Friday, August 10, 2007

My new best friend and other end of week musings

I've taken to using coffee shops as my office, as of late. My lab has been a ghost-town lately. Summer classes are done (therefore no participants), and it seems everyone has taken the entirety of August off. As such, it is hard to find reasons to commute an hour to go write on a computer in a windowless, stuffy lab. I've actually found that coffee shops are the perfect blend of public and private for me. Private enough that I feel reasonably at ease in a corner with my headphones on, but public enough so that I feel motivated to work, rather than slack off. Plus, no matter how great my lab coordinator is, he doesn't make me white chocolate mochas upon command.


In an attempt to increase my affection for my spider neighbour, the Duke decided to name him Esteban. He says that there is no way I could harbour homicidal urges towards someone of that name, particularly if I pictured the spider speaking to me in a flamboyent Spanish accent.


So here's a tale of mixed messages for you...

As some readers already know, prior to my current relationship, I was in a relationship and lived for many years with another fellow. We broke up on fairly mutual and amicable terms (as resentment free as things can be, at least), and still keep in a reasonable, but not excessive, degree of contact (e.g., coffee every few months). Ironically, and probably very telling, since the break-up, we have both began relationships with individuals who are near polar opposites of the other-- his being a religious 21-year old fast food manager.

Lest you think I sound a little judgmental in that last sentence, let me assure you that any hostility you sense is a response to her reactions to me. I was actually very happy to hear that he had moved on, as it gave me more freedom in my own relationship, and he is a solid guy who deserves to be happy. However, I rapidly began hearing about her resentment towards me, including her profound jealousy, anger whenever my name came up, and accusations that I was keeping any contact with my ex secret from my own boyfriend.

In fact, I have reason to believe that she may be my short-lived phone stalker, considering that the series of four calls in an hour began right after he sent her a text message intended for me (totally innocuous, I may add, about a planned meeting that was our first in three months)- and that, when I asked my ex if it sounded like a plausible explanation, he agreed, saying "I wouldn't put something like that past her!"

Imagine my surprise when I see that she has sent me a message via facebook. I brace myself, expecting some scathing "stay the hell away from my man!" tirade.

Instead: "its *********. how are you? i think addin you as a friend would be a big step. we havent even met each other. but i thought a short message wouldnt hurt. i hope youre enjoying your summer. hope to hear back from you ^_^"


How does one go from despising me and potentially stalking me to that?

I mean, it could be that she decided to be the bigger person and try to start a positive relationship with me.
But forgive me if I'm a little suspicious...


Last weekend was our a long weekend, and the Duke and I decided, since we were stuck in the city, to make the best of playing tourist. Thus, on Saturday, we decided to take a tram up a mountain, which is known for its views. It was rather comical- just as the tram started moving, the Duke exclaimed "Shit! I forgot I was afraid of heights!"

It was a pleasant day- we had a lovely lunch, were only a few meters away from some grizzly bears (in an outdoor pen- I'm not quite that gutsy), and just wandered around. However, being a long weekend, it was a little too rife with the "family" crowd for our liking. Towards around 6pm, it felt like we had pretty much overexhausted all the attractions, and were ready to leave and meet some friends for the big fireworks show. Unfortunately, everyone else had the same idea- several hundred people were lined up to cram into cable cars that left only every 15 minutes.

Loathe to wait, we made what seemed like a good decision- walk down the mountain. Without giving too much away, this particular mountain has a rather infamous trail-- which I will call the Evil Escarpment, or is also commonly known as Nature's Stairmaster. We figure that walking down a few kilometers of stairs can't be as bad as waiting in a neverending line full of antsy children, so off we went. Despite the fact that I am wearing a $7 pair of Chinese slipper.

As you can probably guess, by the simple fact that I am writing about it, the hike didn't go especially well. Stairmaster is definitely too flattering- this was one of the most trecherous trails I had ever seen. It is apparently a 40 degree slope at times, and the trail often takes you clamouring down large rocks and steps several times larger than your average stair. I had no opportunity to focus on the beauty of the woods, as every single step took painful amounts of focus, especially since my cotton shoes were seeking to slip off my feet at every moment. It was also excrutiatingly slow, as we had to yield to the side of the narrow path whenever someone was coming up the trail-- and, for some reason, my city is full of masochists who love the Escarpment and mysteriously claim to enjoy such an uphill battle.
It is an odd thing to have gotten no cardiovascular workout, yet be painfully sore.

We later found out that it is highly recommended that you do not walk down the Evil Escarpment for the sake of your knees-- which I could have figured out when I could barely walk the next day. I never thought the two steps up to my bathroom would ever be such sources of frustration.

Work has been frustrating over these past few month. Austin was probably my saving grace in feeling like I had actually achieved something in taking the course and developing some research ideas. I planned to use the summer as a CV stacker of sorts, with three manuscripts to be written. Unfortunately, my supervisor, who recently claimed to be working on a whopping 20 something separate projects, has still not given me back my first draft of manuscript #1 back- despite having given it to him around a month and a half ago. I know there are other people who are in a hurry to defend that are priorities- but it feels a little ridiculous. And all these various activities are so contingent on him... I can't start writing the chapter until I have some feedback on the paper, and now I have a second manuscript essentially done that I don't even know what to do with, because I know it is just going to end up on some secondary piles for ages. I wish I had known all this before, so I could have either used the summer to stock up my clinical hours, or taken more holidays, rather than forcing myself to the lab countless days to feel like I am accomplishing something... when it will just end up on the backburner anyways. Bah.


