A thing about what’s going on in America

I feel like I should write more about this.  I have a few dozen pages written that are maybe a bit more incendiary than I should share, particularly in this environment.  They aren’t fully formed or edited thoughts that I think deserve more.  But fuck all that, I am going to say this…

President Barack Obama – I will miss you.  You are an absolute hero of our people, a paragon of all American truths, and I hope we see more of you in the future, especially in light of this horror show that is coming into office.

Thank you, Barry.  Thank you.

A Quick, Mini-Adventure

Well not really for me, but for them. I had intentions on writing today about some other stuff, but whatever, that shit can wait.

It’s snowing today, here where I live in a suburb-ish city outside of Baltimore, MD. Or rather, it snowed, earlier today, and I guess it might snow some more. Right at this very moment it isn’t snowing. It’s just cold, and cold enough for my northern born ass to get the chills. Alright, let’s get to the story.

I hope I haven’t oversold it, as this is hardly a story. In fact, it is about to pass by in about a sentence. Keep your eyes open or it might sneak by too quickly. Here it goes.

I picked up hitchhikers and everything was fine.

That’s it. Story’s over.

Well, I guess there are details. I was out driving around my town, heading back to my place after picking up sleeping aids – I have real bad insomnia and didn’t feel like battling it unequipped tonight. Nothing too special. I was heading down a road I’ve traveled a zillion times when I spotted a cop car pulled over and talking to some folks. I was going to pass around the cop, but the cop pulled away, off into the night. The group of folks turned out to be a trio of girls that were absolutely frantic, desperately flagging me down. Form my vantage, they looked pretty panicked, so I pulled over to see what the matter. For some reason, I thought they were either warning me of something up with that cop or in some scary trouble. Turned out, they just needed a ride.

They were trying to walk home from a nearby shopping area – nearby in a car, less so on foot. Anyway, I gave them a ride. They were about half-way from the shopping area to their destination which, if everything else were the same, they probably wouldn’t have even bothered with a ride. But, and it’s important to remember that I come from the land of the ice and snow, it’s fucking cold out today. I mean even for me, a very overweight adult-assed man from the frigid wastes, it was was fucking cold. It’s not as cold as there, don’t be stupid, but it’s about as cold as it gets here, which is cold enough for people around those parts to finally pull out the goosedowns. Whoa, I just got nostalgia chills from the thought of that. Anyway, these were three teen-ish(?) girls with accents implying they are from around here, so they must have been freezing their asses off.

Hitchhiking and picking up hitchhikers can be a real adventure. The hiker can be dangerous, the driver can be dangerous, the location can be dangerous. It’s usually not. This was of the later kind. But hey, they probably have something to talk about for while, right?

Anyway, that’s long enough for a post, right? I’ll be less boring next time, I promise. I don’t promise. Maybe I will be, I don’t know. Thanks for reading? I’m sorry?

I’m making some changes around here.

I’ve had this site for a while now and it’s sat largely dormant for the past few years. Part of that has been a general malaise of depression and some unaddressed, lingering PTSD stuff which, well, let’s leave that for another day. It was also partly not being happy with what I was putting out into the world, not being happy with how long it took me to do so and subsequently how infrequently I did so, and not being happy with the overall presentation and a handful of things that populated my place.

A lot of what I wasn’t happy with is easy enough to clear up, though I’m saying that as the person I am today. Back when this became a problem, even knowing how easy it was to fix wouldn’t have helped. I’m in a little bit of a different space now, and I’m just kind of rollin’ with it. As a result, some of these posts (like today’s) are not going to be well proofread and are going to be pretty damned boring.

Here’s the thing I’m taking my sweet time getting to – I’m change some stuff on the site.

I already cleared out some dump pages and I’m going to change the look. A few years ago, I made a full theme from scratch that was kinda nice… but was a little janky. So I never used it and instead went through a bunch of themes with the tag “minimalist”. It’s an aesthetic I really loved at the time, and still do, but have since grown to appreciate the utility in the more traditional “blog style” themes. So I’m going to switch over to one of those, as well. And… I think I might kill some of the content that’s on here. Some old posts, a few more racy than others. I’ll probably my brother’s stuff down, too, as I’m not so sure it’s stuff he wants out there anymore and even if it is, it really deserves its own space or to be a part of a bigger, more trafficked area. To be clear, I’m not destroying any of it – just taking it off of this site and preserving it locally, for possible future restoration elsewhere. Anyway, I figured I’d put that out as a heads up for the one or two people that stuck around in my hiatus.

