Monthly Archives: June 2005

A story from the dating trenches

So last night I went on a date. A date that I was really excited to go on with a person I was looking forward to seeing. It was the third time we had hung and I had really started to like him. But now, instead of feeling happy and a little infatuated, which was the way I started out the evening, I feel deflated. Like I need to retreat back into myself for a bit of reorganization.

A little back story. Three months ago, I answered his ad on craiglist. It wasn’t your standard, three sentence “I’m cool so let’s hang” craigslist ad. It was thoughtful and articulate. It described the person he wanted to be with in quirky and appealing detail and I saw a lot of myself in the traits he delineated. So I wrote back. And he wrote back and I wrote back again and crazily enough, soon it was two months later. Over the course of more than 80 emails we established that we had a great deal in common, saw the world through a similar lens and generally would probably get along pretty darn well.

And we did. We met three weeks ago in Rittenhouse Square and spent over five hours talking, laughing, eating and wandering the neighborhood. He walking me home at ten minutes to midnight and I skipped into my building, infused with that inner music that only a good first date can leave you hearing. It’s almost a physical sensation, when your vibration meets another with which it hums in harmony and I thought I had felt it. The following week we met up for a beer and ended up sitting in the Square again, talking until I was too sleepy to keep talking anymore. He came up to my apartment briefly that night on my invitation. Looking around, he commented on my mission style rocking chair and a blue enamel pitcher that hangs in my kitchen, two of my favorite objects.

Last week he was on vacation and out of communication and I was aware that he was gone and that I was looking forward to his return. And tonight, we met up in the same spot in the Square that we had several weeks ago and started another evening together. We got into his car and headed out to Chestnut Hill to go to dinner and then wander over to the Wednesday night concert in Pastorius Park. Dinner was terrific (sushi, how I love thee) and I felt like things were going well.

But the conversation we had while sitting in the park has left me feeling frustrated. He admitted to having a problem opening up and then proceeded to open up about that problem (and little else). We talked about relationships, and whether it’s worth it to have them at all, knowing how difficult they can be. Is it better to just be alone?

My conclusion is that it is not better to be alone, but neither do I want to be with someone because just for the sake of not being alone. I know that relationships are hard, but in the end, to me, they are worth it. There is value in building a history and store of common experiences with someone you care about. After that I asked, “So, what are we doing here?” I didn’t really get an answer.

He quoted back to me something I had written in one of my emails months ago about recovering from my break up, which said

The thing I miss the most is the talking when you get home, after you’ve been out with friends on a Friday or Saturday night. Debriefing and deconstructing the evening and experience with someone and then falling asleep with them. The sense of being allied with someone.

He said that this was something that had stuck with him as a reason to be in a relationship.

At one point he warned me off of him, saying something like “I’m trouble, in appealing packaging.” When I’m with him, I feel like he’s working to keep distance between us. We have not kissed and he doesn’t call me randomly just because he wants to, I guess because he doesn’t want to.

So why do I care? I don’t have a whole lot invested in this. But I was feeling hopeful and excited about him. Finding someone with whom I have a lot in common with, who I like enough to get a little excited about, isn’t all that easy. Finding someone who loved “What the Bleep do We Know” is even harder.

Oh well.

okay then…

So I was checking my site statistics, cause knowing that more than three people have read my blog makes me happy. I noticed that someone had visited from and so I wandered on over there. And discovered that I’ve been quoted and snarked upon because of my slightly overly idealistic perspective on Live 8. Now, I’ve been called on my innocence and glass-half-full mentality on previous occasions, so I’m okay with this. But check it out and tell me what you think.

Live 8

In four short days, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway will be serving as venue for one of the biggest events to hit town since I’ve lived here.

