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I have a theory that my annual Christmas trip to America is cursed. I’m not sure what it means—England is pissed at me for leaving it, or America now considers me a traitor, or that the Christmas holidays were not meant for travel—but having happened three years running now, I can no longer ignore this as fact.

The past two years, one or both of my flights have been delayed/cancelled, and I have been stranded in a random city. I thought to avoid this this year by booking a direct flight from London to DC, and having my mom come pick me up there. Then, even if the flight IS delayed, not a big deal.

I woke up early that morning, excited to travel. I opened the Tupperware I’d been specially saving my pumpkin bread in so I could eat it on the journey—moldy. That’s okay, chipper Traveler Kara said to grumpy stay at home Kara, you’ve got those cauliflower fritters you made, you can just eat them now, it’s fine.

Almost as soon as I got on the tube, I began to feel ‘funny’. I felt hot, and just, BAD. I had chosen to take a different, more leisurely tube line this year so I’d have a seat but there weren’t any. I tried to distract myself with reading. Staring at children. Taking my coat off. By the time I was in central London, I began to entertain the possibility that I might actually need to be sick. A few stops later, I became fairly sure this possibility was about to be realized.

I got off where I normally get off for work, thinking this familiarity might make me more comfortable, but as I discovered from my imminent field research, vomiting from the platform into the tube tracks is never comfortable.

The first one wasn’t so bad, and I thought, maybe it’s just nerves combined with a particularly rattle-y journey. I got back on (luckily the old people shooting me glares had gotten on the previous train).

I managed to hold out for about 5 stops or so, long enough that it was not busy and it was outside, which somehow made it less awful when, in a cold sweat I ran off the carriage and to the other side.

Defeated, I sat down next to my bag, trembling, but hopeful that this meant the worst was over. I considered the etiquette of puking in a tube station- is it better to do it in the provided rubbish bin, which at least would be thrown away, but would be in the midst of passengers for quite some time? I preferred the natural approach—less awkward.

Averting my eyes from everyone on the platform, I got on the next train. When I started feeling worse again, having now lost any sense of dignity or resistance, ran off the train (another outdoors stop far out of the city) for the last, and worst of it.

Don't get me wrong

There's a scene at the beginning of Bridget Jones, I think the first time that Colin Firth slams her, when Bridget goes, "There. Right there. That was the moment."

I had one of those moments last night- I was at a Christmas party where I didn't really know anyone. I started talking to a small group, and I noticed one of the guys was wearing a wedding ring. Lately, for whatever reason (ok for the perfectly obvious reason that all my friends are getting married) I wanted to ask him what it's like. It's taboo with your friends to ask what it's really like.

At the wedding you're all playing along with the story that it's a perfect fairytale romance and they're going to live happily ever after. You can't remember about the times the couple broke up, or cheated on each other, or all the things one might have said to you about the other late one Saturday night, that makes you wonder if this is really a good relationship. It's not gone of course, but marriage is so final that once it happens you have to close that book and put it away. So I figured with someone who wasn't a friend, I could ask because what does it matter what you say to some drunk American you'll never see again?

"Oh I'm not married," he said. Oh, okay, some guys don't care about the wedding finger.

"It's a promise ring, my girlfriend made me wear it." Oh.

"Are you joking? What, are you 15?" (followed by the 'you're whipped' hand gesture). I tried really hard not to condescend, but it's kind of impossible when a 19 year old is telling you about his promise ring.

And that right there, was the moment. Relationships just don't make any sense to me. I would like it if they did, but for now I don't mind sticking to my plan to reconsider them when I'm 30.

Passion is our passion

...aaaaand we're back! It feels like time. Who knows why?

Anyway, yesterday I flew from London to Dallas, TX to Ft Myers FL, where I will be hanging out for a week for the wedding of two friends. Coming from a foreign country, though, the culture shock of the uniquely American locations of TX and FL is particularly strong.

