Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Persistent little f'er

A couple times during my Mexico adventure, I sucked my breath in, forgot about the certain death that was lurking around every bend in the river, and remembered that BB had text messaged me right before I left, and that I hadn't really made a decision about what to do.

And then it reminded me that the last time I was in Mexico, ten months ago, I was caught up in BB drama and doing my best to get him out of my system. (Do I call him ever again? Do I pay him for those last concert tickets? Will there be closure? Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.)

And then I got mad because I'm starting to associate the entirety of the great country of Mexico with BB drama, and that's just not fair to my good Mexican hosts.

Its wouldn't even really be worth mentioning at all, except for this tiny little fact...

That fucker called me today.

Hello? I never responded to his text message - wouldn't that be a hint that I wasn't in to talking to him? Apparently not. So, thank god I didn't hear my phone vibrating in my work bag. His message went like this "Hey Susan. Its BB. Just checking in. I'm going to be on the east coast next month. I didn't know if we were talking yet."

Breezy, easy. "Just checking in." Really? People check in when they are dating. Not when they haven't spoken in almost a year. And, uh, the fact that we haven't spoken in a year should be a pretty clear indication that we aren't talking. I'm honestly blown away at his persistence and audacity (and arrogance?). The fact that he is coming in for an east coast visit makes me believe that he would like to get together and catch up on old times; like the time he dissed me on Valentine's Day. Good times - I will always remember them fondly.

The problem is, with a text, then a phone call, I feel like I have been put in a place where I am required to respond in some manner. I don't like feeling like that. He's put me on the spot. Do I email him - let him know I'm ok, but that I'm going to have to pass on the great BB reunion? Or, do I not respond and risk more and more attempts at contact? I've moved on (and traded way up, by the way). Why can't he?

I'm going to sleep on it. I doubt that it will help me figure it out, but at least I'll get to be in my big comfy bed.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Oh and I, I will survive...

Enchildas? Check. Beans for breakfast? Check. Burros braying at 5am? Check. Digestive upset? Check. Paralyzing fear and anxiety? Check, check and check.

This vacation was one of the most difficult things I've done in a really long time. It pushed me way over the edge of my comfort level, challenged my significant fear of drowning, my fear of failing and showed me where I need to draw the line.

The line is somewhere around here:

Or, maybe here...

I learned a lot about myself on this trip, about how I interact with others, about how I feel about this thing people call "spirituality," about how fear and anxiety can keep me from doing things I should be able to do and about how I depend on others to help me through difficult times.

I'm still processing this stuff, and have a lot of interesting stories to tell, and maybe some more pictures to show. But, unfortunately, I still have to regroup my life and get my ass to work tomorrow, so it will have to wait.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Its really happening. When I wake up tomorrow, I'm getting my ass on a plane, then flinging myself down the sides of Mexican mountains in a rented kayak. What the fuck was I thinking?

I got a beautiful email from Prof's friend this morning, describing in horrific detail what happens when you ingest even a drop of river water (let's just say ass-pee and leave it at that), then telling me not to worry because I'll probably be back in the States before it really takes hold.


I don't feel worried or stressed, but my body is telling me that I am. I had a migraine yesterday and this morning. Took a migraine pill, which caused me to move v.e.r.y. s.l.o.w.l.y. for most of the day. Then my throat started hurting. I'm sucking on a cold-eeze tablet, downing immune boosters and hoping like hell its all in my head.

Packing and leaving the house is always stressful for me. Someday I will figure out how to conquer it (pack weeks in advance? Never leave the house?) but today, I ran myself ragged doing laundry, cleaning, packing, running errands, doing more packing, realizing I've overdrawn my checking account (when am I going to learn?!)...

But, I got it done. My bags are packed. The house is clean. The passport is safely tucked away, with some snacks. Do they allow snacks on the plane anymore? Probably not, so, I'll probably have to get into it with some TSA employee. But, one day of hellish travel, and I'll be in a warm place, with a cold beer.

