26 September 2010

Social Grace

I am completely snowed under just now, but as usual, that gives me the most desire to procrastinate. Actually, I've been pretty good today, knocking out 2500 words of properly cited literature review. Of course, I need to repeat this exercise about 5 more times before next Wednesday and I don't see how that's possibly going to happen with all of my other obligations, but at least I'm not as bad off as I was this morning.

At any rate, my manic panic over my current work and deadlines is not the point of this post. Rather, I am perplexed by the behavior of some acquaintances of mine and I wonder what has happened to social grace?

A couple of weeks ago, Mr.Aloof popped out of the ether again, as he tends to do. He wanted to tell me about a photography exhibition he put on, which was fine. I replied to his mail and asked him a few questions about the exhibit and so on. He replied back. I replied to his email asking a couple of other follow up questions and he replied back... and there was not a single question towards me in his email. It's entirely possible that there weren't any towards me in the first couple though I deleted them already so can't check. But still, having gotten the information I was curious about, I see no need to respond to such a blatantly rude social email that does not inquire at all about me, my life, what I'm up to or how I'm doing.

Then last night I was out to dinner with M. This is a story in and of itself. Suffice to say, M and I are on pretty shaky ground friendship-wise these days. But I am trying to put in some effort. So I agreed to meet up for dinner. And I asked M about work, about her recent work-related travels, about projects and people and her flatmate and her family. And she answered socially enough, which was good, and certainly a step up from past interactions. However, there were these moments of silence where I sat there and just wondered in my head if she was going to show some initiative and general politeness and ask me anything about me and my life. I tried not to say much about what was going on with me to see if this would prompt some questioning. Alas, it was not to be. She didn't ask me a single thing about myself throughout the entire meal.

I would like to think and hope that when I meet up with my friends I am suitably interested in their lives and what is going on with them. I would hate to think that I was like my mother- who only seems to ask questions as a segue to talking about herself. I remember things about my friends, what they told me they were up to, what was going on in their lives, and when I see them or speak to them, I follow up. I am interested. I care.

When people interact with me and don't ask me anything at all, the only thing I can conclude from this is that they simply do not care. Which does not make me inclined to care much about them. I'm not asking for the situation to be reversed, I'm simply asking that it should be balanced. Yes, I like to find out what is going on with people I care about, but I would think that people who cared about me would like to find out what is going on with me!

Honestly. I don't think I'm off base on this one. Some people are just undeniably rude and self centered and should go back to some remedial lessons on politeness and social interaction.

Rant over. Back to work.

12 September 2010


I have that knot in my gut that is starting to tell me the pressure is building. I have a lot of reading and writing to do in the next couple of weeks. And it is going to take me the next couple of weeks to do it in.

I have other things to do as well, but they are all proving to be inconvenient distractions at the moment, even when they are not so much distractions as commitments that I can not get out of (nor would I want to).

Still, there is a buildup in my life. Deadlines and expectation looming. And it comes with a low level urgency that permeates through everything. I'm not sleeping well for starters. And as I am someone who pretty much regularly sleeps very well, it's a pretty good sign that things are happening.

Although within this stressful context, I can only say that life has been reasonably good just now. I've been out meeting up with people, having lovely meals and conversations. I've even made some money. Many positives.

A week past my conversation with L and I can't necessarily say that it's a situation I'd class as positive. I am truly disappointed that he is.... lacking? Lost? Whatever he is, he isn't what I wish he was. So of course, disappointing. I've not heard from him all week, though I know he's busy, I also know that when you are interested in people, you find ways to get in touch. And silly things, like basic Internet stalking principles show me that he's been around the Internet. So you know, time for that but not time for me? Message loud and clear. I think I'll leave it and see what he comes up with. I'm not mad at him in any way, but even in simple friend terms there are some basics that I would generally expect, that he has not been providing and is still not providing. So. Alas really. What else can I say?

The entire situation has prompted quite a bit of thinking on my part about relationship issues. Mainly from getting very mixed and interesting feedback from a variety of friends who all know me pretty well. Four different friends to be precise who all had very different things to say about the subject. Which in some ways is harder because friend consensus is much easier to get on board with. But anyway, it's been interesting to absorb four different opinions on me and what I get up to and how I interact relationship-wise. I don't think I have an answer myself at the moment. Hence the thinking.

