Thursday, January 12, 2006

OXFORD CONFIDENTIAL: More Broken Rules
[Why I Don't Take in Strays...CON'T]

(ZP) -- Its been a while since I've felt the need to get hammered before I post to the Zenformation Professional.

Six pints of Labatt Blue, two shots of something called a Razmatazz, courtesy of some sorority girl who I guess thought I was cute or something.

I realized a long time ago, back when I was a broadcaster, that once one reveals a tad too much information on a public medium, such as a blog, one must anticipate and accept the ramifications of such a disclosure.

But I'm going to finish my last post, nonetheless. If there are librarians who think I'm being too unprofessional, fine. If there are local readers waiting for me to disclose the intimate details of my sex life, well, you're going to be disappointed - read between the lines, and you might figure something out. And if you're somebody who thinks this blog is somehow representative of my colleagues, the official position of my employer, or the like, you are a complete and utter dumbass.

This is, above all, a place to document my thoughts. If you think this was somehow intended to be a "Aren't Librarians Swell?" blog, well, you're in the wrong place.

I appreciate every reader. If I link to your blog, I can honestly say you are probably a thousand times the blogger I am. I encourage all readers to check out the so-much-more-badass blogs listed in the left-hand sidebar.

A special thanks to Beth (nonblogger ex who not only posted but had the balls to remind me of who I once was), Chris (Ms. Monkeythong, who continues to amaze with her nonlibrary librarian wisdom) and Liz (Library Tavern, thank you so much for being honest and calling me on some of my own bullshit.)

Now that I'm liquored up, I think I can continue ...



BROKEN ZENFO PRO RULE NO. 6:
Never Have a Fling with Someone You Have Nothing in Common With...

Ever have one of those moments where you realize that you're so full of shit that you can't contain it any longer?

Worse still, have you ever had one of those moments when somebody refuses to put up with your shit and time almost stops? One of those moments when you have to choose betweeen completely letting go of your inhabitions and continuing on along the same dismal path?

Okay...maybe it's just me.

It hasn't been that long since I've kissed someone. It has, however, been a long time (eight months) since I kissed someone back without worrying about what the neighbors might think, work issues, or anything else, for that matter.

No self-conscious garbage. No time.

I had spent the last three years of my life trying to buy into the theory that being a professional information cowboy required me to draw a line in the sand dividing personal and professional life, separating work from play like a cataloger carves up a book into Library of Congress subject headings.

My professional life (I spend an average of 50-60 hours a week at work) had been sucking my personal life dry. A place like Oxford, a tiny town where having a personal life can sometimes spark rumors, simply amplifies things internally to near hysteria.

I can't blame everything on my career choice; personal baggage as contributed more than its share to my forgetting what it's like to get caught up in a moment. While I've had several healthy romantic relationships in my life, I've packed away tons of luggage carrying all sorts of things - I am proud to say I'm a survivor of domestic violence, in which I came this close to being murdered, I've been involved with women I had no business dating in the first place, etc.

I've also carried around a lot of guilt, for years, about some of the violence and using of women I've done in the past. While I've tried to take the high road and get over it, I've always ended up building my own freeway to guilt-ridden martyrdom.

Combine it all, and you get one hell of a messed-up stew.

Did I care about any of that while I'm kissing someone back?

No. For the first time in a long while, the answer was a blunt no.

The only thing that was going through my mind at the time? Well, passion sometimes needs to bitchslap the living shit out of the human mind...at least in my case.

I will only share these few observations...

Remember to breathe, but it is incredibly sexy when two people fall on the floor out of breath. (Bruising optional.)

Remember to giggle occassionally.

Don't ever worry about having to buy new shower curtains or glue a leg back onto a coffee table. If it's broke, fix it later.

This sort of stuff is supposed to be enjoyable.


BROKEN ZENFO PRO RULE NO. 7:
Always Remember that Freedom Has a Price...


Johnny Cash had it all wrong.

Watching a Sunday Morning coming down is absolutely wonderful, but why go to sleep on a Saturday night?

It's amazing how a guy can go from complete bachelorhood to being a completely domesticated bastard in under 48 hours.

I had to make two trips to the grocery store. One to buy pasta, which I don't normally eat, but, hell, somebody's dad was picking up the tab for some really nice wholegrain angel hair and scallops.

Living on my own for as long as I have, one learns to appreciate someone else who's willing to cook.

One thing that sucks...drinking Sanka. One would think someone from Europe would have a better taste in coffee.

I won't even try to spell what my Florentine guest prepared. No clue. But it was really tasty.

