As I have gotten further and further away from the Argo situation, I have realized just how bad technology sucks. This is not a slam against either of us, because for a time, writing to each other over the internet was good and healing for both of us… in fact, right up until it wasn’t. I learned so much from that experience that now, when I meet people online, I want to get together immediately. I do not want people to only know my writer personality, because I want people to see the real me instead of the face I present to the world… and it’s easy to craft a narrative rather than creating friendship in real time… because that’s what I do. I craft narratives just as easily in letters as in blog entries, without even realizing I’m doing it. It comes from the Southern storyteller in me, not from a place of malice, but from a place of connection with beautiful words… especially when people write beautiful words in return.
But that also leads to not being able to see actions/reactions in real time, which is often much longer than letters would take to reveal even a fraction of myself. I am not scared of revealing who I am over text, and terrified of meeting people in real life. Meeting new people is my step out of my comfort zone, because I tend to stutter and stammer my way through the awkwardness of not being able to “think in longhand,” and reach for my delete key. One of the blessings of having been married to Dana is that she was spectacular at running interference in these situations, often making it more comfortable for me to relax and open up. She has always been more outgoing than me, because as I’ve aged I’ve gotten more insular and introverted. But I will talk and laugh and joke when given “an opening.”
Now that we’re divorced, I find myself running my own interference, and I’m not as bad at is as I thought I might be. When I saw Danni & Autumn for the first time, there was a connection that immediately felt like we’d known each other for a long time. It was the same with Scales, because we opened up to each other on our first outing, and it only got better from there. She and the Colonel have been traveling a lot, so I haven’t gotten to see them nearly as much as I’d like, but they are hysterical and I can’t wait to see them next time.
Alternatively, going to the party for Pri-Diddy & Elena was wonderfully bittersweet. They’ve moved their transition to living in Colombia up to October, and have signed a six-month lease, because they figure that’s enough time to see if they really like it there. I am sure there will be a lot of Skyping involved, because it will allow me to see where they really live instead of just wondering. Plus, I was comforted by the fact that when I looked for deals on Kayak, flying to Bogata is not that expensive. $300 for an international flight is not bad at all, especially if I have a layover in Houston long enough to meet my family for lunch.
I just told them I wanted to eat my way across Bogata. They were good with that. 🙂
However, Skyping just isn’t the same as being able to reach out and hug Pri-Diddy, those healing moments between friends… and at the same time, I am banking on the fact that living in Colombia won’t last forever, and I will still be here when they get back… because of course I will. DC is home, and again, it should have been all along. I wouldn’t have met Dana unless our paths had crossed here, but I believe in a fate that would have made it happen had our relationship truly meant to be.
In fact, when Dana came to DC for her birthday, it was pride weekend, and I asked Dana if she wanted to come with Pri-Diddy and Elena and me. Originally, she said “yes.” But then she changed her mind, and it gutted me. But that’s what happens when you break up. Gutting happens.
It was strange marching without her, but comforting to have my friends around me. As Prianka said at the time, “look around. This is all for you.” I was in a very bad place, and it lifted me up in ways I’ll never forget.
It gave me the strength to want to get out of my comfort zone, to branch out and meet new people so that I had a solid base of friends here that was more than just the few people I interacted with from work at ExxonMobil. Outside of work, I just didn’t have much of a safety net, because I had a partner. We spent most of our time alone, a big factor in wanting to move away from DC in the first place, because I’d met Diane’s friends and I really liked them. I went for a visit and Diane said, “you look really happy here. Maybe you should look for a job.” So I did. Integrating was easy because of Bridgeport and the people I’d met over the years of visiting Diane & Susan. But as it turned out, they only liked being around me in small doses, and moving there was a different proposition entirely.
I realized I’d made a mistake in not trying to create the support system in DC I’m creating now when it was 2002. When I thought of DC, the first descriptive adjective was “awe.” My favorite drive in the free world was from my house into the city, because I started at the Pentagon and as I got closer to the city on 395, all the monuments presented themselves to me at once. Getting stuck in traffic was just an excuse to sit there and gawk at true majesty.
Living on the Maryland side, I can’t see all of that as I am driving in, but it means something to me that the easiest way to get from my house into the city is 16th… as if I could just arrive at Pennsylvania and wave.
Plus, the best part of living in DC over Portland is that people actually want to come and visit me. My dad arrives this weekend, and we are trying to think of spectacular things to do.
On Saturday, we are touristing all day- The Spy Museum, The Newseum, Madame Tussaud’s, and ending up at the Reagan building for a Capitol Steps show. I love being a tourist in my own city. It’s like, my favorite thing ever.
But again, the spectacular just doesn’t matter. It will be nice to see his face in real time.
Because as I have learned, that means so much more than an e-mail.