Looking For The Turning Lane Again

Image Once upon a time (almost ten years ago), I sat on a bed in a tiny third floor bedroom in a very tall house on a hill in New Hampshire. So much of right now is exactly the same as that sentence except the locale.

Anyways, on that night all those years ago, I was procrastinating another paper, pretending to prep to teach the next morning, and main-lining The West Wing with all the self control of a junkie sleeping on her dealer’s couch. It was 2006, and I was nearly finished with my MA in Literature. I was teaching my final classes of Freshman Writing. I was getting that horrific question from a lot of people: What are you going to do next?

In all honesty, I had no idea really. People say that silly things like TV don’t change lives but The West Wing changed mine. That spring I made the somewhat risky decision to throw caution to the wind, pack my bags, and move to DC where I would “change the world.” 

Because that is what we move to Washington for, gentle reader. It’s the only thing.

I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to help people. I spent a lot of time answering phones, making coffee and bribing other staffers with homemade baked goods in exchange for intern labor. And I spent a lot of time running through marble halls in high heels and saying prayers as I turned corners hoping not to wipe out.

I didn’t change any lives. I worked on Capitol Hill for a year and a half. I worked for a nonprofit for another year and a half. By the time my position there was “terminated” (that’s what they say when the job goes away and thus so do you), I was so done with DC I was gleeful to pack my belongings and my cat into a UHaul and head for Vermont. 

It’s been almost three years since I ran from public service, and I think I can finally admit it: I miss it.

The bottom of the inspiration barrel is mossy and slick, and I don’t like it at all. I think it’s time for me to go out and change the world again. How to do it is the real question I have to answer next. 


A Story: Knots in the Rain

Kate’s arrival at the bachelor party is not just accepted – it is expected. I see my brother’s eyes light up when she saunters into the hotel bar in stilettos and the same black dress she had on at the rehearsal dinner a few hours ago but that has somehow gotten far sexier in the last hour. Maybe it’s the whiskey Sam has been plying me with for that hour. I mean, this is Kate. She’s practically my sister.

The other groomsmen hoot and holler and she gets swept off her feet, literally, as they lift her into bear hugs and toss her around the room from man to man. Eventually, she’s deposited on the bar stool between Sam and me, and I manage to grin at her over the rim of my glass.

“Thank God, my love, I thought I’d have to drink alone.”

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Feet on the Wall


I could love a man who cooks.

I could just as easily love a man who does not. Someone women dance; some make a mean martini; some beguile with wit, secret smiles and double entendre.

Countless times, I have heard it said that tricks don’t work. More than a decade of attempting to date – and doing what I’m told does work, ie confidence, eye contact, etc. – with little to no success, has taught me otherwise as I have seen eligible men around me fall for exactly the tricks I’ve been told not to do. 

This is not to say that I’ve done everything right because God knows that’s not true. But I don’t really want to spend more than a few lines bemoaning my own single status. Do I care that I’m single? Sure. Does it rule every decision I make? No.

At this point in my life, all I really want is person to cook with at the end of the day. Someone to bring on family vacations if only so that my siblings and parents stop wondering if I am permanently damaged in some way. Someone who wants to lie in bed on Sunday mornings, who wants to put their feet up on the wall with mine while we sip coffee and argue over who should get up and go out to buy a paper.

Because I am actually a ball of stereotypes. Aren’t we all?

Is it strange to want someone to argue with? To want someone who challenges me to think of things in new ways and makes me step outside my comfort zone in a million different directions? I think that would be pretty fantastic.

I’m pretty tired of being told I just suck it up and join the online dating pool again but who knows. Maybe it’s time to throw my line back out into the deep end again.

Someone out there must be dying to lie around and be lazy with me, right?

(The image above is from one of my favorite movies of the last few years, For Lovers Only, from the Polish brothers. It is stunning and beautiful, and you should see it if you haven’t.)

#Stories: A Perfect Partner

“Why are you here?”

“Because you’re here. I want to be where you are.”

“Do you realize how insane that sounds?”

“I love you. Why is that insane?”

“Because you are spending your entire weekend sitting next to me in an outpatient treatment room, and this is the first time I’ve spoken to you in the last two hours.”

She plucked a thread from her sleeve and flicked it to the floor with a twitch. From the corner of her eye she saw his eyes follow the thread and a slight tick in the skin over his cheek. She had used the same fingers to flick his joints repeatedly, checking for reaction. Her body was reclined on the padded leather chair, arms crossed defensively over her chest, eyes closed against the bright sunlight attempting to pierce the eyes of every single patient in the room but missing all of their visitors who sat with their backs to the windows.

Bringing both hands to his head with slightly jerky movements, he stood and turned towards the window with the weight of her eyes on his back.

“What do you want me to do?”

“I don’t know, Henry. I can’t be in charge of your every waking moment. I’m not your keeper.”

Too many hours with an IV taped to the back of her hand, and an oxygen mask over her face had made her grumpy and impatient. While the volume of her voice was soft, the harsh tone with which she spoke gave away her swiftly waning patience with this man standing before her.

He could have just dropped her off. He could have pulled up to the entrance downstairs, put the car in park, helped her into the lobby, and turned around and left. But no. He had parked, carefully shuttled her fragile body to the outpatient lobby and gone back out to move the car to the longer term parking that was far from the entrance and come back in.

He had no books. He hadn’t even brought headphones with him.

He just sat there across from her treatment chair staring at her and waiting for his instructions.

This was always going to be the problem. She should have cut him loose when he started waiting for her through her yoga classes. Couldn’t he find something else to do with his time aside from waiting for her? It drove her up the wall – constantly waiting for her to give him a directive, constantly waiting for her to tell him exactly what she wanted him to do with the next hour of his life. She wouldn’t be there forever.

He blinked and there was a slight hum from his chest.

“You made me. You tied my circuits together and threw the switch. You are my mother. I exist only to be with you.”