Richard, My Darling

Richard, My Darling

After all the fruitless searches (thanks, Peter Gabriel), the frustration with MINI of Alexandria in Virginia (thanks, ‘salesman,’ for calling me back jerking me around and completely blowing me off), and the otherwise mentally-crippling anxiety (thanks, driver-at-fault), I found and bought the perfect MINI Cooper.

In the end, it was the first one I’d bookmarked. Of course.

I came across this blue beauty at MINI of Loveland in Colorado and really liked the look of it… minus the non-black wheels and the lack of sunroof and lack of heated seats. It was almost 100% what I wanted, but I wasn’t going to the whole settling predicament.

I had also found a nigh-perfect one in Virginia that ended up being sold right out from under me as I was speaking to the salesman about transport prices. The funniest thing was when someone from their customer relations department called me:
Guy: “I was wondering if you’d like to come out today or tomorrow to test drive something.”
Me: “Um, I’m in Omaha, Nebraska, so… no?”
Guy: “Oh, okay, (blah blah) Is there a time later this week you’d like to come out and take a look at our inventory?”
Me: “…. No. As I’m in OMAHA, NEBRASKA and I will not be booking a flight to Virginia, where you are, to test drive a vehicle I’ve been driving for the past four years.”
Guy: “Oh, okay, I totally get that. (Me thinking: Do you?) What can we do to earn your business?”
Me: “Well, you would have had my business already, but your salesman sold the car I wanted right out from under me, so I’ll be finding a MINI elsewhere.”
Guy: “Okay, well, please let us know if we can (blah blah blah).”

Yeah, no. I also got two calls from an English salesman (I see your strategy, MINI of Alexandria) assuring me that they’re looking all over for a MINI for me and they’re checking the auction list because they have the biggest used inventory in the country la-di-dah. Well, *checks watch* I wonder how long that list is, because, uh, I still haven’t heard back. Stay tuned to see if they ever find me a car!

Anyway. After all that garbage, I went back to the one in Colorado. The day I found it, I sent an email through their website asking some details and got a call from a salesman within the hour. It was late, even; it was like, past 6pm. Dave Parent of MINI of Loveland called me during an ice cream social they were having – yeah, the dealership was having an ice cream social – to tell me about the car and ask me some questions, etc. After that call, I already had an emotional attachment to this place and this car. I kept the tab up on my browser for days.

We talked again, and I told him the only thing kind of holding me up is the fact that it doesn’t have black wheels; by the time I spend the money buying black wheels, it’ll be way over my budget. He goes, “Why don’t I see if another MINI on the lot can swap wheels with it.” I was like, dude, if you can do that, it’ll be my MINI.

So a couple days later, he calls me back and tells me he wasn’t able to swap wheels without it significantly changing the sticker price, which I understood. This was after the MINI of Alexandria ridiculousness and I’d about had it. I told him the only other thing I wanted on that car was a luggage rack. He said, “I’ll put it on myself.”

Within ten minutes or so, I’d told him to do that and have it on by the next evening because I’ll drive down to get it myself. I could have had it transported for about $500, but where’s the adventure in that? Plus, I’m too damn impatient.

The next day (see, impatient), dad and I rented a car and set out for Colorado. This was the first time I’d been behind the wheel of a car since my accident (so, about forty-one days at this point), and I looked like this:
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The drive there went smoothly. There was quite a bit of anxiety to overcome, but luckily it was all interstate. The trees were changing colors and the weather was gorgeous. It was the perfect day for this journey. Then we encountered 5 o’clock traffic upon entering Greeley, which I hated. I was totally exhausted by the time we made it to Loveland.

But, boy, did MINI of Loveland totally rejuvenate me. That place is like a toy store to me. There are so many fun things and beautiful MINIs. The people are all great and enthusiastic. No one could believe I walked away from my accident and even asked to use the photos to show at meetings and to customers. Apparently, I’ve already helped sell a couple cars to people who worry about the small size of the MINI being unsafe. That makes me feel good.

I really wanted to cry right there at the sales desk. I’d just accomplished such a daunting task and overcome so many fears. I knew I was heading toward my freedom. I was heading toward the key to putting this awful experience and time behind me. It was going to be worth it. And my salesman and finance gal couldn’t have made the process any easier once I got there. They stayed past close and helped us into the MINI and directed us to an awesome BBQ place just down the road.

