocery shopping excursion, and I don’t even know how the topic came up, but he asked me what I’d want to do in life. If I said anything along the lines of making sure I could financially support myself, he rejected that idea, asking what would make me happy and fulfilled. I didn’t want to mention writing, because it’s not supporting me financially in any way right now, so I can’t give up my actual job in pursuit of something that might never be able to support me. But finally I did mention it to him, that I had two started stories on my computer.

That was the last time my writing was mentioned, but it stayed on my mind. I thought about what I had written so far, how I wanted to change or improve what was there. I contemplated making an outline or a chart or something of how I wanted the story to go, or writing up profiles of my characters so I had a certain set of rules for myself to follow. I bought the book There’s Something I Want To Tell You by Yuta Aoki, which is a compilation of real stories about one Japanese partner and one foreign partner, because I figured I could use it as research if not just for my own personal amusement.

As December, and thus the year as well, drew to a close, I became more certain that I was going to get back to writing, to finishing that story.

Between Christmas and New Year’s, I asked J about being in a relationship, to which he restated for the second or third time that he didn’t see me romantically. After everything, I needed to hear that once more.

The next time we went for groceries, I brought up the time when he couldn’t keep his hands off me for just over a week after I brought home a coworker’s phone number. “I don’t want to bring home some guy’s phone number just to see if you’d do that again,” I told him, on the verge of tears.

“Well then,” he replied. “Don’t.”

But how am I supposed to take that? For someone who says he’s been straightforward with his words, that still left me to wonder what he meant, since he didn’t say anything else after that. Don’t bring home any more phone numbers from other guys? Don’t try to see if you can get that reaction out of me? So do I not try to progress my romantic life, or is it just about testing him because it won’t work?

Things got tense on New Year’s Eve. I’d try to do the right thing or be helpful in some way, which was actually helpful, but in the process I’d somehow manage to almost make a mess, or put something in the wrong place. My confidence shaken, I started feeling like it would be better if I just didn’t try doing nice things. But I was teasing J about how I wouldn’t be able to put something in a certain spot, or another spot, or another spot… basically exaggerating how particular he can be and how things get moved around so much that I can’t guarantee that I’d be able to set something where I think it should go. It hit a nerve and flared up his temper. I picked up my stuff, put away food and put utensils in the sink, and told him I was going to spend the rest of the evening in my room. I was shaken to where I felt it would just be better if I didn’t bother him anymore that night. Perhaps he calmed down because I didn’t escalate things, that I was going to retreat, because he said he was enjoying my company. It was enough to make me change my mind about going upstairs, but I wasn’t back to the level of fun that I was before.

Midnight rolled around, which meant first kiss of the new year. I tried to say that I’d only do the first kiss of the new year with someone I was involved with, but that didn’t really deter J. So now I can’t help but feel like that kiss was meaningless, at least for this year.

If there is one thing I’ve changed, it’s that I stopped washing his travel coffee mug and lunch container. I’ve washed it maybe once or twice this month so far, but otherwise I don’t get the same feeling from doing it anymore. When I started, it was like, “teeheehee, he’ll wake up and look for it, and realize it’s been cleaned, and it will make him smile that morning because I’ve made his life a tiny bit easier!” Now he’s noticing that it’s not getting cleaned, but I started prioritizing what I want or need to do for me. Now it seems like he’s expecting it, and I blame myself for even starting to do it. Now it’s not as much fun for me, and I don’t know if it’s because he started expecting me to do it, or because I’ve started to feel like it’s meaningless.

I suppose everything that’s happened here these past few months could be taken as a girlfriend litmus test of sorts. Did she laugh at that comedian who I think is hysterical? Nope, not a girlfriend. How well did she bake or cook, especially compared to previous girlfriends? Nope, not a girlfriend. Does she enjoy that show I said she should watch? She didn’t react as I thought she should react to it, so nope, not a girlfriend.

He enjoys spending time with me, he likes when I do things with him and for him, it’s not just a matter of letting me carry out my life however I want to in the moment. But I can’t say to people, “I’m the title short of being his girlfriend,” because the truth is, if he actually wanted me as such, if he ever saw me romantically, then I’d already be his girlfriend. To me, he acts more like a boyfriend than anything else, or maybe I have some lousy friends.

