Of course, Clay is for modelling!
Something is really, really wrong.

It’s been coming on slowly over several months. And once I got my job, it’s gotten much worse, very rapidly.

Here are my symptoms: I’m very moody. I’ve been working incredibly hard to distract myself from life. Incredibly hard. I’ve been reading a lot. I powered through four novels in a week and a bit. Not to flatter myself… it was chick lit — very light reading. But still.

I feel very off balance. I’ve been on the verge of tears for no reason several times…listening to pop-rock.

I guess the pop rock is the most disturbing part of my symptoms. Listening to 99.9. John and I went through some rough stuff when I got my job, and that’s been an adjustment, but I’m starting to think that this is much more than an “adjustment”.

I had a former crush contact me out of the blue. This guy is nothing but bad news. Nothing in it for me to get together for a beer and chat with him. I can work with the guy. Hell, I was his boss for a short while. But now, the thought of seeing him terrifies me. I’m terrified my loins would burn, and I’d get a crush on him again.

And now something worse has happened: I have a crush on the “real” American Idol.

There are many reasons I should dislike Clay Aiken.

He’s a good God-fearin’ boy for one. I dated a God-fearin’ boy for several years. It only took him a couple years after we finally broke up, broke things off and met his highschool ex to get married. What I did learn from being with a God-fearin’ boy is that they live in a different world. Not better, not worse, just very different. We spent much of our 4 years in avoidance of the issue; the one time we did talk about it at length, I asked him if he thought I was going to hell. He said yes. Not maliciously, but very sadly.

Part of me couldn’t understand how such an intelligent man could subscribe to such mass hysteria. But part of me knows very deeply, honestly and real-ly that you don’t choose what you believe. You either believe or you don’t. Your beliefs may change, but you believe what you believe. And I don’t.

So my infatuation becomes suspect: why be so fascinated by someone who I would not honestly be interested in forming a close strong bond with as an individual?

He’s 24 for two. I’m 31. I’m sure there are many relationships with greater age differences. We already know that I don’t see a deep friendship even evolving based on beliefs. But for some reason this age difference seems to be a problem for me. I don’t think I’d have a problem being friends with someone that’s 24. Strange.

For three, he’s very adult contemporary. Very. I’m somewhat embarrassed to have great interest in the music of Sting, Phil Collins, and Pet Shop Boys. Okay, PSB isn’t adult contemporary... it’s just embarrassing. But I think Clay Aiken is the breaking point. He’s freaking Barry Manilow meets Donny Osmond! And for those of you who wonder, I think Barry Manilow is cheesy and Donny Osmond was preachy.

Four: Clay… when did you develop that lisp? Maybe it’s me, but it sounds like it’s getting progressively worse.

Five: he’s manufactured. I think this is where my fascination truly begins. I thought he was a hottie before the transformation, since I like my geeks skinny. But having seen the transformation, I’m just memorized by the totally different persona exuded by his image. He was the same person before the new shell, but now he has become “popular”, the holy grail of my childhood.

Six: He’s tall. Not what I like in a dude. In fact, my current sweetie is the top limit of what I would look for. Which brings me to seven:

My sweetie: I have a wonderful man who loves me. I love him.

And now we go back to the something is horribly wrong.

I’m wondering what’s going on with us. I’m really wondering. I dunno if we’re drifting apart, or if we’re just settling down. If life is just getting irritating and he’s a convenient target, or if he’s getting irritating.

I’m pretty sure he’s just a convenient target.

But this is part of the bigger problem. Which I think was clearly illustrated by my dream last night. I had several dreams last night. John was in some, Clay was in one. Don’t ask me who was in the last one, 'cuz I really don’t know. But the significant part was we stopped at a Kelsey’s like restaurant, and just ordered a couple of drinks (must've been John, since beer was ordered, and I don’t drink beer). And a slice of cake. Oreo ice cream cake I believe. In the dream (as I recount it, I recall more clearly John was there) the “cake” they brought consisted of one side of an oreo, some icing/ice cream, and some smushed crumbs. The cake was $3.50.