Well, this has already gotten longer than I intended so, let’s bring back an old favorite…

tl;dr – I’m going to delete some old posts/pages that don’t make sense anymore, change the layout, and some other shit, I guess. Don’t be alarmed.

Immigrant Song, by [your band name here]

For whatever reason, at some point in 2016 I found myself compelled to listen to each and every version and cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song”.  You know the song, right?  It’s the one that your dad and/or stoner friend gets really amped for right after the one about the hobbits or the other one that’s also about the hobbits?  It’s not one of the “borrowed” Blues jams and, as far as I can tell, it’s not one of their songs that they probably “were inspired by” [stole] from other bands they toured with.
The original song is shortish at just under two-and-a-half minutes.  The tempo is fastish.  Not, like, EDM fast or anything, but for a 70’s Rock/Pre-Metal song, it’s pretty fuckin’ fast.  Less technically, the song is a romping, wailing, thumping jaunt as a semi-historical Viking ripping through Europe in search of new lands.  It’s fun and borderline inspiring, if a little silly.
But that’s not the part that interests me.  I mean, sure, I like spinning up my running playlist with haunting screams of war just like any other red-blooded sociopath, but that doesn’t sell me on an afternoon of frantic wiki-ing and frustrated listening.  What does is the sudden realization that it has been covered so many times and by so many artists.  I mean, just look at this list!  I don’t even think that list is complete, nor is what I found on wikipedia, though I have to admit to losing track of which band did what when pretty quickly.
The realization came to me after stumbling on the 2016 cover of it by SOAK, an experience I think I had in reverse of most paired with “I Can’t Make You Love Me”, which is also a cover that has been covered a zillion times over, though I did not find that out until going through this exercise (original by Bonnie Raitt, and you might be surprised at the list of artists that have covered it.  Go ahead, google that shit).  The latter has since become one of my favorites and is in regular rotation, but I also super-duper dig that cover of “Immigrant Song”.
Almost immediately after having the thought that it has been covered a whole bunch, I also had the thought that there aren’t many of those covers that I like.  So now I had a mission – I was going to listen to every damned cover of this song and find the good ones.  About ten songs into this mission, I decided to change the parameters of success – I was going to “give a chance” to “as many I could easily find” covers of this damn song.  It was either that or being overwhelmed by dozens of covers ranging from very bland to very bad.  In other words, I was not going to be an archeologist and dig up every cover or iteration, nor was I going to listen to a whole song that immediately rubbed me the wrong way.  To be fair, I listened to a fucking lot of them, all the way through for most of them.  They’re just a few minutes long, for corns sake.
What I didn’t do, and plan to the next time I get a wild “have to hear them all” bug for another popularly covered song, is log my opinion of each one I hear as I go.  What I do want to do is offer some opinions on the standouts.  I re-listened to a handful of these today, just to double-check my memory, but I didn’t do that for all of them.  So no, this isn’t a definitive guide.  It’s also a highly subjective thing, so you know… just opinion here, folks, no need to be dicks about it.  Maybe some stuff I hate you love or whatev’s.
Before we get started, let me first say that I am a fan of the original album version, as it appeared on Led Zeppelin III.  My Dada is and, as far as I remember, always has been a huge Zeppelin fan, so I grew up listening to it.  I don’t know that I’ve ever heard the  real original, as performed live in Bath as a part of the tour that inspired it, but maybe that’s for the best as I have found I don’t much care for most live versions, including those done by Zep themselves.  I’ll have links to listen to a few of these done there.  If there isn’t a link, sorry?  You can find just about all of them with the tiniest amount of googling or searching your music streaming service of choice.  Some can also be listened to through a somewhat clunky interface in the list linked above.  Alright, enough preamble.
Here are the standout covers of “Immigrant Song” with light annotation.
The Goods:
  • SOAK – The cover that sent me off on this ill fated quest in the first place.  It’s. Fuckin’. Rad.  It’s muted and stark but very clear.  No unnecessary appeals to overdrive peddles, no wailing that will never live up to Page, no burning guitar that can only mimic Plant.  It’s its own thing, but it feels good.
  • Galactic, ft. Boots Riley, Chali 2na, and Laidlaw  – When someone on the Internet labels something as “Best”, you can be assured it will likely be pretty far from it.  In this case, I personally wouldn’t call it the best, but wow… yeah, I do dig this.  It varies up the repetitive instrumental with some saxophone – yes a fucking sax – and then pours some raw rap fuel onto the fire.  In this recording, I find the lyrics largely incomprehensible and maybe, I suppose, if I could follow them, that might be a knock against.  But I don’t, so I don’t fucking care, it’s just another interesting twist.  Though maybe this one hits me a little harder because I’m a sucker for a crossover.
  • Karen O w/ Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross –  I guess most people first heard this song in a trailer for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which is where I found it in some googling.  I lost the link and am too lazy to find it again, sorry.  Anyway, it rings as sort of a halfway mark between original and SOAK, and you can really feel the Reznor in it, which I like.  Especially in the drums, which I feel like must be drum machine driven.  It’s on Spotify if you’re hard up for a listen.
  • Adagio – Also found on Spotify.  This is a pure metal, instrumental version that is twice as long as the original and, by all rights, should absolutely suck.  But it doesn’t!  Surprise!  It nails the original feel while laying down a good plaster of its own personality.  Right around the end, when it should really start to drag ass, they start noodling around in Solo Land, which is a lot of fun.  It does, however, make me lament the lack of double bass and variation in the original.