But it's all a bit inconvenient timing wise given that I have other things to worry about. And with L now being a non contender, there isn't anyone else I need to particularly worry my little head about. And really, I should be directing all that mental energy to my more academic and professional pursuits.

It's just not nearly as interesting I'm afraid.

At any rate. Must find a way to focus on work. Must do work. Must make progress. Must not be found out as big faker that I secretly think I must be. Yes, that just about sums it up.

06 September 2010

Wishes and Fishes

I am going to cobble together this post from some email that I figure says a lot of what I want to say anyway, but better to keep it here.

Sunday was a bit of a mess. I had texted L on Saturday to say that we should just meet up at Monument along the Skyride Route at 11. I hadn't had a confirmation back from him. I didn't know if he would actually even show up.

In order for me to get from my house to the main route, I decided to join one of the 'led rides' that started at the Town Hall. They said the ride was full, but I knew they couldn't keep me from just following them either. And it turned out not to be a problem. In fact, I ended up helping out being a marshall for that- meaning that a group of the adult riders would cycle ahead with one of the leaders, and prepare to block traffic until the group could pass. So that was actually quite a bit of fun. Unfortunately, that took me to St. Paul's at 11:10.

Luckily (sort of) I had a voice message from L from a number I didn't know saying he couldn't remember if we were meeting at 11 or 11:30 and his phone was out of battery and he'd try to see me at 11:30 but not to call back on the phone as he was borrowing a friends. I called his number but it went to voice mail saying I was late, so monument at 11:30 was fine, see you then. I got to monument around 11:30.

From there I also called S who was supposed to be joining the Skyride with her husband, sister, and step mother and we were supposed to meet up. Well S and her sister were ill and not coming but husband (F) and step mother (D) were apparently somewhere out there. In the meantime I get another message from strange phone from L saying maybe best to meet in St. James park where the picnic area was. So vaguely annoyed, I took off on the main route.

But it's hard to be very annoyed when you cycle through central London with no traffic and thousands of other cyclists. That is why I love the event. And unplanned I ended up just at Big Ben at noon as the chimes were going off and people were whooping and ringing their bike bells, it was just a kind of uplifting sort of moment.

Eventually I got to St.James park and went about trying to find a picnic spot I could direct people to (as there are thousands of people and bikes milling about I picked an area that I could easily direct people to, but not the most picturesque, although wasn't on top of anyone else either. I hadn't heard anything from L for a while, so thought he was standing me up. At some point on the ride F had called me so I knew he and D were behind me in the circuit but I didn't know how long until they'd get to where I was. So I sat there in a throng of people on my picnic blanket feeling moderately put out and crabby about everything and entirely alone. Of course, I proceeded to call people so I could just talk to someone and of course everyone I called wasn't answering their phones either! Ah universe, my ever comforting friend.

After about 45 minutes, a lot of things started happening at once. Everyone I called started calling me back and this was just when F & D were getting to where I was and I'm trying to direct them and in the meantime I am getting through messages from L that he got my text and was there time to come to the park. So okay, things were coming together, but I had to make an effort to put my grumpiness behind me.

So F & D showed up and we picnicked together and hung out which was good. L was on his way. Then F had some errands to do in town and as he cycles usually, he said he'd be back in 30-45 minutes and left D with me but that was fine. Probably 20 minutes or so after that L finally did turn up very apologetic about scheduling and stuff and D had wandered off to look at the exhibits and free giveaways and things. So okay, everything back on track, just a bit later than expected.

F came back and D came back and then they were taking off to head home and L and I had talked about seeing a movie so we decided to go to Angel as I had my bike and didn't want to go further away from home. He was on the new Boris bikes, so Angel is one of the last spots in zone 1 you can dock them close to my house and a cinema. So we cycled through town and that was alright. He docked his bike and I locked mine up by Waitrose. We ended up going to screen on the green, not vue- and they had double sofa seat things so we got one of those. As a total side note, screen on the green, and particularly the double sofa seating is excellent. Like really excellent. But back to the story, we had a half hour to kill or so and went to the triangle park and were talking a bit. I did manage to sneak in a couple of comments about me not getting a good read on him or some such. But mostly we talked about work and life stuff which was also good of course, I mean, otherwise why would I want to hang out with him at all?