Monday, January 11, 2010


I got the Ext yesterday. Out of nowhere. Unwanted and unsolicited.

Prof and I were relaxing and recouperating at a nice restaurant after an exhausting day with his family (followed by a side trip to Ikea). We both had a nice stiff drink to take the edge off, and thank god for that, because it continued to keep the edge off. While I was sitting at the table waiting for Prof to powder his nose, I pulled my phone out. Oooh! A text message from a strange number! I figured Prof had sent my phone number to his sister in law so we could commiserate over text messages about his crazy family, so I flipped it open, trying to figure out a snappy one-liner about the step-mother.

But I was not ready for what I saw, right there, on my phone:

"How are things in [my town]? Thinking of you, BB"

My heart immediately jumped into my throat, I felt faint and I think I turned pale. I just stared at it. "How are things? Thinking of you..." SERIOUSLY?!?! What the hell am I supposed to do with that?

I immediately showed it to Prof. Say or think what you will about me telling him about it, but I needed to be talked down. He's been through this with his ex-wife. He knows the BB back story. He's read the blog. I needed him for support. Needed him to tell me that it was natural to have that reaction to someone who had busted my heart into a zillion little black pieces.

I hate it that BB was able to illicit such a strong reaction in me after so much time has passed. Its been nearly a year since I last saw him or talked to him. He shouldn't have an effect on me anymore. He doesn't deserve to be able to get a reaction out of me.

But, he did. And now, once again, selfishly, he has put me in the position of having to make a choice that I didn't ask to have to make. Responding to the text is a choice, but so is not responding. What kind of jerk puts someone in a position like that?

A BB kind of jerk, I suppose.

So, here's the deal as far as I can tell. When an ex sends you a text, there is a reason. That reason? They lack the balls to call you, or send an email like a civilized person would do, or come over with a large boom box blaring Peter Gabriel. Most of all, they lack the balls to let you go live your life. Without them. The text lets them off easy. It text contains no info about them, no clue as to why they might have texted. Just two lines of bullshit, hoping for a response. And if there is no response, well, then, they've lost nothing. But if there is a response, then, they win. They don't lose. The only loser in this situation is the text-ee.

Its a really, truly selfish move. He didn't care that he may have ruined my afternoon. Or ruined dinner with my wonderful, awesome boyfriend who patiently walked around Ikea with me that afternoon while was wearing a fish puppet on my hand (I named him Franklin. He got lost in the dining section). Selfish. All he cared about was whatever event triggered him to look my cell phone number up off some really old email and dial the numbers into his iPhone with its brand new west coast phone number.

Did he want me to have his new phone number, just in case I had a pediatric emergency? Did he want to remind me that he was still out there, pining away for the best girl he ever lost? Did he win the lottery and want to split the proceeds with me as reparations? Is he dying of some rare form of brain cancer that causes you to "ext" with abandon?

Yesterday, I cared what the reason was. Today I'm just incredulous that he just won't go away.

And no, I did not respond. He doesn't deserve a response. And if more of us would stand up to selfish ex's who just don't get it, maybe exting would disappear forever.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Vera Cruzing

I started reading a new book yesterday. I always get just a little bit excited when I find a book at the library that looks like it will be interesting enough to make me want to get home and curl up with it for a little while. This one had great potential - its about a woman who is unsatisfied with life for no apparent reason and she does some spiritual life altering journey thing. But on the very second page, she describes how her husband got a used camper van off the internet. So, what does that matter? Well, the van had previously belonged to a kayaker who had gone down a river one day and had never been found again. So his mom was selling his paddling van. Cheap.

Page 2! I've barely begun the book before I'm taking it as a sign that I should quit this dangerous sport I have gotten myself tangled in.

Normally, it wouldn't have bothered me a bit, but I've been holding out on you all. Next week, I'm going back to Mexico. But this time, I'm going with my paddle, helmet and PFD, for an all women's week of paddling class III and IV rivers outside of Veracruz, in the Sierra Madre Oaxaca mountain range.

