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Archive for May, 2004

The Sister Wars

This weblog is already proving a challenge and I haven’t even racked up a deca of posts yet. The main problem is that I have no computer at home.

WHAT? The deafening silence, the unutterable shock.

Yes, it is true, I do this all from work, on a non-Mac (weep weep) govt-issue PC with a s-l-o-o-o-w-w connection to the outside world. I think we share a T-1 between, like, 500 people. (Sidenote: Is that truly ridiculous or is that normal? I know very little about actual bandwidth requirements and IP traffic bottlenecks, etc.) And my job right now is really more like two jobs, so I am swamped almost all the time in addition to working long hours. The upside of all of this is that I don’t post very often. But hey, I’m not ALL that keen on people reading this yet so remaining in the little backwater shallows off the big river is fine for now.

However, back to the main event. Two days ago the Little Sister (hereafter known as LS) dragged me to a therapist’s office to reveal to me something she’d been wanting to tell me for quite some time, something that has put a recent wedge between us that she refused to explain to me OUTSIDE a therapist’s office. For weeks I’d been dreading the visit, even though we were going to see my therapist, whom I was pretty confident would slap her down if she started getting nasty or judgmental. I mean, if she needed a therapist present to tell me this big dark secret (which she had no problem informing me was something about ME that she didn’t like) how bad must it be? Did she think I was selfish? Arrogant? A princess?

Well, what came out of her mouth was bizarre, anticlimactic, and infuriating, in that order. The big dark secret that had been stewing inside her for months was this: she thinks I made bad financial decisions and she doesn’t agree with the way I spend my money.

WHAT? That’s IT? You don’t think I secretly try to steal your boyfriends or borrow your clothes and never give them back or secretly undermine you to our parents behind your back or other typical sister CRAP? You think I spend my money unwisely, and this upsets you so much that you have to tell me in front of a therapist?

Talk about left field. This field she was coming out of was left by north-left around the corner from left. At any rate, that was not the end of the story. (It never is, in therapy.) The real issue of course is that I spend my money on things like champagne and gin and big hats and don’t have enough left over some weeks to go see a film with her or go out to dinner. The real issue is that I spend my “going out” money more on my friends than on her and that makes her feel slighted. And the realest of all issues is that she thinks I SHOULD spend my money on the things she spends HER money on: expensive toilet paper and a superstocked cupboard of pre-packaged treats and the occasional Corona at a bar and tickets to Six Flags America. LS is a comfort girl: she likes comfort and convenience and BIG AMERICAN grocery stores with the latest fad in flushable Clorox bathroom wipes.

I, on the other hand, am a glamour girl. I’d rather buy the cheapest toilet paper and skip the pre-packaged treats and clean my bathroom with sponges that I use until they are falling apart, so I can spend the bulk of my disposable income on martini bars and fluttery chiffon tops from BCBG and an annual plane ticket to the UK. Of course that is not the only side of my personality, nor is LS averse to a night on the town. But in general, we spend our money differently and for some reason this bothers her and makes her angry, yes ANGRY, with me.

Anyway, now I am ANGRY with her for being judgmental and mean about this issue with me. And may I state for the record that her bf is heir to a construction fortune and could buy her a CAR for a birthday present if he wanted to. Also for the record, my parents pay her RENT (although to be fair that is because she is at university). She has no mortgage, no student loan, and no paying-the-parents-back-for-the-down-payment to worry about so she really needs to shut up about how I mismanage my money.

Because despite the booze and the dining out and the occasional splurge on Chanel moisturiser (God how I love to smear that stuff on my face) I have never missed a mortgage payment or been late on my student loan or forgotten to send my parents their monthly cheque. No sir, no sir-ree Bob.

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This is your official warning. DO NOT READ THIS POST if you are looking for something funny and light-hearted. This post is really a self-indulgent rant (what? a blog a self-indulgent rant?) that (like email) requires emotional context to avoid sounding like petulant snarking.

You have been warned.

dragon

I feel like there is a battle going on for my psychological well-being. It feels like death is around the corner even though that makes no logical sense. Am I crazy? No I am not crazy. Do I need medication? I really don’t think so. No dear readers, the source of my feeling-like-death-feelings is the taking of a recent decision to start dating again.

And let me tell you, it sucks BIG TIME.

First of all, I don’t get the men in this city. After a flurry of men giving me their cards, or asking me out, or even emailing back and forth a few times, I get the long blur into nothing. Or I get the cancel-two-dates-in-a-row-and-then-not-call-for-a-week thing. Or I get the “uh, actually, I have a girlfriend” thing. I want to ask them all: why oh why did you initiate contact if you are otherwise disinclined (OR COMMITTED YOU SKANK)? This city is full of overly-worked, overly-educated, overly-committed, overly-picky, and overly-thirty single men and women who can’t seem to GET TOGETHER no matter what they do.

Some of this is my fault. Sometimes I fall into the overly- category myself.

Nevertheless, dating is, hands down, the quickest way to experience monumental self-doubt on the one hand and hyperactive disdain on the other, a combination neither logical nor fair. It obviously kicks up my worst fears, my most terrible and self-abusive dragons, and all my scary vulnerabilities – those ones guarded by hate and fury. Maybe if I were a sports fan of a team during a losing season I could take it out on them! Luckily I just scribble furiously. But dating also makes me overly picky, indecisive, and a lightning-quick incompatibility-finder. I hate talking about it with almost everybody, I feel like scuppering every new relationship I get into, I feel like the biggest loser and the neediest most grasping stereotype of a girl that ever lived.

I hate dating. I hate it. I hate feeling so vulnerable in front of a complete stranger when they don’t even know it and feeling with each passing date that I might as well give up because at this age finding someone who is intelligent, warm, funny, single, and drool-worthy is like running six marathons in a row.

The thing is, NONE OF THIS makes any sense. If I could just figure out what the illusion was and then banish it, I could just get on with wading through the muddy puddle of crappy dates until I find dry land and a good cocktail bar and a cute 30-something with something to say and a kind smile. In fact my only real choice is to go forward, to go through it, because I can’t stay in the alone place forever, no matter how comfortable it is.

I just hope I make it out intact.

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