So that’s it, then. We spend our time acting less like we’re just two people living together, and more like we’re two people making a life together. But I’m like the snow outside, I can be pretty to look at if you see the untouched parts of me, but otherwise I just make things a mess and you probably can’t wait until I’m gone, which means it’s a good thing that I’m only here temporarily. No, I don’t have immediate plans to move out, that’s not what I’m saying, but I don’t have a reason to stay permanently. So one day, I will be gone from here. By then, he will probably have a girlfriend, it won’t be me, so I won’t have anything to keep me here. But if I’ve failed the girlfriend litmus test, then I’m not meant to stay here.

At least I can say that we did fix what was once broken. It’s more than I can say about the friend I was living with before I moved in with J. I find it interesting that the worst I can say is, “I have feelings for him again but he doesn’t feel the same way,” and I can be melancholy about that but completely honest to myself about how I feel and what’s going on, whereas I was dealing with a friend who didn’t want to do much of anything with me, who basically told me that I was a problem and I was making things worse for her family, who didn’t even try to help me by listening and talking to me post-breakup and eviction, and whose life hasn’t changed even though I don’t live there anymore. If the worst thing is learning that one girl isn’t really my friend, that I now live with a guy who should have been my friend all along, then I’m still heading in the correct direction.


Another Revolution Around The Burning Sun

“Your password expires in 7 days.”

I’ve managed to hold my job for three months. If one of the perks is that I actually get to change my password, then a celebration is in order.

I did change my work password last night. I typed in the old password, which began with the name of my friend from Japan. For the new password, I chose to reference Moondragon, a Marvel comic book character that I never knew existed until Saturday night. Gone will be anything that will remind me of my Japanese friend.

Facebook has been reminding me of lat year’s split from the ex fiancé, not only of the day itself but also the days following. I, of course, had already popped in to OKCupid to see when it was that my Japanese friend first wrote to me. I wanted to write to him and say “hey, it’s been a year since you first wrote to me!”

But, I didn’t write to him. At all.

I had already said I’m done, but this time I felt like I was in a better place emotionally to make that call.

I have a long way to go before I can consider going to Japan in any capacity. Knowing that, I wanted him to come here, even just briefly. He told me I would have to come up with a plan for him to be here. I’ve made many plans, and considered many possibilities. The problem is, I can’t make plans for where he’ll stay if I don’t know for how long he would be here, or if one place would cost too much for him and another place just wouldn’t be good enough. I can’t make plans for where he would work, if I’ve only been given vague responses to that question, and don’t even know if he would be staying long enough and would need employment to survive.

But why did I have to make that plan… alone? If any part of him was serious about coming here, then he should have at least met me halfway. “Can you recommend a hotel that’s decent but not too fancy? Do you know of any companies that would hire someone with this kind of expertise?” I would have appreciated anything to guide me towards a plan that would work for him, for both of us.

Some people can be difficult. He was difficult, and at times he was impossible.

It’s not even that hard to make plans if you have an idea of what you want. My complaint was that he wouldn’t cross an ocean for me, and I told him so. And I didn’t care. I guess that made me brash, pompous, and a lot of other words that are characteristic of being American. But if I had to think about how he’s being Japanese, then I’d be reading between the lines, and he would have already been telling me that he wouldn’t cross an ocean for me, that it didn’t matter if he ever met me or not.

I feel like we ran out of things to talk about. It was always my debt, or the fact that I was still staying up until 2 am, or anything I did that was bad for my health while trying to tell me I should be walking more and eating better. I could have mentioned anything, from video games to Japanese food and festivals. Half the time, if not more often than that, I wouldn’t even get a response to whatever I said or asked. Other times, he barely seemed interested, with the extent of his interest being if he had a family of his own to do things with.

He remarked that I talked less while we chatted, compared to when I wrote email. I asked if he preferred chatting with me because of that, to which he remarked that it was an observation. But lately, my emails received the response of “I’ll be available to chat around this time on these days.” It was just before bed for him, but for me it was the start of my day, which meant I either had to get up early regardless of my plans for the day or I had to chat with him while getting ready for work. I missed the days when it was reversed, when he would catch me at the end of my day and he was just starting the next day.

