Monday, February 27, 2012

Fort Lee's Finest

I joined a new group on Facebook for Jewish singles. As usual, I've met a bunch of amazing women and some very creepy men who are too old to even think of dating me. Two of them asked me out publicly, and I told them, nicely, that they were out of my age range. One accepted that graciously (but still "Likes" an awful lot of my posts and comments).

The other -- actually the Rob Reiner lookalike that FOA tried so exceedingly hard to set me up with; small world -- started making nasty little passive-aggressive comments on my posts about snotty pretty women who think they're all that. I blocked him for a while, and he seems to have learned not to complain that women who are way out of his league don't want to date him.

I also heard from Mr. Disingenuous (MD). He joined the group but didn't comment publicly on anything I wrote or saw. Instead, he sent me an email:

Hello Ayelet: My name is MD, a new member to this group, single, and would like to be married and maybe one day that will happen. 

Well, I can't predict the future. His photo looked familiar -- I knew I'd seen it on a dating website. But I didn't know anything about him, although I suspected he was somewhat older than I am. So I wrote back:

Hi MD,

How old are you? Ayelet

Then I decided to check his Facebook profile to see if he'd posted his birth year. He had. He is 18 years older than I am. GROSS. I wrote again:

Never mind. I looked at your profile. You are 18 years older than I am. If you had read any of my posts, you would know that I am NOT interested in men who are that much older than I am. I suggest you try to get to know some of the women in the group who are in their late 40s/early 50s.

Loser. Then I got an email from my new friend Suzy:

S: I'm meeting some of my FB friends from another singles group at a Shabbaton this weekend.
A: please let me know if you meet my husband ;)

She took me seriously.

S: There are some really gr8 guys -- Fort Lee's Finest (FLF) and The Turk are from NY. The Turk is 42, but he wants to date girls in their 30s.  I think all the men r just too popular for their own good. I think they start to get big egos.
A: I know. I've known The Turk for a long time -- didn't know he was one of those who like to shop in the Juniors department. I think you're right about men and their egos. The tolerable ones think they're spectacular and too good for the rest of us.
S: lol. That is an interesting way to put it. I've made a lot of friends, but no romance yet.
A: I'm not too optimistic. I hope you have fun!
S: I will. U r a gr8 person and I hope u find ur bashert soon.

That's so sweet. Well, if FLF is as great as she says he is...

A: I don't know FLF.

Now who's disingenuous? ;)

S: He's 47 and divorced about 2 yrs. Has 5 kids. He splits his time between Fort Lee and Manhattan. 

Five kids is a lot, but maybe he'd be open to at least trying for a sixth.

A: Is he open to having more children? I'd go out with him.
S: He is very nice and very in demand. Try to friend him.

Oh, no. No. I'm not going to try to stand out among all the adoring groupies.

A: if he's very in demand, I don't want to be just another girl running after him ;) is he on your friends list? can you suggest that he friend me?
S: Don't know how to do that. I can say something to him at the shabaton if you want. Another thing is that I don't think he is ready to remarry because he's having such a good time.. He found some1 in FL that he went out with for several months and his kids liked her and he wasn't ready to marry.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No. I am not going to fall in love with a man and his children only to end up dumped and lonelier than before.

A: Then don't bother ;) I don't have time to waste on players. Shabbat shalom!

Saturday night she emailed me again:

S: He said at the shabbaton that he doesn't want to have more kids since he has 5 already.
A: Makes sense. And I'm not really trophy wife material.

Apparently FLF is pretty successful.

S: lol. He was flirting with a 27 yr old.
A: a 27yo? That is just pathetic ;)

So I figured that was it for Fort Lee's Finest. But then I got an email from my new friend Aliza:

Hi Ayelet. believe it or not I may have a successful gent that lives in Manhattan in mind for u. He is 47.....if u txt me I can find more info and vice versa. 

Couldn't possibly be the same 47yo. Right?

Hi Aliza -- that would certainly make dating convenient ;) Thank you so much for thinking of me. I have a cold, but you can call me at 212-555-xxxx if you want to discuss over the phone. Or we can email on FB. You are a doll!

She called and we talked. About... Fort Lee's Finest. Aliza wasn't as convinced as Suzy that FLF is only out to have a good time, although she had also heard he was satisfied with his crop of children and not longing to spawn any more. But she thought he might reconsider if he was with someone who really wanted to have a child.