The next day, dad and I got up and had breakfast at the hotel. We were going to pop over to Estes Park to see the hotel from The Shining, but it was so foggy. Instead, we hit the road and took a detour through Wyoming, up to Alliance, Nebraska. I had never been in Wyoming and I had never been as far northwest in Nebraska. The drive through Scotts Bluff actually took my breath away – I couldn’t believe the land formations and valleys and trees. Who knew we had such a diverse landscape! In Alliance, we ate at a cute little diner off of Main Street and then popped over to see Carhenge.

Yes, like Stonehenge.
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I’d never seen it, so it was amazing. Dad and I spent some time geeking out, and then continued on home. Of course, with such a detour, we ended up with part of our drive past sunset. I hadn’t driven in the dark since the accident. Then we encountered some emergency closure of I-80 and had to squeeze into a caravan of semi trucks with trailers on a two-lane highway through a bunch of small towns. We were stop-and-go, and I was constantly worried the truck behind me wouldn’t stop in time, and at one point on the two-lane highway I randomly noticed how close opposite traffic was (I missed the median and four-lane interstate). There were a few times where my heart may have stopped.

We made it home safely and upon backing into my garage, I broke down. I did, not the car. I sat in my car and had a little weep. I stroked the steering wheel and tenderly caressed the dashboard and ran my fingertips over the MINI wings emblem. No joke. I didn’t know when I’d be back in a MINI Cooper. Let alone one so perfect for me. I didn’t know when I’d be driving again. I didn’t know how I’d do driving again. I made myself drive to Loveland, not only for the fun of it, but as a test. One I had no other option but to pass. And no matter how the drive there went, I had to turn around and drive right back. I was so proud of myself. I’d done it. And now I had him. My MINI. My darling. My Richard. Yes, that’s his name: Richard.

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It’s been a couple weeks now that I’ve had him. I’ve got my C. Friis rally sticker on the back driver’s-side window, I’ve got the grille badges on: a black, white, and grey Union Jack and then the Sir Alec quote, “I don’t want bloody women driving my car.” Those were the two I’d had on my British Chap; the grille, badges, and my license plate disappeared in the accident. He’s taken me to a friend’s wedding and to Target (oh lawdy, how I had missed going to Target) and to Starbucks. He whips ’round the roundabouts and is just a total stunner. I really couldn’t be happier with him.

Alas, I’m still incredibly anxious while driving. I have been doing my best to keep my eyes fixed ahead and not on the rear view window when I’ve come to a stop and I know someone is coming up behind me. Every car coming opposite is going to swerve at the last minute and hit me, I just know it. Honestly, the only way I’ve been able to get around that is to just resign to the fact that if that’s going to happen, it’s going to happen. And I’ll be hurt again or I could die. And my car will be wrecked again and I’ll have to start all over again.

Everyone says because I’ve been hit twice, statistically it won’t happen again. I almost failed statistics, so I’m not really sure I can grasp that logic. I think, if anything, it’s even more likely to happen again. I feel like a target. The dumb motherfucker who decided drinking and driving was a good idea that night sought me out. and now I feel like a target. Everyone is going to hit me and I don’t trust anyone. That person is going to decide they want that exit and they’re going to side-swipe me at the last minute. That person isn’t going to see me and they’re going to send me into the guard rail. That person is going to drop something and jerk the wheel and hit me head-on.

There was one day, though. One day since I’ve been back from Loveland, I went for a drive. Just to drive. Like I used to. I took Richard to Ponca Hills, my old neighborhood. I took him through the hills and around the bends and past my home that will always be my home. I took him out on I-680 and saw the trees looking like autumn and the sun was shining and I felt like myself again. Just for a moment. I hadn’t felt like me in a long time. I was on my way back.

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I am on my way back.

Disruption, To Say the Least

So, one of the questions I’ve been asked by the driver-at-fault’s insurance company has to do with pain and suffering: “How has this accident and your injuries disrupted your daily life?”

How has it disrupted me? Let me count the ways.

I can’t walk; I can only limp.
I can’t hold anything more than a glass of water with my left hand; it’s too weak.
I can’t shower properly for the same reasons.
I can’t sneeze, laugh, cough, reach, carry, hold, move, stretch, adjust because of the pain in my chest.
I can’t kneel, cross my legs, crouch because of the pain in my knees.
I can hardly sleep because I can only sleep on my back – must keep foot elevated, chest flat, wrist straight.

I can’t drive because I don’t have a car. I can’t drive because I can’t put full weight on my right foot.

I can’t go anywhere because I don’t have a car. I can’t go anywhere unless someone is available to drive me. I can’t get groceries unless someone gets them for me.

