Tag Archives: Jealousy

Flashback Friday: An Omnibus

Lighthouse, San Juan Island

Lighthouse, San Juan Island

[Herein are three baby posts from the first spring break I spent with Z in Seattle in 2007 right after we’d first gotten together. There are other posts from this visit that I’ll flashback to at another time.]

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Flying Alone

The main reason I shouldn’t fly alone is this: I hate people. When I fly with another person, I’m usually too engaged in conversation to notice that despite a sea of empty chairs at the Indianapolis airport, two different sets of people have decided to bookend me. But today, I am alone, so I loathe them instantly for crowding me, and even though I know it is the airport that smells of dirty feet and not my new neighbors, I blame them just the same. The lady next to me just flopped down a red and white L.L. Bean tote that has “winkdogs” embroidered on the side. There’s no telling what a winkdog is, but I’m pretty sure I don’t like them either. I imagine they are small and yappy.

Anyhow, this is one of my character flaws. When it is 6:30 in the morning and I’ve been up since 3:00 a.m. and I had to drive thru the spring rains Central Indiana to get to the airport, I just don’t want to be bothered. I should be excited because I’m on my way to Rick, but it is just too early in the morning for so much humanity. Add to this that it isn’t even the REAL 6:30 but the imposter 6:30 the governor imposed on us when he made us adopt Daylight Savings Time. My jeans are soaked to the knee from the walk from the car to the shuttle stop and back to the car to retrieve my iPod, which, it turns out, was actually in my pocket, and then back to the shuttle.

On the plus side:  so far my flight is on time and Z is on the other end of it waiting on me. (Well, technically Z is asleep, but if he were awake, he would be waiting on me.) I must learn to embrace my co-travelers and their winkdogs.


Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle

Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle

Friday, March 16, 2007

Eternal-ish City
When I was in Rome two years ago, I met a friend of the cousin I’d gone to see who was resident director for some American college students who were staying in the university’s hotel/dorm. She was in her early twenties, small and perky, and she was climbing onto the back of a motorcycle with a handsome Italian man. They even said ciao as they sped away into the night. God help me, I was jealous. I was jealous because I was no longer twentysomething. I was jealous because when I was twentysomething not only was I not living in Rome, but I was in Indiana not riding motorcycles with handsome foreign men. I was jealous because I imagined their ride would end somewhere romantic, outside the Pantheon, on the banks of the Tibor, near the Trevi fountain, and then at some point they would get back on that bike and go somewhere private to have loud, hot, sweaty, Italian sex. While Puccini played in the background.

I really kind of hated that girl and I only knew her about three minutes.

Today, I was in Seattle, which is not as sexy as Rome. I was walking in army green Crocs (not sexy leather boots) instead of riding on the back of a sexy motorcycle. My hair was it’s typical Seattle, Meredith Grey unsexy. Instead of looking at ancient, sexy lifelike sculptures carved into Italian marble, I was looking at abstract cubes and giant typerwriter erasers in the Olympic Sculpture Park. But I was with Z, who smelled so good and held my hand so well and who occasionally molested me in little, welcome ways behind particularly big sculptures. I thought about that girl and realized young, young her could not have been half as content, half as giddy, half as sexed up as I was, standing next to my 50% Italian as we tried to figure out what in the world a series of rusted shapes could possibly mean, as we laughed at the sometimes pretentious explanations of the hulking heaps of metal, as we noticed a young mother who was breastfeeding her baby on one of the works of million dollar art. The sky was clear, the Olympic Mountains were in the distance, the waters of Elliott Bay were calm.

Yeah, I feel a little guilty about that hate now.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Island Girl

Here’s a tip: when you find a deal for a cheap room in an historic inn on the San Juan Islands, make sure the room has a bathroom included and that you aren’t expected to share with other guests.

The ferry ride on Monday from Anacortes to San Juan Island was beautiful but cold. We wended our way between islands and Z and I made periodic dashes outside to stand on the bow for a cold but unobstructed view. We guessed about what islands we were passing, and as is typical of me, I feared we were passing better islands than the one we had made arrangements to be on. In a little less than an hour we had docked in Friday Harbor—the “city” by island standards—and made our way up to Friday’s Historic Inn, where we were cordially greeted and given a key to our room. That’s when we discovered that despite beautiful antique furnishings and a harbor view, we would have to go downstairs for the shower and toilet. I’m not a princess, but I am an introvert with certain hygiene requirements, and I was not prepared to spend my two-night un-honeymoon in the hallway of Friday’s Inn making small talk with hair-shedding, toilet-seat-leaving-up tourists while I waited my turn. No, it wouldn’t do.
The desk clerk didn’t seem surprised at all when I came lumbering back down the stairs with my credit card in hand and was directed to a slightly pricier suite with private bath and Jacuzzi.

I don’t know if I’m cut out for island life. The San Juan Islands are beautiful and the views are breathtaking. This is landscape I was meant for instead of the tropical tableau that comes to mind when one hears “island.” The people are friendly and the pace is very laid back. But there is this tiny panic in my core—what if I need to go to Wal-mart at two in the morning for nail polish remover? There is no Wal-mart unless you go back to the mainland, and there is no ferry at 2:00 a.m. WHAT DO YOU DO IF YOU HAVE A LATE NIGHT NAIL POLISH REMOVER EMERGENCY??? I’m reminded of my last visit to the much less inhabited and much more rustic Inisbofin off the western coast of Ireland, when the electricity was shut off for the entire day while they did upgrades on power supply from the mainland and I had this sudden, crazed desire to plug something in.

