Archive for September, 2009

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Chasing Time

September 22, 2009

It’s been a couple years since I flew through time zones. I forgot what a surreal experience it is to fly from west to east, watching as the hours slip away from you. The most impressive experience of this, of course, is when you are flying in to or away from a sunset or sunrise, which I’m currently doing. It’s like you’re literally cheating time – in your favor to the west, against to the east.

Years ago, a friend related to me what her father told her upon our college graduation: from here on out, time accelerates. I think about this especially at the beginnings of months – I never quite know how we got here. I know it’s a cliche to say, “I don’t know what happened to [insert recently completed month here] but I genuinely feel it. Though particular events in the moment may seem to be arduous and long, I can’t remember the last time I looked back in retrospect on a period of my life and thought, “well that dragged on.”

I like that this dad said specifically time “accelerates,” and not just “speeds up.” If you recall back to your days of high school physics, we can’t feel speed or movement. What we actually feel when we say we’re “moving fast or slow” is differentials. We feel acceleration, because it is a change in speed – and direction. I think the same is true of life.

We don’t feel the passage of time per say, but rather how time’s passage has shifted relative to our experience. But it’s not just the shift in speed (“we were screwing for 2 hours, I don’t know where the time went…” or, “the 45 seconds of my rectal exam felt like a lifetime…”) I think we are also feeling the shift in direction our lives are taking.

I’m going through a lot of time acceleration in the year 2009. I think in the years in which major developmental markers occur, time feels more palpable: we remember dates of lasts (drinks, April 22), firsts (log scrambling, August 31), endings (yoga school, June 26), beginnings (next yoga school, September 15). Or maybe it’s just that I’m getting older, and with every passing year we gain new insight into the rapid – and rapidly changing – nature of time.

The remarkable thing I have to remember is that shifts in time’s speed and direction are created entirely within me. Time as a fixed entity doesn’t exist, as my buddy Albert proved: “Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT’S relativity.” The perfect example is the plane I’m currently on: thanks to the American Airlines mileage program, I’m in first class flying from Dallas/Fort Worth to LaGuardia. The 3 hours I spend in my seat, will move much faster than the 3 hours everyone sitting four rows behind me will experience. But tomorrow, when I return to work, I’m pretty sure my day will move slower than my friend currently vacationing in Argentina…

The question that amazes (terrifies) me is how fast will time be moving 28 years from now?? And in what direction…

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(Internet) Dating

September 1, 2009

There’s gotta be a better way.

Internet dating, to me, has been like job searching or apartment hunting. It sucks. You set up interview after interview after
interview, at first looking for the perfect fit, only to lower and lower and lower your standards to find just something that’ll eek by.
And then, even when you find the Eeker, they don’t respond to emails – despite the fact that damn it I’m over qualified for the position!

(Is it obvious I’m bitter?)

This time around I gave it two months.  In 2008 when I tried I gave it a month, and prior to that I think my grand total was 2 weeks.  Why do I keep coming back? Why do I return to what I know is hell, what I know hasn’t worked for me, for what I know I frankly don’t have time?

Because I can’t seem to find anything else that works to meet single, straight men.

And it’s not for lack of trying. I tried the bar scene for a long time, which resulted in a handful of one-night-stands, guys with substance abuse problems, becoming the “other woman” (truly unpleasant, I don’t suggest it) and enough hang overs to last me a lifetime.

I also tried something drastic.  Sometime in early spring, I finally decided I needed to ask for help in a big way. So I sheepishly sent an email out to well over 50 people – mostly women and gay men but with a smattering of straight men I trust more than most – asking for assistance: I obviously was not successful left to my own devices, so I needed suggestions/set ups with friends, friends of friends, coworkers, particularly intelligent and good looking cafe baristas, whomever. I had a couple qualifications: no assholes, no serious potheads or non-recovering alcoholics, must be intelligent and funny, and must take care of themselves physically. I’m not saying they had to be Zeus, but I exercise 5-7 days a week and my physical practice is an enormous part of who I am, so they should probably have something physical they love as well.  Oh, and straight.  Also a must.

My result from 50+ people from all around the United States?  Nothing. No, sorry, not nothing: one guy who responded to one Facebook email then disappeared, and one invitation to come to a concert with a friend where some of the band members “might be single.”

After a couple more months of frustration, I signed back up for internet dating, and lost another $80+ to a waste of time.  The stress added to my life from trying to answer emails, trying to find time to set up dates and trying to find someone interesting colossally outweighed any “fun” I may have had.  Not to mention reading the same damn things on every profile (“laid back!” “comfortable going out or staying in!” “loyal and I love my mom!” “looking for someone cute and smart with a great sense of humor!”…) frightened me for the state of originality and uniqueness in the world’s population.

There has to be a better way.  Other people are dating. Other people have significant others. Other people have sex on a regular basis – with the same person more than once!! It sounds like a fairy tale to me but I hear people do it. But somehow the secret has evaded me.

And please, I implore you, People-In-Relationships, do not say to your single friends, “It’ll happen when you’re not looking.” While there may be truth to this cliche, it is probably the most irritating sentence I hear on a regular basis. I don’t stop looking. When you’ve been alone as long as I have (and that length depends on whether you believe in past lives) you’re never not looking.  Sometimes I pretend I’m not looking, but really I’m only pretending not to look in hopes that my “not looking” makes him manifest. I think of it as the dating equivalent to a child covering their face and peeking through their fingers to watch a scary movie.

My therapist has funny opinions on the subject, most notable of which is she regularly tells me to take a class in auto repair. “You’ll definitely meet some straight men there.” I can’t tell how much she’s joking.  She shares my distaste in the patterns in New York men, however – that their noncommittal, non email-answering, non phone-call-returning, total lack of chivalry or, hell, plain old respect is greatly disheartening.

The fact is I’m in a complicated position. When you’re looking down the door of 30 and still searching for Boyfriend #1, you’re in a prickly situation.  It gets way more complicated when you’re an old soul, would probably be matched best with a man in their late 30s-early 40s, who himself is probably knocking down the door of long term commitment. Oh and then there’s the fact that I need to meet him, engage in a relationship with him, and sleep with him for a while without any alcohol. Have I mentioned that self-rule? Yeah.  It’s prickly.

I’m not really sure what my thesis for this post is other than, damn it, the internet is less than 20 years old and this species has
partnered for millennia.  There has to be a better way.