But I’ve been writing to him less since moving in with J. Not as much has been happening, either. Well, I could talk about going to the store with J, but that seems mundane. Work is work; I answer the phone and make calls all day, and I’m not allowed to discuss my calls at all. At home, i cook and watch Daredevil with J. Nothing about my days stand out as much anymore, so I have less to write about.

So, that’s the end of that.

I got a letter in the mail recently, from the collection agency that holds my debt to my New Jersey apartment owners. They’re offering to reduce my debt from just under $10,000 to about $6,600. The difference is the cost of going to Japan, and a little extra. It would be a little less to worry about, just in general. I might manage to get my debt paid off sooner than expected.

Even on my days off, I can’t seem to sleep past 9 am, but like clockwork I manage to wake up around 6 or 7 am. Even waking at 9, after I’ve told myself I can be lazy and sleep in until 11 or later because I have nothing of great import and no place to be, I feel like it’s just time to start the day. I can’t seem to sleep late like I used to do. And unless I try, unless I make myself sit in front of the computer and write a lengthy email, or I try to play video games for a few hours, I can’t stay up until 2 am anymore. For the past two nights, I’ve called it a night around 11 pm.

My life is changing in ways that would gain the approval of my Japanese friend. However, it feels right to close that chapter of my life. He entered when my ex fiancé left, he kept my Valentines Day from being miserable, and perhaps all I needed was just someone to keep me going.

Not that J is a romantic partner. He had already said he doesn’t see me romantically, and another guy friend of mine says that won’t change once a guy says something like that. Yet I’m in this limbo of “he did this nice thing, so… maybe?” and “I see how he looks at his ex, or how he talks about his date ideas and how past dates have gone, and I’m clearly not a love interest.”

Saturday he was telling me about one girl he dated, or at least how the dates went. This was while we were perusing a discount store and checking out the books they had for sale. He was telling me how the date didn’t go so well, in that they didn’t have much in common. At one point, he started flipping through an encyclopedia of Marvel Comics characters, when he came to a page that said Moondragon.

I laughed and pointed out that there was a character named Moondragon.

“Yeah,” J repled. “I thought that’s who you named yourself after,” referring to the Luna Dragon moniker I bestowed upon myself. I have a very basic knowledge of comics and the DC and Marvel universes, so this was one character I had no knowledge about. I briefly read her description and noted that she kind of sounded like me. “Right?!” J said in agreement.

“Your password expires in 7 days” came the prompt on the screen at work. I had already been thinking of changing it to get my Japanese friend’s name out of the password, but I hadn’t taken the time to think of a new password. Although I had the rest of the week to consider it, I decided to ride the Moondragon wave for the next three months, and incorporated that into my password.

While writing this, my friend from Japan actually emailed me. He said he’s been thinking of me more than I probably realize, and that he doesn’t know what to say so as to not upset me or make me uncomfortable. But they’re only words now, I suppose. I can’t keep going just on words.

At this point, I need to be distracted from J. Mere words won’t be enough.


Agent XXXX And The National News

The last time I spoke about work, it wasn’t long after training had wrapped up. I’m now approaching the end of my first three months at the job and hoping I get to stick around.

When I come home from work, J usually asks me how my day was. There’s very little I can tell him, because I’m sworn to secrecy when it comes to the content of the calls I relay. I’m not even supposed to discuss my calls with the people I work with, unless they have to take over my call because I’m leaving for break or to go home.

Technically, I can’t even give out my operator number, at least in connection with my real name. So if I’m on a call, I’m Operator XXXX, or Agent XXXX, or Communications Assistant XXXX, depending on what location I have to represent and how that area handles their calls. Even if I call a company, and they ask me for my name, I have to repeat, “I’m Operator XXXX.”

And I really want to give out my operator number here, because… I have the best operator number ever! It’s also the worst operator number ever, but let’s stay positive. My number stands out. It’s an even number, and I don’t just mean its divisible by 2. It’s a plateau number. Where everyone else on the call floor says their number a digit or two at a time, I can say the entire number all at once because it’s shorter to do so. And so, because of that, I stand out. It doesn’t help that my personality stands out either, so I have to try and not make waves. Because the number stands out, my favorite callers remember who I am, and are pleased as punch when they see my number appear on their screen. Likewise, I have a caller or two that remember my number and won’t let me process their calls, and while I thought it was just me, there was an audible groan from a coworker when I had to hand off my call one night from one such caller when she saw who was on my line.

