Last time on The Confessions of an Odd Duck:
In the past few years, I have been able to track my pattern where women are concerned.
Boy meets Girl.
Boy and Girl become good friends over time.
Boy and Girl jokingly flirt.
Boy twigs that Girl may not be joking.
Boy freaks out, broods, waffles on whether to do something about it.
Girl informs Boy he is being an idiot. Kissing may be used.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
With the exception of Scarlett, this is how EVERY SINGLE ONE of my relationships has gone.
Boy Meets Girl.
Boy and Girl realize the other is their snarky match.
They antagonize each other for a few weeks like 1st graders.
Boy and Girl find out they both like Call of Duty.
Girl makes Boy her bitch.
Boy and Girl bond over video games.
Girl has her tires slashed and quite a bit is stolen. Boy is called to pick her up.
Boy stays with Girl as she has mild breakdown.
Girl officially declares Boy one of her best friends.
When Boy’s roommate disappears after they get into a fist fight, Girl and her roommate largely take him in.
When Boy discovers his girlfriend had been cheating on him, Girl is the first to try and help him through it.
Boy realizes he might have feelings for Girl. He fights it completely.
Boy and Girl rent a house together.
Boy plays matchmaker for Girl.
Boy and Girl feel like they have lived together for years come Christmas.
Boy and Girl go to New York where Girl’s old roommate cottons on to how Boy might feel.
Girl seems to be flirting with Boy. Boy is terribly confused.
During a spring break trip to Cancun, Girl and Boy own up to how they both feel.
And now here we are. Those of you who saw the post yesterday or cottoned on to what I was talking about on Twitter, your eyes were not deceiving you.
Am I young? Yes. Am I financially stable? Yes. Am I emotionally stable? Against all odds, yes. Do I see us being compatible enough to make this kind of commitment? Hell yes.
My entire life I have always wondered if I am going enough for things. Second-guessing myself has long been second nature here. But I am self-aware enough to acknowledge that I can and do make her happy. During a conversation over coffee with Pippi, I admitted out loud how close I was to at least buying the ring, she questioned why I hadn’t all ready.
This woman knows me better than 95% of the people in my life. Nine years of friendship probably helps. So to hear that from her shouldn’t have surprised me even if it did.
She pointed out how I’m less flighty with Scarlett. How her edges seem to soften with me. How fiercely we go to bat for each other. How we are utterly unafraid to piss the other off if we think they are wrong. How open we are with each other. How we like to just spend time together. She closed by saying that we act, and have for a long time, like any happily married couple she could think of.
And as I thought about that, I reviewed our relationship since those first days in Chapel Hill, and realized she was absolutely right.
I want this. I want my life to be with her. I want to wake up at 70, look over, and see her sleeping next to me.
Hence why Sunday afternoon saw me roping Marilyn into helping me pick out a ring. And why Monday had me calling her parents for That Talk.
But various heartbreaks have beaten caution into me. I remember how happy I was with both Tink and Eva. I remember how those both ended, even if Tink was entirely my fault. I am trying to let my mind rule for a bit over my heart and if you know me, you know how hard that is. Looking before I leap does NOT come naturally.
That is why I am waiting on popping the question. Really do not want to imagine how it would feel to get turned down on that one. It’s no longer a question of “if” but “when”.
But, like the optimist I somehow am, I see the silver lining here.
This delay gives me time to plot how to do this.
Because after this tweet from A Mom In Real Life, I feel like there may be a challenge here. I have a few bare-bones ideas but nothing remotely concrete. Over the next few months, I am probably going to be asking you all for advice on how to do things. Especially our tech savvy bloggers.
After all, anything worth doing is worth doing right.
*Half the title of this post is directly lifted from the lovely Jeney. Who if you hadn’t congratulated her on her engagement yet, you should. Now.
Dear New York Post,
The copy editors saw nothing wrong with this before giving it the OK to print?
If that’s the case, then you (the management) completely deserve the shitstorm headed your way.
Maybe you (the artist) thought you were being witty because of the recent chimpanzee mauling and how you thought Obama was crazy? Apparently you’re pretty short-sighted since it never occurred to you that likening a half-black president to a monkey was a very very bad idea.
I could ask why the cartoonist thought this was funny but I’d probably just be more infuriated by the answer. Quite honestly, I didn’t believe my mother when she called in full rant mode about this. I didn’t think any major paper today would actually be stupid enough (not naive enough to think no one would think about it, just that the collective staff was smarter) to not pull the plug on it. Then I saw it myself this morning.
Congratulations, you made a self-proclaimed motormouth speechless.
When the only reply I can make to my mother’s tirade on the evils of white men is that it was one idiot, a response which sounded weak even to my ears, then the line has been crossed twice. I could go into how despite the fact that this was the action of one man, it reflects poorly on a whole group of people but I just don’t have the energy.
Sometimes, there is really nothing you can say.
Where has the time gone Mil?