I can’t go to the gym or run because I can’t walk. Or use my left hand/wrist. Or lift anything anyway.

I can’t apply for jobs because I don’t have a car.

I’ve essentially been in bed for two weeks.

I am paranoid.

I’m paranoid when anyone leaves my apartment – must text me when they get home, lest someone decide it’s a good idea to drive drunk.

I’m paranoid when someone calls me while driving – even through their car’s bluetooth. I’m just waiting to hear a loud crash and for the call to drop.

I’m paranoid when it’s the weekend – people will be out drinking/tailgating. Especially Saturday.

I’m paranoid about keeping my doors locked – yeah, the ones at my apartment. Someone physically hurt me and I am terrified that it’ll happen again. Especially when I wouldn’t be able to get away or fight back. I’ve already hobbled around my apartment twice with a flashlight after hearing a strange noise.

I’m paranoid every time I hear squealing tires – which is pretty fucking often, considering I live next to Dodge Street and by two roundabouts. I fell asleep to a movie and was so violently jolted awake by the sound of squealing tires that I probably hurt everything worse.

I’m paranoid when I get in a car with anyone – that night, driving home from the hospital, I wouldn’t even let my dad turn right on red. No, stay out of the intersection, just stay back, please, I’m sorry I’m being like this, but I can’t let you do it.

I’m paranoid about my injuries healing properly.

I’m paranoid when I think about getting behind the wheel again – will I be able to do it? I still had anxiety from when I was rear-ended in February, now what? What if I can never use a center turning lane again? How will I ever go visit my dad’s house again? Will I be able to be out driving past 9pm? Apparently, that was early enough to be wasted, so what’s my curfew?

I was a cautious driver before; what if I turn into a sniveling mess when I’m out and about? What if I have panic attacks? What if this affects me for the rest of my life? I’m not even 26.

So, I don’t know, how has this disrupted my life? Might be better to ask me how it hasn’t.

An Ode to MINI Cooper

An Ode to MINI Cooper

Dear MINI,

I apologize in advance for my verbosity and the lengthiness of this letter, but I think it’s true that when one is passionate about something, one can go on forever about that something. And this something is really something. Or something.

I grew up a huge fan of The Beatles and also VW Beetles. But then a teenier and unbearably cuter car rolled into view: The MINI Cooper. I was instantly enamored. My seventh grade boyfriend even got me a mini yellow MINI model for my church confirmation. I still have it yet today.

When I turned sixteen, my lovely Grammy gave me her ’96 Chrysler Concorde. It was a fair bit longer than a yacht. My parents used that as part of a trade-in for my younger brother’s first vehicle (still not over it), so I was left carless. As much as I begged and pleaded with my aunt, the designated coinpurse, I was not allowed to get my coveted MINI Cooper as they were “small and unsafe.”

‘Sputtering’ doesn’t begin to cover my reaction to those words. 

I ended up with a Dodge Caliber, which was… not a MINI. But I got a job at a car dealership in town and always kept an eye on the inventory.

One day, a co-worker told me that someone had just traded in a MINI Cooper hardtop to another location. I hadn’t even seen it, but I had it sent up. I’m pretty sure that was that salesman’s easiest, quickest sale to date.

I loved that MINI. It was black and had broad, red stripes up the bonnet, across the roof, and down the boot. I found blue ones online and had the red ones replaced. I bought ridiculously huge fog lamps for the grille and had a push-pull, choke-like knob installed to turn those on and off. I bought an S chrome gas cap to replace the non-S gastank door. It was a beauty, and, oh, it was so mine.

Then, as it happens, I got into (read: obsessed) the BBC show Sherlock. Shortly thereafter, and I don’t even know how I found this (read: I was probably google-searching any and all things Sherlock Holmes), I saw that MINI had a Baker Street Edition. 

Wat?(son)

I had to have it. 

I went straight to the local dealer, MINI of Omaha, met with the most perfect saleswoman and kindred spirit, Kim, and I probably had the Baker Street Edition ordered that same day.

Saying goodbye to my first MINI was tough. I got emotional right there in the parking lot. I knew it would be going to a good home and an excellent driver who would have even more fun with it than I did. I’ve yet to see it around town, but I’m still hoping to someday.