Saturday, post-um-kiss, ended up blurring into Sunday. I may have slept three hours. Sunday, we drove out to Hueston Woods State Park and went hiking...in a cold rain. And it was fun.

I did laundry while she stayed at my place, attempting to clean my house (hint - if you're someone who grew up with a housekeeper cleaning everything, yeah, there's no faking it.)

While folding underwear at the laundrymat, the Dick Cheney chest pains came back. PTSD is a bitch sometimes, but other times it serves as a reminder that nothing lasts forever.

My Italian houseguest was heading back home in 28 hours and I probably wouldn't see or hear from her again after she got picked up by her friend from Indy.

Stupid fucking Conscience.

Dude, you don't really believe that guy's picture in that locket she keeps playing with is really her brother, do you? How many women have you known that keep a picture of their brother around their neck? Most reliable red flag in the book. Don't you dare fall into the trap of believing that your acceptance of a fling excludes somebody else from thinking this is a quick fling, too. Grow some balls and trust your gut again.

I kept folding laundry. Not dodging the thought process, I allowed myself to breathe a bit, to let my hormones and neurons duke it out.

I don't think I've done that...ever...as an adult.


BROKEN ZENFO PRO RULE NO. 8:
When Being a Gentleman Fails, There's Always the Asshole Option

I used to think I was the master at hiding what I was really feeling. I have always been a go-to guy when someone needed a level head or a calm-sounding voice.

Professionally, at least. I've always worked best under pressure and I try to never let anything get in the way with getting the job done or having fun in the process. I took that approach as a journalist, a librarian, and just about every other job I've worked since I was 14 years old.

A colleague once warned me that, in librarianship, it's best to not burn bridges. My philosophy has always been old bridges are meant to be blown up and rebuilt with something stronger.

I'm not Melvil Dewey or Marian the Librarian. I'm William Fucking Holden from the Wild Bunch.

That used to be my philosophy in my personal life as well. But somewhere along the way, I was burned. Correction - I got hit with napalm.

One of my firebombings was a very public affair, and an editor (maybe editors) went to bat for me to keep my being a victim of domestic violence and the fact that my then-fiancee was sitting in a county jail for aggrevated battery from being included in a daily news budget. One firebombing involved a very public break-up while in graduate school from a fellow student - who was engaged to someone else at the time. That required eight weeks of therapy just to keep getting up and going to class and to not worry about whether or not other students or faculty were judging me.

I've been run through the ringer, and my little personal worldview has been completely broken ever since. Did I ever stop and fix it? No. Of course not. That would require having some guts; anybody who's been a survivor of domestic violence will tell you that that is the hardest thing to recover.

I've never been willing to accept the fact that in order for me to have a personal life, to express passion freely, I can't have fun and be in control all of the time.

(By the way, if you're local, reading this, and need shelter from an abusive relationship, I don't care if the governor is sitting in my office; if you need help, stop by, and we'll see what resources we can find to help.)

So...to continue my little adventure...

I'm driving back to my house and I stop off for some coffee on a Sunday afternoon. My chickenshit instinct is to simply wait until my houseguest is gone; avoid the thought that she's probably got some kickass boyfriend back in Florence, a guy who's probably some European playboy, a guy who looks a bit like Colin Ferrell.

I call up one friend and ask for advice. Notice I have 12 unchecked voicemails on my cell. Ignore all of them (sorry to anybody who's called in the last two weeks.) This friend gets pissed; no solace. She tells me to quit being a goddamned chickenshit, to quit taking on somebody else's baggage, and to quit being so Don Quixote.

Have I really been chasing windmills?

Fuck.

Do I really give a flying rat's ass if she has a boyfriend back home? We're not talking lifelong commitment here. Does it really bother me that she comes from a wealthy family, or that she's 19? Does any of it matter, or am I just making up reasons to feel guilty, to put myself back in some box, to punish myself for something that's really not my business?

I drive back to my house. She's sprawled out on the floor, wrapped up in the Mexican throw, watching my new Battlestar Galactica Season 2.0 DVDs (with the English subtitles on). She tells me I'm such a nerd but that's completely okay. One of her Monday red-eyes was cancelled. She bit my ear and asked if she could stay through Tuesday.

It finally occurs to me that, for one brief period in my personal life, I'm William Fucking Holden again. I have by far the hottest woman in Oxford Fucking Ohio laying on my floor, hair in pigtails, fresh and sweaty from an afternoon jog, who smells, tastes, and definitely feels like a woman.

