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Friday, November 17, 2017

How I met the Cat Stabber and other things I don't remember part 1

 I'm a dumbass.

So when I was 20 I moved home to California after a couple of years of living in Las Vegas I took a job at the closest big box pet store I could find that would hire me.

Turns out it wasn't my work ethic or experience that got me hired out of the stack of applicants. Apparently a couple of the male workers saw me come in and apply and later told the General manager that hadn't seen me that I was perfect for the position.  Apparently they really talked me up and he called me in right away. Turns out they just wanted a chance to work with a "hot chick". Of course I didn't find this out until years later. I genuinely thought I was being hired on merit and my experience not because I was a cute blond.

So some sort of reverse sexism for the win here? I really needed the job, so I couldn't be too mad when I found out.

This place was perfect for new transplant me. Instant friends. Everyone got along for the most part and there were regular parties and get togethers with the extended family and friends. Having few friends growing up and a hard time making them, it was like being in high school again, but in a good way. Like joining a coed frat house but without the hazing. Socially speaking, it was glorious and I was in. It was everything I'd ever hoped for.

I quickly develop an intense crush on one of the guys. He was tall, athletic and blond haired. Almost instantly my hopes are dashed as I learn from the others that hes unobtainable. Apparently stuck in the friend zone with some dumpy girl that had been his friend for a long time. She wasn't part of this social group and was only brought up to make fun of my crush.

He and I developed what I felt was a good friendship. We got along and had banter.  In my opinion he acted interested, but not at the same time. Enough that you thought it was possible, but not strong enough signals to actually put yourself out on a limb and go there. He was a bit full of himself, but so am I and I appreciate confidence, as I'm sure most women do.  I'm pretty brazen but I just. could. not. tell. if he'd reciprocate if I made a move.  He'd constantly bring up Dumpy Girl or what his ideal girl looked like (which didn't match me) so after a few weeks or so I just filed it in the "would be awesome but wont happen" part of my brain.

During all this, in cruel serendipity, another guy at work, not in the cool kids club, after working many long shifts with me, develops feelings. He was such an attentive guy, remembered everything I ever told him, and was about to become a pilot. He was a little nerdy, dressed plainly, a little pudgy and was going bald in his early 20's. He was ok looking, but had no social life and was severely lacking confidence, and let people make fun of him with no retort or pushback. I liked him, but wasn't really attracted to him intensely like I was to Unobtainable Crush Guy.

The other workers on the other hand, were brutal to him. I was his only friend there. I felt I couldn't see if it would go anywhere because they would likely taunt and torture me like they were doing to him and I'd never hear the end of it.

There was a moment one day at work where Nerdy Pilot Guy told me or said something that warranted a quick thank you and a hug. When I hugged him I gave him a quick peck on the cheek, or so I thought, since he was taller than me and how it happened I ended up missing his cheek an landed it on his neck. We are talking a peck. Like you give your relatives.

 I thought no big deal until the embrace broke and I saw his face. He looked like a lotto winner who had just got laid for the first time. By the next day he had told everyone at work that I had kissed him on the neck in the back room. Making it sound very salacious and he was super excited about it.

The rash of shit and ridicule I got from this at work astounded even me who knew it was coming. I immediately went into deny deny deny mode to save myself. That sort of worked but not everyone believed me 100%. So I had to go full mean girl and push the idea that he had such an intense crush on me he was fantasizing or delusional. To be fair I was extremely hurt that he would immediately tell everyone what happened in what was obviously a private moment between just the two of us.

Eventually the crazy lovesick guy line of crap got adopted and I got away with it. Changing jobs was out of the question, and I was humiliated so I didn't know what else to do. It was my word against his. This basically broke his heart and he wrote me a very sweet but disapointed letter then quit very shortly after. I still feel bad about it.

anyway, back to the cat stabbing

So there was a house party planned and the day before at work, Unobtainable Crush Guy tells me that I should hook up with my manager, who he claimed was also his best friend, he likes me etc etc.  typical wingman stuff.

So still sad from what happened with Nerdy Pilot Guy my dumb and lonely ass internally goes " I don't really want to, but meh, if I'm bored, ok"  and subconsciously goes "UCG just told me to jump and I really like him, how high should I jump".

Of course this interpretation is with 15 + years of hindsight now, and at the time it wasn't a deep thought and I figured it was no big deal to hook up with the manager dude. Truth is I was young and didn't understand that lack of disgust for a guy wasn't attraction. I was neutral  and ambivalent so when the idea was put in my head by UCG and my brain didn't immediately recoil, I somehow took that as "yeah, maybe he's cute.... I guess". Add on top of that the intense desire to make UCG like me, even though this particular thing was like shooting myself in the foot. I was stuck in this wierd love triangle thing where all the love was unrequited no one was getting laid anyway and I was like "fuck it, lets make this a love square".