Then we went to the movie which was very enjoyable - Scott Pilgrim vs the world. Worth seeing.

So movie over, of course we'd been a bit snugly on the movie sofa, so we were leaving the cinema and heading back to where I'd locked my bike and I asked him if I could convince him to come to mine for a bit but he said no. So we were talking on the street and I think I just flat out asked him how many people he was seeing and what we were doing exactly (or something like that and it didn't come across nearly as blunt and horrible as that probably reads, I hope). At which point we decided to go to a pub and talk as standing on the street seemed a bit silly. So we did.

And that was good, although not ideal in terms of what I want, but good that we talked and I'm happier now that I feel more confident I understand what things are. In short. His last relationship was 7 years - he's the one who ended it. He's seeing one other person now. He's not looking to get into anything serious just now. He does really like me and thinks if sleeping together would mess up developing a friendship he'd prefer we stop sleeping together as he would like to keep me as a friend. But he doesn't want to stop sleeping together- he's just concerned for me and what I might want in that regard. So I said okay, I would not prefer we just stop sleeping together but I accept that he's not looking for anything serious and if I feel I'm getting attached then yes I'll want us to stop sleeping together. We also talked a bit about 'being cagey' or quiet about stuff and I was just like, look, what I want is for you to be honest with me. Let me make up my own mind about what I can handle or not or want to put up with or not, but I can't do that unless you just tell me what's going on, and I'm not going to be mad at you for being honest with me, but I might get upset if I thought you were lying. So I think that was good. Oh yeah, and I explained a bit of the kink stuff as well, so that was good.

I mean not good in the sense that, he is not wanting a serious relationship, but good that we really talked and I think are more on the same page, so it's okay for now. So.... yeah. Good but not good if that makes any sense.

And that is the story that I emailed to S this morning as she was curious about if anything had happened. And her take, to summarize, is that I seem to find people not willing to give me what I want and I tend to settle for less, and that maybe while I'm messing around with people not giving me everything I want, I'm not being proactive or interested or sending out the right vibes to find what I want. So her advice, is drop it.

And to a certain extent, I generally think most of her thinking is valid. I suppose I'm just not convinced that there is anything else out there. I don't mean that in a depressive sort of way. I mean it quite literally. Maybe I'm not really cut out for relationships. I don't seem to have an awful lot of them in any sort of 'traditional' sense. Maybe that is down to me, but maybe it's about stuff that I like, and don't want to change about myself. I don't know.

I do know that my tolerance for things like the Mr.Aloof's of this world are not what it was and I wouldn't put up with that behavior ever again. But life doesn't seem to be offering too much else then what's been on the table. Maybe my expectations are too high (although to be fair, maybe they're too low as I think my tolerant nature is half of what ends me up in these relationships). Maybe I put out the wrong sort of vibe. I guess I just don't want to be miserable forever going on mentally about 'how there's something wrong with me'. Because luckily these days I don't think there's something wrong, but I also think... I don't know. This may just never happen for me. I spent years and years and years not dating and also not having anything even remotely related to dating (ie, sex). Like, most of my 20's. I know what it's like for time to just to pass by year in year out and dating just doesn't even show up in the solar system.

So okay, now things are different in that I'm doing some things, but I don't know. If I withdraw from L and don't have time for much pursuing other people, then three years of PhD can come and go and I've got nothing socially. Or not.

It's all a crap shoot and numbers game. I just don't think I've ever had lady luck on my side. I don't know how long I'll be wanting to put up with things with L as they are but I'd like to enjoy it while it's fun. Unlike Heathrow, if we don't really communicate much (Heathrow and I emailed a lot during the week and would then spend entire weekends together) I don't currently feel a particularly strong attachment. Though I recognize these things can change and I'd have to keep tabs on myself and how I feel.

But I don't know, or rather, I'm not convinced that being truly single (with no friends with benefits and no play at clubs) is going to get me where I want either. Because I've done that before for long stretches to no avail.

I like intimacy with people and having been in both situations, I know I would rather have something than nothing. Maybe that's not the right choice or maybe it is the right choice. I wish I could look into the future and see better, but I can only look at the past. I know sometimes it's like settling for crumbs instead of the cake, but what if I don't get cake? I would rather have crumbs. Honestly.