Aliza also told me that he was one of the nicest, kindest mensches she had ever met. She'd spoken to him about me, and he was interested. (It's funny how people in the group have gotten to know me so thoroughly in such a short amount of time. I do post a lot in that group.)

I was hesitant, but we talked about a strategic approach. Say upfront that I'm looking for a husband, not a boyfriend; a life together, not a relationship. And that I would want to at least try to have a child, although I don't plan to undergo any extreme interventions.

Then FLF called. And he was nice. Charming, courteous, laughed at my jokes, had interesting and witty things to say. There's a special tone in a man's voice when he's really paying attention and appreciates and gets what you're saying. Of course, it's possible that a successful businessman might have learned how to fake that appreciative, understanding tone. I guess I'll find out when we go out. He called briefly because he was at a dinner with friends and I needed to go to sleep at 9:30 (my pathetic life). Said he'll call again tonight or tomorrow night so we can set up a time and place to meet.

I will keep you posted. Right now I'm miserable with a stupid cold, congested and exhausted and feverish, but I'm hoping I'll feel better by Thursday.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Swing and a miss, Jake

Got an email this afternoon:

Hi Ayelet. How've you been? Our friend, Chanan, is having a wine tasting this evening.. I'm sorry, I know it's short notice, but I was wondering if you'd like to go perhaps?

I'm not even answering him.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Do these menisci make me look fat?

I've had 3 sets of knee MRIs: September 2009, July 2010, and last week. Apparently the new doctor I consulted -- let's call him Dr. Zoom, because he thinks and speaks quickly and efficiently -- or the radiologist who read the films are much more detail-oriented than whoever read the first two. Dr. Zoom says I have abnormally thick kneecaps, and that's why I'm having so much pain. He says I was born this way. Even though I never had knee pain before the personal trainer butchered me.

I have to give him points for originality. Others have said, "It's runner's knee, it's jumper's knee, it's inflammation," but who could anticipate that I have thick kneecaps? You can't make that stuff up.

Well, Dr. Zoom wrote me a prescription for Tylenol with codeine, because the hydrocodone I have is just WAY too constipating. I hope it doesn't give me a Vicodin hangover. I'm trying not to take too many painkillers, but I have to walk 15 minutes to and from the subway station to get to work, and I have been climbing up and down two flights of stairs for four damn months because the elevator is out.

Yes, I have a commute that's well over an hour, because the subway station close to my clinic in Nowheres, Brooklyn is closed and I have to plunge further into Nowheres before I can exit the train. And I still have to be at work at 6:45 am. It fucking sucks. I asked the doctor if all the walking and all the stairs were doing actual damage to my knees. He doesn't think so, but I'm going to ask the surgeon tomorrow.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Trading acupuncture for mindfulness

So I was transferred to another clinic, which is located in a very remote part of Brooklyn. The commute is horrible, but the clinic manager is fair and sane, all the other employees are lovely, and the heroin users are just as awesome as at the other clinic.

I was sad that I had to stop volunteering as a detox acupuncturist Monday afternoons, at the needle exchange that's close to the other clinic. But now on Monday mornings I co-facilitate a group on mindfulness with the clinic doctor, who is even more awesome than the patients.

I joined a mindfulness therapy practice group through the New York State Society for Clinical Social Work. I wanted to follow up on the mindfulness therapy I underwent last winter and spring. Being able to practice at work as well as on my own time is a bonus. Almost makes up for not being able to stick pins into people anymore.

It's almost 3 am. I've got a stomach ache, because yesterday I had another set of knee MRIs. Last week I went to a new doctor recommended by a friend and he thought my right knee was swollen. It usually hurts just a little more than the left knee. And both of them have been hurting for a while because the elevator in my apartment building's been out since November 7, 2011. (Fucking management company...)

I didn't have time for lunch yesterday at work, and the MRIs weren't until 6, so I grabbed a late lunch/early dinner and wolfed it down in the waiting room, then lay down for about 50 minutes trying not to move or twitch. Forgot that I tend to have reflux and gastritis. Came home with a bad stomachache, took some Pepto-Bismol, felt better, felt hungry, had a late-night snack of banana and granola bar, woke up an hour ago with serious stomach pain. Sigh. But I have to say, I've been sleeping very well lately. This is the first night in a long time I woke up long before my alarm and couldn't fall back asleep.

