12 April 2016

Slow Dance

“Nick stands up and offers his hand to me.  I have no idea what he wants, but what the hell, I take his hand anyway, and he pulls me up on my feet then presses against me for a slow dance and it's like we're in a dream where he's Christopher Plummer and I'm Julie Andrews and we're dancing on the marble floor of an Austrian terrace garden.  Somehow my head presses Nick's t-shirt and in this moment I am forgetting about time and Tal because maybe my life isn't over.  Maybe it's only beginning.” ~ Rachel Cohn, Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist
On my fifteenth birthday, my parents let me host my first real teen party.  I invited a few friends over to my parent's basement, and in lieu of gifts, I had them bring an unknown guest to the party.  My decorating options were limited as I was a poor teenager with restricted funds and who had parents who, well into Spring, still had not taken down the Christmas lights.  As such, I made the best of it and used the colorful Christmas lights and disco ball strobe lights to decorate my birthday party.  As the party got underway and the guests were starting to arrive, I locked my target onto an unknown guest whom my friend Ruth had brought to my party.  The dark basement, illuminated only by the tacky colorful lights, seemed to somehow frame the stranger's tall and lean silhouette in such a way that I felt the first stirrings of teenage lust.

Ruth introduced me to the stranger.  Nick.  He had a nice smile that made his eyelids crinkle upwards.  He wished me a happy birthday and we started to dance.  Other guests started to arrive, but I was not interested.  I just wanted to be around Nick.  Pet Shop Boys was in the background.
"You've got a heart of glass or a heart of stone
Just you wait 'til I get you home
We've got no future, we've got no past...
Then, the mother of all slow songs started playing.  Almost as if on cue, he and I move slowly towards each other.  He takes my hand, and we are standing close to each other, his breath warm on my cheek.
"Swaying room as the music starts
Strangers making the most of the dark
Two by two their bodies become one
I see you through the smokey air
Can't you feel the weight of my stare
You're so close but still a world away
What I'm dying to say, is that I'm crazy for you
Touch me once and you'll know it's true
I never wanted anyone like this
It's all brand new, you'll feel it in my kiss
I'm crazy for you, crazy for you..."
His hand is on my back, and I feel him pulling me towards him.  Our mouths are so close that our lips softly touch.  I feel the room spinning.  Or is it I that is spinning?  I feel the warmth of his body against mine and I feel so comfortable, almost as if I could sleep.  I close my eyes and I feel as though I am floating.  I don't want the song to end.  I don't want the dance to end.  I want to be in this moment forever, just me and Nick slow dancing for all eternity.

That dance, that moment, is all I can remember about that night.

Yesterday, I turned forty-five --- thirty long years after that first slow dance.

All I wanted for my birthday this year: to slow dance with a man and feel the way that I felt that night, so long ago.

04 April 2016


"Love blurs your vision; but after it recedes, you can see more clearly than ever. It's like the tide going out, revealing whatever's been thrown away and sunk: broken bottles, old gloves, rusting pop cans, nibbled fishbodies, bones. This is the kind of thing you see if you sit in the darkness with open eyes, not knowing the future. The ruin you've made.” ~ Margaret Atwood, Cat's Eye
I've been dreaming about sight lately.  I know that most of you do not believe that dreams mean anything, but there still must be some reason as to why there is a central theme to my dreams as of late.

The other night, I dreamt that I borrowed GP's car.  I was driving his car at night, and the roads were only dimly lit by the street lights.  I was driving on a curvy and winding road.  I had driven all night, and somehow made it my to destination by the morning.  As I pulled his car into the driveway, an unknown man yells from his car, "Hey, your lights are off.  You've been driving all night with no lights on."

GP was there to greet my arrival.  He promptly reprimanded me for driving his car with limited visibility.


The following night I dreamt that I had taken out my contacts to clean them. When I put them back in, my left eye started to hurt, so I took it back out.  I look at my left contact, and it is clearly ripped.  I debate whether I should put it back in because I am nearly blind without contacts or if I should instead just take out both contacts and walk around blindly.  Wearing eyeglasses were not an option in my dream.  I finally opted to take out both contacts and walk around blindly.


In both dreams, the theme is that I have limited visibility.  Although I am not a firm believer that dreams foretell the future or give us any real insight to our subconscious mind, I do believe that dreams may mirror some of the fears and worries that we carry in our minds during our waking moments. Apparently, I seem to fear that I am going through life blindly but am willing to endure pain just so I can get to my final destination, wherever that may be.

31 March 2016

Starbucks and Technology Ruined My Social Life

"Coffee, she'd discovered, was tied to all sorts of memories, different for each person. Sunday mornings, friendly get-togethers, a favorite grandfather long since gone, the AA meeting that saved their life. Coffee meant something to people. Most found their lives were miserable without it. Coffee was a lot like love that way. And because Rachel believed in love, she believed in coffee, too.” ~ Sarah Addison Allen, The Peach Keeper
When I lived in DC about twenty years ago, one of my favorite things to do in the afternoon was to visit the Starbucks cafe across the street from my office. It was a great afternoon treat. It gave me the opportunity to get a little break from work, and because I was there so frequently, I became a "regular" and was friendly with the baristas.  

In those days, there were no such thing as the rewards program, and there was no ability to place your drink order from your mobile phone. In fact, mobile phones those days were limited to actually talking on the phone, much less internet equipped. As such, in order to get a cup of coffee, one had to actually stand in line and wait their turn.  

Starbucks was just gaining their popularity back then, and the wait was usually long. But we didn't mind because the regulars like myself would stand and chat with the other regulars and the baristas. After awhile, the best part about going to Starbucks wasn't actually getting the coffee drink in hand. Instead, the highlight of my daily trip to get coffee was meeting up with the other regulars and the baristas and sharing stories of our day. They became my "coffee friends", my "Starbucks friends" and getting coffee became a much anticipated afternoon routine. Coffee never tasted better.     

Somewhere along the way, people became too busy to stop and get coffee. Instead, getting coffee turned into something akin to getting food at a fast-food drive-through. Or, it involved booking a coffee date with a friend weeks in advance. Gone were the days of picking up the phone and calling to tell your friend "meet me at Starbucks in ten minutes."

As the lines got shorter and the service got faster, the opportunities to make friends became less and less. People are in a hurry to get their coffee, and no one has time for chitchat. If you take too long and chat with the barista, you hear the people behind you huffing and puffing passive-aggressively to let you know that you are taking up their valuable time.   

Welcome to the era of everyone wanting instant gratification.

In late September 2015, Starbucks introduced Mobile Order & Pay. Customers were now able to order their favorite drink, select the preferred location, pay for their order in advance, and come to the store and have their drink ready and waiting for them. No long wait in line. No chatting with any of the other customers or the baristas. In and out.

Starbucks and modern technology have ruined my social life. I no longer have co-regulars at Starbucks. How can I, when everyone is in and out of there within seconds? The baristas aren't even friendly anymore either. Presumably, they look at some computer screen with details of the mobile orders, they prepare said orders, and they call out "mobile order for XYZ." There is no human interaction. There is barely even eye contact.

Yesterday, for the first time, I ordered my coffee from the mobile application. I walked to the designated location, and by the time I arrived, my drink was already there, ready and waiting. I didn't have to talk to anyone. No fuss. No drama.

My coffee was ready in record time. It's a shame though that the experience of getting it so quickly left me unfulfilled and unsatisfied.