Sunday, February 26, 2006

Only kisses on the cheek from now on...

So, my roommate informed me this week he was moving to Alaska to take a job. I'm elated for him. It's in the culinary field and the work appears to be giving him stuff that will at least be a challenge.

That leaves me with two choices... stay in Omaha or move. And I have six weeks to decide. I feel bad about ditching a job that I just started - especially since the job is rewarding, challenging and has a cool group of people. I also got my first paycheck, which was a cut from my last job. And if this is a cut... damn - it's going to suck all ass working at a newspaper that will pay about 10,000 less than the pay cut I'm receiving. Living in Omaha means getting a dog and possibly a house. Moving means perhaps being more comfortable with myself, a new start while I'm still (relatively) young and a place to escape the negativity that is my immediate family.

I went to this coffee house this morning and I chatted with this cool woman who has been serving me coffee there every Sunday for the past two years. We talk music (mostly Jeff Buckley and Eagle*Seagull) and life in Omaha. She's about to quit, but she's not too sure if she should move out to California to pursue her boyfriend. She said offhandedly "I just need someone to sit me down and tell me what to do."

Don't we all. Someone who only has your interest at heart, is totally non-judgmental and omnipotent. That's all I ask.

Anyway - my ex and I grabbed coffee this weekend. I wanted to head to the more local coffee shops. He wanted to do the mall. He won. I was dragged to the mall, but I saw him - he's lost about 30 pounds (by working out, not by cigarettes and coffee), had a cute new hairstyle and said he's doing awesome at his new job. But like me, he's thinking of moving. He's thinking of making THE BIG move - New York.

His new job afforded him the luxury of spending too much on clothes and a watch at The Buckle. I do have to admit, it did feel 'good' when I was out there with him. We were together, shopping for a watch. It was an expensive purchase (around $100), so I felt like I was in some sort of relationship ritual. I was looking at the watch, telling him whether or not it's a good purchase. Holding his hand as he pinched the watch, seeing how many links needed to be taken off. I felt responsible, noble and caring. We were a couple to the people around us, although not much was said. It felt so traditionally like we were a couple. So normal.

And yeah, so gay.

Still, I know the reasons why we split. It was amicable. And both of us are in a weird position right now where we don't know where we are going to be in the next two months. It would rock to just comfortable fall back into the cocoon ritual of having a boyfriend. But I don't know if I'm more in love with the IDEAL of having that type of normalcy and stability back into my life or if I'm truly in love with that person. He drove me back to my car. We didn't hold hands. We kissed, but only on the cheek (face cheek, pervs). I drove back home thinking of the Fiona Apple lyrics "only kisses on the cheek from now on" and "I want your warmth, but it will only make me colder when it's over."

Preemptive strike

I saw Sigur Ros in Kansas City last week. One thing that constantly blows me away is how wired people are during these shows. I'm not talking about "these young kids", because the 42-year-old dude that I went with was texting his daughter the set list throughout the show. Now, Sigur Ros is one of those bands that forces you to sit and absorb the snow. And although the crowd was polite, some just couldn't sit still, like they were playing a video game throughout the show. Are we that attention-deficit-ridden that most of us cannot sit through a concert, yet alone a movie anymore without having to talk, text or take a photo with your cell? Chill, sit down and absorb the moment, folks. Not every detail needs to be documented the moment it happens.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Post concert highs and lows

Just got back from seeing Sigur Ros in Kansas City. Drove down with two fairly attractive guys - both seniors in high school. The show was great. I wish I could put into words how great the show was - but since we had to drive back to Omaha at 11 p.m. and I had to get up at 7:00 a.m. - I'm not the best about processing complex thoughts right now.

Anyway - I'm with these two, and I see that one has his arm around the other's...side. Not shoulder as in 'it's tight in this car, I need to stretch' arm around. I'm talking about around his side. One is rail thin and has his fingernails painted black. The other, a semi-heavyset redhead. A few hours later, one is resting his hand on the other's thigh (outer, not inner). The conversation goes from girls to the atrocities of Fred Phelps. It made me wonder/hope that in today's somewhat-more accepting high school environment (in general), these guys were free to express their affection for each other - regardless if they're straight or gay. But I know better. Whether or not Napoleon Dynamite is a cultural icon, it still has to suck being a geek in high school.

Anyway - we got to talking about careers. I'm making o.k. money now, but I still think my path lies in a newsroom. Still, I look at what makes people pursue the paths they choose. I think virtually everyone has thought of pursuing their artistic love (be it a musician, writer or painter), but for some reason or another, these people choose lives as insurance agents, county clerks and scientists. That's not a bad thing - in fact, Time magazine just did an article about how we are falling so far behind in the sciences. It made me wonder if it's PARTLY (not all, just a small equation) because the U.S. is probably the most celebrity-driven culture in the world. So many people (maybe I'm one of them) strive to be writers, musicians, actors because of some sort of chase for authenticity. If they're not pursuing their art, they're "selling out." Being a writer is perceived to be "cool". Being a scientist is perceived not to be "cool". It's as if the culture tries to sway people away from these career paths.

Which brings me to House. He was talking about either the 'cool' status or punks. He berated this one person - and I'm paraphrasing: "you want to know the true punks in this world, it's the Asian kids who spend their late nights studying - because they don't give a crap about what people think of them." A bit prejudice, I know - but the overall message can't be discounted.