Technically I’m not an interpreter. In most cases, there’s nothing to interpret. If you read this aloud, you’re doing the same thing I do every day, just reading words that are typed. You do have to assume a certain tone of voice, though I’ve noticed that speaking calmly reminds the other party that I’m just speaking on behalf of another person, that I’m not actually trying to fight just because I’m saying fighting words. The closest I come to being an interpreter is when I have to take “sign language” and convert it to phrases you’re more used to hearing. I used quotation marks because no one is actually signing to me, just typing the words. Perhaps you know of the gorilla that can do sign language, and you know how the phrases come out like, “Koko sad.” I would have to convert that to “Koko is feeling sad” when I read that out loud, and that’s the closest I come to being an interpreter. Most people use common phrasing, so at best I have to interpret their typing mistakes, and hope they interpret mine when the person on the other end is talking slightly too fast for me to keep up.

I do get all sorts of calls. What calls do you need to make? Deaf and hard-of-hearing people, in addition to those with speech impediments, make the same phone calls you need to make. It could be anything from dealing with credit cards (activating, making payments) to calling for medical-related reasons (pharmacies to refill prescriptions, doctors to set up appointments) and even calling friends and family members. We even have callers who are ordering takeout, in fact one woman was making me hungry because she was ordering chicken parmesan and a cannoli from an Italian restaurant one night.

I never know what the call is going to be when it drops onto my screen. I have to dial it and hope I do right by my caller. Like anyone, some people are more particular about how you handle calls, even going so far as to express a preference to the gender of the operator. I can understand the reasons for some of the preferences, such as the gender preference being there so that if the caller is male, he’s being represented by a male voice. Other preferences deal with how you introduce yourself to the other party (announcing relay or acting as if you are the caller), how you handle recordings (mentioning there’s a recording playing versus typing the recording verbatim), things like that.

So I got this call…

To distill it down to basic details, my inbound was a representative of a group of people seeking to gain and maintain equal rights for that group of people, and my outbound was a writer and reporter for a news outlet. You might not be aware of the group that my inbound was representing, but if you live in the United States, you’ve heard of the publication that the reporter works for. Knowing the scale of this call, you can understand the importance of making sure that I relay everything word-for-word, not omitting anything, making sure that everything is spelled as accurately as possible. Mind you, I’m already bound by FCC regulations (yes, the Federal Communications Commission) to make sure that my call is relayed accurately and completely. But one misspelling could mean that an email isn’t delivered, or a person is inaccurately credited, or any number of other things.

I figured the piece would be a fluff piece, like “by the way, this also happened.” So I shared the article on Facebook when I thought to look for it a couple of days later. I was so giddy, because I was even mentioned in the article… okay, so the words “speaking through an interpreter” were used, and in no way was I actually named or credited. But… that was my call, that was a half hour or more of my 8-hour day. I was so proud!

And then… George Takei shared the article on his Facebook page.

And then… my local news website paraphrased the article on their site. Which wouldn’t have been so bad, but I ended up making one guy feel like I was attacking him personally. While I wanted to explain my side, my maturity kicked in and I decided not to engage any further in the discussion. I won’t get into it too much, because part of his argument against me personally might be correct, but most of it was name calling and assumptions that weren’t true. So before the local news site’s Facebook page admin removed the comment thread between us for that post, the guy took the argument to Messenger where I ignored it. I might have carried on a conversation and intellectual debate if it seemed like a possibility, because I wouldn’t have minded it so much if I was going to learn something.

But oh well, it’s the price you pay for 15 minutes of fame.

Now mind you, I could have found this article online as it was gaining traction. I could have read through it and found a way to put myself in this story, weaving a tale about that unnamed interpreter being me and what my life is like. Or I could have added this paragraph to confuse you and to cover my tracks. Either way, whether this is the result of using a national article like a writing prompt or it really is my life. aren’t you a bit curious as to what it must be like for the person who gets assigned an outstanding number, or for that generic interpreter or source or informant or what have you?

Well, now you know.


Forgotten Relics

We watched Eddie Izzard last night.

