Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Simple Joys of Maidenhood

I took Friday off last week to catch up on "stuff." It's the kind of stuff, if I were married, I could have my husband do. You know, ladies, it's those chores we live for every 3,000 miles, if we are good about it.

Friday morning started with a car wash. The last time I washed my car was August of 2008. I can see all the male eyebrows raise. Yes, it's been that long. It rains a lot in Oregon, so why bother. I figure whatever dust it collects, the next storm will rinse the dirt away. Funny thing happened, though on the way through the car wash. While the blower was throwing 80 mph winds toward my car, it ripped off part of a strip that holds the front window in place. Thank goodness, I was able to snap it back. Lucky me.

Then I went to get my Armor All wipes to take a year's worth of dust off inside my car, and I must have left the plastic lid open last August, because they were all dried up. I improvised by scooping up a few leftover water drops the 80 mph didn't blow off from my car and was able to get one moist enough to clean months of dust and dog hair. Yes, and I even vacuumed the car floor, after remembering to bring millions of quarters for that vacuum that gives you 45 seconds for 25 cents. What a ripoff.

Then I was off to Jiffy Lube! I was only 100 miles over the little window tag, but why I have such fear of oil changes I'll never know. Probably because I never check my oil. I always think I have only a few drops left, so I procrastinate thinking I'm going to get some horrid news when I do show up that I've blown my engine by not topping off the oil. Lucky me, only 1/2 quart down. Whew! Good for another 3,000 miles. Of course, then they try to sell you everything under the sun from filters to flushes, all of which I usually put off too.

Then I drove across the street to Les Schwab to get my tires rotated and my brakes checked. My brakes make more noise than a rusty hinge, so I figured I was due. Frankly, I can't remember the last time I rotated, needlessness to say the girl behind the counter raised her eyebrow at me when she saw my record. Right away, I said, "Hey! What do you expect from a single woman?" I sat in the waiting room eating my free popcorn and sniffing the aroma of rubber. Why do men like that odor anyway? If they could, I'm sure someone would make an aftershave with rubber smell. Instead of Old Spice, we could name it Old Tire. I'm always so glad to get fresh air when I leave the tire joint. Well, lucky me, my brakes are still okay, but why they squeal I have no idea.

Then it was off to shop, bank, and groceries. As usual, I leave the 24 count of bottled water from Costco in the car, because I can't haul that sucker into my apartment. I only buy the 20 pound bag of dog food, because 40 can't make it to the door. A lot of times, I just leave stuff in my trunk that's too heavy to haul and get it as I need it. Works for me.

Then there's the garbage. I hate hauling my garbage. The bins at the apartment building are a pain. You have to lift the black rubber lid, throw the bag up over your shoulders, and hope it sinks to the bottom of the smelly thing. I usually wrench my neck or shoulder in the process, especially on those days my garbage is filled with leftovers and spoiled everything I've purged from my refrigerator.

Such is the life of a single woman. I'm reminded of another song, "The Simple Joys of Madienhood." It's days like these, I wonder where those simple joys are! Maybe I just need a personal male assistant to help me with all this junk. I'm taking applications, for Knights in Shining Armor, if anyone is interested, that can save me from all of the above.

Where are the simple joys of maidenhood?
Where are all those adoring daring boys?
Where's the knight pining so for me
he leaps to death in woe for me?
Oh where are a maiden's simple joys?

Shan't I have the normal life a maiden should?
Shall I never be rescued in the wood?
Shall two knights never tilt for me
and let their blood be spilt for me?
Oh where are the simple joys of maidenhood?

Shall I not be on a pedestal,
Worshipped and competed for?
Not be carried off, or better st'll,
Cause a little war?
Where are the simple joys of maidenhood?

Are those sweet, gentle pleasures gone for good?
Shall a feud not begin for me?
Shall kith not kill their kin for me?
Oh where are the trivial joys?
Harmless, convivial joys?
Where are the simple joys of maidenhood?

ARTIST: Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe
TITLE: The Simple Joys of Maidenhood

Friday, June 19, 2009

Hopeless Romantic & Alone

Why do I torture myself watching romantic movies? I'm a glutton for punishment, that's for sure. The longer I am alone and single, the more often I cry at the end of chick flicks. Last week, I blubbered over Emma. Handsome Jeremy Northam plays gorgeous to die for Mr. Knightly. At the end he longingly looks into Emma’s eyes and says:

"I do not wish to call you my friend, because I hoped to call you something infinitely more dear."

Of course, then comes the marriage proposal to make you swoon.

