Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Red Project

It must be the Catholic short story writer in me that tends to blog only when I can create a vignette or a sermon. I'd like to be a more frequent blogger, who plops down the detritus of the day but I seem to wait for something momentous to happen.

You've been exposed to my dating woes, for which, in some ways, I'm sorry. It brings out the whiniest in me. For a while, I was thinking of the couple of men I liked who did not seem to reciprocate as being "love poisoning". You know, you eat some shrimp & spend the next day violently ill & are shaky for a couple days after.

In the wake of my heart bug, I started a new project, The Red Project. Walking dogs can sometimes be so idiotically boring that I often carry my camera with me. It's gotten so that I've made some prized calendars of my neighborhood & of dogs, at least by people who are under contract to adore me. So in my fit of the blues, I thought it might help to have something ongoing, active, engaging to do, something about love but anti-disappointment.

I decided to start taking pictures of random red things. Some photos worked & some didn't. For instance, an abandoned red shoe made it on to the Brooklyn Heights Blog But some weren't worth the struggle of getting the dogs to hang on so I could snap the damn thing.

I like taking pictures. I can't draw a stick figure without a ruler, so it's amazing to me when my friend Anna, a painter & ceramicist, goes on about my "eye". Who knew? It makes me feel better to have taken a picture, as though I'd done something as creative as making muffins or writing a poem. There is hope when I upload photos into Adobe & then go in to edit them with my very crude abilities. Will they or won't they "rise"? Will they or won't they "rhyme"?

I think I've always liked taking pictures because I remember that when I was a college sophomore in Stratford-upon-Avon on Shakespeare's birthday, there was Moorish dancing on the green & leaning out of a third floor window of a Tudor hotel was a chef. I've never gotten over not taking that picture. It's been more than twenty years. Maybe I'm still trying to take that picture.

The Red Project has taken the pressure off my little foray into dating, although I might still be dating as well. The jury's out & I'm too busy with the book, dogs &, until yesterday, The Red Project to dwell on it too much. Then tragedy struck.

I had taken Boomer & Roger out for a walk in the snow and when we got back to Roger's house, I had to pee violently. I stripped off everything in a big hurry to waddle into the bathroom and my camera -- my primitive, beloved Fuji that my parents gave me a couple of years ago, went crashing to the floor. It takes pictures but the flash is busted & if I set the zoom, I can't move it without turning the camera off.

Last night I took a little tour through readers' comments at Amazon & laid down some, for me, Serious Money in order to reclaim my Red Project.

In the meanwhile, however, I have missed the following photo-ops:

An abandoned Spider Man umbrella in the trash.
A strip of Chinese New Year paraphernalia dangling from a naked tree.
Many wild rain boots.
A long line of men at CVS with armloads of heart-shaped candy boxes & truly awful stuffed animals.
A swatch of red leather hanging in the shoemaker's store.
A swarm of people at the local luscious flower shop making their Arrangements for tomorrow.
A woman with a Southwest Indian bag dangling from her shoulder.
The neon yin sign in the local fortune teller's storefront.

I contemplated buying a throw-away digital camera but I know that trying to upload the disk I'd get back would make me insane. & I have a month's free trial of Amazon Prime so it should be here five minutes ago. Still, Valentine's Day is nearly over & I won't have the knack of it even if the lines at CVS are even more desperate tomorrow evening.

It's kind of a great metaphor for dating. The photos I've seen in my head & haven't been able to take, the photos I've seen in my head that were hopeless when I uploaded them (the three red bottle caps, for example). The photos that are great but blurred. The photos, like the one above, that are almost red & too irresistible not to take & show off. My moderate skill that I've boasted about. The time they steal from the book. How I cheat just a little bit by adjusting this & that with Adobe.

A much more complete metaphor than love-poisoning.

Yep. Morris dancing. With white knee socks & everything.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Dating is not just about you

I'm not in a very good mood.

Anonymous writes: "Dating is not just about you -- it is made infinitely easier, if not just plain old possible, by having enough of yourself left over (after ruminating and obsessing over yourself) for other people."

Anonymous is right -- it's not just about me. But my blog is. This is where I tell my stories & am the first to admit that dating brings out my Inner Brat.

What I think & struggle with (including swings between shame & grandiosity) -- which is what you read -- is not necessarily how I act.

But then you might not know that given that as Anonymous, I don't know if I know you.

& you know, because I've been cyber-dumped & will not be mean to someone who had enough niceness to hook me, I'll be mean to you, Anonymous. As far as I know -- but then I can't know, can I? -- you have not had any niceness with which to hook my empathy, compassion, interest, & services. So, Anonymous: piss the fuck off.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

False Romance

So I took my own advice & posted a personal ad. The timing is terrible -- my book is overdue, I have dogs spilling from the Bat Cave, I've told myself I won't put the Xmas tree away until this fucking book is done. & yet, I also told myself & you, when is it a good time? I had a weekend of relative space two weeks ago & did it.

There were a ton of responses. They asked for photos and I had already called myself zaftig. So I sent photos. Surprisingly, because I still hold that old notion that I'm undatable if I'm fat, they responded flatteringly. The couple I met quickly noted that I hadn't lied in my photo -- hadn't sent a younger, thinner version of myself. This is good information.

Inevitably, however, I had to draw some lines. No to the guys who expected sex too quickly without preamble. No to the ones I didn't find attractive or somehow loose-ended enough. (You know: the guy who only wants to talk about himself & who, at the same time, wants to talk about how the world is cheating him. Like that.) No to the ones who aren't in creative or professional fields.

& then I was down to two & they have disappointed me enough that I'm going to be heart-heavy for some days.

I did, however, learn one cool thing: I like a man who somehow or another brings out my ability to laugh, hard, at myself.

& I did one strong thing, which was to ask for a date. When the response was positive but not specific, I realized my instinct that this flirtation was going down hill with the inevitability of a bowling ball. I called. He was on another call & said he'd call back. I knew he wouldn't & fell peacefully asleep. & yes, I turned my computer on upon waking up & checked my email sooner than I normally would & there was no email. I knew all this in advance & gave him the opportunity to come through for his own sake.

Because, you see, I've done some accounting & I think I'm wonderfully datable. I asked myself in doing this if I would date me & said yes. Why, I asked myself. First because I've always wanted a Lab. Then because I'm funny. I'm, um, you know: responsive. I listen carefully. I'm in need of inspiration & so am willing to do new things. I'm a great cook. If I like to know when we'll see each other & whether our routine includes phone calls or regular emails, once that's established I'm insistently independent. So, yeah, I should be dating.

& of course, in the writing of this, Mr. Unreturned Phone Call emailed me quite prettily.

I wish he hadn't. I wish I hadn't responded prettily in return. I wish I'd take myself out on a date.

2/3 addendum: Flash: He broke a tooth. My reaction? What about meeee????

Mr. Boi, meet Francie, Frances's Inner Brat.

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