  • Al Chez and the Brothers of Funk – I swear I can hear this behind the opening sequence of a Bond film.  It’s real jaunty and fun!  More horns!
  • The Bad Plus – At this point, I’m starting to feel weird about how populated this part of the list is by oddball covers, but… fuck it.  That’s what makes it work for me.  It’s like… jazz.  Piano, drums, and I’m pretty sure an upright bass.
  • Vanilla Fudge – This version is SO CLOSE to being on the list below, but the singer is doing such a strange thing with the melody that it is just fuckin’ nifty.
  • Mountain Mocha Kilimanjaro – Give it a minute.  In the first few bars, I thought this was another one for the pile of generics, but nawh.  Just stick with it a sec.  There’s some really good funk guitar and bass and, oh, what’s this?  That’s right, a Wurlitzer!
The Meh’s:
  • Airship – It’s really not that bad, really.  And I’m sorry for using this band as my straw man, especially since their version is at least listenable.  The problem is that this is the best of the worst, the top of a pile doing their best to carve out an exact copy of the original, and I’m sorry… you just don’t have the voice.  Your tuning is good, your effects are good, but the amp sounds off.  Is that a Crate or something?  Okay, fine, I have one, too, and they are great, but they don’t sound like 1970’s Brit Rock.  Also, you can go ahead and swap out this pick with just about any other band trying to do that “exact cover” deal, or any version on a Karaoke track.
  • All the Queen’s Men – It’s not my favorite and honestly it kind of feels like something from a transitional era of music.  Somewhere near an Industrial park, a Folk Metal band tries to get in a commercial.
  • Amber Brooke Band – Better than Airship, but pretty bland.
  • Arjun Kaul – Good voice, but it’s boring.  There is an ocean of folks doing a cover of this song an an attempt to put it in “their style” and it’s… not.  Everything is almost spot-on the original, just a little off-brand.  While we’re at it, let’s throw the following under that label:
    • Atombombpocketknife
    • Arakain
    • Hollywood Undead
    • Stryper
    • Dark Angel
    • Ken Tamplin
    • Mighty Sphincter (gotta love that name at least, right?)
    • and countless more
  • Tomoyasu Hotei – Coming in from the late 90’s, I feel like this is the start of artists actually trying to do something different with the underlying music.  They just don’t do enough.  Also, it’s just dripping with too much late 90’s for me.
  • Informatik – See above.
  • Infectious Grooves – ALMOST gets me going by starting with some groove/funk bass, but then falls flat shortly before the vocals barge in without welcome.
  • The Sword – I love this band but this cover does not do it for me.  To be fair, I could only find a live version, so… if you can dig up a studio version, I’ll give it another shot.
The Uglies:
  • L.A Band – apparently from Shrek the Third?  I don’t know, but what I do know is it is wincingly unnerving.  I don’t even know what’s wrong, it’s like it’s discordant but rather… like the original was discordant in a way that feels real good and this tries to clean it up, thus killing off the personality.  It’s like they are trying their best to sound just like the original but all the notes that should be flats and sharps are just… there.  It feel kind of icky and I can’t put my finger on why.
  • Ann Wilson – I shouldn’t hate on this.  I shouldn’t.  All of the parts on their own are pretty good, and some are genuinely great.  The singer and namesake of the group is really nailing it, but I as good as her performance is, I just find it to be another, “how much can I ape Page”.  It just doesn’t do it for me.  I do applaud the effort, though.
  • Anno Daemonicus – This sucks and I hate it.  I understand you might like it yourself, but duder… Why is Opera Man hanging out with The Crypt Keeper?  And why are they on the set of A Muppets Movie?  Yucko.  I’m sorry, but I got super sick of the various iterations of “demon voice” in Metal a good while ago, to a degree that it has put me off of even some of my previous favorites, and this version of that voice just makes me wince.
  • Minimal Compact – Nope.
  • Dread Zeppelin – I guess I couldn’t make the list without including this cadre of goofballs.  I get what they’re going for, and bravo to them for really giving it an honest go.  Pffffftttttt, no.  Just, no thanks.
  • Coalesce – Another instance of them giving it a go and genuinely doing something different (at least for the time), but I just don’t like it.
The Idunnos?:
  • There is a Moby cover, I guess… I don’t know, I found links but they were all either broken or blocked by copyright.  Though to be fair, I didn’t look that hard.
  • Same for a Nirvana version that I couldn’t be bothered to find.
  • Cyro Baptista – I think I might hate this but I think I might love this… I’m so conflicted… is that a Concertina?  Falsetto apropos of nothing?  What is happening here?
  • There is apparently a series of Bluegrass covers of it?  I’d like to hear that.
  • Zoffy – Let’s be clear – it’s awful.  But holy smokes, they are going for it.  There is something I have to admire about that.
  • I could have sworn there was a Cindy Lauper one, right?  It was good, I think?  Was it only live?  I’m in the weeds here, kids.
There are a bunch I left off of the list because I hit a point of being uncomfortable slagging off so many artists that really seemed like they meant well.  Also, a mountain of string covers, mostly Quartets, that don’t deserve to be publicly ranked and judged.  All of them are pretty good, but I don’t think I’d enjoy them past the first listen or as a novelty thrown into a live performance.
What did I miss?  What do you disagree with?  What’s your favorite from the list, or do you think nothing lives up to the original?
While I’m on the subject, here are a handful of songs off the top of my head that I might want to give this treatment (or better) to in the future:
  • Halleluja – Leanord Cohen
  • All Along the Watchtower – Bob Dylan
  • House of the Rising Sun – Unknown
  • Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison
  • That Summertime song from Porgy and Bess
  • I don’t know, something by the Beatles, probably.
And finally, a Bonus:
Corinne Bailey RaeSince I’ve Been Loving You
I found this by accident in my half-assed research for this post and have to share it with anyone whom hasn’t seen it yet.  This thing is rad and that’s all I have to say about it.