But mostly I am able to keep the dogs of anxiety from barking. Z is good for that. We have tame adventures, driving around the island, having an impromptu picnic on the doc in front of the Hiro Hotel where Teddy Roosevelt stayed a couple of times. We walk on the beach and pick up driftwood for a shelf Z hopes to build (but fears will stay driftwood on his kitchen floor) [Note: it DID stay on his kitchen floor for over a year and then was unceremoniously thrown out. Also, we discovered belatedly it might have been a crime to collect the driftwood in the first place.] We look for whales and see them with every crest of wave, only to discover a log or a shadow instead. We look at a seal/sea lion and try to remember how you can tell one from the other before it swims away. We drive past Pelendaba Lavender Farm after buying lavender from their shop in town, where Z impresses me terribly with his international-ness when he asks the clerk what the South African connection is because he recognizes the name as Zulu. (I can’t remember what it means now, but think it is “please do not gag while eating our lavender-flavored chocolates.”) We visit baby alpaca’s and I consider buying $75 alpaca slippers and say a silent prayer of thanks when they do not fit. It’s a good life, this island one.

There is a lot to be said for a few days of relaxation on vacation instead of the style of tourism I usually sign up for, which involves packing as much activity into as little time as possible so I can say I’ve done it all. They say Friday Harbor is hopping during high season, and if that is so, I’m glad we came in March when the roads weren’t crowded, their were no waits in restaurants, and we had our pick of rooms that were en suite. We both agree that it is a place we would return to, though I know as the ferry takes us back to Anacortes I’m going to wonder if next time we shouldn’t visit one of the other islands to see what it has to offer.

In Praise of a Rainy Memorial Day Weekend

Lake Washington, Seattle

Lake Washington, Seattle


I once had a student who claimed to be psychic tell me that I had a problem with jealousy. “You’re a jealous person,” she said. “You should work on that.” I stood in front of her gawping, trying to imagine a scenario where I might have given a college prof unsolicited psychic advice. But then again, I’m not clairvoyant.


I wanted to give the student an automatic D for cheekiness but quickly banished the thought before she could intuit my intentions. She was, after all, a good student. Even if she had it wrong.


I’m not jealous so much as I am given to small fits of envy, which is, I think, an entirely different animal. Jealousy makes you scheme and plot and try to steal things away from other people that you want and believe to be rightfully yours. Envy just makes you miserable because you have this notion that you are lacking something other people have managed to provide for themselves.


For the last several years, basking here in Z’s love and all of our glorious freedom and good times, a lot of the things I used to be envious of don’t even phase me now. Someone gets a new house? Good for them! Someone has a new baby? How exciting and life affirming! Someone goes on vacation? What was it like? Someone gets a new dog? When can I see it, please?


But then a summer holiday like last week’s Memorial Day rolls around, and my green eyes get greener. On any given day when Z and I are sitting beside Lake Washington in our relaxi chairs, reading, I’m happy. Any time we score an hour or two on Hudge’s houseboat on Portage Bay, I’m pretty content. But if it is a summer holiday, I can only assume that everyone we see is with family or a big group of old, close friends, cooking out, playing croquet, sailing. Living some version of the American Dream that I’ve failed to provide for myself.


It didn’t help this year that I came home from Indiana feeling six degrees more homesick than usual. And I was already crabby because of the weekend-long, self-congratulatory posts on Facebook that imply the poster knows how to patriotically observe Memorial Day (which they believe is three days long), while I must surely be an ingrate who needs reminding and barely deserves my American citizenship. It also didn’t help that I’ve had a stomach thing going on that’s had me on the world’s blandest food for two weeks.


It really, really didn’t help on Saturday when Z and I tried to go to Golden Gardens, one of our favorite city parks with gorgeous views of Puget Sound, only to discover the parking lots were full and the place was crawling with people who had a similar idea. (We were reminded of the time two years ago when we took my mother there for a quiet picnic in a stand of trees by ourselves, only to soon be surrounded by fools balancing on slacklines and blocking our views, hula hoopers gyrating in front of us, and, I kid you not, someone with fire batons that they tossed in the air dangerously close to us. It was as if we’d accidentally set up our picnic blanket in the middle of a circus.) Last Saturday, as we drove around hoping to score a parking spot, Z and I looked at each other and one of us said, “I forgot how much I hate summer in Seattle,” and the other one concurred. It’s a refrain we’ll be repeating until September, especially when the cruise ships roll into town, crowding things up even more than they already are.


And so I thought about how if only we were in Indiana (though not by the Speedway where the Indy 500 would be running) we wouldn’t have to jockey for a park bench and we could rest our eyes on a landscape not littered with humans. My homesickness was compounded.


On Sunday, when I woke up to one of those hard rains that had set in for the whole day, the corners of my mouth twitched into a small smile. When Z and I decided to drive to Lake Washington and we did not have to dodge any cyclists or fight for a parking space, the smile got larger. We parked at a boat dock, where no boats were bothering to venture out so miserable was the day, and we sat listening to the rain on the roof of our rental car. We watched a gaggle of geese, wave patterns, a soggy Labrador being walked by his soggier owner. I napped.


There was a tiny, naughty part of me that delighted in the notion of other people’s fabulous plans being ruined, but I instantly felt a smidgen of guilt and did quick penance of saying to no one in particular, “Sorry about your plans.”


No. It wasn’t a good day because other people’s plans were ruined; it was a good day because there were no expectations by anyone, including myself, that the day should be more fabulous than it was. There was no reason for envy.


And the rain on that roof was so soothing.