The Baker Street, though, woof. What a beauty. The Rooftop Grey paint, the dapper-cut bonnet stripes, the door sills, the door scuttles, the dash panel, the floor mats, the seat fabric and stitching, oh, God, I’m drooling just thinking about it. Utterly gorgeous. And don’t even get me started on the delivery process, oh, too late:

When one orders a MINI directly from Oxford, one gets to track their baby, and that’s not even my word, online. Like a package. Like a delightful bundle of joy. There is no stone left unturned by MINI. They literally think of everything and everything is bespoke and simply perfection. But yes, you get to watch your baby being ‘born’ and when it’s having its last check-up and when it’s making its way across the pond and when it reaches dry land.. It’s just a wonder to behold. 

Now I’m getting emotional again.

Anyway, that MINI was my pride and joy and I planned on having it until it couldn’t tick over any more miles.

That is, until, that feat was made impossible. 

One night in February of this year, I was driving to see my dad. His driveway leads out onto a busy street, so it’s sometimes nerve-wracking to park in it. This night, as with every night, I signaled my turn from at least two blocks away. As I was slowing and turning into his driveway, I looked up in my rear view mirror and saw headlights coming quickly right for me. I thought, “they’ll see me, they’ll see me, oh my God, they aren’t going to stop!” and I went to press the accelerator. The last thought I had as I stepped on the gas pedal was, “this’ll be a narrow miss.” 

It wasn’t.

If you’ve never been in a car accident, you won’t know what I’m talking about; and if you’ve seen one on TV or in a film, you still won’t know what I’m talking about; but there is a noise unlike any other. Louder than I can explain. I can still hear it if I think about it. 

A suburban rear-ended me going about 45mph which swiftly sent me skidding in the snow and T-boning into a utility pole in my dad’s yard. 

In my daze, I tried to open my door and it wouldn’t open. I then panicked a bit and shoved into it a few times. All of a sudden, it was like someone had reached in and lifted me over my gearshift, across the passenger seat, and out the door. To this day, I don’t remember how I got out so easily that way. 

I walked around to the driver’s side of my MINI and my heart absolutely broke. I couldn’t even feel any pain other than that, between the adrenaline, the shock, and the anger. When the driver of the suburban got out, a teenage girl, I yelled at her. “I am so fucking pissed off at you!” 

My MINI, my baby, which I was supposed to have forever, was gone. But I was alive. And I was alive because of my MINI. The curtain airbags kept my head from crashing right into the window, the seatbelt kept me from going anywhere. I was able to walk away. I sustained a bruised and very sore right side, a stiff neck, and anxiety. The MINI sustained quite a bit more.

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You can see how deeply the pole lodged. It still hurts to look at these.

It took a long time to get over, and I’m not particularly over it. It was a loss. It was also a loss of some of my confidence in driving. I’ve always loved driving. I go for drives to calm down or just for fun. After this accident, any time I would pull up to a stoplight or stopsign or anywhere someone would have to stop behind me, my eyes would be glued to my rear view mirror, pleading with everything I had that the person would see me and stop. Even in broad daylight. There were a few times I actually began to take evasive action and pull to the side because I thought, for sure, this person isn’t going to stop. 

Now, with insurance and the rental car and having a job, I knew I couldn’t wait the month or so to replace my baby with another Baker Street, so I had to go for something else. Which was also very difficult. Part of me wanted desperately to just have it back. Go back to the way things were. Start fresh. But then part of me knew it wouldn’t be the same, even if it was physically the same down to the last V on the dash.

I’d only had her for a year. And in that year, she was kept in a garage for three months while I was living in London. I hated that I’d missed out on those three months of driving her. She was truly my dream car.

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When the Clubman came out years ago, I’d always loved the idea of the barn doors. They were adorable and fun, not to mention totally handy and perfect for when you’ve got your shopping and can’t manage a hatch. 

The Clubman came to mind when I had to look for a new car. And because I couldn’t possibly drive anything else, obviously, I was back at MINI of Omaha.

I also thought, sort of as an homage, I’d get it in British Racing Green. I’d actually painted my nails that color as I was in mourning. I warned you: passionate.

MINI of Omaha found me a 2014 British Racing Green Clubman, manual (because how could I do anything else), brand new, with leatherette heated seats, a panoramic moon roof; pretty much everything I wanted besides the black wheels and bonnet stripes. Which was fine, I could take care of those things later.

They got it in for me and it was beautiful. It was hard after the Baker Street, but I grew to love my new MINI, of course. Especially when I went in to order bonnet stripes and I noticed that I could get Baker Street Edition bonnet stripes… Ohhhh, boy. I couldn’t contain my excitement at the parts counter. And when they were installed? Wow. It was perfect. The perfect combination. 