So I go to the house party . All the guys there are either with girl friends or wives. UCG hangs out with me, but of course, hes also pinning away for Dumpy Girl who didn't even come to the party because she was 'too busy" to hang out with him. At this point I began to wonder if this chick was even a real person because people talked about her but she hadn't materialized.

  I wanted nothing more than UCG to pull me into the bathroom to make out like all the couples were taking turns doing. I even hung out near the bathroom taking care of various puking party goes here and there in an attempt to... I don't know, hint at it or something. Remember I'm 20 and I'm a dumbass. So all night I hold hair for chicks, mediate couple fights etc  But noo cigar on the ol' make out in el bano.

  My memory is foggy, but basically I got drunk and sad, UCD announced he was leaving early, so I made a impulse decision. I ended up straddling Manager Dude and making out with him at the end of the night out of sheer frustration and loneliness. No real warning. I just did it. Its not like we were flirting all night or something and the tension got to us. I just needed human contact.

Of course I chose to do this in the middle of the living room, in the middle of the party, with everyone watching. So there was no denial or backpedaling available to me the next day.

I don't remember leaving, or getting home, or anything really. We didn't have sex. If we talked it was shallow small talk. It wasn't magical or special. It was just a bored hookup that meant nothing that I only did because someone I like suggested it.  I didn't regret it or anything, it just was a stupid thing I did at a party that now that it happened I had completed the favor to his wingman and we can all move on

Yeah, nope.

So the next day at work, I'm tired and hungover, wearing yesterdays smeared makeup, wanting to disappear and everyone starts coming up to me asking if he is my boyfriend, if we are together, etc.

I dodged it a bit until to my horror Unobtainable Crush Guy came up to me and asked me directly. All I remember was staring at the floor and how he seemed so excited for his friend and I didn't want to disappoint him so my dumb ass said "yeah, we're together". which made him really happy.

 This sounds extra stupid now that I've written it down, but bare with me. At the time it seemed easier than

A. "breaking up" with Manager Dude who obviously wanted me to be his girlfriend as he was sending all his friends to ask like we were in middle school.

B. Manager Dude was, well, my manager and I didn't want to get in trouble or fired. Remember again, I'm 20 and don't understand he'd be in trouble not me.

C. The new fabulous social group that I've been accepted to really seems to want this and if I don't I'll be ostracized like Nerdy Pilot Guy.

D. I'm pretty lonely after the Nerdy Pilot Guy thing blew up and as I had been waiting around for Unobtainable Crush Guy to come to his senses, I hadn't been cultivating other options.

So I said yes and rolled with it, thinking I'd figure it out later, pick a fight or find some way to end it. Or something. I'm a creative person I thought, I'll get out of this somehow and still keep everything else intact.

So, I forgot to mention that Manager Dude was a slightly older than me (mid to late 20s) Asian guy. He was part something else so he had darker skin. At the time he presented to me as an old and tan Asian Manager Dude.

I am not in any way shape or form attracted to Asian men. To his credit, hes probably the most attractive Asian guy I've ever seen in person, but he might as well been a chick or a goat to me as far as attraction. There was nothing there, like a giant void.

This should all be a blip on the screen, a forgettable dude in the series of dudes from dating in my early adulthood. It should be a footnote, but instead, again, in cruel serendipity, I had no idea that I'd end up staying with Asian Manager Dude for a very strange two and a half years.

In case theres a day at the lake.

So my new Boyfriend, Asian Manager Dude lived in a semi ghetto 1 bedroom apartment very close to work. He shared it with a high school friend of his that for some reason always conjured up images of vampires when I saw him, he was like accidental goth to me. Bone structure plus something else intangible. He didn't wear all black or anything, I just only saw him at nightime when he'd emerge from his room to go to the bar. If you told me he was 1000 years old, I'd probably believe it.

Vampire Roommate lived in the only bedroom while Asian Manager Dude slept on a sheetless and stained twin mattress in the living room. They paid equal parts of the rent. When I questioned him as to how he ended up in the living room but still paid rent the same he just shrugged.

 "when we moved in he took the bedroom".

"but, you guys didn't discuss it?"


"don't you think that's a bit unfair?"

another shrug

"you don't seem to care that much about it"

nods and shrugs again.

I need to mention that around the mattress he had erected a "room" made of stuff.