What happened to that shy little girl with curly hair who used to latch onto my hand when we were about to cross the street? The girl who would jump into bed with me whenever a storm woke her in the middle of the night?
She grew up.
I watched you become a fashion-conscious, slightly boy crazy, teenage girl. Your tastes in music graduated from TLC, The Spice Girls, and The Backstreet Boys to T. I. and Chris Brown. I saw you inherit the same love of journalism that I did, even if it was more geared towards photos than writing. You somehow managed to become this confident, take-no-nonsense woman right under my nose.
And here I thought I was supposed to be the sneaky one in the family?
We are so very different that people often have trouble believing we grew up together. We bicker, we say things in anger that we don’t mean once we’ve calmed down, we send each other funny text messages about the people around us.
You have no idea how filled with love and pride I was as I watched you walk across that stage. Were it not for Aunt K glaring right at us, me and Jingles would have been yelling it to anybody who would listen. You also have no idea just how old I felt. My baby sister was graduating from high school. There might have been some moisture in my eyes as I drove to the school that day but I’ll deny it to you if ever asked.
You’re very bossy, at times rude, and you have a tendency to whine. You know all of this as I’ve said it to your face on multiple ocassions. Yet of all your best qualities, my personal favourite is that you refuse to take shit from absolutely anyone. I guess as much as we both want to deny it, we picked up some of Dad’s personality. Yours was your mouth.
You can stop giving me that dirty look any time now.
Little sister, you may be 19 years old today but to me you will always be…
…the girl who I read to while she was sick.
…the girl I taught to swim.
…the girl I would weasel into going on roller coasters with me.
…the girl I would bicker with just to get her to laugh.
…the girl who would want to get in bed with me on Christmas Eve.
…the girl who would bring her barbies to my room on a rainy day and we would play make believe games with my own toys.
So even when you graduate from college, even when you get a job as a broadcast journalist, even as you get married and make me an uncle (for his sake, in that order — just kidding), and see your own little kids grow up to be who they are, always remember that at one point me and you were that small.
I would look out for you when we were little kids.
I’ve done it for too long to stop now.
What follows is a speech I wrote/ad-libbed for Mass this morning to say goodbye to Father Oaks, who passed away after fighting liver cancer for four years. Only names and locations have been changed.
“There is little more difficult than letting someone into your life, caring for them, opening up. To do so seems to go against the trend of weariness and caution so many of us develop over the course of our lifetimes. And as hard as it is, saying goodbye is that much more arduous.
I remember sitting in the office before the 7:30 service this morning, trying to figure out how to honour this man who had so very much for so many of us. What could Father Cherry have been thinking when he asked me to do this? I guess he figured I would not try and hide my emotions, something anyone will tell you isn’t really a strong point of mine.
Compared to many of those gathered here this morning, I barely knew him. I first met Father Oaks in the summer of 2007 while I have spoken to some whom have known this amazing man from the time they were children back in the 70’s. I can’t touch on that knowledge but I can share with you all what I do know. The man who I have watched let the little ones braid his hair. Who gave his all to any who needed help. Who always had an open office policy with a ready ear and a warm smile waiting.
I have met few men more humble, more open, than Father Oaks. A true class act, it has been an honour and a privilege to know him. He did his best to prove that he was just a regular man and in doing so proved how much a treasure he truly was. He was a fellow fan of Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang, a country music fan going back to the days of Little Jimmy Dickens, and quite possibly the biggest fishing aficionado I have ever met.
It is impossible to list all the achievements of his 63 years on this Earth. And it is just as impossible to describe that man with one story. But I have to try my best. It was back in March of this past year and I was in Father Oak’s office as he was asking about how I enjoy my first Sunday school class. I don’t fully remember how we got onto the subject but we ended up speaking about perseverance. He knew my past and in light of that, told me something that morning that will stay with me until the day I die. ‘That faith isn’t faith until it’s all you’re holding on to.’ And coming from a man who had seen the worst of humanity as a medic in the Vietnam War, I could not really argue that.
Father Oaks was a man who stressed more than anything else a certain love for your fellow man. Who believed in giving his all in his every endeavor. But lastly, he was a man who believed that even when a situation was its darkest, all we could do was stand up, smile, and walk forward. And as I fully believe that you are home behind the pearly gates, I have a message for you.
Thank you for all you’ve done and we will do our best to try and fill the enormous shoes you left behind. You are loved and you will be missed. Know that you left us in good hands.”
Somehow I made it through without my voice cracking. Seeing the people who I spend hours with every week, who I have gotten to know through my time in the church, hug those around them when a fresh burst of tears hit them. I watched as others stood up to share their own tales. I saw our organist playing her heart out after benediction, despite the tears running without hint of shame down her cheeks. This one man had touched us all.
That, my friends, is real power.
So it’s Wednesday again, which means Wednesday Writing Workshop.
4.) 10 of my absolute worst pet peeves…
In no particular order, things that disgust and/or piss me off….