Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Okay, so I'm searching the web for examples of gym logos for reference for a client and I happen upon a poledancing fitness studio.

I know, I know, but I swear the search was random! :-)

I had to laugh at one of the most unfortunate bits of copywriting I've ever read:

"Having never worked in the adult industry, through alot of hard work and persistance, Jennifer taught herself to master the pole and now teaches others."

Saturday, October 13, 2007

For Al

I was already running a bath dressed in my robe and bedclothes when the heavens opened up. The rain was too tempting and I threw on my clothes and pea coat. I walked up to the top of the hill that looked down over LAX. I was listening to an audiobook by Neal Gaiman.

“We’re all making it up as we go along, aren’t we?”

I switched to opera. Nessum Dorma performed by Pavarotti. The waltz of ten ton machines on the tarmac. A thousand fireflies relfected in the asphalt. Raindrops spattering on my glasses diffuse the scene.

Planes take off intermittently. Lit from below until they disappear in the low cloud cover. JAL. Qantas. Korean Air. Tokyo. London. Santiago. Hobart? Southport? I cry at the sublime quality of the moment.

Thoughts flow through my head. A friend one year older. A strong voice silenced. The sky weeps for his grandfather.

“Weren’t we supposed to be married by now? Wasn’t that the deal long long ago?” A bittersweet text message to wake up to in the morning.

I have a sign on my refrigerator. It was a promotional card for the Los Angeles Times’ Oscar coverage. It says, “Who’s going home with the little guy?” I find it inordinately funny. She always makes me an inch shorter than I am when she tells people how tall I am.

The fridge is also covered with religious pamphlets and cards. I can’t help myself but to pick them up when I see them. And me an atheist. The best ones are in Spanish. They sound so much more fervent in Spanish. “Como tener vida eterna. Hay solamente un modo.”

I switch to latin music. “Me estoy acostumbrando a ti…”

The bath is full. I will turn off all the lights, lower myself in to the steaming water and leave the window open. As I relax I will listen to the pinprick percussion of tap tapping on the pane. Then I will sleep.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Robyn and I 09/30/7

Robyn and I 09/30/7
Originally uploaded by scott_j_ludwig
Well, not our best photo, to be sure. But I was holding the camera phone, so it's a wonder either of us are even in frame.

Robyn 09/30/7

Robyn 09/30/7
Originally uploaded by scott_j_ludwig

What might have been

“You melt my heart. You always do.”

That was what she left on my voicemail Sunday afternoon, my cell phone tucked away in a locker while I was busy working out at the gym. It haunted me all day. It still does, truth be told.

It’s been over ten years since Robyn and I split up. We’d been together for seven and a half before that. Nearly eighteen years we’ve been in and out of each other’s lives.

We had lost touch with each other for many years but about two or more years ago I managed to track her down. She’d moved from Los Angeles north to Santa Cruz for school and after that somehow landed in Colorado. In the intervening time, she’s been a firefighter, scuba diving teacher, an ambulance dispatcher and driver, marine biologist at an aquarium, an EMT and she just got out of her mandatory basic training for the Air Force National Guard reserves to go to Nursing school. She's a remarkable woman.

We’ve been talking on and off by phone and email, but hadn’t seen each other. Neither of us could be sure how long it had been, but I’m pretty sure that I hadn’t seen Robyn in the flesh for more than five years. As it happened, she was in town visiting her father and we managed to eke out an hour or two for coffee before she hopped back in her car for the long drive back to Colorado.

When she picked me up in the morning, it was a strange experience. I never realized how much my mind’s eye had filled in the image behind the voice on the phone with the young woman that I had dated so, so long ago. I was struck with how much of a strong and mature woman she had become.

It was so easy to imagine the same carefree and flighty girl behind her giggle, but now she is infinitely more attractive. The surety of her manner and the experience in her eyes brought me up short.

We talked and talked. About her Basic Training, her father’s health, my father, our families and their quirks, her partner, my lack of one, whether either of us wants or will have children in the future, what our future plans are. We probably would have gone on most of the day if it hadn’t been for her self-imposed departure time. Standing at her car in front of my apartment, we had an awkward goodbye weighed down by unfulfilled possibilities.

I want to believe that we could be together and it would be as if no time had passed. The ten years would fall away and we could fall comfortably into a domestic bliss that, if I am honest with myself, I dearly crave. Looking at her sitting across the table from me, I could see that that would never be the case. We can't just ignore the decade between.

We’ve both been through too many experiences. I think for the better, and in ways that I believe make us more compatible than we had been before, not less. In my fondest dreams, I would love nothing better than to be with her and, I flatter myself, her with me.

Not so much has changed in our fundamental character that we have become strangers to each other. There is a comfort and connection between us that bonds us close together. It feels wrong not to acknowledge it.

But the distance between us is as vast as the differences between our lives. She has a full life in Colorado and I here in Los Angeles. She’s said flatly that she would not move back here, and I can understand that. I’ve thought before of how it might be to just pack it up and move out there, but I can’t.

Aside from practical financial reasons, my closest friends are here, and my father, and my brother. I couldn’t imagine leaving all of that for the possibility of… I don’t know what.

In parting, I said that if I were in Colorado, she’d be married with kids. I meant it. And later…

“You melt my heart. You always do.”