Not like, curtains, or using the back of a couch, or a bookcase. Oh no, not like that. There was an exercise bike and a computer desk that ran along side it, and on top of that were piles or clothes, papers and trash. It was a massive mound of stuff, yet you could still see right through it. The head of the bed was backed up to a sliding glass door with broken blinds and the opening to the "room" was the kitchen.

So when Vampire roommate decides he wants pop tarts for whatever chick hes brought home to eat at 2 a.m., you can see him walk up from across the apartment from your perch on the dirty bed, he can also completely see you the whole time hes in the kitchen. There was zero privacy.

 There were goat trails between the piles of trash and stuff leading to various important points in the apartment. The bathroom was surprisingly clean. As was the kitchen, I'm guessing the kitchen was rarely used as evidenced by the fast food trash everywhere. The bathroom was likely kept clean by Vampire Roommate as he needed it tidy for his preening rituals before his nights out.

Then, there was the dog.

 Asian Manager Dude had apparently adopted a dog for his Ex Girlfriend. Since he was unable to get over her dumping him years prior he had hung on to this dog she left behind to remind himself of her or something else equally dysfunctional.

She had means to take care of the dog, she just didn't want it when she bailed and I'm guessing never wanted it in the first place since he surprised her with it to begin with. Not a puppy, but an adult mixed breed dog she had no input in choosing. He really didn't want the dog, but felt too attached to it to rehome it.

It was a 15lb or so blond colored, high energy, reactive, Terrier Mix that he kept in the apartment 24/7.

The system he had worked out was he'd leave the sliding glass door open for the dog to go outside and crap on the concrete, which he would in turn not pick up on a regular basis.

Keep in mind, it did not have a dog door to use, but it was a straight up I'm going to leave this bitch wide open all day when I'm at work and no one is home situation. The dog didn't always use this option and there were dog feces crushed into the carpet mixed amongst the garbage and clothes.

The dog hated everything and everyone but somehow liked cats. So members of the large stray cat population would wander in to eat the dog food, panic when you came home or entered the room and then freak out trying to escape the apartment at full speed all while ricocheting off of the piles of trash. One time the sliding door was closed for an unknown reason trapping the cat in the apartment for at least a full day. I found it 5 feet off the ground terrified stuck on the sliding door screen, trapped between the glass and screen.

I learned that one of my coworkers at the Big Box Pet Store lived in the same apartment complex as Asian Manager Dude. This girl worked in the grooming department so I didn't get to talk to her very often as it was on the other side of the store. She was in the cool kids club but was older and wasn't into partying so I only saw her at work on rare occasions. I figured she was a safe person to bring my concerns up to. Tentatively I asked Groomer Girl if she had seen his apartment.

"oh yeah! Yeah, its pretty bad"

"has it always been that way?"

"yeah, I've known him longer than anyone else here, and its always been like that"

"I can't barely walk in there, there's only a clear spot in the center of the living room otherwise its just trash".

baffled look "the center of the living room?"

"yeah, its the only sorta clean spot"

"he doesn't have the Sea Doo anymore?"

"I'm sorry?"

"that's where the big yellow Sea Doo was, you know, like a jet ski, he must have got rid of it."

I later confirm with Asian Manager Dude that yes, there previously was a yellow jet ski living in the center of the room for a number of years. It was never a functioning unit so it was never used.

Of course, I'm put off by this, but I was living with my childhood best friend, her boyfriend and her brother in a nice upscale condo her mother owned in a different city. If he wanted to live in squalor and have a pet wave runner, it didn't really affect me, I rationalized.

This was all temporary anyway.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

My addiction timeline.

Growing up, I became aware that there was a history of alcohol addiction on one side of the family.

My parents never drank, and I was under the impression it was to avoid triggering something.

I didn't drink until I was 21.

I partied like a normal person for a few years. I remember self assessing to see if I had an issue.  I didn't like getting sick, so I quickly learned to moderate, drink water, stop early etc. I am very lightweight and it took time to figure out how to manage that.

When I came out of party mode later, I was pretty impressed. No addiction. I didn't feel the need to drink. I never drank alone,  etc. 

I began to question all this "genetic predisposition" stuff and I was pretty smug for quite a while.

Then the social part of the internet geared up.

I don't remember myspace too much, but I did spend a lot of time on it. It wasn't really direct social interaction, so I doubt it was a real issue. It was more a creative outlet, I could decorate my wall, post music, look at boys. It was mostly self expression.

A guy took a shine to me and invited me into a group he and his girlfriend ran.

Now, I grew up in AOL chat rooms. I loved them, they were tons of fun. So I thought this would be similar.

Yeah, no.