I had a Black Jack rear view mirror cover and a Black Jack grille badge to match. I also installed another grille badge that had a quote from Sir Alec himself, “I don’t want bloody women driving my cars.” It was all coming together to be my little British Chappy.

Then this past Saturday, 30th of August, just hours after my mom’s wedding, I was driving to dad’s – this may sound familiar – and as I neared his driveway, I noticed that his friend had parked a bit crooked and if I parked behind him, I’d have to let him out eventually. For the sake of ease and laziness, I decided parking on the side street would be best. 

There was not another side street to the west until further south, so I moved over to get into the center turning lane to take a turn eastward. As I was slowing, downshifting, and moving into the center turn lane, no sooner had I done so that I heard loud, drawn-out screeching of tires. I couldn’t see anything, so I had no idea what was coming until it hit me head-on.

The impact was hard and loud, but luckily I had no time to react, otherwise I would have tensed up. When I came to a stop, I was facing the opposite direction on the opposite side of the street. My horn was blaring, the airbag had gone off and the windshield had shattered. I had glass and airbag residue in my mouth. I tried to open my driver’s door and it wouldn’t open. In my panic, I rolled down the window and was prepared to climb out. Thankfully, I didn’t even attempt it, and I crawled across the gearshift and passenger seat to get out that way. Even in my state, thinking, “this is harder than last time.”

I walked around the back of the car because the horn was just so loud. I couldn’t even look back at it. My left hand was bleeding and I could hardly walk, but I almost started to walk the couple houses to my dad’s before I thought better of it. Luckily, there were, what seemed like, about six witnesses who took care of calling the police and getting the driver’s license plate number and letting me phone my dad. I remember asking, “do you hear the horn? I was in an accident.” He half-shouted, what?! and I was so upset and furious that I wasn’t thinking clearly. I shouted back, “CAN’T YOU HEAR THE HORN? Just come down the street toward the horn!”

For the sake of things to come, I won’t go any further with the details, but I will repeat what the responding officer told me: When the tow truck came to pick up my car as I was taken to the hospital, the tow truck driver thought he was picking up a fatality. That told me exactly how bad it looked.

I mean, I knew it was bad. It was a head-on collision with a drunk driver. I couldn’t put weight on my right foot, I had a laceration requiring stitches on my left middle finger and couldn’t use my left arm – it took the airbag in less than a stride and my chest took the rest of it – I had cuts and glass all over me. Amazingly, the x-rays were negative for breaks in my foot, hand, and chest; I had no breaks anywhere else. I am, however, mottled with bruises and contusions, and in pain just about everywhere. 

But I’m alive.

I didn’t actually see photos of my car until the next day. Then not in person until I had to go to the impound lot to get my personal items.

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My British Chap saved my life. MINI saved my life again.

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So, in ready conclusion, it is with my whole heart that I say: Thank you, MINI. I would not be here today if it weren’t for your brilliant engineering and attention to safety. There was a reason I was inexorably drawn to your little cars, what, with their bulldog stance and protective snarl. You better believe that as soon as I can physically and psychologically get behind the wheel again, I will be back, yet again, at MINI of Omaha. How could I possibly drive anything else.

Sincerely and loyally yours,

Christina Friis, MINI Owner.

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T-Minus Twelve Hours

So, in twelve-ish hours, my mom gets remarried.

I’ve been trying to tease out my emotions for a while now. Maybe lining them up would help me deal with each one. But I’m finding that I can’t, really.

I always cry at weddings. I’m a huge fan of happiness and love and I just get overcome. So there’s that. 

But this is my mom, you know?

My dad got remarried like, a year after my parents divorced, to a stranger (to me) in China, who still isn’t here due to immigration. He flew over on April Fools Day and stayed for three weeks. Sometime around Tax Day, he married her. He brought home a DVD of the wedding. I got to watch her get ready and him get ready and them saying their vows in Chinese and him playing Stairway to Heaven on an acoustic guitar. 

It was odd because I felt happiness for those two people getting married. Finding happiness. Finding love. It was like I was watching a documentary or a home video of two people having a foreign wedding. I couldn’t really connect to it being my own father. 

Tomorrow, I’ll be standing next to my mother as she gets remarried to a high school sweetheart of sorts, and I am wondering how I’ll feel. How I’ll react. Will I cry because it’s a wedding? Will I cry because it’s my mother? Will I feel like I’m watching from somewhere high above the ceremony, from someone else’s vantage point? Will I be sad?

