Our microwave has been acting up lately (it’s like a lightning storm in there) so we called the microwave repairman to remedy the situation. Have you tried living without a microwave? It sucks. Anyway, Mr. Microwave Repairman was supposed to show up between 8am and 12pm, but did he? No. He showed up at 3:30. I was stuck in my house waiting for this guy from 8am until 3:30pm and was feeling pretty bored, which lead to a bout of existential angst. Maybe that’s too strong a term. It’s not like I’m a professional philosopher or anything, but when you’re alone with nothing to do, it’s amazing how much thinking you do. Anyway, I did some laundry and a little cleaning, paid some bills, talked to my dog — of course, he didn’t talk back — and listened to some music. I was listening to Piano Man on repeat (another childhood favorite) and was feeling a little bit down. I was wondering if I’m just like one of the patrons at that bar Billy Joel sings about, just someone who’s bottomed out at mediocrity. Should I be doing more with my life? Have I lived up to my potential? Am I using my time wisely? So many questions, and I didn’t really like the answers.
Billy Joel — Piano Man. He’s got some good ones!
Sometimes it’s nice to be sad. Well, nice is the wrong word. But I admit I sometimes take some kind of strange, inexplicable pleasure when it comes to feeling nostalgic and melancholy. There’s something beautiful about being able to feel sadness deeply. So I decided to take things to the next level and watch Casa Blanca. Casa Blanca is probably my favorite movie of all time. I could watch it a million times… then watch it again and love it just a little bit more. Yesterday I talked about my love of the French National Anthem scene (you can see a clip of this scene in my last blog) but I love everything about that movie: The characters, the story line, the history, the acting…I have one of those special edition DVDs complete with commentary, and I’ve probably watched the movie at least 20 or 30 times over the last ten years. But this was my first time watching it after actually being in love, and it was an entirely different experience. Last time I watched this movie a few years ago, I saw it as a love story between Ilsa and Rick…impossible love, blah blah blah. This time, I saw it more as a love story between Ilsa and Lazlo. Because there are people who could be so happy together, if only they existed alone in the world. But it’s the day-to-day that matters. It’s more than Paris. Lazlo’s just a better man than Rick. She really would have hated herself is she’d stayed with Rick.
So there I was, tearing up on my sofa, wondering why life has to be so difficult and feeling a little sorry for myself. Let me tell you, watching this movie alone the day after you receive your final divorce papers is probably not the best idea. I had my divorce hearing on Tuesday and afterwards, I felt on top of the world. I felt great. I felt free. Just read my post-divorce hearing blog entry. I had Beyoncé’s All the Single Ladies on repeat. Finally, eight months after my life was turned upside down in one day, I was legally free and I could fully move on to the next chapter in my life. And then the divorce papers arrived yesterday. SO fast! Even though I’m glad to have the whole thing behind me, getting those papers was tough. Three years of time, effort and sacrifice dissolved with one signature. Three years I can never have back. Oh well. That’s life. Lessons learned, mistakes avoided. No regrets, just a little lingering sadness.
In the past month, major things have happened: Obviously, I got divorced. I also got a job, went to New York, lost my favorite glasses and decided to quit diet Pepsi once and for all. So big things and small things. It’s been great, but it’s also been tough. I am free, but I also find myself newly single at 28. I think I’m mostly OK with that but the thought of starting over yet again is a little scary. I am 100% happier than I was at this time last year and I think I am a better, more interesting person, but I don’t have it all figured out. I got a great, full-time job, but I will probably never have the kind of independence I’ve enjoyed over the last five years. Does this mean I need to put my grandiose would-be writer ambitions to rest in some deep recess of my brain and content myself with affordable health insurance and paid vacation leave? Is my thinking a little too black and white? Probably. I think Charles Dickens said it best: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us…”
OK, so I’m exaggerating a little, being seriously over-the-top and ridiculous. Comparisons between my newly single, Pepsi-less, 9-5 life and the French Revolution are probably a little…dramatic. But dramatics have always been my forte! Getting a regular job doesn’t necessarily equal mediocrity and people get divorced and fall in and out of love all the time. I think I just spent too many hours alone waiting for the microwave repairman and dug myself into an 0ver-thinking rut.
Anyway, I was telling my best friend Rasha that I was feeling down and she brought me back up. She begged me to go to a concert with her tonight, and when I said I didn’t have money (gotta make that last paycheck last until mid August) she bought me a ticket so I wouldn’t have to be alone. So what if I’m single and unremarkably ordinary? At least I have people in the world who care enough about me buy me a ticket to a concert I have no interest in, just so I won’t be sad on my own. I’m lucky to have that.
By the way, our microwave was “condemned,” and will be replaced with a new, functioning microwave in the next few days. And even though I had to wait FOREVER for the guy to arrive, he turned out to be a pretty nice microwave repairman.
Despite the fact that I had absolutely no idea who would be playing at the concert, I had a great time. Sometimes you just need people.