Fuck you, Colin Ferrell lookalike! If you are her boyfriend, you're probably not very good at it, else your girlfriend would not be wearing my lucky tee shirt, crashing in my house, and pulling stray hairs out of my back. So some people might not approve. So her Race Car Daddy would probably have me killed if he ever found out. So she's way too young and there's no way this will last past when she leaves.

What's the point of living life if you can't do something stupid every once and a while. That's the point of a mindless, completely insane fling.


While we're laying on the floor, trying to figure out the shapes in my textured ceiling, she tells me a few Miami students cat-called her way while she was jogging by what I'm assuming was a frat house.

In a very fake tone, she asked me why American boys were so stupid.

Fuck if I know. I can't figure out why I'm so stupid half the time. Thank goodness for the post-graduate education...and the ability to cut through one's own bullshit.




NOTE - I held off on posting this until Friday morning to give myself time to edit a bit.

14 comments:

Megan said...

k. before i go to bed and forget I want to tell you I think there may be some hope for you yet, boy :-) Have you ever stopped to think the fact that there are rumors about you?!: The only thing I hever hear students say about the librarians here at the LV is that they are so omg boring when they talk to classes.
the DV thing is as you know very close to my heart. you rock and if there's abybody that diserves a fling you do B)

Ms. Monkeythong said...

1.) Oops. Didn't know about the guy trapped in the locket. But it's not like she's MARRIED...

2.) Who gives a fuck if your blog isn't 'professional'? Since when are librarians required to eat, breathe, and sleep library shit? People ALREADY think we sleep in cots in the cataloging department, what they DON'T think is that librarians are real people with real lives and interests other than shushing them. As for the librarians who criticize you, they should take the poles out of their asses and stop sleeping in the cots in the back room. Don't you people know how bad those cots are for your backs? Jeez.

3.) You write very coherently for a drunk guy :-)

The ZenFo Pro said...

Megan:
You know, as my worklife returns to abnormal (you know what I do for a living and it's not stereotypical librarian stuff).

Those classroom visits can indeed be very boring. My BIs are not. (Does this count as instruction???)

MM:
You should have seen the mess that was this post before I attempted to edit this morning.

Some librarians, yes, need to pull those 4X8 WOOD TIMBERS out of their asses.

As for the locket thing, I'm still too tired to care if he was her boyfriend or not. Flings are flings...A mali estremi, estremi rimedi. (See, I learned something ;-)

G said...

Dude, I will never in my life understand how someone could come across a personal blog and deem any of it "unprofessional" to the field of librarianship.

Unless, of course, they are a BunHead, in which case they lack both (a) a personality; and (b) a life of their own.

All a blog is, really, is a personal journal that happens to be accessible to anyone who stumbles across it. It's just a place to vent/share/espouse what is on one's mind. In some cases, it's in regards to their profession; in others, it is not; in most, it's a bit of both.

It's both amazing and sad that some commenters push their expectations of the field to the point where you have to qualify an entry with "this is me, like it or leave it" before writing.

I say fuck 'em if they can't appreciate ZFPro for what it is. I told my commentators that outright - and they haven't been back since. Call it and extension of Rule # 8. Works every time.

Great post, btw. But remember: ethical dilemmas are what they are, but at the same time, you are a human being. Don't end up beating up on yourself over any of it, dude - not worth it - shit does happen, after all.

Just make sure you're rolling with it, not in it.

Peace J,
G

Anonymous said...

you know i found this while i was bored in class and wanted something to get me through this boring class...i don't know if my opion matters much but most of these oxford blogger things are kinda boring. i think yours is very interesting! is it okay that i post or do i have to be invited?

kendra said...

i'm happy that library folk haven't really found my blog, because i know it's not professional at all and i don't want the wrath of the bun heads.

divulging personal information in public forums, be it a blog or on the radio, can be risky, but as long as you're ultimately ok with it and you don't implicate others, who's to argue? i miss the days when i could really blog about anything, but it's impossible with my sg/his family/my family/friends reading it. i caved to the angry emails/phone calls.

reading things, like your last two posts, make me feel good about the world though- it's good to see there is some inner dialogue, and it's more interesting than my life.

EsotericWombat said...

Hey man, thanks for the link and the kind words over at Bring it On. Are you going to sign up there?

Rule 8 reminds me a lot of The Deacon Effect

and as for Quixote, well, not to play the shameless self-promotion, but here

snoopdon said...

Dude, thanks for the link. I am sure yours will pop up soon..... One more thing,


Whoa.

Alice: In Wonderland or Not said...