This is where I first experienced people spewing false facts and untruths. People projecting, trolling and attacking. My autistic fact based brain could not handle it. I started getting into online arguments with people. Usually ending up with me blocking them when they wouldn't back down.

Then, something that never happened with AOL happened. Someone used my online profile to find me IRL.

It spooked the hell out of me. Suddenly this random loser that I just casually chatted with about video games showed up at my work thinking we were soulmates.

I tried to close my account but myspace wouldn't let me. I ended up posting a nude picture from the internet as my profile picture to get my account banned. It took over a week.

So after some time, facebook appears. I don't remember joining or the early days. What I do remember was posting constantly. Checking constantly. Obsessed. For years

My hand was so sore and my eyes so tired I was like a pigeon in an experiment. I got the the point that my right hand stopped working and I could only really see out of one eye. Still I sat there, click, click, click. A rag over my bad eye and using my left hand to work the mouse with the one finger that still worked.

When there wasn't enough new content I went out seeking it. I joined groups only to end up constantly arguing with anyone who posted something that was incorrect.

I'm not talking about opinions to be clear, but stuff like "my dog is female" when it has a penis. I'm exaggerating a little, but most stuff was easy to prove or disprove and I did not know how to cope with these types of people. If I'm shown to be wrong, I go "oh, my bad" and then I move on. Turns out that's not how most people work and I could not cope with that.

 Additionally, to their credit, most people do not have conversations that are just blunt exchange of factual information. Which is how I like to communicate mostly.

 I eventually realized I had a straight up addiction and a major problem. I would quit for days or weeks only to return and obsess more. I wasn't happy doing this, but I was so addicted to human interaction, so I kept coming back.  I wouldn't say I was lonely, any more than an obese person is hungry. I had plenty of interactions but my brain just couldn't get enough.

I eventually deleted facebook. It was a relief. I quit other social media at the time as well. I've had a few minor relapses on other sites, but I recognize it quickly and delete it. Instagram is the only site I've been able to use and not have an issue, but I don't like how much time I waste on it so I try to avoid it.

So, not so smug anymore. Wiser now, but certainly not smug

Good luck everyone.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Thank you Mr. Mulder

 So for my first post of the New Year (yay! 7 years!) I thought I start with what I hope is a series of me writing down my thoughts about people who did simple things for me that had a large impact on me. Hopefully as a reminder to myself and others to be mindful of our interactions with others.

So I sat down last week and tried to remember what I actually LEARNED in school that I still use today.

I already knew that I had wasted a lot of my youth sitting in classrooms being taught stuff I had learned from watching PBS when I was 5, but I had never really thought about it deeply. Well, I finally have.

First off, I went to public school in Southern California during the 90s. I went to average to above average schools that were not over crowded or what we would call underfunded today. I Graduated HS just as the crowding and cuts were becoming a thing,

After some soul searching... I figured out that after about 6-7th grade I can't remember a single thing that was explicitly TAUGHT to us in class that I use today.

I'm not saying I didn't learn anything new after 7th grade. You pick up things just from exisiting. Tv, social interactions, falling down, etc. I still learned stuff.

 I'm saying that as far as curriculum, I didn't learn anything useful to me as an adult after about the age 11 from my teachers or school directly.

I'll preface this by saying I was in advanced math for my age, I was taking algebra courses at this stage.  Ironically, most of the math I do is making change in my head and figuring out tips. I was never taught how to count back change and just figured it out on my own. I learned percentages in 6th grade.

 It is borderline criminal that I basically I could have dropped out in 7th grade and not wasted the next 5 years getting picked on, drawing dragons in my notebook and reading fantasy novels.

Literally every memory I have of being in class in HS is me drawing dragons in my notebook and trying to look invisible. I'm not kidding. I would try to pay attention, become extremely bored and then check out. I was still acing tests. My grades didn't start slipping until things at home got bad coupled with me ditching school all the time because I was SO EFFING BORED.

So this is the last useful thing a teacher taught me and I loved him for it.

In 6th or 7th grade in math class we built this huge Icosahedron (think like a D&D dice but with more sides) out of PVC pipes and rope. My math teacher who was an amazing guy, taught us the difference between granny and square knots, so that the structure wouldn't fall apart when we were building it.

 I remember being struck with OMG THIS IS SO FUCKING USEFUL when he explained it....It was like a religious moment.. and thinking to myself  I WILL USE THIS FOREVER THANK YOU.  I remember being so happy, like euphoric. This alone tells me that perhaps I was already not getting a lot of new knowledge at this age but wasn't so bored that I remember it explicitly.

So I did remember it.

 I still use it.

A lot.

 Forever maybe.

Thank you.