To end this post on a positive note, here's a clip from my favourite show of the moment-- Extras. Ricky Gervais is bloody hysterical, and he gets such great guest on the show willing to poke fun at themselves. In this case, witness Sir Ian McKellen discuss his profound acting techniques.

Oh yeah, and song of the moment is Rilo Kiley's "Moneymaker". Love it.


Yoda said...

Do not eat Esteban.


Do not eat Esteban.

I donno, I feel as though people should have as minimal a contact with their ex's as possible. I don't call my ex ever. I feel as though there's nothing I have to tell her. The distance helps too. I do talk to her when she calls me, though. But I never, never call her.

Princess Pointful said...

Don't worry... I wasn't planning on a spider snack anytime soon.

Although I know it varies by situation, I think the whole avoid the ex like the plague thing is silly (and I know LMizzle will back me up on this one ;-) ). While I think some distance is a good thing... I hate the notion that you need to erase six years of close friendship merely because you are no longer sleeping together. I think as long as there are boundaries there, you give it several months before you hang out again, and you aren't too intertwined, a casual friendship is okay.

Airam said...

If you're ok with her having access to whatever information you've got on your facebook profile then add her as a friend. If not then don't. Or add her and put her on a limited profile.

Lord Chimmy said...

But forgive me if I'm a little suspicious...

She only wants to be your friend to see how you and your EX interact on FB.

All Mod Cons said...

Facebook...the root of all evil. I've never used it but live in fear of ever joining!

As for her reasons why, all sounds like game playing to me. But then I think I'm overly suspicious.

Actually, I'm the LAST person to be giving opinions on relationships, past or present!

Too many other things to comment on with this post, it's excellent!

Ant said...

Ooh, so much to comment on! Let's start backwards:

Ian McKellen and Ricky Gervais - loves it!

Exes - I'm firmly of the opinion that folks shouldn't stay in touch after break-up, precisely because you've had 6 years of intimate relations. That's too strong a pull, and if either has any kind of inkling to go backwards, it's dead easy to fall into. I too was very suspicious of the religious fast-food presider when you said about the Facebook thing, but I think Lord Chimmy has got it spot on. Tread warily.

Esteban - eez jeest a leetle spider! You maka da friends wid heem and he serenade you on hees geetar: "Oooooh! Mamameee! Mamameeee! Esteban loves you Princess, don't keeeell poor leetle Esteban!"

iFreud said...

Psychology training has ruined me for movies, I can't seem to keep my mouth shut anymore either. I end up getting the "look" from T whenever I go off...

psychgrad said...

Esteban better do his serenading from afar. I haven't had any major spider traumas this summer...a few false alarms (a moth in my bedroom and a flying spider-looking thing in the bathroom) though.

I could go either way on contact with an ex. Generally, if I distance myself/break up with someone, I don't maintain contact with them. But, I haven't had a previous 6 year relationship, so it's hard to say.

Sucks that your supervisor is so slow. Maybe he wouldn't have 20 projects on the go if he didn't over-commit and got things done in a timely manner.

If it were me, I would respond something polite and benign to your ex's new gf....something that indicates that you want to be civil with her, but that you don't expect or want a new "penpal".

Eve said...

Extras is hilarious!

Also, she's read or figured out the adage "keep your friends close but your enemies closer." Watch out for her...

LMizzle said...

Yup, I am on your side, PP.

Actually though, the Duke is probably the first person whom I have kept in contact with after dating that hasn't turned out to be INSANE, so you know, that's a bonus!

eric313 said...

makes me think of the infomercial.

This spider and your growing acceptance of "his space", along with your easy going attitude toward the ex boyfriend--and even the shady suspect new girlfriend--all adds up to a pretty good combined metaphor of the give and take that keeps life balanced, of acceptance and moving on.

Don't know if you planned it--so much the better, actually. A planned out metaphor is a painful thing to read in a longer story, unless you've practiced with writing it before, it will be clunky and deliberate. The best metaphors come out naturally and surprise the authors who wrote them--even if they won't admit it. Writing something in one sitting is also huge--keeping the same state of mind will help make the individul stories that comprise it to add up.

Don't mind me! You know my fondness for discussing writing philosophy. It helps me, as I've said so many times before.
take care

Princess Pointful said...

Eric- Good eye! The metaphor was unintentional. However, I do find it interesting that such things pop up naturally in life, because, as you said, there's nothing I loathe more than forced symbolism (okay, maybe serial killers- I don't much like them).

Even more intriguing- another slightly more invasive email from the girlfriend today... and Esteban is much less jumpy and braver in his nighttime hunting. Hmm....

Princess Pointful said...

Oh, and for the rest of you...

Airam- We're not facebook friends at this stage, and I definitely put her on limited profile, so as not to see my photos, contact info, etc.

Lord Chimmy- I would think so, too- but it also seems she likes to send me updates on all the things they do together (doesn't she have something else to tell me about in her life? Okay, I know the answer- her attempts at invoking jealousy are a wee bit transparent)

All Mods Con- You are singularly focused on facebook as evil, aren't you?

Ant- Ha! You got the Esteban impression dead on!

As for the backwards pull, I honestly think I am cognizantly aware of being beyond that- however, we do keep our distance for a reason, all the same. Occasional text messages and coffees are hardly slumber parties ;)

iFreud- I could use you in a few screenings!

PsychGrad- I have sent very generic short messages back, along the lines of "My summer is going well, thanks. Spent some time at x, it was lovely, and am enjoying the sunshine. Do you have any vacation plans?"
I figure I can appear to suffocate her with niceness whilst still being wary.

Eve- You got it (on both points)!

Lmizzle- The lack of insanity helps in our relationship, too.
Although I'm beginning to wonder about my ex, honestly...