I haven'tbeen home that long and am tired from boarding on what has got to be the shittiest hill in new england but...let me poor myself some wine and give it some thought. This was a long one requiring thought. Go figure.

Chewie said...

Dude.. you have one of the most interesting lifes that i know.. and you live in fucking oxford :-) you have always been one of my best friends.. and i am glad that you are starting to become the guy that i met in college (who thought he needed a chastity belt hahaha)

enjoy life cause right now that is all you have... and remember i am always here in LA when you need someone to talk to

chewie

Anonymous said...

Alice, don't you mean pour?

Alice: In Wonderland or Not said...

ha I guess I should have said” poor some more” as it would at least excuse the spelling.

I am still rather speechless over this post and I'm not quite sure why.

Most likely due to my conflicting views on...well almost everything you wrote about here.

The ZenFo Pro said...

G:
Hey man, thanks for the advice. Yeah, ethical dilemmas are what they are, definitely. It was actually something I needed to do a bit. You know - I've either never asked myself questions or asked myself enough questions to choke a horse. Somehow, I guess I finally figured out that I had to grow some cajones - both in my personal ife and here. For months, since I found out why I have so many random locals reading (at least one person told me they forwarded a post to everyone in a class - I think the one about carrying some drunk girl home a few months ago), I've been a bit too paranoid about disclosing too much information, self-censoring to prevent any kind of backlash. And I haven't felt right about it.

You're absolutely right about the nature of a blog. I guess I finally accepted something over the holidays - that I created this blog as a place to vent about stuff, to record events, to help organize my thoughts. Might as well roll with that, dude.


Anon:
Hey, commenting always appreciated. Thanks for asking, though :) Post whenever you want. I think you're the LiveJournal girl who e-mailed me - your LiveJournal user ID and pass won't work because you have to set up a Blogger account. Or use the "other" tab when posting.


Kendra:
Implicating others is always something I think about, esp. local colleagues. I don't ever want to be in a situation where somebody accuses me of libel or defamation, either. Hence, no names and removing identifiers. I actually had a conversation with a friend's publicist - angry conversation - when she found out her client had asked me to consider adding an advertising banner for her pay site. She was rightly outraged - public image is not something best promoted on a personal journal, because there's no control mechanism and the door would be wide open for public scorn. Let's just say there were also legal issues involved as well as my personal ethical values...

I too miss the days of a kinder, gentler web. I still remember signing up for my first Hotmail account....I had a one character password. As for the inner conversation, that's what I was really trying to communicate, in a round-about way. And everybody's life is interesting, chica. We all have some good story to tell. Thanks for the insight!


Wombat:
I'm thinking about it. And you're welcome, dude. Not shameful self-promotion whatsoever. That's why I linked to your site. It's a good read. Hey! Somebody got my Don Quixote reference. Score!


Snoopdon:
Yeah. Having finally caught up on my sleep a bit, my thoughts exactly.


Alice:
Oh lord! I've driven somebody to drink with this insanity ;)

The ZenFo Pro said...

Chew:
I think I'm starting to realize that for the first time in my life. Life's not so boring and bitchy, I guess. And you were there during the first domestic assault thing. You're one of the two people I owe my ass to for helping pull me out of it. Hey, and remember - there's a price I had to pay for it, dude. I still occassionally have nightmares about opening my door at having Kfigment threatening to physically remove a girl from my bedroom.

As for the chastity belt, I could, now that I think about it, still be fine with that (hey, I debated becoming a priest, remember?) It's the chastity belt I kept on things like intimacy, passion, and letting myself be vulnerable that I'm glad I finally ditched. This whole thing isn't really about sex - it's more about those things.


Alice:
Conflicting views is, well, kind of in line with where I'm at with the whole thing. I posted this experience because I needed to sort out some things for myself, to provide a written record for, actually, just myself. I feel kinda sorta bad because I broke one of my own blog rules. I tried to not go into any kiss-and-tell type stuff, but I think there's no helping that. Just so you know, it took me two hours of staring at the computer screen to hit post. If I wasn't completely sure my houseguest was never going to read this (she's a technophobe; I asked if she needed to check her e-mail and she looked at me like I was the frigging head of the World Bank and bitched that I even had a laptop), I probably wouldn't have posted anything.

Another Just FYI...I kinda hope I got across something about what somebody who's been through DV and emotionall-abusive relaionships - what guys go through, particularly - sometimes go through, even years after the fact. Abusive relationships leave some pretty big, deep scars that can completely crush one's self-esteem, make people second-guess everything they do in any kind of intimate relationship, and emotionally neuter a person.

Okay...done writing, because I don't want to write another novel ;)