I don’t remember how the conversation started, but J asked me which Eddie Izzard specials I had on DVD. Being unable to think of their titles besides one of them having Wembley in the name, I ran upstairs and retrieved one of my binders of DVDs. Instead of just flipping to the page as quickly as possible, we flipped through my binder one page at a time, reviewing my collection as a whole and discussing what was good and what hasn’t been seen yet. Finally we got to the page where I had standup comedy, to which he approved of my Blue Collar DVDs and Jeff Dunham as well. But we discovered that I had Definite Article and Live From Wembley. So we watched a special that was filmed in San Francisco, and found it to be relevant to current events as much as the bits were relevant back when that special was filmed.

Why do I even have those Eddie Izzard DVDs, anyway? I bought them out of curiosity. No, I wasn’t curious about what a transvestite looks like, I’ve seen Rocky Horror Picture Show, not to mention I’ve seen one in the Walmart where I used to work. Seeing men run around in high heels is impressive, considering I just put them on and can already imagine myself spraining my ankle before I’ve even stood up. But enough about men who dress more like women than I do on a regular basis.

I bought those two DVDs because someone had mentioned Eddie Izzard’s comedy routines. And as I watched J recite the show verbatim, all I could think, all I can think now, is that he was the one that got me interested and I bought the DVDs as a result.

I also think J was the one who suggested what kind of strings to get when I realized I had to restring my Mom’s guitar. I believe this, because I had just picked up the guitar when my car was rear-ended for the second time in 2011. I had to pay Guitar Center to restring a guitar, because I don’t play and don’t know how. Don’t judge me, at least not for that.

How many things did I lose from my memory?

I accidentally woke up and prepared for a 9 am shift today, only to realize that my shift started 4 hours later than that. I didn’t realize that until I was finishing my breakfast, and would only need to put my boots on before heading out the door. I’d say that on the bright side, I wasn’t late, however I can’t deal with an abundance of time because I actually do end up running late after occupying my time in other ways. Today was no exception.

In my abundance of time, I Googled the term “why would fate bring you back to unrequited love.” The results were mixed, but not quite what I was looking for. There were articles about what happens when it works out well, what to do so you’re not torturing yourself when it doesn’t work out, but nothing about unrequited love as an act of a cruel mistress.

In one of the positive articles, where meeting a past unrequited love would be for the better, it was said that the love would be stronger, better. For a moment I lived in a love story yet to be told, two hearts reunited under desperate circumstances find that… something… something… oh, who am I kidding? The only reason there’s a love story at all is because I have an amazing imagination.

When I got home from work, I ducked into J’s room to check in and talk about stuff. We discussed timelines, namely his because I was trying to figure out who visited him at work one time, back when we worked together. We got on the topic of dating, to which I was running between vague and blatantly obvious that I wanted to date him. Prior to this discussion, if I had to call what I sensed about him, it was that he was into me but reserved. I was pretty much spot-on, which means I might actually be energy sensitive… that’s another story and a small bag of crazy. Anyway, he said all this stuff about us getting along so well, but he doesn’t feel anything romantic for me, but would probably unleash his lustful side if it wouldn’t screw things up. There was something about me technically being homeless if it weren’t for him keeping me right now, and I’m not sure if he meant that as if to say he wouldn’t have taken me in if he couldn’t control himself, or if I’d be out of here if I unleash the wrong kind of crazy while living here.

I sat there in stunned silence. I had questions. I wanted to ask things. I wanted to say things. Heck, I wanted to cry, because that would mean I’d be living here and torturing myself.

He kept asking what was on my mind, and after a couple times of being asked, I threw caution to the wind. I asked about 2011, about how I remember being kissed and about the way things seemed to be back then. Was it timing? Was it because I went a bit crazy back then, with everything going on and not knowing what to do about any of it? Honestly I don’t remember his answers to those questions, but for good reason.

He invited me to watch some George Carlin before I went to my room for the night. After that, he asked if I needed anything before I went to bed. I said things like, “a million dollars… a stash of good chocolate…” and then I said “surprise me.”

So he kissed me. Not a forehead kiss like he’s been doing. Not a peck on the cheek like I had managed to get him to do, to see if he would open up some more. And no, it wasn’t a simple peck on the lips, like I kissed him last night to thank him for cooking Puerto Rican food and making a tasty meal. This was a kiss, a real, genuine, bonafide kiss.

