Sunday, April 8, 2012

Blues for a t-shirt.

Just a few days ago I made a reference to the Cameron Crowe film Singles. It is a great cross-section of Gen-X as twenty-somethings. While you may have had Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Dazed and Confused or Clueless, my generation had Singles.

If you've never seen Singles, it's got a great cast.  Kyra Sedgwick, Campbell Scott, Bridget Fonda and Matt Dillon with cameos by Eddie Vedder and the rest of the guys from Pearl Jam along with some the rest of the Seattle Sound bands. Sorry to say, no Dave Grohl or Kurt Cobain, but definitely shots of the cover of the Nirvana album "Nevermind."  Set in Seattle, the film uses my beloved grunge/hippy-revivalist scene of the early 1990's as its' backdrop.

The film goes along in chapters titled: "Be happy, stay single", "The Hourglass Syndrome", "Blues for a T-shirt", "Blue Seattle", "Expect the Best", "The Theory of Eternal Dating" and "What took you so long?"

In the middle of writing this post, I went back and watched the film again because I needed correct quotes, but somewhere in the middle of it, I found myself growing really weak and thinking to myself, "Was walking out of my relationship the wisest thing I've ever done?"

If you've seen the film, during the chapter "Blues for a t-shirt", you know exactly what Kyra Sedgwick's character "Linda" does with the blue t-shirt Campbell Scott's character "Steve" intentionally left behind at her apartment, hopefully to illicit a phone call.  Well, after Steve completely blows it to the point it was like he shot off both of his own feet and Linda tells him to go fly a kite, the next scene features Linda as she takes the blue t-shirt and politely cleans her toilet with it, thinking to herself:
"Why? Why do you talk such a good game?  You talk about things that matter, that get me excited; that get me hot. Then it's like you're lobotomized. Why can't I just protect myself? Why can't I just be a buddy? Glad I caught this one in time. Can't leave myself open. Better to be the dump-er than the dump-ee."
As I watched that scene, I had to laugh.  Today while I was working on cleaning my apartment, trying to use my spring break in the most efficient way possible, I'm not even shitting you, I found Ace's blue t-shirt in my laundry basket. Talk about life imitating art, the color of Campbell Scott's character's t-shirt was the EXACT same color as the one I found in my laundry basket. I can't help but think it's a sign. Ugh! It's probably a sign I watch too many damn movies!

Immediately when I saw that t-shirt, I won't lie, the first words out of my mouth were, "Oh shit," as I picked it up and extended it to see what was on it.  Sure enough, it was his.  After doing a bit of negative swearing, the image of Kyra Sedgwick toiling over her toilet with the blue t-shirt struck me.  At that point I looked at the t-shirt, then at my bathroom, then at the t-shirt again, smirking evilly.  In my mind I could see myself sitting on my bathroom floor cleaning the toilet with his blue t-shirt then promptly throwing it out. But, I didn't. I folded it and put it in a drawer.

Ok yeah I wimped out, I didn't clean my toilet with his blue t-shirt, but it was for a really good reason: I had already dusted my bedroom furniture with the red t-shirt he gave to wear as a sleep-shirt.  To answer your question, yes. I really did, then promptly threw it out.

The entire time I was dusting my dresser, nightstand and the top of my armoire, I muttered to myself almost the exact same things as Kyra Sedgwick did. Why was it that he was so wonderful on one hand, then so nightmarish on the other? Why was it that he was so great at talking about things, so great at knowing every little detail but then in the same moment able to shoot his own feet off by pulling some boneheaded stunt or just letting things get to him to the point he lost control? He was a really good, although distorted, reflection of me but at the same time, he was so damn charming. One of his dad's ex-wives had it right, "When you get around them, your head promptly flies up your ass." There were so many days that I'd be to the high-heavens pissed at him, then as soon as I'd see his smile I could never remember why I was mad in the first place. I will say this, he knows me (and handles me) a lot better than my ex-husband ever did.

Excuse me while I keyboard faceplant. I guess the tagline to the movie was right. "Love is a game. Easy to start, hard to finish."

Then another scene popped up where she said:
"We spent a couple of great weeks together.  But my mind works in strange ways.  Whenever things are at their best, I start waiting for them to fall apart.  I can't figure out if I do it to myself or if life does it for me."
Oh, I know perfectly well I do it to myself. I get so busy over-thinking things or getting too caught up in other things, and with how chaotic my life is right now, there's just no room for him.  But it didn't stop me from looking out the window and wondering how he would react if I showed up on his doorstep and said, "I was nowhere near your neighborhood..."