Happy New Year?

It’s the first day of 2017, my first post of the year, and my first post in quite some time.  2016 was a real… thing.  Lot of bad, bit of good.  Outside of a couple of half-written drafts that accidentally posted on accident, I didn’t really blog last year.  I’ve also largely punched out of social media.  Let’s be honest, I’ve largely punched out of social anything, including real life, though at least some degree of that is just a matter of not having time.

I’ve found some of that lost time and, having relearned to use it on real living and not just barely getting by between work tasks, I have been feeling a very strong desire to reengage with some of my more positive habits.  One of those is maybe writing a bit more.  Yeah?  Well, I guess we’ll see.  I have a lot I want to talk about, though I struggle for how to talk about it with any amount of entertainment value, and I’d prefer not to bore the rare reader to tears.  So yeah, I’m looking to do some more gettin’ on here, this website what I pay for and has my name on it and all.  But I guess we’ll see.

Also, fuck Trump and any asshole who voted for him.

Fuck Provolone

There.

I said it.

I’ll say it again.

FUCK PROVOLONE.

For years and years and years, I have had to sit through friends and family act as if this bland, rubbery, boring, almost-mozzerella bullshit is the best cheese of all time forever.  I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong.  You are so wrong that it upsets me.  Shut the fuck up, you don’t know what you’re talking about, you’re a rube and you need to take your head out of Provolone’s boring asshole.  Think I’m wrong?  Bring it.  Here’s a list of seven cheeses that beat the absolute shit out of Provolone.

 

Dear Pornographers, What the fuck happened to the story?

And for that matter, what happened to the music?

Look, I’m a skeezy dude, so I don’t always need a story.  I think that most of the guys that I know would probably say that they never need the story, just the five or fewer minutes that it takes to finish.  But I like the story.  Even when it’s stupid and sometimes especially when it’s stupid.   I like

I have been to India

Yes.  I have been to India.  Like… ’bout a week ago.