I couldn’t properly walk down the hallway to my room after that. I was in a dreamy state, like Cinderella on the morning after the ball.

I have no clue as to where this is going. But at least the torture is seeing some improvements.


Walking Through The Park And Reminiscing

I’ve been riding a wave of euphoria for about two weeks straight, basically since moving in with J.

Well, it hasn’t been completely euphoric, as that would be a fantasy. Who can be that happy all the time?

I’ve been trying to remember the events of 2011, as if it would matter to look back at something that should be forgotten. I remember being mad at J, though I don’t remember what I said. I don’t remember how he reacted, if he just kind of let me walk away or what happened. I remembered that his girlfriend at the time had me labeled as someone who would steal men from their girlfriends, and I knew I wanted to get away from all of that.

I looked at the old texts I had. It was always him writing to me first, and me responding in a rather indifferent tone. It wasn’t that I was bothered by talking to him, but I wasn’t overjoyed. I had forgotten how much fun he was, but I had apparently forgotten the rough patch as well.

To be honest, I wouldn’t even want someone telling me what I said or did back then. If I can’t remember it, if I can’t pull up old messages with others that had my side of things, then my mind is probably blocking it from my memory for a reason. And I should just let it go.

After all, I’m living with J now. And I don’t remember having to apologize to get to this point. I have text messages from him, where he clearly started the conversation. He kept reaching out to me, until finally I needed a place to stay and then he let me in. A part of me feels like I don’t deserve this.

I’ve been doing little things around the house, from cleaning up the bathroom to doing the dishes and even making sure the dog is let out to do her business. J has said that other people have had an issue with doing the dishes, but I’m sitting here thinking about the dishes I have in storage that I can’t wait to use because it will mean we won’t be using paper plates all the time. I don’t mind doing the dishes, especially since it’s just the two of us. In fact, yesterday I washed out his lunch containers, despite him saying he would do his own dishes and didn’t mind. I was already doing the dishes at that time. It needed to be done. I’m beyond the point in my life where chores are a pain in the ass. A year ago, I lived in an apartment where I had to do all the chores because the ex fiancé had every excuse why he couldn’t do anything to support our household. Now I’m looking at dust, thinking, “I should clean that… I wonder if he would mind, or if he would get suspicious, or what would happen.”

For the most part, I did the dishes to pass the time yesterday. It wasn’t a problem.

The problem was being woken up at 6:30 am, maybe sooner, because the cat was insane and he woke me up. As I laid in bed, the aroma of coffee wafted through the air, and I was so tired that it wasn’t until midday when I thought that I should have asked J to make me a cup of coffee while he was at it. Just before 7, I gave up, and I sleepily made my way down the stairs to the living room where J was watching Firefly. It wasn’t because I wanted to be around J, it was because the dog would be in the living room and the cat would be too scared to approach me. It was my way of getting back at him for the wakeup call.

J finished that episode of Firefly, and then I bid him farewell as he left for work before getting myself ready for work.

After I returned home, I put the dog out, even though J would have been home about 20 minutes later and would have put her outside out of habit. To me, it didn’t matter, it needed to be done and there was no sense in making the dog wait any longer.

I put some chicken on the kitchen counter to thaw, and then I started doing the dishes. When J walked in, we talked for a bit and then he went off to play video games while waiting for me to get done. After I did the dishes, I made a few more as I cooked dinner. By the time I was done, it was a late dinner for me but slightly early for him. I made enough for two servings, but it would have been three servings if I had a little more tomato sauce. I just cooked the chicken in a frying pan, then added pasta and tomato sauce, and put some cheese on top once I put mine in a bowl. It wasn’t anything special or fancy. I offered some of it to J, who wasn’t going to eat it if it meant that I wouldn’t have any to take to work the next day. After some “do you want it or not?” he finally gave in and agreed to having some. After all, I had time before work today that I could have made something more, and there was still some plain pasta that I could do something with. I ended up eating the last spoonful of the chicken and tomato sauce mixture alongside the plain pasta that I added cheese and butter to to make macaroni and cheese.

That night, we watched The Avengers, which I’ve seen before, but since we’re going through the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe, we re-watched it for the important details. So of course, since we’ve both seen the movie already, we called out random trivia and quotes at various moments.

