Tag Archives: city life

Dating: An Attempt

5 Mar

Actress Greta Garbo and Eric Von Seyffertitz in

“Wow. You look fantastic.”

GoFarther83 nodded with hopeful eyes and a genuine smile.

“Thank you.” I smiled back, unsure of how to react or what to do with my hands.

He looked a little different than I expected from his online picture. Though, to be fair, he was wearing sunglasses in that picture, so it was hard to see who he really was.

It was my first-ever Internet date and I felt unidentifiable anxiety, anticipation, contentment, and excitement. I didn’t know the protocol and that made me nervous. Do you just go up to someone and ask if you met online? Do you try a flirty opening line? What if they take one look at you and leave? What if they like you more than you like them and you don’t know how to reject someone you don’t really know?

I’d started writing messages back and forth with GF83 (whose real name is Adam) a few days ago. He initiated the exchange: If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?

Since I haven’t been anywhere, I said the most unusual one I could think of, to mask my inexperience. Easter Island.

Exotic. I like it! What do you like to do for fun?

We then launched into a somewhat typical get-to-know-you conversation. It surprised me how Internet dating really did feel just like real world dating. It wasn’t the most passionate or inspiring opening conversation, but he seemed nice and talkative enough. Just when it felt like the time to wrap up, he messaged, You seem really interesting. Would you want to grab a drink?

How about Thursday? I typed back.

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New Construction

13 Feb

Resourcefulness

I got home from a run the other day to find six large, cardboard boxes outside my apartment door. I studied the information on them, mystified at who would possibly have sent me so much stuff.

In fact, my mom had sent me all my books from home. What a lovely surprise!

As a child and teenager, I was an avid reader (still am) and books were the only things I ever wanted for birthdays and Christmases. Accordingly, I acquired a large collection of books: first edition Harry Potters, Hemingway in hard cover, vintage children’s storybooks, French philosophy books sent from Paris, feminist fiction from Aunt Petra, classics that looked like they belonged in a dark library, and all the Shakespeare plays in leather-bound covers.

I couldn’t wait to immerse myself in their pages once again. I dragged the boxes into my apartment, and spent the better half of an afternoon joyfully opening them, rediscovering the books I hadn’t seen in such a long time.

Because many of them had been gifts, their covers were high quality, just begging for a prominent display. After studying my mostly blank walls, I decided that a full wall of books would be the most dramatic and elegant way to shelve them. Thus, I needed to build some shelves.

For a moment I considered hiring someone to install them for me, but then I realized how expensive that would be, especially after I bought all the shelving. I also considered buying bookcases, but I would have to buy too many of them to display all my books, and I just didn’t have the money for that, nor the space. I then sensed an opportunity to cross another item off my list. I would be resourceful.

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The Apartment: Part One

18 Oct

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I’ve grown weary of staring at these blank walls.

It’s been a couple of weeks and I’m still sleeping on an air mattress, living out of suitcases and feeding myself a steady diet of coffee and takeout (no dishes = no homecooked meals.) At night I lie on my little mattress with a sleeping bag for covers and watch streaming television on my laptop, which sits on top of my suitcase. It makes for a nice makeshift entertainment center, but this morning I woke up with neck pain. I wasn’t sure if it was from the air mattress or craning to watch too many crime dramas on the tiny computer screen (I’ve finally given up on James Bond).

In any event, I find these strange new pains to be not-so-conducive to kicking ass. Therefore, I must take action. Today I tackle Item No. 1 on my list of International Woman of Mystery must-haves: Homebase.

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The view is everything

17 Sep

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Denver is not a cosmopolitan metropolis, I am finding, but from the balcony of my new apartment, it feels like the most exciting city in the world. From here, the mountains and skyline border my vista. In spite of everything, I feel hopeful.

This apartment was my first stop after arriving at the airport – my driver brought me to Capitol Hill, an old mixed-use, tree-lined neighborhood with a young population. As the driver slowed, so did my adrenaline.

The driver parked in front of a dated high rise that faced west and had a “for rent” sign out front. He followed me into the wood paneled lobby that smelled of stale cigarette smoke. The furniture looked like it had once been expensive.

I found the leasing office, paid the driver who left my suitcases in the hallway, took a deep breath and walked in. I told the leasing agent that I wanted their best vacant apartment.

“It’s your lucky day,” said Todd, the excitable, twentysomething leasing agent. “We have a 10th floor west-facing apartment ready to go. It has a phenomenal view.”

The price was almost right, so I signed the lease on the spot without even looking at the apartment.

In the elevator with Todd, I felt the dust of my rapid escape begin to settle. I felt suddenly overwhelmed and exhausted, and felt even more tired when I realized I had no furniture, and no bed on which to crash. It took the little mental energy I had left to block from my mind the real reason I was here.

Todd handed me the keys and helped wheel my suitcases to the apartment door.

“I got it from here,” I said. “Thanks for all your help.”

When the elevator closed behind Todd, I put the key in the lock and took a deep breath. The door opened into a dark hallway. I pulled in my suitcases and slowly shut the door behind me.

I walked through the hallway, passed a big closet, and turned a corner. In the main living space, sliding glass doors opened to a large, concrete balcony that faced the snow-capped Rockies.

I wandered the apartment, and tried to look past the faded walls and carpentry anomalies.

It was old and dingy.

This was not my home.

Hearing that word in my head brought a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes. I swallowed hard and focused on the bright horizon, spotlighted in the late morning sun. I walked out to the balcony, where I could also see the skyline.

The apartment needed a lot of work, but it had good bones and clean lines. With a coat of paint, and luxurious, modern furniture, this place could be fabulous.

Everything I’ve done in the last few days has been for me. Unrequited love, by its nature, inspires self-centeredness and I have spared no expense in my emotional indulgences. This is all I know to do. Somewhere I learned that to deal with this, I am supposed to run away, spend money, “focus on me,” and do everything I can to find the next man.

I stood there, taking in all of Colorado, and tried to feel alive.