Fake New Year’s Eve

Many a thesis has been written, I’m sure, on the damage Disney movies and romantic comedies have on the psyche of young girls. The amount of truth behind that is beyond me — I do, however, suspect I’m in the category of those who have succumbed to the temptation of trying too hard to make reality mirror all those terrible Meg Ryan and Julia Roberts movies I watched and loved as a pre-teen. You know, like “Pretty Woman.” Just kidding.

The biggest way this affects my life, I believe, is my sometimes extreme romanticism of holidays, and the way-too-high expectations I inevitably build up around them.

A couple weeks ago I asked Kevin what we should do for New Year’s Eve. I asked him almost rhetorically if he wanted to hang out, as if to say, “Of course you do! This will be our first New Year’s Eve together and of course it will be the most awesomely romantic evening ever.”

So you can imagine my surprise when he told me he already had plans.

A month earlier, he and his friends bought tickets to a concert featuring someone I’ve never heard of. On New Year’s Eve. He wasn’t sure what time the concert starts, but I knew unless it was in the middle of the day, my New Year’s Eve plans that had yet to develop but had already created unrealistic expectations in my head were pretty much shot. When he realized I was upset he brushed it off, saying, “It’s only New Year’s.”

The grievousness of this offensive remark took a few seconds to sink in before I said shakily, “It’s NOT just new years, it’s a big deal.” This statement was followed by a wave of fury that hit me when I numbly realized he had not in fact lived my life’s experiences, nor had he read my mind and known that I am big on holidays, a couple’s first New Year’s Eve being no exception.

He asked if I wanted to go to the concert.

“Yes,” I whined. He nodded, satisfied with this simple solution.

But this did not fix things the way I expected it to.

The next day at work, he and I were talking on gmail chat. “By the way,” he said, and sent me a link to the tickets site for the New Year’s Eve concert by the band I have never heard of.

He did it, I know, as some kind of thoughtful gesture, as if to say, “I still remember you were upset last night and I am being the best boyfriend ever right now by showing how much I am considering your feelings.”

What I heard instead was, “Here’s the link where you can buy your own $20 ticket to a miserable night of bitterness and resentment. There will also be a band you don’t know, and everyone you will be with will be far more excited than you are about them.”

I took an afternoon coffee break with a couple girls from work and explained the situation. They agreed there was not an easy way to work it out, but one thing they both knew immediately was that there was no way I should go to the concert.

“Do something fun with us that night instead,” said one of my friends.

I told them, no, I wanted to be wherever Kevin was going to be, so the concert was the new plan, for better or for worse.

But I knew they were right. I was furious about this concert already, and it was over two months away. I didn’t want to go, but I wanted to be with him.

On my way home that night, I thought about what I would have done if my ex had announced his plans for NYE, and what I would have done if I was horrified by them. I hated to admit it, but Old Me would probably have asked my ex to abandon his plans and do what I wanted to do instead. I’m not proud of it, but I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what would have gone down. And the worst part is, he would have done just that, because I was spoiled and he bent over backward to keep me happy.

But. That was Old Me. New Me is a 25-year-old adult, and adults are willing to compromise.

And that’s what I was determined to do. By the end of my commute, I had a solution. It wasn’t perfect, but it was mature and fair and about as close as I was going to get to being happy with the situation.

I talked it over with Christina, and she agreed this was probably the best I could hope for. She asked me why I was so nuts over the idea of New Year’s Eve anyway, and I couldn’t even answer the question. All this stress, with no real reasoning behind it. Story of my life.

“I think you’ve seen the ending of ‘When Harry Met Sally’ too many times,” Christina suggested.

“You may be on to something,” I said glumly.

And so it was decided. Instead of going to the concert, I will find a party to go to instead, and it will almost definitely be way more fun than said concert. No offense to those going. Just trust me on this. Then, the weekend after NYE, Kevin is taking me out somewhere for Fake NYE, the terms of which being:

  • I get to dress up.
  • It can’t be in his apartment or at my house.
  • There will be a midnight kiss, even though it’s Fake NYE and is therefore a sham.

I sat him down a couple days later to talk about it.

“I don’t want to go to this concert, and believe me when I tell you, you don’t want me to go, either,” I explained. “I will walk into it determined to have a good time, but by the end of the night I will be miserable and bitter and I will make sure you know it. No one wants this.”

I laid out the terms of my alternative, and he listened carefully.

“It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, and there doesn’t even have to be a restaurant involved. Just me and you, out on Fake New Year’s. Is that okay?”

He said it was, and I swelled with pride at my own mature handling of things. I am a grown up, dammit. I make thoughtful decisions and am willing to compromise. Bow before me and my badass diplomatic nature.

My dad says you’re not really a grown up until you start making your own dentist appointments. This might be a little bit true, but I think being an adult is more about thinking about other people, for a change. We can’t always get what we want, and more often than not, we probably shouldn’t. And that’s especially true when we have someone else’s wants to consider along with our own. I have a hard time with this sometimes, but this whole NYE thing may have actually been a blessing in disguise because it gave me a chance to really think about the concept of compromising. It sounds like an obvious thing to do, to compromise, but sometimes it’s harder than we expect. Kevin is a problem solver for sure, but it felt good to come up with this one on my own.

