(The title is an inside joke for Volfe, James, Dana, Kevin, and Chris)
I had an interesting night yesterday. A friend pointed me to OKCupid, a free dating site unless you really, really want to put yourself out there. So far, it’s been pretty enjoyable. I talked to one woman who was, like, 45 and was waffling between working and retiring. I asked her about it, saying, “how does one retire at 45? I’m 38 and only feel like I’m adulting sometimes.” She said, and I’ll remember it forever because it’s the punchline to one of my favorite jokes, “the power of compound interest.” She’d been saving since her very first job ever. I told her it was an amazing story of discipline… and it is. I am only now beginning to think about investing, because I have about a year to go before I have enough liquid assets to think about a stock portfolio, but I am working on it one day at a time. Because I live so simply, I am able to save a large amount every month, but I still have a debt to pay. I am floored that I will be debt-free soon, and unless I meet a woman and move in with her, I’m planning on staying with the Nassers as long as they’ll have me.
I live in an enormous house, and I would miss (as Pri-Diddy calls them) my host family just as much as I miss my bio family right now. I would never be able to afford a house like this on my own, and it’s nice to have people watching out for me as opposed to coming home to an empty apartment every night. I have decided that I am not much of a pet person anymore. I mean, I don’t mind if the people I live with have pets, but I’m not home enough to have a dog and both cat hair and litter drive me up the wall. One of Dana’s chores when we lived together was scooping the litter box, because I couldn’t get near it without dry-heaving and once having to change the litter box completely because I threw up into it.
When Asher and I lived alone, I bought disposable litter pans so I didn’t have to scoop. I just threw them away to avoid the situation altogether. I feel the same way about picking up fresh dog shit. Having a backyard for Charlie (my sister’s dog) was the best thing ever because I could let it dry out and not have to worry about heaving into the grass like a drunk.
But more likely than not, whomever my next girlfriend might be will have a cat… hopefully one that doesn’t get jealous and pee all over my stuff when I move in. I will also be investing in heavy-duty lint rollers. It’s nice to have a cat that treats you like furniture, hell when they get up and you realize you are covered in hair and it’s 20 minutes until you’re supposed to be somewhere.
I also found possibly the hottest “guy” in the universe, in quotations because she works for a non-profit by day, and works as a drag king at night. Playing against type, I invited her for coffee immediately…. probably because she’s just as cute a ginger as my friend Katrina, whom I haven’t seen in years but know that our connection would pick back up right away. I have extremely fond memories of working with her and Dana on her backyard. Dana and I helped her rip out all the laurel bushes in her backyard, and then helped her build a fence and gate to replace them. Manual labor is sometimes my jam because it gets me out of my head, and having a cold beer at the end of the day with the two of them will always be precious to me. I mean, gingers obviously have no souls, but drapes, carpet, etc. (Did I really say that out loud? I am blushing furiously right now.)
I used to dye my hair red, but I’ve gone back to my natural color (at least for now), which reminds me of a hilarious story that goes back to my first wife, Kathleen. The setup is that because I dye my hair, I don’t think of myself as a redhead. So we’re sitting in a group of people (I think it was James & Co., but I could be wrong) drinking and playing “I never…”
So the questions keep coming and someone says, “I never banged a redhead” and I fell on the floor in mortification when Kathleen took a drink. Because Kathleen knew I wasn’t a natural redhead, she was laughing so hard she nearly choked on her beer. OMG I am laughing so hard as I type this, because it brings me to another really funny story between us.
At University of Houston, we belonged to the Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Alliance (GLOBAL). One night we all played this game, tongue in cheek, on who was the most co-dependent. Not surprisingly, I “won.” The prizes that night were coffee cups, and I asked Kathleen which one she liked. The runner up, who was a little bitter, said, “ok. You obviously win. Hands down.” I laughed until tears and snot were running down my face.
The other woman I wanted to meet last night was from Ireland, but I couldn’t think of a way to write to her and say, “can we get together just so I can listen to you talk?” without sounding like a total jackass. But it was true. Not only could she speak English, she was also fluent in Irish. As an Outlander fan, I was smitten with the idea, even though the two Gaelic languages are somewhat different. I am also fascinated by Ireland, because that’s where my family originated, immigrating from County Wexford (or at least, I think that’s where we’re from, because my friend Una told me that the Lanagans “were from the Narth [insert dipthong here].”) through Bristol, RI.
If I remember my genealogy correctly, we were originally the O’Lanagans, and the Lanigans are a different clan. My ancestor was out to sea during the cholera epidemic, and largely why my clan survived.
I didn’t want to explain all that without sounding like a drooling fangirl, so I didn’t. But I could picture having strong Irish Breakfast together, at least once. The aforementioned friend Una’s accent was so strong and lovely that I wanted to name my daughter after her. We didn’t know each other well, but it was always a treat to run into her… again, just to hear her speak.
Dana was down with Una, and Seamus for a boy, but cringed every time I called our future little boy “Shea Dog O’Bling Bling.” Over time, it diminished into a pained groan that made me laugh every time. I didn’t actually know Seamus, he was a friend of my friend Karen, who turned out to be my friend Felim’s brother. I should have known that, in retrospect, because I worked in an Irish pub… and there can’t be that many Irish people in Portland, first generation, anyway. Karen and I were still surprised that she knew one brother and I knew the other, though.
Speaking of the Irish pub, I’ll never forget the first time we went in. I ordered a shot of Bushmill’s, my grandfather’s favorite, and the bartender said, “we don’t sell that Protestant crap…” which was only hilarious because he’s an Atheist. He thought it was equally hilarious that we’d stopped in on the way home from church. As it turned out, they needed a cook, and Dana got the job that day. It wasn’t until later that I wormed my way in on her coattails, and my legacy there is Lanagan’s pub chili… it’s delicious, but at the same time, I am positive that they would not have named it after me if my last name had been Smith.
Working in the pub gave me some of the best friends of my life, most notably Drew, Suzie, Knives, John, and the aptly named “Handsome Johnny.” I dearly miss my crew, but I wouldn’t have exchanged moving to DC for anything in the world. Eventually, I’ll get them out here… and Knives is going to graduate school in New York, so I foresee beers in our future, especially since I haven’t met his lovely bride. We were in the kitchen a lot together, so he became the man I called my “work husband,” and even though it’s been years, he still calls me “work wife.” We also have special names for each other. Since I am a Christian and he is an Atheist, I call him “Christopher” and he calls me “Rowan.” For those who are blanking on the reference, I mean Christopher Hitchens and Rowan Williams, who despite their differences, were great friends with mutual respect, and that carried into our relationship as well. When the pub wasn’t busy, we had a lot of time to talk about God and Not God.
I am a huge fan of the ontological argument, which means that God only exists as much as you feel God does. Belief, like sexuality and politics, is a sacred spectrum. However, I also believe in the power of science, because science and religion speak to different parts of the brain.
Science is how we’re here. Religion is an attempt to explain why, and as an INFJ, I am always concerned with soteriology, the study of salvation. Though I am not a big fan of substitutionary atonement (whether talking about Isaac or Jesus), I am interested in the way we save ourselves… the resurrection in the middle of the mess, as Dr. Susan Leo would say.
And in terms of science and technology, God will provide the RAM and Jesus saves.