The trip was interesting- I get to the airport, and as I'm anal about traveling I immediately checked my flight, even though it was more than 2 hours until boarding by the time I got through security. I noticed that another flight to Ft Myers was on final call, and that my own flight was delayed by 2.5 hours. My connection in TX, however, was less than two hours after that flight should have landed. So I headed to the arline service desk, figuring they'd put me through somewhere else- instead the women quickly says, ok, since you would miss that connection and it's the only one that night to Ft Myers, you should get on this flight that's about to leave- and calls to the gate to make sure it's still open, then tells me to just go there and they'll have the ticket for me there. I realise, that though she doesn't say it, this means I should run.

Some hastily gasped questions later, I am admitted, and just as I take the boarding pass, I hear them turning someone else away- the gate is closed. Needless to say, I felt lucky.

I sat next to my bizarro version on the plane. Bizarro superman, for those who don't watch Seinfeld, was basically Superman's exact opposite. So I was seated in an extra wide row with tons of leg room (seriously, I want to send that service desk agent a basket of muffins) and as my bladder is the size of a small child's, I have to end up interacting with the person sitting on the aisle (except the time I managed to climb over her when she was sleeping. It was impressive).

Anyway, this woman kept saying 'Well bless your heart' over various things, like me traveling. But it turned out she's originally English, and had lived in Texas for 30 years. And was super Catholic. See- bizarro. Then there was the TGI Friday's I ate in. While I loved the selection (skinny blackberry margarita? oh god yes), I felt that the waitstaff were too in your face- whether it was bc they always seemed to be around, or crouching down and putting his hands on the table to talk to me. I mean, no one buys that fake enthusiasm and friendliness as genuine. Do they?

I was also overwhelmed by the selection, even in the airport gift shop. There were just so many options: diet, low carb, high protein, organic, or extra sized, extra cheesed, extra flavours. there was so much. Today it hit me again, when I was at CVS (a pharmacy). I mean, anything you want, is there. Except the Reese's pumpkins. That actaully really upset me. That should have been there. That's a Halloween staple! Anyway, I'll talk about that some more tomorrow. The last of the airplane mini wine bottles is calling my name.
Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.

Oscar Wilde, De Profundis, 1905

Truth, in the matters of religion, is simply the opinion that has survived.

only a matter of time

Maybe it's the amount of rockband I've been playing, but sometimes I think I'd have liked being in a band. If I could be allowed to wear a mask onstage. Or even a large hat. Or maybe go for an incredible amount of makeup, so if people saw me on the street without it, they would have no idea who I was. Kiss is smarter than I may have thought.

I'm taking a break from writing about dating for a while. It's still fun, but I don't feel like talking about it all the time. Maybe I'm only saying that bc I just finished reading Revolutionary Road.

Do me wrong

So I am now dating two people. It happened when I gave up on guys. Naturally.

she was queen for about an hour

I haven't written in a while, but that's just because things have taken an even more ridiculous turn.

I've entered the world of online dating. It all began a few months ago This was brought on by a combination of factors, but I am hardly above anything that's free. Last weekend, however, I did what I normally do at a bar: I scan the room, find who I am most attracted to, and talk to them. He seemed shy so I orchestrated it: He was hanging around another guy who had been hitting on my friends when I arrived. So when he (and the guy I was interested in) walked by, I attracted his attention, which brought him back to hitting on the group. this forced my interest to stand there, and allowed me to talk to him. Then I found out the other guy was his older brother, and that this older brother was 22.

So I thought maybe it's time I got the age thing out of the way first. So I joined two websites. So far I have been on a couple of dates. The first is my first 'older man', already a change. He was fun and while he didn't look quite like his picture he was still cute. Normally people my age or older look old to me. But he's not like my normal type at all. We'll see how date 2 goes.

Number 2 was someone who is only intellectually compatible with me. He wants to go out again, I'm not sure how to address that.

if i was yours

So I'm going to take a time out from field reports to get into a little theory. Get used to it, you might learn something.

A new phenomenon I'm starting to enjoy is when other people's significant others are awesome. I don't mean that you want to hook up with them like in that 80s song, but when you're like hey, I actually enjoy hanging out with this individual. Not, well they don't ruin the WHOLE outing if they come along with us, or I don't feel like a third wheel around them, or, I see what he/she sees in him/her. But I am happy when this person comes along, because they are fun to hang with.