Live 8 is more than a concert, it is a way for artists/musicians/people of note to use their power as celebrities to call attention to the number of children who die as a result of extreme poverty, every day. It is attempting to be a wake up call to the political leaders who will be convening in Scotland for the G8 Summit.
I feel like people in Philly aren’t perceiving that way, though. Many I talk to are expressing frustration at having their city shut down for the day. They are bemoaning the fact that the performers in London are better/more interesting than the ones in Philly. They are seeing it as just another large, outdoor concert happening in Center City over the 4th of July weekend. But it’s not just another concert. It is an opportunity to be a part of a global community that cares deeply for the health and wellbeing of all humanity.

Indoor humidity

I walked into my office this morning and my papers were soggy. The windows were dripping with condensation. My normally demure, straight hair increased in volume threefold. If you sat quietly, you could almost hear the mold growing in the walls. I was surprised there weren’t little storm clouds forming up in the corners. At 8:30 am Megan dropped off a folder of papers for her site partner to pick up a bit later. When Dana arrived for the folder at 10 am, I had to apologize as I handed over the folder, because in that short time, it had gotten really damp.

Yes folks, it’s summer in Philadelphia.

Belmont Plateau

Philadelphia has some amazing outdoor spaces, and so many of them are drastically underutilized. Tonight we had the Unitarian Young Adult potluck in Fairmount Park, on the Belmont Plateau. It is a vast stretch of lawn with a view of Center City that is impressed in the day and in the twilight. We sat across the street from Belmont Mansion, where a wedding reception was taking place. The fingers of the breeze pulled the unclaimed notes of the jazz quartet playing there down to our blankets and so we were doubly gifted with a free concert and an amazing cityscape. Lightening bugs skated six inches above the ground and the air cooled down to that point where you aren’t certain if air exists anymore, it is so close to perfect. Seth brought a grill and I channeled my Great-Aunt Doris, encouraging those gathered to “eat, eat.” Happily full and slightly dirty, we packed up three hours after we had arrived, feeling lucky to have such good people and beautiful spaces in which to enjoy this last Friday evening in June.

Fire alarms

About twenty minutes ago, I was slammed out of sleep. Arm twisted, drool-pooling, rapid eye movement, sound sleep.

By a fire alarm. A very loud, highly insistant fire alarm complete with computerized voice calling out instructions.

Remembering the building fire of two years ago (which I wasn’t actually here for, but heard lots about from my then boyfriend who happened to be sleeping in the apartment that night), I grabbed a sweat shirt, my cell phone and my bag before heading for the fire stairs. I almost brought my laptop, but decided that I didn’t feel like schlepping it. Following the directions that “the voice” recited repeatedly, I took a seat in the stairwell (with my new, very cute, young-for-the-building neighbor) and waiting for the all clear signal.

After 10 minutes, “the voice” announced that it had been declared fine and that we could go back to our apartments.

I resent the lost sleep, but at least I finally met the cute neighbor. Although, if the state of his wakefulness is any indication, he probably won’t remember.

Time traveling via nectarine

I brought a nectarine with me to work in my lunch today and now I’m reluctant to eat it. There is nothing wrong with it. It is perfectly formed, deeply colored and absolutely ripe.

And it smells amazing.

It is sitting on my desk, to the left of my keyboard. My office window is open and with each gentle nudge of the breeze, the fragrance of my nectarine drifts right to my nose. When that becomes too much of a tease, I pick it up, cradle it in both hands and tuck my nose into the space where the stem had been. I close my eyes and inhale deeply.

I am seven years old and sitting on a white painted glider on the brick patio out behind our house in Eagle Rock. My parents were at work, and Lucy was babysitting. In addition to nectarines, a yellow enamel colander full of cherries rested on the white metal outdoor table. Lucy was 16 years old at the time, and talking on our brand new cordless phone to a friend. I sat, listening to her conversation and wishing deeply to be as cool and grown up as she.

I’m standing in front of the sink in the house my family lived in when I was in high school. There are peaches and nectarines lined up on the window sill in front of me, ripening in the afternoon sun.

It’s three years ago and my first summer in Philadelphia. I stood in my kitchen, making nectarine cobbler for my aunt, uncle and cousins, while they visited from Hawaii.

Where does the nectarine take you?