It wasn't my idea. Some of the women from my paddling club had gone on a weekend retreat with a female kayak instructor over the summer and had such a great time that they decided they wanted to do her Mexico trip. And they harassed me, and cajoled me until I said that I would go too.

But I was scared then, and as the days tick down, I'm getting more nervous.

The trip caters to women and is designed to help us improve our skills and confidence in a supportive, testosterone free environment. I mean, we all know that girls and boys learn differently and respond to encouragement differently. I prefer to be coached and gently encouraged through difficult rapids and new places. Instead, when we are paddling with the boys, what I normally get is something along the lines of "Do it, you pussy!!" Yeah. Not so encouraging really. Forget admitting that you are scared. It just doesn't fly.

You know what else doesn't fly? The flight we were booked on to get to Houston, where we will catch our connection to Veracruz.

A week before we are set to leave, Continental tells us that they've canceled our flight and have rebooked us on a flight that gets to Houston just in time to catch our connecting flight. Yeah, with an act of god, maybe. Those bastards think that 33 minutes between the arrival and departure is plenty of time. Even if our first flight took off on time (ha!) we would be hard pressed to push past all those people getting their damn carry on luggage from the overhead bins (careful when you open the bin, it could have shifted during flight!), pee, find the train that would take us six terminals down, run down the people mover belt and watch our plane pull away without us.

Anyone think this is another sign? Or am I just paranoid?

I'm trying very hard to focus on the awesome aspects of the trip. Exploring two new towns in Mexico, experiencing the clear water and beauty of the mountains, seeing monkeys and crazy-ass jungle birds, learning how to salsa dance, and becoming an empowered kick ass girl kayaker. But that fear and anxiety keeps edging in.

So, I've been checking the website several thousand times a day to reassure myself that this trip is designed to keep me alive and relatively unharmed. Sending it to my friends and seeing them drool with jealousy has also helped alleviate my fears. And if you want to be jealous and help me get over my fears, you can check out the trip here too.

If I survive, it will probably be the best way I've kicked off a new year in a long, long time.

Monday, January 4, 2010

New Year, Old Resolutions

So, here's when I'm supposed to make a list of all the ways I'm going to change this year and transform myself into this perfect person - the model of civility, class, couth, organization and financial well-being. But, here's the thing: if I want to do something badly enough, I'm not going to wait until January, put it on some list, and overwhelm myself with changing a dozen things about my life all at one time. It just sets you up for failure. Besides, I'm pretty damn near close to perfect now.

(Well, at least Prof says so. Sometimes.)

My resolutions have stayed pretty much the same since my mid-twenties. They go something like this: This year I'm going to meet with a financial planner and start a Roth IRA; I'm going to get organized; I'm not going to let my house get out of control; I'm going to be nicer to people; I'm going to eat more veggies (how I can be a vegetarian and not get the daily recommended dose of vegetables continues to befuddle me); I'm going to drink less; I'm going to lose those stubborn 10 pounds...

In fact, my resolutions have been pretty much the same since middle school. I was reading through my 7th grade journal again last night and found this:


My New Year's resolutions are:

1. Eat healthier, because I'm going to have problems if I keep going like I am
2. Be more organized, which is an impossible dream
3. Be nice to my brother, another impossible feat
4. Be more concerned with my appearance
5. Be more active (I'm seriously lazy)
6. Take more care with school and schoolwork
7. Get more money
8. Be neater (I'm a slob. You should see my room)

I will probably never succeed in the things listed above, but its something to hope for (kind of)!

Even at twelve years old, I recognized the futility of trying to be organized and nice. And, with the exception of the inclusion of an alcohol reduction program in the more recent years, the lists are virtually unchanged. OK so, in 7th grade I just wanted "more money" and now I want to increase my yield and limit future tax liabilities, but basically, we are talking about the same list.

And so, this year, I resolve to not resolve. To do what feels good when it feels right and to limit expectations that will later make me feel like I've left something unaccomplished. But seriously, I should meet with a financial planner... And lose those 10 pounds.