Then last night I tortured myself with Persuasion staring Rupert Penry Jones, a knock-out as well, as Captain Wentworth, who pens these words:

"I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means
as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony,
half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings
are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart
even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years
and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman,
that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you."

Well that did it! Gushing tears, and my usual complaint I pour out to God that I am still single. What cruelty! At my age, I feel robbed and cheated that I have never known lasting love my entire life. The movies usually end with me slamming down my footrest, blowing my nose, and being miserable for the next hour. Finally, I resolve myself to my fate and settle back into my reality of single life.

To make things worse, I am a hopeless romantic. I love Jane Austen, who wrote some of the most beautiful love stories ever penned. Ironically, she was a woman who never married and found lasting love in her life either, though she once had a beau. I often wonder if she wrote to live her dreams of love on a page, becoming the characters herself, and living vicariously though the quill of her pen. No doubt her inspiration came from her loneliness.

Last week I went into a local bookstore and just browsed. I happened down the “Romance” aisle and could barely move around all the women checking out the books. Like forlorn souls begging for love on a page, they drooled over covers, read pages inside, and walked off with a few in hand to the cashier. It was an interesting moment of human study. I guess I’m not alone. The number of romance novels that sell in one year is astronomically in the multiple millions. Women read to fill holes in their lives by imaginary situations. Whether they are married, widowed, divorced, or single it doesn’t matter. Every woman wants romance.

Of course, then comes the reality. Our real life experiences often lack the men who look like Fabio, the romantic music playing in the background during a kiss, a man sweeping us up in his arms and carrying us off to the nearest bed for hours of passionate lovemaking. We sure love to dream about though, don’t we?

Well, I’m not a romance novel reader frankly, though I’m trying to write my first romance novel. I pretty much stick with movies dealing with 19th Century romance, because I love and long for a period long gone where women wore gorgeous gowns, men bowed in your presence, and everyone was polite and courteous in social settings. It’s a world that no longer exists.

Well, I’m not sure how the rest of you deal with romance either on screen or in a book, but I know that it both comforts and tortures me in a variety of ways. I guess next week I’ll watch Pride & Prejudice and blubber over that one. Nothing much else to do!


Monday, June 15, 2009

How to Handle Loss

The majority of singles have arrived at the unmarried state through two avenues in life. One, we're divorced or, two, we've had a mate that passed away. Whatever unfortunate avenue you were forced to walk, dealing with loss can be a huge challenge as a single person.

Each instance of loss we experience carries disappointment, but some instances of loss carry great pain and suffering. Loss affects our lives deeply. It steals our joy, ruins our hope, and brings despondency to our hearts. In dealing with the pain, we can lose part of ourselves in the process as well. We can acquire a distaste for everything in life. The things we once enjoyed become tedious or boring, or they bring memories of times we shared with the person who is no longer there....and it just plain hurts.

Loss is simply defined as something or someone we once possessed or knew that is no longer ours. Everyone relates to the loss of "things." We can lose tangible possessions through accident, misplacement, thievery, or it just don't work anymore! Those kind of losses are often superficial and replaceable simply by buying another.

However, the losses that affect us most are those that are relationships. Sometimes friends fade out of our lives, and others come across our path to fill the void. However, losses in our lives that are irreplaceable hurt the most. They are those we dearly love - a parent, sibling, boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse. In those type of losses, we have the potential of losing part of ourselves in the process while we struggle to deal with the pain.

What helps us through loss? Often it takes others intervening in our lives during the process of grieving who come to comfort and encourage us through empathy and understanding. Perhaps they've been where you are now, and can say tenderly - been there, done that...I understand.

Other times it just takes time. Does time heal everything? I think eventually it does, but I often think not fast enough. We are all wired differently. Some individuals are able to bounce back in a short amount of time, others grieve for years.

Even though we all experience loss in our lives, we can gain from it as well through the process of restoration. A new friend, a new outlook, a new inspiration to spur us on in life. I truly believe that in the hour of our greatest losses, our greatest achievements can be born as well. In addition, our own personal losses give us empathy in the future for others. We come to a place where we can weep with those who weep and ultimately offer the same comfort we ourselves received.

So if you are single and hurting from loss, I encourage you to take heart. Whether you have lost a spouse through divorce or death, you have the right to take the time to grieve and feel the way you do. For some of us it takes a longer walk through that dark tunnel to find the light at the end of our pain. From living through my experiences of loss, I can honestly assure you that you will eventually arrive to a place of healing.