On Sunday we had planned a pancake party, which ended up just being me, my friend, and her boyfriend. It was in fact fun, and I enjoyed talking to both of them together and individually. It's a very rare thing, and this is actually only the fifth time ever it's happened. Hm, that makes it seem like a lot. But generally you just put up with the person.

Of course there is a flip side. The downside is if the couple breaks up, you feel you have personally lost something. You can't ever see someone you enjoyed hanging with (there was one exception to this in my experience, but only two of the five have broken up, so it's not exactly a large sample).
I've been thinking...I always mean to start themes in this blog, but I usually abandon them after the first post. But maybe a good recurring theme would be my love life. I have an active one, just not a monogamous or in any way stable one. And that's what makes for the good stories. So we'll start with the most recent:

I speed dated. Went speed dating? I'm not sure of the terminology. Long story short, a while ago one of my friends said we should try it, and at the time I said sure. She found one of the late night museum events: basically London has tons of free musuems, and occassionally they have 'late nights' which is adults only, drinking, and special exhibitions. Tonight's was 'the science of attraction' and speed dating was one of the events, but only limited to the first 30 people.

When I got there at the opening exhibit time, the line went for blocks. Hundreds of people. So I figured there was no way speed dating would still have spots. Not only did it, but they had to bribe guys with extra drinks to get them to do it (we all got one free drink).

So the way it works is, we all have numbers, the girls sit and the guys move. We all have sheets with ratings: Yes, Friend, and No. Yes means I'd date you, friend means I'm interested in you platonically, and No means nothing.

So, I'm going into this thinking, "This is new, so it will be interesting. But none of these guys are going ot be someone I'd date." There was also a psychological researcher there, who ended up having to be the 15th guy.

Anyway, so it starts out not too bad. It's three minute conversations, which is really pretty fast. The guys and I joke for three minutes. Some of them are attractive, some not. Then comes the guy I think is the hottest. Naturally, I get nervous and blow it. Then comes some weirdos. First there's a Greek guy. The conversation goes like this:

Me: So, where are you from?
Dude: Greece
Me: Oh cool, where?
D: I'm not telling you. I'm not answering any more questions.
Me: Hmm ok...well I guess I can just talk or something.
D (scoots closer): how about we do something? Do you know a game?
Me: um, pattycake is pretty much it.
D: It's like a nursery school here. Is there an age limit? People here look like they are 12 or 13.
Me: Um...no. Are you saying I look 12 or 13?
D (condescendingly): Hmm...you seem young at heart. You seem very cheerful. You are the most cheerful person here, I saw you from across the room.
Me: Um.

He was definitely the weirdest. A couple of others were odd, or hard to understand. But most were kind of neutral. One guy, who got two drinks, gave me part of one of them. I could tell he was sketchtown though. Out of 15 guys, I said yes to 2 and friend to 3.

the waiting is the hardest part

I like to think I have a good sense of humor. No, actually, it's not a good sense of humor. I laugh at almost anything. I laugh at squirrels when they're eating french fries. I have laughed at my own farts. Or when someone farts in the stall next to me in a public bathroom.

So I guess I'm surprised to find that I just don't get lol cats. I just don't understand why it's funny. I mean, plenty of humor is hard to understand. I just don't find it funny. I get annoyed by the poor grammar. And what's the connection? Do cats have bad grammar? Because when I think about cats' inner voices, I hear a bored intellectual. Someone pretty articulate, arrogant, used to everyone doing their bidding. Except alley cats. That's more gangster, which might involve some bad grammar, but nothing like lol catz baby grammar. Or maybe alley cats are still articulate. But more like an Ernest Hemingway, "sure I'm broke and an alcoholic, I spent the night sleeping in a trash bin and I only have half a shirt. But I'm still better than you."

Anyway, I don't think it's just that. Even if it was baby hedgehogs, I still don't think I'd like it. Maybe it's because I don't like baby talk generally. Or babies.