I’ve actually put in some real thinky-time on this as to whether or not I’d ever been there, and I’m pretty damned sure I haven’t.  That probably sounds like an absurd statement, but there was a brief time in my life where I traveled quite a bit.  Most of that travel was professional and most of the places I visited during that time either don’t count as a visit or just barely do.  Years ago, I learned that saying you visited a place when you never left the airport is the mark of a real fuckin’ new guy.  Or real fuckin’ asshole.  Probably both.  At most, you can count that as a “passed through”, but I think the phrase isn’t very honest when applied to a layover.  Well… I guess if the layover is long enough and you get to leave the airport for longer than a meal, shower, and smirkoff in a hotel, then I think it’s fair to consider it as more significant than typical layovers.  Working travel can be fun or it can be a nightmare.  I suppose that’s true of any travel, but I think that business travel has the highest chance of landing in the range between disappointing and terrible.  Sorry for the pun.  They just kinda fly out of me sometimes.

There was a point to that.  My trip to India was for business.  So it wasn’t a fuck-off pass through an airport.  But even though I’d been there a few weeks, I feel like saying I have been to India is maybe not totally honest.  I mean, it was a fantastic opportunity and I am infinitely thankful for it.  But it was for business.  When you go for business, especially when business is already busy and relies too heavily on you, it is difficult to enjoy your trip.  I was there for about three weeks but, in earnest, I’d say the total hours I spent actually touring the beautiful country would add up to four, maybe five days.  I spent my arrival weekend mostly stuck in the hotel, trying to fix things back in the ‘States with an underpowered laptop while in my hotel room.  On the plus side, the hotel was a 5-star and it lived up to every star.  I mean, sure the room itself wasn’t great but… look, I’ve been in a lot of hotels.  I find the rooms are usually at least a little shitty, no matter how nice the hotel itself.  I’ve developed a bit of a theory about this, which I could probably spend some real length diving into some other day.  The long and short of it is that the rooms suck a little because they can suck a little.  Not to say hotels are deliberately being cheap, but rather there isn’t really a need for top-of-the-line anything.  I want a pretty decent bed with clean and comfy sheets, a decent internet connection, and a decent shower with towels I feel okay about drying my balls off with.  Really don’t give a shit about the quality of the TV.  Don’t care if the paint is shit.

Anyway, I have some pictures from India.  I have some more thoughts about it, but it’s almost 3 AM and I gotta get the fuck to bed.  I don’t know.  Laterz, yo.

tl;dr – I don’t know, somethin’ somethin’ India, somethin’ somethin’ hotels.

I should really get back to blogging again.

Super quick-update

I’m about to be late for work, but whatever, it’s been forever since I’ve updated.  Here’s a quick one for the few of you that still check this out from time to time.  There’ll be some more of the older-style stuff in the future (though maybe not so much with the dirty stuff).

Work – I now have far too much going on to keep up.  My boss is aware of this, but my boss’s boss and on up don’t seem to be getting the message.  And I don’t think it’s my boss’s fault that they aren’t, I just think they aren’t capable of comprehending how much time shit actually takes.

Home – I bought a bed to put that mattress I got like, a year ago? on top of.  It has dramatically improved my sleeping experience.

Other stuff – Fuck (part of) what I said in my last post.  Maybe not the biggest and definitely not the pressing.  In other words, I’m still not going to make any moves or whatever if she isn’t single.  And I will still have a lot of pause if I think it will hurt the one friend of mine that it might.  But am going to talk to her/hang out with her.  She is my friend, and it would be shitty to both of us if I cut that off.  I’m not going to actively pursue her, I think, but if something happens between us, then I guess it’s because it’s suppose to.  She’s a hell of a woman, there is a connection there, and it ain’t a crush.  Not to say I can’t deal with however it turns out.  The only bummer is if she stays with dude and has the same feeling for me that I do for her.  In which case, my sticking around would just be torture.  That might add to my growing desire to maybe… move.  Maybe to the other coast or something.  I don’t know.

Alright, I gotta get the fuck out of here.

tl;dr – Work is tough; I got a bed; minor changes to the rash policies I drafted last week

 

Real Talk – I almost fucked up everything and am a terrible person for even thinking it

I talked about this a little earlier this week in what, in retrospect, reads like a rambling fit to me.  Give me a break, it was like… 2:00 AM when I wrote it, and my head was in a weird place.  A couple quick things up front.  A) This is going to be a longer post than usual, so skip to the “too long; didn’t read” in bold (tl;dr) at the end if you think reading is for suckers.  B) The comments function of my blog is completely fucked by spam and I’ve been too busy/lazy to fix it.  If you have something to say to me about this subject or any others, hit me on Twitter (@onehobowine) or drop me an email (hobowine@gmail.com).  Or if you actually know me, and there’s a fair chance you do, just text me.  Obviously.  C) This is pretty sappy and might reveal me to be both more of a romantic than I like to let on and somehow more of a scumbag than is really acceptable.  D) If you’re worried that I’m putting this out there and the wrong person might read it, know that none of the other people involved read this and I think only one is even vaguely aware that it exists (and doesn’t know the url).  So your job, if you know them, is to not fucking tell them.  Got it?  Good.