I was a bit sad watching dad’s wedding DVD. Watching all of these family members be a part of this special day, but my brother and I not being there. Part of me was glad I was left out, but of course, it’s my dad; I wish I could have been included in some way.

Tomorrow, I am included, but I worry about how I’ll be. No, I’m not, I’ll do and say all the right things and it’s her special day and seeing her so happy will warm my heart. And yet, part of me thinks it’d be a bit easier to not witness it. 

I don’t know. Like I said, I’m having trouble teasing out my emotions. 

I’ve said it before, numerous times, but this is just something I never thought I’d be dealing with. My parents were married for twenty-five years, which was twenty-three years of my life. I’m twenty-six years old and I’m just now having to deal with a divorce and already remarriages. I’ll never be able to say which would have been better: them getting divorced when we were younger and we’d just be used to it by now, or doing it this way. I’ll probably always argue that it was harder for me this way. 

Of course, in the end, everything happens for a reason and everything happens when it should, as it should. How can I argue with that?

What’s even stranger is that dad’s wife has a son about my age, mom’s soon-to-be husband has a son just older than me and then two sons, seven and nine, I believe. 

I’m being very resistant to any ‘step-‘ terms. I have a mother and a father and a brother. I cannot call anyone a step-mother or step-father or step-brother at this age if no one has step-parented me or no one has been a step-sibling to me. I’m very possessive of my parents and brother. They’re mine and that’s it. 

But now they’re not. They’re other people’s, too. Perhaps I haven’t learnt to share quite yet.

I’m guessing most people who’ve gone through their parents getting divorced and remarried and doing the step- thing are wondering what I’m on about. I know. I’m an adult. I should have the tools to deal with this, I guess. Or at least be more open to these things. 

Maybe someday. 

I wish I could be a bit more like my brother in this case. He’s been very strong and ‘as long as they’re happy’ and ‘I’ve always wanted a large family/more siblings.’ I just haven’t, you know? I mean, sure, it would have been nice to have my cousins closer and whatnot, but Conor was just always enough sibling for me. I used to think having an older brother would have been nice, but Conor has the qualities of an older brother, so I get the best of both worlds. 

Now there are too many worlds, I think. 

And mom having these little kids around now. It makes me a bit.. I don’t know.. I wanted the first little kids she was looking after to be my kids, her grandkids. She’s going to be doing the parenting thing all over again before I’m even doing it. 

I am really going to hate even posting this, but I’m being fatally honest. And maybe someone will stumble across this open-heart surgery and think, finally, someone gets it

I don’t know. I guess I should get some sleep before the big day.

Mom’s going to look so beautiful in her dress. 

Wedding Dress Shopping with Mom, Part II

It seems that mom and I both suffer from “what-if-there’s-something-better-out-there,” which led to Round Two of the dress hunt. Now, she still has that first dress that looked the best, fit her the best, fits the wedding the best, flatters her figure the best, and, I think, makes her the most youthful. Nevertheless, she compiled a list of about eight more places to try. This time, we also didn’t have all goddamn day.

I dropped my MINI off at the body shop to get my BAKER STREET BONNET STRIPES applied. I’m sorry, did I shout? I’ll repeat myself more quietly then: Baker Street bonnet stripes. The same bonnet stripes I had on my Baker Street Edition MINI Cooper. The one that got totaled and so savagely taken away from me. Yeah, that one. Yeah, those stripes. On my British Racing Green Clubman. Sigh. When I was answered in the affirmative after asking whether I could order those, I about cried at the parts counter. I also needed a door ding taken care of – I’d gotten that while parked at my old apartment place, go figure, while I still had the In-Transits on, go figure. Fucking pissed me off.

Anyway, I dropped my car off and mom picked me up for our second dress adventure. We decided to stop at Regency first, as it’s right across the street from MINI. To be honest, I’m not quite sure why we went into Regency Court, as there is only one bridal boutique and it only has wedding gowns. There was a place called Tilly’s (I think) that had a whole bunch of matronly evening gowns and a few matronly women working there. No one greeted us, even when I smiled and waved at one of them, it took about fifteen minutes for anyone to come over to us, and at that point, I was already inching out the door. You know what, for having such boring, gawdy, and downright hideous clothing, you sure are pretentious old bats.