Okay, upon review at this stage, it might not be so clear. But just go with me on this.

So I say “I’m not paying $3.50 for this.” John starts saying “It’s fine,” so as to not cause a scene, and I say “No, I refuse to pay $3.50 for half a cookie, some crumbs, and some rapidly melting bits of ice cream” pushing, the cookie around with a fork, as if to reveal some hidden phantom cake.

So I grab the plate, go up to the bar, and ask to speak with the manager. She asks “yes?” and I start to ask her if this is some kind of joke. She looks confused. I ask if she honestly expects people to pay $3.50 for a half a cookie, some melted ice cream and some crumbs. I explain that it looks more like a plate of a finished slice of cake than a real slice of cake. She starts to explain the overhead costs of the restaurant, and I get the impression that she thinks I’m trying to get a free meal. I explain that we’re just having a couple drinks and I ordered this because I was hungry… this obviously was not going to solve the hunger problem, but we would just leave if they seriously think I should pay for the cake. She asks if I can hold on for a second to talk more about it, and I say sure. Then I wake up.

Now you’re wondering what the cake symbolizes. I don’t even want to start discussing that before I explain my feelings upon awaking. I felt good. I felt assertive. I felt strong. Powerful. I felt like I was talking about the ridiculous situation calmly. I wasn’t being rude. I wasn’t being insulting. I felt no strong animosity. I was just standing up for my rights.

And damn it felt good. Because I felt I was in control. And that’s what’s so freakin’ important about the dream, believe it or not.

It was a really bad week. Between nothing to do at the office, and tons of stuff to get done at home, I feel totally disenfranchised. I feel minimized. We had a bad commute one night where someone bumped the back of the car. The bitch had been chatting on the phone in traffic.

Then someone cut me off. Right hand turn from left hand lane. And I fucking lost it.

Then yesterday we got in line at the supermarket. The 10 or less line. The cashier was ignoring the customer who was in front of us, because she was having an in-depth conversation with the woman in front of her.

The woman in front of us must have had 45 items.

What I should have done was interrupt the woman as she unloaded her cart and said (while pointing to the sign) “Excuse me, this is an express line.” Even saying something somewhat apologetically “Do you mind if I go ahead of you, since we only have a few items, and you have so many?”

Instead, John and I seethed. We seethed through the ten minutes it seemed to take to get out of the store, since time passes so much more slowly when you feel you are being delayed with no just cause. Then, once we got outside, we chatted about how the cashier should have handled the situation. I tried to lift my spirits by thinking “at least I’m not a cashier.” Then we noticed we were walking by the woman who had been in front of us, still loading the groceries into her car. And John made a loudish comment on “nice counting to 10”

I wish I’d had the poise to have handled the situation correctly in the store. Just considering the possibility that the woman had made an honest mistake, and offered a solution that would have made it all better such as “Do you mind if we go ahead of you?” Just a simple gesture could have allowed her to look up at the sign and say “Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry,” and for both of us to laugh about the situation before muttering bitch afterwards.

It seems with the pace of society today we just jump to the end. After all, think of all the time it takes to assume innocence, offer apologies, re-arrange groceries. Really, the most expedient way of dealing with the situation was exactly how we dealt with it over all. An instead of any potential embarrassment, She and I both got the opportunity to be self-righteous bastards, thinking the other is a bitch.

Which brings us back to the list of reasons I should hate Clay Aiken. He’s the type of guy who looks at the situation and lets it all sink in. He has poise. Man, poise would be good (and I don’t mean just for being stuck in line behind women who don’t know how to count to ten.) That’s probably why I envy him, which is the source of all my crushes.

And poise is not something to envy if you’re more interested in getting out of the grocery store before other people, rather than society getting out of the grocery store with the least amount of delays due to “Oh, it’s an honest mistake” chit-chat.

 

kat@adchick.com