I’ve been into a woman for a while.  My feelings for her have been brewing in spite of so many reasons why they shouldn’t and that pot has started to boil over.  The foam started dripping onto the burner this week as I have tried to not think of her and mind my own business.  But it hasn’t been easy, nor would it be to continue this strange boiling pot metaphor.

I don’t know when this all started.  I can point to very specific times when I felt very specific things and I can tell you that those feelings were good and they were real.  That doesn’t change the overall situation, but I hope it gives some perspective.  Or at least adds a little color, ’cause there’s nothing worse than reading something bland.  Around the beginning of this year, she and I hung out a little at work.  She took me to lunch a few times.  In the Spring, she was having serious allergy troubles, so I brought her local, raw honey (google it).  That was the first sign that I was feeling something, because as I was walking to her desk to hand her the honey, I suddenly felt incredibly nervous.  As I walked back to my desk, my head started racing with questions.  “Why did I just do that?  I really went out of my way yesterday to spend ten bucks on a jar of honey for a friend?  I mean, yeah… maybe that really is the kind of guy I should be, helping my friends or whatever, but… Would I do that for my other friends?  That other friend has allergies pretty bad, too, would I do that for him?  Should I do that for him so this doesn’t seem weird?  Wait… is this going to seem weird?”

I started putting in a more concerted effort to go on actual dates and try to find a lady that I could try something serious with.  Those never really went well, mostly because of conversations falling flat, unreconcilable differences in views, or because a phone would come out for something obviously more important than meeting someone for the first time.

There was a while that I avoided her.  There was a while that, I think, she avoided me.  In both cases, when we started talking again the supposed offender had some seemingly legit reason for why they have been away and have acted distant.  Hers seemed pretty believable.  I don’t remember mine, but I remember that once it came out of my mouth, it sounded pretty bullshit.

We have been talking a lot, lately.  I’d say for the past few months we’ve talked almost every day.  Sometimes it’s a simple IM of “Hey, how are ya'” or “Got any cool weekend plans?”  Sometimes it’s more interesting content like views on things, shows we watch, podcasts we listen to, music sharing, etc.  Sometimes we catch each other in the hallways at work and stop to chat for a while.  Once we carpooled to and from a work lunch/outing for our department.  I had asked a few other people if they wanted to pool, but for one reason or another, noone else joined.  When we were dicking around at the event, having fun, I started really getting those feelings back for things about her that I started to realize were lacking from the women I had been trying to date.  On the ride back to work, we talked a little about weekend plans.  I told her about an injury my brother had and how I was worried about how his surgery to fix it would go.  It’s an odd quirk about me… I don’t like giving up that I’m worried to people.  Not even the people that I am worried for.  I don’t think I even expressed my worry about my brother’s surgery to him, chalk it up to wanting to keep a strong front for others.  But I let it slip to her.

Sometimes we both end up working late and one of us will stop by the other’s desk before leaving.  One Friday she left on time but I stayed late to work on an important project that I really wanted to wrap up that week.  She came back to work to help out someone else after what I understand to have been a frantic text or phone call.  On her way back out, she stopped by my desk and told me to go home.  She stuck around for a few minutes to talk about whatever, and I’m a little ashamed to write this, but she lit up my whole dreary day.  Earlier that day we were talking about exercise and health and I confessed that I had skipped my morning jog and that I shouldn’t have because I always feel good afterward, to which she agreed.  We made a virtual pinky-swear over gTalk that we would both go for a jog after work (though separately).  Back to when she popped by while I was working late, the conversation turned to how it was Friday and neither of us had any plans.  I feel like I might be reading too much into this, but I got a strong impression that she really wanted to hang out with me.  And I really, really wanted to hang out with her.  But I felt like such a scumbag even feeling it.  I made up some excuse and said if she was bored again the next Friday I would hang out with her.  I regretted saying that because, well, I really shouldn’t have.  Also, I find leaving open-ended plans to be bad form.  Even if the exact time and place aren’t established, give a framework if you are the one suggesting a hangout.  Anyway, she pressured me about not staying too late and I tried to brush her off with a bullshit answer of, “I just gotta wrap this up, I’ll get out of here in five minutes.”  As she gracefully breezed out the door, she made me promise that I would go home.  I turned back to my work, thinking nothing of it.  But at minute four, I realized she was right.  I have been in this situation before.  Busted my ass for a project, stayed late, made everyone else look good and received little to no recognition for it.  I have also stayed late and had other friends, coworkers, even a boss or two tell me to go home.  Each time I stayed and each time I finished what needed doing.  But not this time.  At minute five, I saved my work, logged out, and shut down my desktop.  I walked out the door and popped in the car headed for home, project left incomplete and an email or two left unanswered.  I went for that jog that I pinky swore over and when I got home, I felt great.  I actually slept alright that night, and I gotta tell ya’, I don’t sleep well most nights.  If at all.

