Little Beasties

September 1

Okay. First thing first.

The news:

Nikki and Tom are taking a breather so that he can work on his marriage. She’s a mess.

Obi’s cat, my dog’s best feline friend, passed away last week. He’s a mess.

Its been so long since I’ve been on a date that I think they might revoke my dating license. I’m a mess. Or an unmade bed. Or both.

I am seeking help from a couple of masters of life and blogging, the sublime Ann St. Vincent, and my favorite accidental stepmother, JM Randolph. Both of whom I trust implicitly. Though, I don’t know why.

Let’s sit together and patiently await their advice.

Fuck it. I’ll let you know what they say.

Let’s talk about me instead.


I called Obi four days in a row and left the same message. “Call if you want, don’t call if you don’t want. I am thinking about you. I’m sorry for your loss. Next week, come over for tea.”

On the fifth day, he rang my bell to return the pet carrier I lent him. He sat in my yellow chair and with hollowed cheeks, asked about things I know he doesn’t care about. Sometimes the white noise of nonsense is more comforting than silence.

I told him fascinating stories about my undating life.


What looks like a date from outward appearances, but takes place with no romantic intent… Used as a fact-finding mission to determine if two people are interested in starting a relationship without the complications that often go hand-in-hand with a date.            


Undates can occur when you are buying a cup of coffee, driving a bike taxi, or eating a sandwich on a park bench. And one person can be undating in a supermarket while the undatee is simply shopping for melons.

His lips parted and he finally spoke. “The apartment feels so empty.” His eyes welled up. My little dog burrowed into his folded arms.

I said, “I know” and held his hand.

I miss the fat cat, too.


Obi’s other best friend and his wife invited him to camp in the magic forests of Germany with them for a week or so.

“Go,” I said.

“I don’t know.”


“I’m thinking about it.”


I’ve called him three days in a row and left the same message. One word. “Go.”


Per my non-dating life, I have nothing to report, except that I’m not dating. Nor am I undating, as far as I can tell. Not for research, not for sport, not for pleasure. Right now, I’d rather chase butterflies, wander around cemeteries, and roast corn.


My sister sent me twelve ballpoint pens and a fortune cookie from her academic conference in Canada.

The fortune cookie arrived mashed up. The fortune was easy to extract. The pens were unscathed.

The fortune reads:

“Good things come to those who wait. Be patient.”

I am patient. I practice patience every day. Like happiness, patience comes and goes. It requires training, focus, and support.

If there were such a thing as the Patience Olympics, I’d at least win a bronze medal, if not silver.

It’s a gift, really.


I’m so patient, I can over-cook a frozen turkey.

I’m so patient, I can walk five miles in the wrong direction before I look at a map.

I’m so patient, I’m growing mold.


I’m at my desk when I have an epiphany. If patience and vodka are a perfect pair, patience, olives, and vodka are a trifecta.

Patience, olives, vodka, and someone to be patient with is the sort of drill that could take my game to the next level.

Of course Obi’s in mourning and hopefully on a plane to Frankfurt (see above). So I can’t be patient with him.

I have no date or undate to practice being patient with (see above).

Nikki’s despondent over Tom (see above). So despondent that it’s  easy to convince her to come up to my neighborhood.

Busted hearts, ennui, vodka, and reckless imagination make an excellent cocktail.




November 4

“I feel like I’ve lost my best friend.”

“I know,” I say, “but you’ll find someone better. More available. Not married.”

“Not Tom. Bob.”

If you’re tuning in late, Bob is Tom’s wife’s boyfriend. Or, current ex-boyfriend. Nikki, knowing that she would never be able to trust Tom to tell the truth about his marriage and would never, ever ask his wife, figures that Bob, the other, other woman (I mean man) is the only other person who can tell her the other half of the story. If they were to meet, she could know, once and for all, the truth.Together, they’d topple the mystery of loving someone you know you don’t really know.

Nikki’s been looking for Bob for a couple of years now.

The facts:

His name is Bob.

He dates (or dated) her married boyfriend’s wife.

What we think:

He’s bald.

He teaches yoga in Brooklyn.

He rides a bike with a basket up front.

He knit.

Back to the conversation:

“I feel like I’ve lost my best friend.”

“I know. But you’ll find someone better. More available. Not married.”

“Not Tom. Bob. I feel like a piece of me is lost.”

I read somewhere that to be patient, you need to breathe.

I breathe. I eat an olive. I breathe.

“We’ll find you another Bob.”

“it’s not the same,” she says. And then she collapses into her cocktail napkin.

“Its been so long since I’ve been on a date that I think they might revoke my dating license,” I say. I push her drink out of harm’s way.

“I wonder what he’s doing right now.”

“Maybe we should get something to eat.”

“I can’t eat when I’m upset,” she says. She’s downed seven cherries, fifteen green olive – the big kind, six lemon slices, three stalks of wilted celery, and entire orange cut into ten thin slices from the bartender’s garnish tray. “Do you think he’s thinking about me?”

“He’s probably knitting.”

I’m so patient, I can’t remember what I’m being patient for.


On my walk home. I’m thinking about why we link patience to time.

Time’s an idea that’s forced upon us the moment we’re acknowledged as little beasties in our mother’s wombs. The clock ticks and people count. Moment pass. Memories fade. Trains run late. We run, walk, speed, or meander. Yet, even though time is a life long companion, and we pay it a lot of attention, we never grow to understand it.

Sometimes patience swims in a brine of time, but they don’t have much to do with each other.

Patience is a state of mind.

October 15

8 thoughts on “Little Beasties

  1. No surprise that you are a patient one. You are always thinking and allowing others to be impatient instead…that takes extreme patience 😉

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