So thank God for small favors. No more acupuncture, but mindfulness. Sleeping better. Dealing with the awful commute, and I'm respected and appreciated by my new colleagues. On 2/15/12 I'm done with probation; then I can submit my LCSW application, I hope, and work toward accomplishing that licensure.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Salt, toxic, anxiety, flight

Last Tuesday, I decided to make roasted Brussels sprouts. While sprinkling salt over them, I noticed the salt container's bottom was swollen; it must have gotten wet. Unfortunately, I noticed this milliseconds before the bottom dropped off the container, dumping salt all over the olive-oiled sprouts. I rinsed them off and roasted them, but they were still excessively salty.

Wednesday morning I woke up wobbly and nauseated, and called in sick. After Googling "sodium chloride poisoning" a few times, I realized that I felt lithium-toxic, as if I'd taken too much lithium or gotten overheated in the sun. I called my psychiatrist, he said to skip my Wednesday evening lithium dose and let him know how I did. Thursday I felt a little weak and shaky, but well enough to work. Thursday night I took my regular lithium dose.

Friday I was ANXIOUS. For no apparent reason. Well, I was nervous because I had two sick days in early January (thanks to the integrated Traditional Chinese/Western Rehab medical practice I mistakenly thought would cure my knee pain), and didn't want to look like a slacker. I still have to get through probation (February 15!). But I did the best I could; I called in sick Wednesday morning, and I worked as hard as I could Thursday and Friday. I know that an uneven lithium level in the blood destabilizes mood. And unfortunately, I had signed up for a very expensive Shabbat dinner with an organization where I knew nobody.

I thought I would. They're called "Modern Jewish Connections"; I mixed them up with "JC Connections," which has organized dinners in the past that I've enjoyed, seen people I knew and met new people. But the JC Connections events are very structured -- rotating tables and hosts who make an effort to ensure everyone is included. MJC events -- from what I've seen, not so much.

The event was supposed to start with kabbalat Shabbat davening at 6 pm. When I arrived at 6:30, nobody was davening. And the crowd was young. Average age 27, I would guess. Everyone was sitting around chatting. I didn't know anyone, and I was too anxious to try to meet someone new.

Time dragged. MJC is affiliated with Chabad, which isn't renowned for punctuality. The rabbi introduced himself to me -- I'd emailed them asking for the exact address, which they didn't email around until 2pm on Friday, so he recognized my name. I tried to tolerate the anxiety, telling myself that after davening, when people sat down to eat, I'd be able to socialize with the people at my table. But there were no signs that davening would start soon.

I went into the bathroom and began deep-breathing, trying to ease the choking anxiety. It didn't really help. I felt like Norma Desmond, desperately trying to pretend a youth I didn't possess.

"Are you okay?" a voice asked. I turned around. A tall, slender 20something was standing by the mirrors.

"I'm not great in unstructured situations," I said. "I don't know anyone here, so I'm feeling a little anxious."

"That's okay," she said. "If it's any help, I think most of the people here don't really know anyone. You can be my friend. My name is Chaviva."

I appreciated that. But somehow we got separated during davening, which finally, finally started. When it was over, I hoped we'd quickly be seated.

Instead -- just more aimless milling around. I felt more and more desperately alone. I tried to control my face, worried I'd look distressed. It didn't work; the rabbi asked me if I were okay.

"I just don't know anybody here," I said. "I thought I'd know someone. I don't belong here." He was nice enough to let me out of my contract. Supposedly he's going to refund the $70 I paid. And I un-liked the JMC Facebook page, so I won't get any more invitations from them.

Only good part of it all was that I was too upset to eat much when I got home. I took a Klonopin, had an apple and some pistachios, and went to bed. Where I spent most of Shabbat today as well.

I've had bipolar disorder for more than 15 years, and I've been on the same medication cocktail for more than five years. I thought I knew how to handle myself and my errant brain. But clearly there are crises and surprises that hit when least expected. If anyone ever asks you, yes, I am definitely disabled by this illness. It's not just an inconvenience. It's a disability.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"