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Jan 21

A little death every day may be a good thing

Posted on Thursday, January 21, 2010 in Aging, Sex/sexuality

On the plane home this weekend, we hit turbulence. Bad turbulence.

And so there I was, at I don’t know how many thousands of feet up in the air, thinking, well, this is it. This is how I’m going to diealone (well, everyone else was a stranger); halfway through my Nick Hornby novel; the Avett Brothers playing on my iPod; “The Office” on the airplane TV screen; without saying “I love you” to The Kid and Sean; more than 72 hours since I’d gotten laid; a borrowed fleece jacket needing to be returned; a load of laundry still in the dryer; wearing plain ol’ panties (no need to waste a thong on the parents, don’t you think?); and so much more that I wanted to do.

The stuff of life — and death. 

It was all rather depressing, even if I weren’t among those who were going to be offed in a Boeing 757 swan dive somewhere in the desert.

“I almost died,” I told Sean, calling from the Airporter on the way home.

“Obviously you didn’t because we’re talking, and as far as I know I don’t communicate with the dead nor would I chose to even if I could.”

No sympathy there. So I called Sara. She wasn’t any more comforting.

“Don’t you think you’re being a little dramatic, Kat?”

“Not really. I could have died.”

“And, we’d throw you a helluva funeral. With flowers and crying. I promise I’d say nice things about you and watch after Trent.”

“Thanks; that’s really reassuring,” I said, sarcastically.

“Anyway death is the only certainty in life, you know? Embrace it.”

Hmm, well, I know it’s inevitable. But, a plane crash isn’t how I envision making my final departure, not that we can choose those things.

I don’t want to think about dying because whenever I do, I picture me dying young, fit and energetic — way too young to die! Which, of course, is silly because the biggest death in my life has already happened, the death of my youth. It’s been dying so gradually, I was barely conscious of it until I hit midlife and thought — WTF? I may act and feel youthful, but there’s no denying that I’m on that cosmic luge racing toward the age of slippery memories and shriveling bodies. I will be 70 in just a few more years than The Kid has been alive — and wasn’t he a baby just a few years ago?

I’m not ready for it, even if 70 is the new 60. I don’t especially want to be 60, either. Given the alternative, however, I choose 60 — for now.

But, when I’m just a shadow of myself, frail and faltering, with people talking euphemistically about my “condition” and badgering me, “Kat, do you remember who I am?,” why would I want to continue on? Like Caesar said to the bedraggled, old soldier who told him that he was tired of living: “Thou fanciest, then, that thou art yet alive.”

Yes, well, whatever.

We all fear death; maybe what we really should fear is not living.

I don’t want to be one of those people who have a near-death experience and suddenly get their priorities straight and start living as if each day was the last. I want to live now — it’s all that exists. And, if that means I have to have the taste of death on my tongue every day to remember, so be it.

So, here’s my plan to “embrace” death and, thus, life — have more orgasms. The French don’t call it “la petite mort” — aka “the little death” — for nothing. And, really, if death is even a little bit like that, well, what’s to fear?

  • Do you fear dying?
  • Has a near-death experience changed your perspective?
Jan 19

Going out of town is risky business

Posted on Tuesday, January 19, 2010 in Honesty, Parenting, single dads, single moms, teens/teenagers

“Mom, how come you never go away?” The Kid asks me as he throws his lanky man-child body on my bed.

There a few ways to interpret this. Could he be concerned about how overworked and stressed I am lately, or my flailing happiness?

Not likely.

But, I play along anyway.

“Why?”

“I dunno. Just wondering.”

“Well, I just don’t have the budget for
it right now.”

“Oh, OK,” he says, slowly slipping off the bed and sulking away.

Sorry to disappoint him — hey, I’m pretty disappointed I can’t go away, too  — but I know what’s really going on. It’s winter, it’s cold, no one wants
to hang around downtown and there isn’t any place to go if you’re teen in the ‘burbs with no wheels. All you can do is hope for someone’s parents
to go out of town for the weekend.

Can you say P-A-R-T-Y?

I know what happens when parents split and leave their teens home alone. You give them the stink eye — “no parties!” — and get doe eyes in return: “But, don’t you trust me?”

Actually, I do trust Trent; it’s the hundreds of Facebook friends he has who concern me.  Twitter may be fast,
but it can’t compare to the teenage party pipeline. It takes nothing to go from a few kids hanging out in the living room playing PlayStation to a scene out of “Risky Business.” Or “Debbie Does Dallas.”

For single parents, it’s especially hard. We’re already suspect. Many parents think single parents run a looser ship; we’re at work all day — empty house from 3 to 6 p.m., give or take — and then there’s the divorce guilt thing, which makes us pushovers for our kids. Plus, if  our boyfriend/girlfriend sleeps over, there’s a feeling like, hey anything goes at that house. Single parents are often guilty until proven innocent (which, sadly, is how a lot of parents treat their teens).

So, there was a family emergency this weekend, and I had to go out of town. Even though Trent was going to stay at his Dad’s, an empty house for a long weekend (and school closed) is awfully tempting.

