February 12, 2006

He offered to buy me and egg-and-salad sandwich. It doesn't get more interesting than that.

Lately, all I want to do is sleep. I suspect it relates to my fundamental ability to embrace the fact that I'm alive. Only, I can't sleep. Instead I lie awake, waiting, and ruminating about all the things in my life that could go wrong. Sometimes I'll have an idea. I'll think: "This is a great idea. I should get up and write it down." Then I decide that getting up, out of bed, will wake me up too much and it's not worth it. If it's really good, I'm confident I'll remember it. I never do.

A few nights ago I was lying there thinking about an e-mail I received from a reader. His name was Charles and he said he thought I should go on a date with him and then potentially we could get married, have some kids, and I'd be really happy. And he would too. Really? I doubt it. But I appreciated the brevity of the offer. It was very direct. Date, marriage, kids, happy.
He also offered to buy me an expensive egg-and-salad sandwich, which he would then make into a funny skull. It doesn't get any more interesting than that.

I liked the e-mail because it made dating, marriage and kids sound like it was no big deal. You want Chinese - or you want to get married? It lessens the pressure. But even though I'm in my late thirties, still I don't feel the pressure - that's my problem.

I have a neighbour, Ellen, in her mid-forties, who lives down the hall from me with her cat. I can tell because she usually has white cat hair stuck to her clothing. She doesn't talk much, which I appreciate, so I don't know much about her, other than she lives alone and she's been in the building for ages. The other day I returned home to find several police officers on my floor. Someone reported hearing screams from Ellen's apartment. The police have gathered outside her front door, banging, pleading for her to open up. "We know you're in there, Ellen. Please, just come to the door!"

Just then, my other neighbour - a single woman in her thirties - stepped out of the elevator. She asks me what's going on. I explain that Ellen is inside her apartment and the police think she may be in danger or hurt and could even be tied up and held captive by her boyfriend, who beat her. My neighbour looked shocked. Then she said: "That one has a boyfriend?"

Everyone who wishes they were in a relationship, and isn't, can never get over how someone else is, but I'm not like that at all. Liza was telling me about someone she works with who got engaged recently, and she said it's as though that woman got the last ring on the planet.

Turns out Ellen was fine: she and her boyfriend were fighting over the wedding plans. I wish I could be more envious of other people's engagements, but I never am. I wish I could believe that once that happened, it would all be okay, because then I'd be happy. Why am I not dreaming of living happily ever after? Maybe it's because I can't sleep.