But then during "The Theory of Eternal Dating", Steve looks at Linda and says:
Someone who cares about you must scare you to death.
As far as I'm concerned, he's absolutely right. I equate love with pain. I've never known love to be without some sort of pain to back it up. I guess that was why it was so easy to look at all of his and my painful shortcomings and run from them because I'm truly tired of love equaling pain. I have never really known a relationship without conflict and I guess I just want one without it, so if there's even the smallest bit of painful anything, I run from it.

Then there was the car wreck scene. As I watched Linda having a hard time after the wreck, she turned her back to Steve and I suddenly felt sorry for him, he was in a battle he couldn't win. I started to feel really bad for Ace at that point, he had been faced with a ton of battles that he couldn't win just because of my very troubled past.

During "What took you so long" Linda sits and thinks to herself, "What am I doing? Why did I chicken out?"  As she goes back to her old routine she thinks, "Well, at least I'm not out there dating," and I can totally agree with that. I'm safe, I'm in my bubble. I have a roof over my head. I'm good. But at the same time, I just don't know what to do.

The thing that killed me the most when I watched the film is being reminded of all of the good things I had while I was with him.You should have seen the beautiful flowers he always walked in with, always but always a handful of Gerbera daisies for me.  I miss how he can make practically anything in the kitchen and his turkey burritos. I really miss watching him work with a chef's knife and how when he was in a good mood, watching him cook was one of the most fun things I've ever done. He knew that coconut ice cream with fresh bananas and pineapple on top always made me feel better. But then as I'd feel better while eating my ice cream, it would always be colored by him telling me all about all of the stressors and demands he was under and I'd have to hear long tirades about how the world was screwing him over. I really never heard from him a peaceful moment, and I guess that's what did it in the end for me. I always found myself thinking, "Is this really worth it?" I just couldn't be around someone who didn't have some semblance of peace in their life.  But even though it's freshly over, as my friend Tera looked at me and said, "You do realize that the ball is now completely in your court. You have to decide what you're going to do with it."

I will be honest, I have not one earthly clue of what to do with it. All I know is that I can't be in a relationship where the other person is so stressed out that they can't enjoy a single peaceful moment without regretting they didn't finish their list of chores for the day. I proved to myself that I could make time for practically anything, gods, I really did go to the nines and put my shoulder to the wheel for it.  I tried my hardest to stop my world from chugging right along so I could give him all the attention and quality doting I thought he deserved, but it just wasn't enough.

The worst part? I miss the dog almost more than I miss the man. But it's a package deal, so I don't really know what to do.  I guess I am seriously in the middle of the "Blues for a t-shirt." Had I not found that blasted thing in my laundry basket we wouldn't be here right now!  ARGH!  I'm one of those, "Be happy, stay single" kind of people and a blue t-shirt is messing me up.  AAAAAARRRRRGGGGHHHHH!

But let's keep going with the movie.

After the whole Linda and Steve thing, then there is Bridget Fonda's character, "Janet". The first time I saw Singles, I was the same age as Janet, 23. I love how she said:
I'm 23.  Remember how old we thought 23 was when we were little? I thought I'd be traveling through airlocks and have three kids.  But here I am, 23, and time is running out to do something bizarre.  Somewhere around 25 "bizarre" becomes "immature."
Janet dates Cliff, played by Matt Dillon. Cliff, in a lot of ways with how he likes to mess up and so forth, brought me back to that damned blue t-shirt again, watching as he screwed up and left himself nowhere to go.

But after getting to this point in writing on Tuesday night...I stopped. It was 3 a.m. and all I could think of was that damned blue t-shirt and how much I missed Ace. He had made it practically impossible NOT to miss him.  After thinking about Cliff, Janet, Steve and Linda and Cliff's line "Does this happen to everyone?" with Janet replying, "No, I think it's just us." I stopped clicking on my keyboard and looked at my phone.  It had been almost a week since I talked to Ace and I had become overwhelmed with the blues brought on by that damned blue t-shirt.

The ball was in my court. I knew it. At that point, I don't know if it was my addict nature that got the best of me, or if it was the fact the blue t-shirt was haunting me, but I hit the speed dial key for Ace. Even though it was 3 a.m., I knew he was up, so I listened to the phone ring and it was like I had stepped into the film where Linda asks Steve, "Did I over-react?" It took about 10 minutes of talking before I looked down at my pajama-clad legs and my t-shirt and said, "I'm coming over."

That was four days ago.  Come to find out, I did over-react and well, let's just say I've got some goods to share, but it's late and I'll let the anticipation build for the next two posts.

Here, I'll give you a preview:

"Rice Krispy Treats..."
"Love, War and PTSD."

See you tomorrow!

Edit!  I forgot the song of the day:  From the film Singles: Paul Westerberg's "Waiting for Somebody"

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