When we started talking about real, actual, important things, I probably should have realized that I needed to step back.  I mean, we talked about family.  I gave up some deep, intimate knowledge about my family, some that I don’t generally tell anyone.  I talked about my father and how I love him, am proud of him, and worry about him (maybe a post for another time, but not now).  I don’t tell that to anyone, ever (accept all of you now, so… guess the cat’s out of the bag on that one).  She started reciprocating, but we were at work and a meeting was starting so like good school kids, we finished one more sentence and turned to the head of the class.  It was important information so I’m glad we stayed, but all I really wanted to do was ditch to the hallway and continue our conversation.  We talked about how many kids we wanted at some point.  I should not be talking to a woman that is in a relationship with another man about how many kids I want.  I’ve been craving to know more about her but I’ve also been feeling guilt over even having those conversations.  Over even having feelings for her at all.

There are more examples but I’m pretty sure I’ve painted a good enough picture to jump closer to present tense.  A few people in my life are aware of this.  They know how I feel about her and what I would want from her.  A handful of friends and family have encouraged me to go for it, though they typically at least have the tact to agree that now is not the time.  In all conversations about it, I am always the first person to say that it can’t be and for more than one reason, not the least of which being that she is currently in a relationship.  In that case, I frankly don’t have the right to even hint to her that I have feelings.  Plus, what happens when I do?  Either she tells me that she has a boyfriend and doesn’t share those feelings or she breaks up with him, I’m responsible for ruining a relationship, and some of my best friends hate me.  This is not a good plan.

Jump to this week.  I haven’t been able to shake my feelings for her.  I’m sure it isn’t helping that she keeps stopping by my desk and I keep tagging along with her to company meetings, in which we crack wise and voice concerns in each other’s ears and basically pass notes in class.  I took today off (it’s Friday when I’m writing this).  Earlier this week we had one of our standard check-ins and I found out she also has today off.  I asked if she had plans and told her that I didn’t.  I think I suggested that we hang out which, yeah, I probably shouldn’t have.  Thinking this is just some schoolboy crush (which it probably is), I proceeded to brush off an old bit of mine and tried to wash the feelings away with a good night video games and drinking.  I even cooked myself a rather nice steak, if I do say so myself (and I do).  And at the end of the night, the feelings were still there.  And I was determined that I was going to text her to hang out and I was going to tell her exactly how I feel.  And when I woke up in the morning, a little jacked up from the night before but definitely still harboring those feelings, I strapped on my stupid creepy toe shoes and prepared for a combination walk and jog.  As I strode out the door, a friend responded to a hint I made of my plan on twitter telling me, not in so many words, not to execute my plan.  Through the first half of that walk/jog, I texted the friend that warned me with what was going on in my head.  He had some very good points about why, exactly, what I was thinking and planning was not only a terrible idea but something that I absolutely cannot do.  I’ll paraphrase, as I don’t think what I have written about this so far really conveys the gravity of the situation, but his words do.

  • She has a long-term boyfriend
  • Her ex-husband is one of my best friends
  • She and her ex-husband are still friends
  • There was a shitty thing that happened between us that fucked up a lot of friendships and it was my fault and this would basically be me doing the same damned thing again
  • I’ll be losing at least three friends
  • I’m not her guy
  • She’s going to tell me to fuck-off anyway and for at least two very good reasons

*There’s a sticking point in this piece.  It’s not what happened that truly bothers me.  We might disagree on timing or some fine details – truth be told, I was being sold a different story from the woman in that triangle than I think was actually going on.  But we both agree that it was ultimately my fault (and should maybe be another blog post).  What bothers me is that I never should have created the situation in the first place and I really need to tell that to him.

