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physical therapy
Monday. 12.9.13 11:26 am

I loosen my grip on his hands and say, "Freestyle," and he gets what that means.

We both let go and start doing what I can only describe as That Dancing Scene in Pulp Fiction on Steroids.

It's around eleven o' clock at night, the night all my exams finally end. Right after my last exam, I went and grabbed myself a sandwich, ate that, then slipped into a dress and tried, fruitlessly, to fix my hair after the downpour I'd been caught in earlier. Around eight, they--Sam, his friend Joey, and Joey's date Megan (sp??)--picked me up in a giant red vehicle; he got out of the car, hugged me, opened my door, and then shut it and got in, himself. We rode to the lights festival, where we drove (then walked) around the park and looked at all the fantastic displays up for the season.

Then, we headed downtown, where we watched a couple episodes of Parks and Recreation while they drank bourbon and ginger ale.

After that was the Christmas party.

I didn't know the people who were throwing the party, and neither did Joey or Megan. Still, Sam wanted to drop by, so here we are, at eleven. The four of us are the only ones dancing, as the rest look on with an expression that I can only describe as "pinched." I look at my dance partner and think, That's okay. In fact, I look at our little brigade and know I wouldn't change this moment for all the approving glances in the world. Megan is a tiny, blonde freshman with bangs, and my most lasting impression of her is when she says, in a perfectly neutral voice, that her "party bitch" texted but that he doesn't know of anything going on. Joey--who looks vaguely British--is sporting a shirt that he himself described as something from the 70s, and his sense of humor is pleasantly parallel to my own. They're dancing together with complete abandon.

Meanwhile, Sam is a bearded redhead with a giant smile and laugh lines, and is dressed like a southerner visiting New York, complete with an expensive-looking overcoat and suspenders. He laughs easily and doesn't worry about much. I instinctively know that he's the type to let others put him into a quiet rage, though, and later will, without a second thought, put my hand on the back of his shoulder when someone throws a glass bottle off the roof of an apartment complex (to which he will reply, sheepishly, "Woosah," confirming my suspicions). I'm dressed date-neutral, but am currently sporting a Bud Light cardboard container crown (not my choice), which I will later hand to Megan, telling her that I can't get Sam to wear it. She will force her hand.

On our way back, Sam mentions that he's a physical therapist, and I almost want to tell him, "Of course you are," because people who currently--or will, someday--work at a hospital are easily the most attractive to me. I wish it were the attraction to big earners, because that would be an easy explanation (although pretty crappy reasoning)...but, even without knowing what they do, there's just something about medical professionals. It's some weird, bidirectional, magnetic pull.

We get back and the night ends. Sam looks me in the eye when he tells me that he wants to see me, when I get back into town after the break. I say Okay. I mean Okay. We hug twice, and then I drive Megan back with me, because we live less than a block away from one another. Then, after making sure she gets home okay, I stroll off to my room and, without another thought, fall deeply asleep.

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important lessons
Saturday. 11.30.13 3:42 am

My friendship with inhuman is one of my more challenging friendships, which doesn't mean at all that it's bad. Sometimes, effort is worth the outcome, when you know your time isn't spent habitually, but rather out of sincere care and interest in another person's life. Even if the moment's sentiment can't be anything more than, "Okay, well, at least we aren't physically strangling each other," that's still something. I think too many people go through their lives without allowing anyone to challenge how they see relationships and their own ability to relate to others effectively. With inhuman, I'm forced to look at my own ability to sympathize, because her experiences are vastly different from my own, and she deals with situations with completely different methods--some of which I might not agree with (and haven't, in the past).

Lately, that hasn't stopped me from weighing in. I might mention a situation in which I've had something similar happen, and how maybe using a certain method she's considering might not work as well as planned, but the focus is on her and what she wants to do.

The basic principle I had to learn is this: When you give advice, you give it for one of two reasons. The first reason is in order to make sure that your "correct" method is taken, and that the person ends up with zero regrets and an ideal outcome. The second reason is in order to make sure this person knows what might happen and can be prepared--to give them support for their wants and needs without ignoring the less fortunate possibilities.

And sometimes, taking the second road drives me nuts. When I see someone careening towards hurt, it frustrates me, because I get this notion that, if they just listened, they wouldn't have to deal with any pain from the situation. But when do you fully win, in a situation where you "can get hurt?" Is there a way to avoid all that pain without avoiding the experience?

I hope she doesn't mind me writing about this, but inhuman just went through a breakup. I'll be brief and vague, and assure everyone that no one cheated on anyone, because...well, vagueness tends to allow for some interpretation, and I don't want that to come out of it. Neither party did anything wrong--it was just the end of a relationship, you know? It hurts, but it's inevitable.

Much more to the point, I found myself--very briefly--getting very frustrated about a choice she was making with this particular romance. I even e-mailed her, later, telling her that I wanted nothing more than to take the reins and do something that would stop her from making a choice that, ultimately, made her hurt.

But, that wouldn't be fair to her. She was going to hurt either way, and it was unfair of me to want to take that experience away from her. After all--and I told her this, too--you don't learn anything if you have the manual. It's great for building furniture...not so much for living, breathing, sentient human beings. We need trial and error to figure out how to react, and we need to do things on our own volition.