When I got home last night, I got into sleuth mode, which made me feel bad; maybe I don’t fully trust him after all! I checked the curbside recycle bin first — just the usual junk-mail fliers and dog food cans. I opened the front door and, aha!, a dirty house — just as I, uh, left it. No usual brown splotches on the bathroom walls, no missing beers or wine bottles, no lingering traces of weed-masking incense, no urgent voicemails from the neighbors or the local police.

I felt relieved. I immediately called up Trent and told him how much I love him.

“Why are you so weird?” he grumbled.

Whatever.

But, there are lot of parents leave their teens unsupervised or least barely supervised while they head out of town — either out of denial, tacit approval or maybe just plain trust. And, sure, there are many kids who deserve that trust, and aren’t going to pull a 180 and go crazy if they’re alone for a weekend. I trust my kid, but even trustworthy kids make mistakes and get in way over their head sometimes.

It didn’t happen this time. Would my house be party-free the next time, too? I don’t know, but I don’t see why I’d want to risk it.

  • Do you leave your teen home alone for a weekend/overnight?
  • Has your teen thrown a party while you were gone (that you know of, of course)?
  • Has your teen gone to a party when the parents were away (that you know of, of course)?
Jan 14

Two 20-somethings “do” me

Posted on Thursday, January 14, 2010 in Aging, dating, Divorce, Honesty, Kat, Relationships, Sex/sexuality, Singles

Here’s the big doh of the day — being single and dating when you’re 20-something and when you’re middle-aged is as different as, say, Velveeta and Humboldt Fog, even if you live in the same ‘burb — which, BTW, you should never do if you’re 20-something, and if you do, don’t complain about how boring it is or how you can’t meet any chicks, OK? New parents, grandparents, empty-nesters, aging Deadheads driving ’76 VW buses and cougars live in the ‘burbs.

And, of course, middle-aged divorcees. A lot of middle-aged divorcees.

I would not want to be dating as a 20-something nowadays — it seems so much more complicated than it used to be. Still, I can remember my single 20s (though I lived in a small town and then a city, no ‘burbs!) so I know what it’s like, unlike 20-somethings trying to imagine what dating as a middle-aged divorcee is like. In the ‘burbs, no less.   

So, I’m somewhat flattered — I think — that two 20-somethings, brothers Hugh and Matt (or, those are the names they go by, anyway) are interested in what dating as a middle-aged divorcee is like. They follow this blog, and then do a dramatic reading of a post every week over at their podcast, HellaCast (you’re welcome, boys, for the plug).

Well, it’s an abbreviated reading — they cut out all the intellectual stuff (yes, there is some, really!) and go straight to the, um, dirty parts.

Boys will be boys …

Matt plays Sara, and Hugh is me. Go take a listen.

But, as they say on an early podcast, my tell-all sexual posts make them somewhat “uncomfortable.” I get it; when you’re in your 20s, you really don’t want to be thinking about older people — or your parents — getting it on. Too much flesh jiggling around, I guess. And, yes, there’s a lot of TMI in the blogosphere, although I’m betting much of it is Botoxed writing, enhanced to driver reader traffic and etc.

Although, some of the stories Matt and Hugh tell — like the one about a party at which some very drunk Sonoma State sorority girls were “dancing on the pole, if you catch my drift” … by turning a skinny guy into a (stripper’s?) pole — make me feel glad to be middle-aged.

Never saw that in my 20s (although, I’ve seen a few middle-aged women act like that recently; very sad), and I have never enjoyed frat-boy antics — have I been missing out?

And Hugh and Matt, who describe themselves as “mid-20s,” “virile” and “creative,”  lament, “where are all the young women in the suburbs? There’s about six or seven single women in their 20s, and I’m pretty sure they’re related to my friends.”

Not too different from being a middle-aged divorcee. Could Marin’s cougars have it right?

So, Matt and Hugh, if you’re going to “do” me, I’d like to lay down a few ground rules:

  • Hugh, please, I have a much sexier voice; can you work it?
  • “Uncomfortable” may be a generational thing. Way-drunk sorority girls, human “pole” dancing and drummers trying to hit on girls with rings of sweat around their butt aren’t quite my thing (and I’m rather broad-minded and have a good sense of humor).
  • Finally, why do you put the dramatic readings toward the end of your podcast? Unless, of course, you’re forcing listeners to hang in through the blather just to get to the main event — me! Hmm, that’s smart …

Oh yeah — those pics you’re taking from my site (especially from the old IJ blog); they’re copyrighted. I’d remove ’em ASAP.

But, the HellaCast boys did get me thinking about dating back then, in my youth, versus now. Each has its own complications and joys, sure, but I’m so much smarter and self-aware now (although I come with “baggage,” a kid). I wouldn’t want to be back in my 20s trying to figure it all out. Would you?

  • What has been your experience dating in your 20s/30s versus middle-age?
  • And, are Matt and Hugh capturing the true essence of Sara and me?

Photo © Cristian Laza – Fotolia.com