By night’s end, I was starting to feel a bit down. I cried myself to sleep, as I felt like I was bothering him and taking up too much of his time, probably even wasting my time by trying to do the right thing. I had closed my door, leaving a gap for the cat to leave to use the litter pan, but otherwise I kept it from being opened any further by putting my binder of music CDs behind the door. I figured if J got up in the middle of the night, he might wonder why my door was actually closed. Maybe he would care. But it doesn’t seen like he’s been waking up in the middle of the night anymore, at least since giving him the letter.

Saturday was a slow day at work. I wrote a letter that told him I had a thing for him. I told him I had written a letter, but didn’t tell him who it was for or what it was about, just that I stayed in the break room at work to finish writing it. So after I came home that day, and we went to the grocery store and looked like a romantic couple to at least one other customer (despite not wearing his jacket after he offered it to me, because I was dumb and chose to get my own hoodie), and we had dinner and watched a movie, it wasn’t until we were going to sleep that I handed off… the letter. After he hugged me good night, I handed him the folded up piece of legal pad paper, telling him “that’s the letter, good night,” then I headed for my room.


“That’s the letter. Good night.”

I asked about it on Sunday, and he said he had read it. But nothing seemed to change between us, which was either a good thing or a bad thing, I figured it was a good thing for nothing to change, because that would mean he already felt that way about me. But it was a bad thing if nothing changed, because I had written the letter in such a way that said he wouldn’t be held responsible for making sure I felt good, and that even if I wasn’t involved that I did want him to be happy with someone and that he would likely make some woman happy, so he could be left to just do whatever, which would mean he wouldn’t have to start a relationship with me.

The letter was probably the stupidest thing I could have done. I’m 33 years old. I just did the 13-year-old thing. Clearly I’m not ready for a mature relationship.

So that, of course, weighed on my mind last night, along with everything else. I felt like I was bothering him. So I vowed not to bother him.

I managed to sleep in a bit today. I got ready at my own pace, and let the dog out just before I left for work as a means of preventing any accidents until J got home. I was scheduled to work until after dark, and normally on such days, I would drive to work so I could avoid a dangerous situation. I wasn’t yet brave about walking alone at night, but I decided I would do it anyway. I figured I needed the walk to clear my mind of whatever the sleep hadn’t erased.

I didn’t send any text messages to J all day. I didn’t check in with him at all. I spoke to a mutual friend of ours, and told her I felt like I was bothering him but it was probably just being tired after a long day. I also told her about walking to work, and how I wondered if I would get a text message from J when he got home and saw my car but not me. Well, I didn’t get any such messages. After work, she and I spoke for a bit outside the building, about the safety of walking after dark. I was going to listen to music on the walk, but then decided to take the precaution of keeping my ears open. As we parted ways for the night, she told me I should text him, just to let him know I was coming.

“On my way” was all I said.

A moment later, I got, “I’m still downstairs to keep an eye out for ya.” And okay, that thawed my heart, somewhat at least.

I wasn’t quite on the steps leading to the front porch when I heard the door unlock. He was right there waiting for me.

We spoke for a moment. He hugged me and asked how my day was, and I said it was fine. The calls were uneventful, but I wasn’t thinking of work when he had asked me about my day. I thought about telling him how I felt like I had been a bother, but no part of me had the courage to admit that, or at least no part of me wanted to create an issue if there wasn’t one.

We headed up the stairs. A little more chatting.

He opened his arms for another hug, so I hugged him. And then he kissed me on the forehead. For the first time since moving in, he kissed me, even if it was just on the forehead. That’s, like, the kiss of a guy who feels protective of you. If I didn’t already feel like he was watching out for me after I got out of work, that kiss sealed the deal. Suddenly, I didn’t feel like I was bothering him, at least not for more than the end of a long day.

My bedroom door is open again tonight. I like to think that when he wakes up in the middle of the night, or even when he starts his day, he peeks in my room and smiles. I’m probably snoring, my hair is likely a mess, and my body is probably contorted in some weird fashion. But I’m here. I’m not sure if that’s what he hoped would eventually happen if he kept texting me off and on again, but it did happen. I should just let the past stay where it is, in the past. He and I aren’t in our twenties anymore, a lot has changed in 6 years, and this is clearly the makings of something else as well.