Any tales of compromise to share? I’d love to hear them. Bring on the win-win-win conflict resolution.

One Year Later

A year ago today, I packed up my car with two bags of clothes and winter coat. I was heading toward my aunt’s mother’s house in Glenview, where I’d been invited to stay for two weeks while I found another place to live and, hopefully, a job. I was fully prepared to stay in a hostel because I was skeptical I’d find a landlord willing to let me sign a lease with my zero dollars’ income, so I packed light. Luckily, instead of a desperate landlord, I found a friend willing to lend a hand.

Cut from the same cloth, Christina knew my situation better than I did and, after a couple cans of Old Style at Tuman’s, a wonderful friendship began. Here I am still, and it’s thanks to her, as well as Cass, my dad, my family and my friends. Your support has meant everything to me for the last year, and I hope you know it.

To celebrate, I’ve created a video montage of the last year as well as a Facebook photo album. Take a look back with me and see how far I’ve come, despite myself.

Ohio Agenda

Because I am insanely excited, I’ve planned out my trip home with Kevin almost by the hour. I’m not dumb enough to believe it will be carried out flawlessly or is set in stone, but tentatively, this is what’s happening. If you’re not on this schedule and wish you were, I am open to suggestions. Some days are less full than others.

Thursday
9 a.m. Leave Chicago
6-ish p.m.: Arrive in Columbus!
6:30: Dinner with Joe & Jessie
Stay with Brian and Cary

Friday
Breakfast at Tim Horton’s! Oh man.
9 a.m.: Visit Short North. Park on 4th street by my old apartment, walk down to North Market (open at 9), then back up to check out Surly Girl (open at 11). Unfortunately, Jeni’s doesn’t open until noon.
12:30 p.m.: lunch with Dennis and Steve by SNP
After lunch: tour Clintonville
7 p.m.: Dinner with Columbus/Muskingum friends at Aladdin’s in Dublin, including Abby, Stacey, and hopefully Christina, B.C., Dean, Rachael, James and Becca.
Stay with Brian and Cary

Saturday
9 a.m.: Breakfast at Spinelli’s! How I’ve missed Spinelli’s.
9:30 a.m.: Drive toward Caldwell.
10:30 a.m.: Stop at Muskingum on the way! Spend all of five minutes covering the entire campus via car.
12 p.m.: Lunch with Dad and LeeAnn, hopefully Owen, Jamie and Hannah
Spend the afternoon in Caldwell, showing Kevin such sights as Caldwell High School and the square.
6 p.m.: dinner at the famous Sandwich Shop.
Hang out with Britt, Steve, Cindy, Leah, etc. that night.

Sunday
Morning: visit Owen and Jamie and Hannah, if not the day before.
Hang out with Caldwell friends.

Monday
Daytime hike with Dad and Kevin
Visit with my uncle who’s coming down from Cleveland
Hang out with Caldwell friends that night.

Tuesday
9 a.m.: Head back to Chicago
10 a.m.: Stop in Dover to see my grandpa
12 p.m.: Lunch in Cleveland with Jessi D.?
7-ish p.m.: Arrive in Chicago.

Yay! I can’t wait.

Coming full circle

source

In three weeks, I’ll have lived in Chicago for one year. I left Columbus early in the morning October 25, the week of Halloween. That was also the peak of Ohio’s beautiful leaves season, but I wasn’t even thinking about that at the time. Now that I can’t have them, they’re all I can think about.

This week I’ve been day dreaming about driving around Muskingum’s campus and seeing the fall colors surrounding the lake, listening to Guster (my default fall music, since I discovered them fall of my freshman year there). It’s been cool here in Chicago the last couple of weeks, and I have been in full swing fall crazy, digging out all of my sweaters and boots from storage, and going from store to store to try to find hot apple cider mix, even though it’s too early in the season still. In Ohio, it smells like fall — it does a little bit here too, and maybe I’m speaking too soon, but as of this week, it’s not quite the same.

I’ll be in Ohio later this week, but I’ll be ahead of the leaves by a good two weeks. I’m sad about that, but I’m really looking forward to coming home during this season that is so special to me and my dad. Kevin is actually coming with me, which is extremely exciting while at the same time slightly stressful. I can’t wait for him to meet my friends and family but I hope this six-day trip doesn’t bore the crap out of him by day two. I know I’d be exhausted if I felt like I had to be charming to strangers for days on end. But, I’m looking forward to showing him my hometown and all the people in it, as well as Columbus. I’ve got a list going of places I want him to see, and people I hope he’ll get to meet.

I’ve never really had a whole lot of experience introducing guys to my parents, but I have a good feeling Kevin and my dad will get along well. If you have any horror stories though, please share, so I can worry about them tirelessly for the next several days, and therefore prevent them from actually happening.

And finally, Kevin has been warned that, while in Ohio, we’ll be visiting a Tim Horton’s drive through at least once a day. Dunkin Donuts here just pales in comparison, and soon, he too will be a convert. I’m sure of it.