Whatever. I had to look at something beautiful after that, so I dragged mom into the bridal boutique. I gushed over the gowns while mom talked to the woman at the counter. She asked who was getting married and we told her. I continued to gush over the gowns as I said, well, having even a potential boyfriend at this point would at least warrant me being in here. I’m not sure how it started, but all of a sudden, I was catching every other word this woman was saying: “My son…. single… says all his friends are married… he wants to get married so badly… wants kids… wants a house… wants a dog… he’s 34… civil engineer…” With each descriptor, I felt my ovaries contract. “Is 26 too young for him?” I asked, hopefully. “Oh, I’m sure not!” She replied cheerfully. Mom, doing her duty, said jokingly, “Maybe you should leave your number, Nina” “hahaha” we all laughed.

But seriously. My ring finger was burning.

After maybe one additional comment about how PERHAPS THERE SHOULD BE SOME ACTUAL MATCHMAKING IN PROGRESS, we kind of just went about the conversation and then eventually left.

I almost asked if her son had an English accent, because that’s my biggest requirement, obviously. I’m sure he doesn’t, so I can’t be too disappointed. But that doesn’t stop me from wondering why this mother didn’t feel me out for her son. I mean, isn’t that what mothers do? She seems like the good-naturedly-meddling type. So meddle already.

But maybe there’s something about me she didn’t like. I was charming, made her laugh; sure, I might have been looking at wedding dresses when I don’t even have a boyfriend, but it sounds like this dude is ready to tie the knot.

Then again, she did say something odd. She said something about telling him, “well, maybe you’re not husband material” or some shit. Slightly strange, even in jest, to mention.

I don’t know.

It was an emotional moment.

Then we had more emotional moments at a couple bridal shops – their 10s are more like 6s, so of course that made mom feel like shit. “I’d just have to cut the tag out.” Finally, I got her into a taffeta number that cinched up in the back (I’d just watched Pride & Prejudice, so I was in the mood to sew up a corset). It fit her like a glove, as it would, and if it wasn’t so hot/dressy, I’d have gone with that one for her.

The fact remained that the very first dress, the dress I bought her, was the one.

Trust your instincts.

Perhaps the same should be acknowledged regarding the non-meddling mother.

I’m Not Whinging

I promise. I’m really not.

Tonight, I was creeping through facebook, as I tend to do occasionally (because how else will I keep up with the people I don’t talk to) and I noticed that a friend’s little sister is engaged.

This is not to say that it’s not awesome for her, and I’m so happy that she’s happy; it’s just…

So I have these two girlfriends who have been my friends since probably before kindergarten. Somehow, twenty years later, we’re still best friends.

Growing up, our younger siblings were also friends. We each have a younger brother and those brothers are within a year of each other. One of us also has a younger sister, just slightly younger than her younger brother. She’s the one who just got engaged.

The other’s younger brother is engaged. My brother is quite seriously dating someone (who I actually love).

It’s just a matter of time before all the younger siblings are married………………………………………………………before I am. Ah God, I really, truly attempted to resist.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course. People find happiness and love at all walks of life and it shouldn’t be discounted nor compared.

It just hit me, I guess, as things tend to do: I’m kind of, like, alone.

And have been. For quite some time. Or at least two years. Over two years.

And it seemsseems, seems, like everyone else…. isn’t.

Alone, that is.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course.

I just don’t always think about it or notice it and then suddenly, everyone and their mother (literally, everyone and my mother) are engaged. Or married. Or pregnant. Or at least fucking someone.

Ahem.

Not whinging.

*makes hand gesture as if to say, ‘that’s final’ and kind of means it*

I’m always kind of on the fence, you know? Like, sometimes I’m desperate to be with someone and then other times I’m looking around at my apartment going, thank Christ I’m not with someone.

There’s a hell of a lot of mental and physical freedom that comes with being alone. Shall we say ‘independent’ from here on?

I mean, I can sleep til noon and stay up late and eat whenever I want and – wait, that’s the freedom that comes with being unemployed.

Um, so I mean, being single: I can sleep til noon and stay up late and I can spend two hours at the gym and only buy groceries for one and go to Starbucks without asking anyone’s order and – you know, this still sounds like unemployment.

I guess it’s just nice to do my own thing. Most of the time.

Then I see everyone around me dating/getting engaged/getting married/getting pregnant/buying houses/getting dogs and I think about how much I desire those things. I don’t need plural house(s), but everything else, yeah.

When I moved into my new apartment, I decided to get a king-sized bed and put my queen in the second bedroom. When I told dad I was getting a king bed, he was like, “expecting company?”
I was like,

But then I was like,

Sometimes I just wonder how the fuck I’ll ever meet someone if I don’t have a job or whatever; but maybe because I don’t have a job yet, I’m not meant to meet anyone…. yet?

