Late Night Driving

Went on a late night drive with Will. He was restless and happy when he came home from rehearsal. Hair mussed up from his moon roof, chilled-neck hug and then a pat on my backside. “Let’s go on a drive,” he said.  “I want to take you out somewhere.  I don’t know if anything is open, but the night is amazing and I want to take you out.  Maybe we can just drive and find a little place.  Soft-serve maybe.  Maybe pie.”

I said I didn’t think we’d find any soft-serve, but maybe we could find a diner and some pie.  “Yes, let’s go.  I’d love to take a ride with you.”

Cool and humid night air.  Windows down. Talking about stuff we did when we were kids and why we’re always trying to capture that wonder you feel when you discovered something new. The roads were empty and nothing was open. Missed the I-Hop by ten minutes. We’d pass clumps of trees filled with singing insects, then buildings covered in windows, lights on, but no life inside. End of the world, but not.  Empty parking lots. Parts of Route 1 smooth as butter all black and shiny, other parts pocked and shaking the car. We were holding hands and saying I love you, too many times (if there is a such thing, when you mean it, and we did).

Hardly anybody was driving like a jerk and mostly we had the road. It reminded me of being on the road with my family – military, back and forth – California then Virginia, then California, then Virginia, then Texas and Virginia again.  Many hours on the road, watching the streetlights go by.  There was no portable DVD player, just the games my mom and dad made up.  Dad would say, “Hey, there’s a rub-broka,” and we were supposed to figure out what it meant. Mom would toss out “Animal, Vegetable, Mineral” questions and my sister and I would play “Paddidle.”  When games grew old it turned to sisters annoying each other.

“Mom, she’s touching me!”

“Stop touching your sister!”

“Mom she’s not on her side!”

“Stay on your side!”

Stopping at I-Hops and Shoney’s and Denny’s on whatever route my dad decided for this trip. There’s something exciting about eating in a nearly empty diner after midnight. That’s still true for me.  A middle-of-night visit to Silver Diner excites some part of me that’s still wild and still seven.  You’re not supposed to eat in the middle of the night.  You’re not supposed to especially eat in the middle of the night at a restaurant.  Always – silver dollar pancakes and “dippy eggs” – usually with milk, or hot chocolate (with whipped cream) if I could convince my parents. There is something decadent about a spherical scoop of whipped butter that spreads neatly over the hotcakes. Mom would eye my syrup portion – I always overdid it, even for a runty beanpole of a kid, she didn’t like my sugar addiction. Grape Nehi, grape-jelly donuts (powdered please), grape Now & Laters, grape Pixie Sticks, grape Tootsie Pops.  I might have had a thing about grape.  I ate a lot and burned it hard and fast, running, climbing, skating, swinging, flipping, jumping – nonstop.

Will and I talked about camping and fishing and he kept laughing and telling me how cute I am, and I held it.  He told me his family went on a lot of camping trips and I tried to count mine.  Not a lot, but enough, I thought.  And for some reason paddle-boats were amazing to me.

He’d rub my thigh with his palm.  We’d talk about the empty buildings.  The lights.

“Does that one look open?”

“I think it closes at midnight.”

“Phone says there’s a Tastee Diner nearby that’s 24 hours.”

“That one’s dinky and really a greasy spoon, you sure you wanna try it?”  He knows more about these things than I do.  He knows these roads.  He knows what everything used to be.

“Maybe not.  I’m fine just driving.  Sorry we can’t find any pie for ya.”  He loves pie.

“It’s ok, I’m fine, too.”

We listened to a podcast we recorded together that had just been posted.  We got home before it was over and we sat in the car, windows down, leaning into each other, listening to us telling the story of how we met.

Now we’re both back in the house, distracted by pixels and electronic machines.  But I’m going to end this now and go climb into bed with the love of my life.

Good night.