But I understand her point- what if the crumbs keep me from looking for the cake. Or wanting the cake bad enough. And the answer is I don't know. I've spent so much of my life desperately not wanting to be alone, that I'm not sure that I haven't 'wanted it bad enough' or still don't want it bad enough, I just have no conviction that I'll get it. I feel like I want it enough, but if it never comes my way.... I don't want that to be the defining thing about me either. My failure to somehow find someone for me. I want my view of myself to be much more than that.

So what do I do? Keep on for a while with something that makes me happy? Or question this thing making me happy and wonder if it's keeping me from some other happiness that seems forever outside my grasp? Humans tend to go for instant gratification, and I am well aware my inclination is to keep on with what I'm doing because I am liking it. But is it wrong? Oh for a crystal ball to reveal to me the mysteries of the universe and my place within it. What else can I do? How else can I decide? Knowing the future, or possible futures would make decision making simple. But decision making in this sense is never simple. Maybe I'm making good decisions and maybe I'm making bad. I just don't want to be miserable about it.

And I guess I feel that a self imposed singlehood with no play or intimacies would make me miserable and throw me back to a place I feel I spent enough time in. I already know I wasn't happy there. I'm happier here, but yes, maybe I could be happier still. Do my current decisions negate that possibility? Or is it the best that the universe is going to offer and I'd be foolish not to take and enjoy them? I have no idea.

So yeah. Interesting day. Interesting things to think about. L is away now for 3 weeks anyway, which is part of what prompted my pushing the issue. And I have three weeks of a shitload of work to do honestly. So lets just say it is what it is for now- better than it was before yesterday I think in some ways. I prefer knowing to not knowing, even if it's not exactly what I wanted to hear. And we'll see. Just hope I muddle through, as few mistakes as possible, and happier with the outcome of the decisions I make as opposed to the opposite.

04 September 2010


I am in a funk.

I've had a very busy week. Stressful with work. I had two jobs this week- and one took up a lot more time then it should have. The second got a bit nudged out of the way because of it. Neither job is related to my PhD studies, and I have work that needs doing there as well, so it's starting to scratch at the mental door.

The thing is, I can't really say no to small private jobs because I really need the money. I also want to keep good relationships with the few contacts I have that can give me private jobs. It just doesn't help that they all coincided. I don't like feeling like I'm doing an inferior job, or that I don't deliver work as expected. I'm fairly critical of myself in this way, so if I even think that I've remotely let someone down, I berate myself quite harshly. Even if I haven't let anyone down at all, I know I haven't met my own standards and expectations. It's not good enough.

So there's that.

This running around between Cambridge and London is taking its toll. It's tiring. I don't feel that I settle in one place long enough to accomplish much. I keep uprooting myself for just a couple of days. This is not helpful when what I need to do is sit down and focus. Every time I am in London and need to go to Cambridge I dread it. Once I'm there, it's perfectly fine, but it's the act of getting there that I find incredibly burdensome. I do it, of course. But as I say, it takes its toll.

Which isn't to say I don't love what I'm doing in all of this. I do actually. I suppose all of these things add up to it being a challenge that keeps me from being bored or feeling too easy about all of it. I need a challenge in my life. I recognize that. So this isn't the worst thing by any stretch. I think it's all just gotten slightly out of hand this week, and I have things piling up for the next few months and I probably feel slightly overwhelmed and just need to get it all under fucking control again and things will be fine.

Plus, I'm making some money, so that is actually a good thing.

I will get a handle on it. This week has just been hard.

The other thing that's weighing on my mind is this boy situation. I have never, ever, met someone as difficult to understand as L. One of the things that I would say is typical of my interactions with people is that I tend to relate to people on fairly intimate personal levels. Not intimate sexual, but intimate as in, people feel comfortable talking to me and opening up to me and it just seems to happen in a vaguely natural way. It's not something I actively try to achieve, but I would say that it's a hallmark of how I engage with people close to me. It's something I even cherish.

L is a complete mystery to me. He doesn't tell me anything of consequence. It's not that he's being cagey or necessarily being obtuse, it's more like... just silence. Like a wall, but a wall that doesn't even know it's a wall. I can't explain it. I don't think I have ever had such a bad read on someone that I was interested in, and had spent a reasonable amount of time with, ever. Even people I don't like- usually if I'd spent as much time with them I'd at least have some indication of who they are as people.