I don’t know. Everything happens for a reason and everything happens when it’s meant, but man alive, I’m not getting any younger.

What I am getting is more fit. Did you know it’ll have been a month, Friday, that I’ve been working out and eating healthily? That’s somewhat of a milestone, I reckon.

Truth be told, I would like to be in some semblance of fitness before I meet ‘the one’ – it’d be ideal, anyway. So maybe once I’ve got that checked off the list…

I’m still ridiculously, if not stupidly, optimistic about my future. I have literally zero prospects (in the dating pool, anyway; jobwise might be another story), and yet I still find myself looking like that heart-eyed emoji. If I could bottle it, I’d sell it.

This whole post even ended up more positive than I had planned. ‘The fuck.

When I Think of Home

I had a dream the other night that I was traveling to London. 

For whatever reason, I had upwards of six hours between flights and was apparently close enough to home that I could go there on my layover.

As in all dreams where I’m ‘home,’ I’m home. On North Post Road. Where I grew up. Where I spent twenty-two years of my life. 

My room was in a bit of disarray, so I decided to rearrange it. I had two loveseats to put in there now, God knows why. I moved my bed over by my windowseat so the couches could fit on the adjacent wall. That must have worn me out, because I laid down to take a nap.

Yep. In my dream, a dream I had while I was sleeping, I laid down to take a nap. And I slept. 

This is how interesting my dream-life is, folks – I fucking sleep. In my dreams. 

Upon awaking from my nap, I look at my watch and it’s 915pm. My flight left at 908pm. Fuck. I’d missed my flight to London. I rushed out into mom’s office and had her get on the computer to look up other flights. She was very lackadaisical about it and really pissed me off. 

What she found were flights with about three or four stops, which would take days to get me to London. (I guess air travel in my dreams is only just worse than it actually is).

I went into the kitchen where dad and Conor were and mom followed me. She and dad stood arm-in-arm as we said goodbye to Conor; he was going on some trip, I guess.

This is what jarred me maybe the most: mom and dad are still married in my dreams, or so it seems.

I woke with a start (in real life, not from my dream-nap). I was stressed out over the missed dream-flight to London and confused because my parents were still married in dream-life. I wondered why, having lived on my own for three years now, why ‘home’ is always home in my dreams.

And it’s always home. 

It’s not like I wake up and think I should be there, confused by my surroundings and all that. It’s more a sense of sadness and loss. It’d be like dreaming of Grammy Fran or my dog, Frisbee, which I did recently. Must have been the Redbeard feels. 

To me, the reason behind it is fairly clear. (Heavy psychoanalysis aside). Home will always be my home. It’s the most engrained in my mind as home and I haven’t felt that sense of ‘being home’ since I moved out. Sure, I’m comfortable in my apartment and I even felt scarily comfortable in London, but… I guess I’m just clinging to the last time I felt whole. And that would be when I was at home and we were all together. 

I can’t remember if I wrote about this in here, or if it was in my physical journal (probably there, because that’s where I keep my more weepy entries), but I was going through old photos and came across all the ones I took of home. I realized how much I miss being there.

How familiar it was. I could walk it in the dark, know exactly where I am or what piece of furniture I was approaching. I thought about being downstairs and wanting the light off – walking over to the doorway and swinging my arm around the corner to hit the switch. Doing the same thing going out the door to the garage – my right arm naturally crossing my body and hitting the garage door opener. There are still so many things.. It’s almost like I can feel my muscles twitching at the chance to perform the memorized motions. 

Then there’s all the times we sat at the table together. I’ll never have another breakfast at that table in that house. Being the last one to make it to the table and sit in my chair on the east side, Conor to my right, mom to my left, and dad across from me. A bowl on the lazy susan, scrambled eggs in it. Toast in the oven on a plate to keep it warm. A plate of bacon to one corner. Frisbee nudging mom’s elbow to get a scrap or to clean the plate. Conor getting up for more milk and dad asking for just ‘half a glass’ more. 

All of it. I can still see all of it. and I ache for it. 

I guess I won’t know that again until I have my own house and family, will I? 

I wonder when I’ll dream of ‘home’ and it will no longer be the home in which I grew up. 

I wonder how I’ll feel when that day comes. 

Twenty-two years is a long time to overwrite. Will it take another twenty-two? 

Part of me hopes so. Part of me never wants to stop dreaming of ‘home’ as home.  

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