That's what keeps bugging me about not wanting to sack everything and take up a job at a newspaper at a lower level that pays shit - just to get my career in gear. I think my job now in corporate America is shallow and not authentic. And being a journalist is a helluva lot different than being a poet (no offense, Ted Koozer - even though he worked full-time in insurance while he was a poet). It's a career and you can honestly make a steady income (albeit meager). It's authentic - but authenticity starts to lose its romantic allure once the student loans pile in.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

An epiphany via the B-52s

I was on just to see if a friend of mine was on (seriously). I got PVT'd almost immediately.
"What are you into?"

My response: "books"

He quickly left me alone.

It's 9:12 on a Saturday night. I opted to stay in tonight. It's blustery and I didn't feel like spending any cash. I survived my first week at my new job. But I'm exhausted. At this moment, I'm drinking some oolong tea and listening to Bruce Springsteen's seminal LP, Nebraska. And, ironically, it's the album I'm listening to that's making my decision to move.

First off, I apologize for sounding self-pitying and selfish these past few months. I know Blogs are supposed to be like that - but when I read peoples posts from Darfur, it really makes most bitchings sound just like what they are - bitching. So, in my very safe apartment, sipping yuppie tea and spending the rest of my Saturday night doing yuppie tasks, like burning songs to my iPod and deciding which issues of Paste to throw out, I map out a brief rant into why I'm deciding to leave the city of Omaha.

I thought the reason for some of my depression these past few months came from working at a failing company. I thought once I achieved the task of securing a new job (one in which I beat out 50 other applicants), things would change. I would find a job that would challenge me. I would find a group of hip, cool, dedicated co-workers who could show me the cool sides of Omaha and make me appreciate this truly great city. But after my first week, I felt that same void I have felt the past two years.

I went to the Homy Inn with a friend tonight - he was looking for dating advice. I told him he would be better served looking elsewhere. I quickly vented my scenario: I could make this job work, try to make this city work for me and get a dog. Getting a weimereiner will make me less selfish, make me focus on the needs of others. OR - I could try for that journalism job in Oregon, get paid shit and risk going hellishly into a debt that I may not be able to recover from. OR - move to Tucson with no job, work at a Target until I get a job and start a new life. Whenever I've been in Tucson, I've felt like I'm truly at home. No restlessness. No self doubt. No past to run away from.

I keep thinking of two episodes of the great FOX show, House. The first example comes when Dr. House decides to break off an affair with his ex. He does it because he knows this woman can't change him and he would make her miserable after those first few great months of the relationship wear off. His best friend calls him out on this martyrdom, saying "You think being miserable makes you special, but really, it doesn't make you special, it makes you miserable." The second episode comes from an episode where pathological liar Cynthia Nixon has an undiagnosed illness. She moved to the new city without a job. So House said "If she moved without a job, she didn't move to a new city, she escaped from somewhere" (or something like that).

ANYWAY - driving back from the Homy Inn, the B-52s "Roam" came on.
"Roam if you want to/roam around the world/roam if you want to/without anything but the love we feel." Cheesy, yes, but letting that chorus actually AFFECT me, it was a release. No matter how I look at it, whenever I talk about moving, stress goes away. Things start to come into focus. Stuff starts making sense. So - that is what I'll be focusing on in the next two months - getting the hell out of here. It may not be the answer, but it's movement.

In the words of Fiona Apple:
"My methods are uncertain/ it's a mess, but it's working."

Preemptive strike

No one but myself tonight.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Exiled (in hell) in Guyville

I went to the gym tonight. I found a pill in the back seat of my car. It was a generic version of Claritin, but at that point, I was willing to swallow anything. Alleve, an anti-depressant that may have accidentally dropped in my bookbag - anything ingested in my system would have made me feel better than my second day at my new job. I'm hellishly overwhelmed. And when I came home, I found out my roommate is most likely going to move to Alaska in two months. Eight weeks. Should be enough time to give the apartment a thorough cleaning.

I knew adjusting to a new job was going to be difficult. It's like bracing for a punch. You expect the punch, but that doesn't stop the punch from knocking you to the ground.

I had a chance to move to Oregon in December. I want to say I felt guilty about leaving my roommate high and dry abruptly. But I know that's an out-and-out lie. I didn't/couldn't take the $20,000 pay cut. Now - I would do anything to get that opportunity back. Well, not anything. In a perfect world, I would opt to live in a city that I truly want to move to - and get paid a decent wage. But I don't want to be a dick and leave this new company a few weeks into my employment. Still, I don't want to live another year in Omaha either. Seems that either way, I'm running from something.

Different topic
For guys, it seems that in the gay AND straight community, if you feel the slightest physical attraction or experience the emotion of love for another guy any time in your life, you're dubbed gay. It seems that society is more forgiving for females. Going through the 'lesbian' phase in college is almost as trendy as going through your Cure-listening phase in college. However, for a lot of women, it's just that - a phase. And society, for the most part, doesn't blink an eye when that woman gets married to a guy. Contrast that with guys. If a guy goes through what he considers a 'questioning' time in college, but later marries a woman, it seems that people (who've been let in on the 'guy phase') just wait for the marriage to dissolve, because once you've "gone to the dark side", you never go back. I still don't know why that's the case (or even true). Is the sexual appetite for same-sex male encounters that much more intense than same-sex female encounters? Is it that society deem women's personalities so much more complex than male's that a woman's psyche can handle both a same sex relationship as well as a straight relationship?

Saturday, February 04, 2006

When you're back in your own neighborhood...

Start a new job on Monday. This is going to throw a major wrench in my relocation plans. I want to give this company my full devotion. After all, I spent two years looking for another job. Still, I think the "is it the city or is it me?" argument isn't going to be going away.