When everything went down, she knew I was there to support her decisions, no matter what they were, and that's the most important thing own friendship has taught me to cultivate. Some people still come to me for tough love, because they know I'll tell them straight, no matter what, but I was missing this huge point behind giving advice--that you can say whatever you want, and it won't matter at all, if that isn't what the person truly and honestly wants to do. That advice isn't a gift, but rather that acceptance is the gift. Advice is disposable, and its usefulness is completely dependent on the ultimate free will of another.

What's important is being there to answer the phone, and backing up those decisions, knowing that every decision is a new path to follow.

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in which I ridicule sexist pigs
Tuesday. 11.26.13 12:34 am

Click this too!

Some of my favorite comments:

"The difference is an avg guy would bang an avg girl anytime and a really good looking one too IF they had the opportunity....but women could be ugly as hell or avg and still would not want to bang an ugly guy or avg guy....bottom line...most guys will bang anything and most women will not....unless you treat them like shit and have money and of course good looks....man if you have all those three you can totally get the dumb bitches....and they deserved to be treated like hos....because they do shit like this all the time....trust me I've seen it in action...moral of the story be a dick to women they love it....its they're insecurity and daddy issues"
--Insecure Single Guy

"man ,girls always ,ALWAYS wants to get down with a guy,they just play it hard or try to enjoy it i don't know, girls are weird."
--Future or Current Rapist

"Then they get old and suddenly become nice people because they have to face that the one thing upholding their pathetic existences is no longer there."
--Happy Husband of a Japanese Sex Doll

"I know this is supposed to be satire but sadly, most girls under 30 are exactly like this. They would rather date an attractive jerk than an average nice guy just to impress their friends. They get their payback at 30 when they want to settle down but nice guys are already married or only date much younger women."
--A "Nice Guy"

"BAHAHAHA. Poor guy. I know a lot of girls - many of my friends included - wouldn't think twice about going with the second guy and give the first trouble very much like this but, personally, I'd much rather hang out with the first guy. Just my opinion, but he seemed a hell of a lot nicer than the second... and, frankly, if some "attractive" guy in a suit came up to me saying all of those things... I'd be running for the hills. I watch that many crime shows, I know better. Not to mention, I've never been one attracted to tossers. Funny video, though. :)"

"ahaha. Thanks. :) Unfortunately guys see my sense as perfect 'best friend' material, so I've been stuck in a harsh friend zone for my whole life. Ah well, life kinda sucks that way."
--Not Like Other Girls

"Yup this is pretty accurate. Alot of women are so shallow and full of themselves that if a guy who doesn't meet their standards try's to talk to them they are immediately a creep. Admittedly not all women are like that, but these day's it's getting hard to find a woman with class who can think for herself and not conform to what society thinks she should be. How about those same women take their costumes off and go to the bar with no makeup, dyed hair, with their hair curled or straightened, and all that other shit they do to themselves to cover up their flaws and see how confident they feel then."
--Likes "Natural Women"

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Sunday. 11.24.13 1:29 pm

The first time, when I visited with one friend, I complained about the lighting and squinted theatrically to see the menu. The free-standing heaters left me in my winter coat, and it was very quiet on a Thursday night, which seemed a bit odd, for a spot with a fully-stocked bar in the "cool" (but actually, yes, cool) part of town. The food was great, but that's the only reason I ever made a gesture to come back.

Two and a half years later, we roll up with a group of five and are given a twenty-minute wait. I walk in hugging waiters and regulars on the way to our seats--seats which are crowded in by all the patrons at the bar--then order a vodka cranberry and a hookah offer that isn't on the menu, and we all smoke, even the people who "don't smoke." Mid-conversation, I look up and see one of my favorite new acquaintances, and, on his way over, he tells me to get up. Thinking it's time for a hug, I comply, but instead I'm pulled onto the dance floor, which is fast and terrifying and perfect. The DJ knows what he's doing, and it doesn't feel cold, despite the nippy temperatures.

This is a very important restaurant, to me, because it practically grew with me. It was founded when I started college, but neither of us really took off until the summer after my sophomore year, and then everything changed. They rearranged furniture and installed hanging heaters into the ceiling over the now larger tables in the front, then moved the smaller tables into the back garden and used the free-standing lamps there. They hired a DJ for Saturday nights and started using Pandora stations to get the right feeling during the day. They trained their waitstaff to enjoy themselves--and they do. The only reason I know so many servers and know the little nuances of the restaurant is because they'll come hang out with the more welcoming patrons and smoke some of their hookah.

Meanwhile, I was coming out of my shell. The introvert in me turned into the manageable anxieties of an extrovert, and I learned that drinking can be a social interaction rather than a pathway to alcoholism (which is how my parents always sold it). I started approaching strangers, and dating, and actually feeling like someone capable of handling the typical social aspect of living. It isn't for everyone, but I'm also dead tired of the superiority complex that some people "subtly" push because they're introverts. If it's a contest, for you, then you probably think something is fundamentally wrong with the way you're living.

I love the way I'm growing. I love the fact that I'm both capable of destroying all my classes and approaching lost-looking tourists to see if they need anything. I love the fact that I can eat lunch alone with a good book, but also hold interesting conversation with anyone who might ask me what I'm reading. That, to me, is fulfillment.

At the end of the night, though, I still panic and fast-walk away from the restaurant, after leaving my number for a new server. Some things don't change.

(It paid off, though, because now we're texting.)

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