How all of this manifests itself is that L simply doesn't talk to me. It's been two weeks since I saw him. We have plans to meet up tomorrow. At least, I think we have plans to meet up tomorrow because he hasn't actually confirmed anything really at all. In what would otherwise be our seventh date, I have no indication of whether or not he will actually show up or not. I have no way of understanding his character or personality, or anything about what is going on with him as a person to know if he is trustworthy or not. This makes me feel extremely uneasy and preemptively defensive.

Which sucks really. In all of these interim weeks of what amounts to basically no communication, I find that I respond by wanting to parrot this behavior and withdraw myself. Except of course, that isn't what I want to happen or actually do as it goes against my nature. I don't know how to communicate with someone who doesn't communicate! I'm more used to honest conversations, even at early stages. I'm not the right one for you? Okay. You're not the right one for me? I'll tell you. You seeing three people just now and not ready for any commitment? Okay. But what is this all about? What I have is this tremendous urge to stop communicating with him. To see if it actually matters to him or not. To see if he would be in touch on his own.

But that's game playing and I am not a game player. I hate that shit actually. So yeah. We're supposed to meet up tomorrow, and I don't even know why. I don't know why he would want to meet up with me since he seems to show so little interest or enthusiasm in actually getting to know me- what's the point? As far as I can tell we aren't even having an overnight, so it's not like there's sex involved. See, that I could understand more. You want a booty call, that makes sense. And if that's what he wanted, well, I'd probably be up for it for a while, but then the rules would change. None of this doing stuff bullshit. Just call me or I'll call you, go over to the other persons house, get it on, and then bye until next time. No confusion. No extraneous activities. And oh yeah, it would also need to be at least once every week or two, otherwise it's simply not worth it for me, and why get involved in a booty call relationship unless it's worth it for you? See- everything shifts then. I'm not adverse, but we would need to talk about it, agree it, and that would be fine.

But given that there's no sleepover involved (I think) and some other things about how we have interacted before, it doesn't particularly seem like that's what it's about anyway. But what it is about, I couldn't tell you.

Here's what I can say. I do like this guy L. I am drawn to him in a way I don't even think I can explain. I'm attracted to his mind, the way he thinks, the way he expresses his thoughts. I recognize there are thing we don't have in common. Those things don't even phase me. He's not the usual body type I go for, that also doesn't phase me. Intimately, I went down on him without freaking out or even explaining that it's something that sort of freaks me out, and I didn't freak out. That doesn't happen. When we fuck we both get hot and sweaty and his sweat literally dripped on me and I still didn't fucking care. Even with people I have really liked before that wouldn't have happened- in the back of my head I'd still be going 'ew' and I wasn't. This is not how things usually go for me. This is not how I usually feel or act around someone. I am drawn to him in a way that I don't come across very often. Usually I'm incredibly wary of men. Defensive. Until I can relax enough to trust them and chill out a bit. When I'm with him I don't feel the walls and the tension. Except of course, when I feel I can't talk to him or I feel like he's not interested in talking to me. This is usually all the time in between when we actually see each other.

For as much as I don't understand him or even think I know him in the slightest, there is something about L that when I see him, makes me feel insanely calm. Which is only ironic because given the enormity of what I'm saying is wrong, I'm not actually calm about any of that at all. And what I think is going to happen is that all of this is going to implode and he's going to go away and disappear.

So I guess that just makes me sad. Certainly disappointed. Here I am contrasting what I see as just a glimmer of something extraordinary for me. And recognize that I'm probably going to lose it. That it's a tiny seed that will not grow. That instinctual feelings, no matter how intriguing or exceptional, are simply not reciprocated. How can that not be disappointing?

And so, while I do not think I know L well enough to say I have feelings for him personally, I find I am distressed at what I perceive as the likely loss of the possibility. That I will need to put the memory of how such feelings feel away, and re-lock the door on such things. In some ways it's not about L at all. An embryonic relationship ending is not an emotional maelstrom about the pre-couple. But rather, yet again, and as always, I am forced to wonder if I will ever, ever find someone who I can feel like this about, who could possibly feel the same way about me. Or am I just destined to be the only one forever.

Like I said. It's been a bit of a bitch of a week and I'm in a funk. But all of these these things will be sorted. One way or the other. Tomorrow should be interesting.