Sweet Desire

I’m going to try to stop giving exposition supporting my decision to write about personal topics every time I want to post about something that friends or family might find weird to read.  I have to be more brave in my work, evolve my style and strengthen my voice.  Ok, now that I’m done with what I’m not going to be doing anymore…

I was listening to ELO while working and the song “Living Thing” came on. I will put the lyrics at the end of this post.

I have always aspired to be, what I consider, a generous lover.  I have dealt with being ignored or feelings like I didn’t matter, and that smarts.  I never want a lover to feel that way.  Will has a good word for it.  He wants to feel as though he is being “seen.”  I try hard to make sure people know they are seen by me.  Some people want to be seen, others don’t give a fig if I see them or not.  To those who don’t, my effort is not appreciated but also not in vain, because of those who do want me to see them. That makes it worth the effort.

I am affectionate in a variety of ways.  I might make food or offer up a gift.  I might wash their clothes or put my hand on their hand or leg while we’re just sitting there watching a movie.  Just to say, “I know you’re here and I notice you.  You matter.”  Without saying it.  And everybody has different love language.  What I might consider a loving gesture could in fact be annoying to the person receiving the attention.  I know that that has been true for me.  Or what a person wants to feel loved might be something you hate doing.  Relationships are complicated like that. There is plenty of room for misunderstanding.  Which is why communicating your feelings is important.  Because if you don’t like tea and he keeps bringing you tea for five years and you smile and  accept it, then one day you yell, “I HATE TEA!”  He’s probably going to be surprised.  If you hate making tea and he asks for it every morning for five years, it’s going to get old on some vulnerable morning when you’re hormonal and tired and already have stuff to do, and out comes “HERE’S YOUR TEA!”  Surprise, there is resentment the other person didn’t know was there.  Making tea for five years.  You hate making tea.  But when you were first together, you kinda liked making it for him – just him.  Once those hormonal chemicals wear off and you are seeing a bit clearer, next thing you know you’re back to hating making tea.  And the hating making tea starts to turn into resentment towards him.  Even if that tea makes him feel loved every single time.

It actually hurts me pretty badly when I find out I have been annoying somebody.  This is my own issue to deal with, but damn.  It feels like a little stab in the heart.


Nobody could do that voice quiver quite like Laura.

There is one thing you can do, though.  If you try hard enough, and if you want to try hard enough, you can make things not annoy you.  And how you feel about a person can play a huge role in that.

There IS an inherent danger in trying to be affectionate and kind to people on a regular basis.  It can become overwhelming or suffocating for some people.  They might even see it as false or tricky because they aren’t used to it, or have had past bad experiences. If you love them, you have to learn to respect boundaries.  First they have to tell you what the boundaries are, though.  With Will and me it took a few years to learn each others boundaries.  And guess what?  Because both of us want to come to an understanding and because we’re both invested in validating each other, rather than wallowing in reactivity and blame, we grow.  I love it when that happens.  Talking about your feelings = good.

So, today I was listening to this song and when they sing, “And you, and your sweet desire” I got pretty choked up.  Yeah, I know.  I’m silly. It was easy imagining Will saying something like that to me, because he treats my desire and enthusiasm as a gift.  I feel like it’s treasured rather than annoying.  That’s sacred and precious to me. I sent him a short love note, because I wanted him to know he is seen.  And he wrote one back, to let me know he felt seen and that I am seen, also.

“Livin’ Thing”

Sailin’ away on the crest of a wave
It’s like magic
Rollin’ and ridin’ and slippin’ & slidin’
It’s magic[CHORUS]
And you, and your sweet desire,
You took me, higher and higher
It’s a livin’ thing,
It’s a terrible thing to lose
It’s a given thing
What a terrible thing to lose.Making believe this is what you’ve conceived
From your worst day,
Moving in line when you look back in time
To your first day[CHORUS — repeat]

Takin’ a dive ‘cos you can’t halt the slide
Floating downstream,
So let her go don’t start spoiling the show
It’s a bad dream

[CHORUS — repeat]