Tuesday, March 03, 2009

not-so-stiff upper lip

1. if i had a mood ring, it would be going berserk right now

I keep prematurely declaring myself done with my winter doldrums. I'll be all, "Yay! I'm skiing and the weather's nice and I just read a really good book and someone is designing my website!" and then, 24 hours later, I'm all superstitious about hernia surgery again (the song playing in the blood test office's waiting room: possibly bad luck; the show playing on the TV in the chest x-ray office's waiting room: good luck, as it involved a circus).

All I can say is: I have a very patient girlfriend. We're taking this relationship class at church right now, and there's a lot of stuff about making time to be silly and not being critical of your partner. AK is a prodigy at being silly and noncritical. She's critical of some things--books and movies and people who aren't friendly--but if you're not one of those things, she's pretty much all love, all the time.

Except when she's in a bad mood, and even then she's not critical, she's just in a bad mood. This is actually great, because when I'm all weird and moody, she doesn't question that a person might need to be that way sometimes.

Lately we've taken to pouting with our upper lips. Try it: When you want to brood, instead of sticking out your lower lip, try extending your upper one. You'll feel like a duck or maybe one of the less intelligent dinosaurs. It will be hard to stay in a bad mood. And when I say that, I mean it, because I can dwell on shit like a pro.

2. don't make me get out my why-l.a.-is-great list

Something else I'm dwelling on: My friends keep moving away. This also happened right after college, and for a while I hung out with a handful of people I had almost nothing in common with except that we were all friends with the same girl who moved away. Now a second wave seems to be taking place. First Meehan, now Nicole and Heather.

(Heather and her boyfriend and AK and I spent a fun farewell-L.A. day at BCAM's Art of Two Germanys show, which I highly recommend. Especially the photographs and the socialist realism, which I know is propaganda, but it's pretty and a more interesting lie than whatever truth large abstract oils are trying to tell me. Then we had shabu-shabu for dinner and Heather's chef boyfriend taught me how to poach an egg. A whole world opened up.)

Fortunately my wayward friends are all planning on coming back in a few months. Sometimes I go that long without seeing people I like even when they're just across town. Not that I should, but I do. And in the meantime I'll probably hang out with AK's friends, who are fairly awesome.

So I'm not saying life is bad, just that it's life. Our relationship class is also big on making you repeat statements back to each other, slowing conversations down to the pace of a really thoughtful snail. We discuss childhood voids and reaction styles ("Are you a turtle or you a hailstorm?") and we watch a DVD of couples having dialogues about dialogue.

All stuff that, if you witnessed it as a teenager, would make you want to crawl in a hole and bury yourself alive before you could reach the indignity that was adulthood. But it's not so bad. It's even kind of good. It's life.


Claire said...

I don't think a person living in LA is entitled to "winter doldrums." It only got up to 15 here today. Might just be me though. ;)

Cheryl said...

Okay, how about "Doldrums that happen to take place during the months of January and February." And it totally rained just last week!

Anonymous said...

I have long wondered about that class, it sounds cool. I love an instructional video.

Cheryl said...

AK and I spend a lot of time passing notes and making fun of what she refers to as the "Christian clip art" in the handbook...but it really is a useful class. Just the act of bringing attention to relationship interactions goes a long way.

Anonymous said...

Fairly awesome?

Cheryl said...

Well, if I said "incredibly awesome," my friends might start to get jealous.

Don Cummings said...

I love the relationship class. We all need them!

I'm a horrendous bully. And Adam...well, I'll let him tell you what he is... and we just have to calm down and have fun and be sweet to each other and yes, not judge, and it all works so well.

Sorry about your LA people going away.

Cheryl said...

Yeah, the recipe is really simple, it just takes a lifetime to learn.

Some good folks are still in town, luckily. :-)