What my helpful friend told me was right.  And it sucked knowing it.  So I picked up my pace to a full on run back in the direction of home.  It wasn’t a matter of urgency, but rather a matter of need for, I don’t know, some kind of meditation.  When I got through my front door, I did some light calisthenics and some light weight training as a way to keep the pseudo meditation going.  No, that’s not true.  I first sprinted to the bathroom because I had to piss like a racehorse.  Then I continued my pseudo meditation.  I took a long drink of water and sat down to revel in that weird high you get after a good workout and convince myself to feel smug for making a good decision, granted that the decision needed some help from a friend.  And then I cried.  A real, honest, “What is all of this and who the fuck am I really” cry.

I cried?  Really?  What the fuck is this?  There’s no crying in baseball!  What am I, a goddamned little girl?  No! I am a large, semi-muscular, adult, human male.  I am a fucking man, or at least do a pretty good job of acting like it most of the time!  I can’t fucking act like this!  Did I fall down and scrape my knee?  No!  I got talked down from doing something stupid, something that I should never have considered in the first place.  I am fucking 31 years of age, have a mortgage and car payment, and have been to fucking war.  I should not be crying in my bedroom because I don’t get to date the pretty girl.  What in the actual fuck is wrong with me?  Am I crying because I almost did something catastrophic and I didn’t have the wherewithal to know how bad it would be?  Am I crying because there are actual, real feelings there and I feel like I’m closing the door on something that could be good and worthwhile?  Or am I crying because I got a good goddamned look at myself in the mirror and see myself for monster that I really am?

Alright, let’s calm down and skip the pity party.  Let’s talk action.  Well.. lack of action, really.  I am not going to tell her how I feel.  I am not going to text her to hang out today.  I actually feel a little bad about that one, because if there is one legitimate thing here, it is that she is my friend and a damn good one, and I would really like to hang out with her.  She’s a good influence on me.  Plus, I don’t want to keep offering or suggesting to hang out and then never follow up, but let’s get back to what I’m not going to do.  I am not going to talk to her as much.  That really fucking sucks to say, and I kinda hurt from saying it.  It probably means I’ll have to stay signed out of gTalk, but I guess I could use fewer distractions at work anyway.  I am probably not going to go to lunch with her alone anymore (at least for a little while).  That also sucks, because I do really like going to lunch with her.

There are good things I can take away from this.  I get to keep my friends.  I won’t make (more) of an ass of myself.  This is going to sound jive, but having her as a friend has legitimately made me a better person.  Did I already say legitimately?  Like a dozen times?  I need an editor.  Anyway, I exercise more, I eat healthier, I drink less, and a portion of that (how big a portion I do not want to admit to) has been her popping in my head and reminding me that there are better options.  Through all of this, I have learned some important things about me.  I don’t want to cat around anymore.  I do want a family.  I have a much better idea of the kind of woman that would actually work for me and that I actually want.  And I can sometimes be a selfish monster.

I don’t know if I mentioned, but the relationship she is in right now is actually kind of rocky.  Part of my feelings are tied into that as well because she really is my friend and I want her to have something better.  And I’m not saying that guy is bad.  Actually, he seems kind of alright, except in a few places that I think she needs him to be.  So what does it mean if they break up and she becomes single?  I don’t know.  But going through the list of reasons why this is bad makes things a lot clearer and more easy to navigate.  I can’t pursue her even if she becomes single.  I know I might be reading too much into our friendship, but I really do think she shares at least some of these feelings.  If so, it’s possible that she might pursue me.  I don’t think I’ll have to worry about that one, though.  It seems highly unlikely as, I’m sure, if she does have any feelings than she has already gone down a similar list and has come to the same conclusion.  If the unlikely happens, it’s probably the easiest decision I can make, at least on paper.  If it break or hurts either of our important friendships, the answer absolutely has to be “no.”  And I haven’t talked to the one person it stands to hurt the most about it, I suppose because I don’t want to hurt him by even bringing it up.  I can never bring it up with him.  So I guess the other answer doesn’t even matter.

tl;dr – I have very strong feelings for a woman who is my friend, in my closest circle of friends, was married to one of my best friends, is currently in a longterm relationship with a decent guy, and I got pretty close to fucking it all up by telling her I have said feelings; a friend talked me off of that ledge; it really fucking sucks and honestly hurts; gotta man up and move on, other things are more important

Goddamnit, this sucks.  Where’d I put that bottle of hooch?