Monday, October 16, 2017

Moving Hands

Everyone has a clock inside them that ticks away the minutes.

It takes nine months to wind itself up, and the minute you enter the world, the little hand jumps forward.

When you do something good for yourself, the clock slows down. And when you do something harmful, the clock speeds up. That way, you're always in control of how much time you've got.

But when I look at you, my clock stops.

It takes a little break.

It lets me live outside of my timeline, just for a moment.

Because whether my time here is long or short, my clock knows that every moment with you is time well spent.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Men Wearing Rings

There's a guy sitting across from me on the Google shuttle from Mountain View to San Francisco. Good-looking Asian man in a henley and tortoise shell frames. On his left hand, he's wearing a wedding ring.

A few months ago, I had a conversation with Emily at Tsunami in New Orleans. "I never notice that kind of thing," I said. "When women are pregnant or when men wear rings. Breezes right by me. But women seem ridiculously in-tune to it—like on a primal level. Every single one of my girlfriends can spot a ring from across a crowded room. But when they call it to my attention, I feel blindsided. What the fuck, I think. I can't even find myself in a group photo."

But at Coffee Culture in late-July, I noticed a wedding band on a man pointing at a breakfast pastry inside a glass display case. "Cheese," he said. "Now does that mean cream cheese or like provolone or something?"

My friend Matt's friend Brett was wearing a gold ring on his left hand while plucking ramen from a bowl at Chow on Church. I noticed it almost immediately, and then I noticed I noticed.

At this moment, there's a guy reclining across from me on the GBus, wearing a simple band around his ring finger. And if I'm being honest, I noticed the ring before I saw his face.

Part of me feels like I never noticed pregnant women or married men because I didn't live in their world. It's not in the cards, so why would I notice at all?

But now—with you—I'm sharing my present and building our future. Browsing for rings isn't a fantasy. It's something I did this morning while listening to the playlist you made me. Size 8, yeah?

Being your partner gives everything more context.

Suddenly, I've got more options; more possibilities.

You've cracked open the world.

The shuttle creaks to a stop at Market and 9th, and everyone rises to their feet. In a single-file line, we descend the steps and land on the busy, rush hour street. I watch the handsome, be-speckled Asian guy disappear into the crowd navigating the crosswalk. And then I turn away and march down 9th towards my apartment, passing exactly 12 men wearing rings.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

What I Wouldn't Change

I wouldn’t change my legs. There’s always room for improvement, but I think my thighs and my calves are pretty sexy as is, especially in athletic shorts and crew socks. Legs are an easy default for folks to hang their self confidence upon, but my toned runner’s legs, covered in trim waves of blond hair, are objectively hot. And that’s my stance on that.

I wouldn't change anything about my face, except for a few hard lines etched into my forehead and around my smile. In my reflection, I see my mom’s eyes and my dad’s mouth. I like being reminded of where I come from. Thank God they’re not terrible assholes.

I wouldn’t change my carrier service. $130 a month seems like I’m overpaying, but just the thought of leaving AT&T seems like a nightmare. Avoiding the hold time alone is worth whatever cash is being swindled away from me.

I wouldn’t change my lisp. Since I was a little kid, people have poked fun at the way I talk. Inching towards 30, I still struggle to be taken seriously in a conversation. My wide tongue grapples with fricatives like a clown fish trying to escape the jaws of a hammerhead. But I wouldn’t change my lisp because it’s mine and no one talks like I do. Plus, it’s forced me to cultivate a personality that projects beyond my speech—even if I’ll never know the joys of a tongue ring.

I wouldn’t change my apartment. The rent’s sky-high for a studio loft, but I don’t mind because it’s right smack in the middle of the city. From my fourth-floor balcony to my tiny, pocket-door closet, I like everything the way it is. It’s the first place I’ve lived alone. It’s my first big claim to independence. It’s my haven in this sparkling, bustling city. Though it would be nice to have a Subway inside the building. Hoofing my way down Mission five times a week for my Oven-Roasted Chicken on Italian Herb & Cheese is getting old. Even if it’s right around the corner.

I wouldn’t change my childhood. I can’t change my childhood. But if I could, I wouldn't.

Speaking of things I can’t change but wouldn’t if I could: my ability to forgive. I can take in a painful experience and channel it through a filter of forgiveness—almost immediately. It can be jarring when the person with whom I’m arguing watches my shoulders and the corners of my mouth relax, right after saying some bitchy and below-the-belt. “You’ve got a body like Whoopi Goldberg!” or “Fuck you, your sister’s in rehab!” maybe. But in the same breath, I can step outside of the disagreement and move along. “I’m sorry,” I’ll say. “Where can we go from here?” And the other party—stunned, mouth agape—will typically stutter and get in a few final jabs before moving along with me. I don’t want to lose that talent. It's necessary and hilarious.

I wouldn’t change my eyebrows. I’ve never tweezed them, shaped them, threaded them, or otherwise. Subtle and low-maintenance. Nothing like me. But everything I aspire to be.

And I wouldn’t change you.

I wouldn’t change the patterns of hair on your chest, or your heavy eyes when you’re drunk, or the volume of your voice when you rap Drake lyrics at me in the car.

I wouldn’t change the way you dress—actually, I love the way you dress. Even the rubber flip flops you wear with nice clothes. Even your Adidas gym shorts with the worn-out waistband. Even that time you wore a tank top to the House of Blues. Actually, we should talk about that.

I wouldn’t change the fact that I missed my shuttle to work today because you were having a bad morning and you desperately needed to talk to me. And I lied. I missed two shuttles. But I would do it again because I’m your partner and there’s always another shuttle.

I wouldn’t change the hours we said we lost with fighting. We didn’t lose them at all. Sure, we could’ve been saying nicer things instead and yelling, but now we’re here. And our time together is more valuable than anything I’ll ever own. Because life is short and even hours spent fighting are hours spent with you.

I wouldn’t change anything about you.

Not a thing.

So don’t alter anything.

Please stay the same.

And don’t move.

Stay right there.

I’m on my way.