Love, take it to the mattresses.

There’s a subtle shift that occurs after two people realize they’re standing in the moment of finality. It’s as if the world whispers, “Don’t blink or you’ll lose the last moment where you know who is standing in front of you.” The moment of truth, arrived, and this is what it’s like to not know each other anymore.

She slept on mattress on the floor—the same mattress I had purchased after the heartbreak before her—when I passed by the hallway packing the last of my things. I thought, “She has a place to rest her head even if she sleeps near the ground for now, but she’ll get a frame to lift it back up.” It was that same line of thinking I had after the initial shock of the I’m-going-to-leave-my-marriage realization; I’m doing the right thing for both of us in the long run even if the short run scorches our feet.

I’m sleeping on an air mattress tonight in my renovated shoebox in Alphabet City. It’s been quite some time—5 months to be exact—since I’ve been comfortable in my own space. Despite the obvious disarray from the move, I’m free to be free. Although, if I’m truly being honest, here, that uncomforted space issue started one year and five months ago. While I’m being honest, let’s face it, freedom is never free.

Shopping for mattresses is a lot like soul work; you have to know yourself well enough to know what you like, how much you’re willing to invest in your comfort, and not rush it. I was upsold on the first overpriced mattress, a firm with a pillow top, like many other things during that period in my life. Later, I was also talked into tossing it for a terribly old, piss stained, non-pillow top mattress, by a girlfriend attached to most everything except me. After she hurt me in the most despicable way possible, I was sans mattress, not that one fit into my inherited vagabond lifestyle in the first place; couch surfing required less capital and emotional investment.

Futons, the minimalist way of resting your head, was the way to Zen. Mattresses were heavy and laborious constructs of luxury that I didn’t need. No, out with the old and in with the new. I acquired a different, vibrant, soul enriching, school of thought, and the only way to happiness was through the suffering–and, let me just say this about suffering; there were some painstakingly difficult nights of sleep where my back was concerned. Futon people don’t have significant romantic relationships. They just can’t, really, because a futon person is in a transitory state of living that no one wants to catch.

With the first indication of love interest, I tossed that sucker and bought a new mattress, firm, for her back problems. Solving her problems, giving her comfort, and making certain she never woke up in pain, was how I spent the next four-or-so years. Sleeping on that firm mattress, built to sustain the strength of the spine, it occurred to me that this firm mattress was not mine. I purchased it, yes, but this was not where I was supposed to rest my head.

I left her the firm mattress, which was now on the floor with her. I had my freedom, so I marched into Macy’s listening to the divorce theme song “Dog Days Are Over” by Florence + the Machine and I plopped down on that plush Euro bed mattress.

“Can I help you?”

I smiled, big. “Yes, I’m in the market for a new mattress.”

“Feel like testing out the others?”

I closed my eyes, briefly, and despite being internally sold on the one I was on I shook my head yes.

She led me to different makes and styles of mattresses, and I obliged because I had never taken my time before, until we made a full round and stood in front of the first choice; the queen plush Euro bed. “Do you know the comfort level you want?” She asked.

“I do,” I replied. “I want to sleep in a cloud.”

“So this one seems like the perfect fit.” She pointed.

“Yes.”

We made small talk as I spent an extravagant amount of money on my mattress–MY mattress.

“What’s the reason for the purchase today?” She looked up from entering my credit card information.

“I was married for four years and the trade-off was the firm mattress.” I paused and felt a tremendous amount of fulfillment. “Now that I’m teetering on the brink of divorce, I want to rest my head in the clouds.”

The cloud-like mattress arrives on Thursday, so for now I’m making do with the air mattress. I’d rather be like one with air than two on an old piss stained non-pillowtop, firm, break-my-back-for-love type of mattress. So, while we may be strangers and prefer different mattresses, I know one thing to be true about myself–I prefer plush.

 

NEWSFLASH: Toilet Paper in bulk, the leading cause of divorce.

If I haven’t written in a month or so, forgive me.  There are bigger mind-numbing issues at hand like say my pending divorce; the untangling of my life from another.  Between school, work, house selling, divorce dissonance, and the splitting of hairs, I’ve not had much sanity to sit with myself and pound feelings out onto a screen–not that sanity has ever been a writing device.  Alas, here I am attempting to tap into the irreverent confessional known as this blog.  I’ll spare you the shit show.

There’s really a lot to learn from  marrying someone and then divorcing them, and even more to learn about the person they loved and married and subsequently grew to despise during divorce.  Take for example the status progression of orange juice:

MARRY ME—

‘No pulp’ for me, please.

Oh, you like ‘lots of pulp’?

No problem, let’s get married and we’ll buy ‘some pulp.’

I WANT A DIVORCE—

Open fridge, stare at ‘lots of pulp’ orange juice.

Shut fridge, go to brunch with friends for fresh squeezed.

There’s also a Costco effect that happens within any single person struck with the realization that they must walk away from someone they no longer love.  In Eat Pray Love, she had this moment of epiphany in her bathroom–crying, kneeling, begging God for answers.  In Personal Velocity, Greta is at the kitchen table and its her husband’s cheap shoes.  For me, it was standing in the wholesale warehouse of Costco looking at a mountainous shelf of toilet paper in bulk.  The concrete below my feet felt of ice because it was December, and floor insulation is rendered an unnecessary overhead cost since it doesn’t generated any sort of significant revenue per-square-foot for a place that uses such a discount strategy as Costco.  There is a distinct moment of panic–kind of like a hot flash–that occurs when a simple and underwhelming task of buying toilet paper suddenly overwhelms you and becomes not so simple, and thus defines your life.   In a snap, you’re back but not the same person that wandered down aisle six in search for the 600-count roll of industrial strength toilet paper.  No, you left that person–whoever she was–in the frozen food section sampling the mini pigs-in-a-blanket.  This person, standing in front of a ridiculous barrier of paper products just wants a single roll of toilet paper from a Bodega in Manhattan.  This person has no reason to buy in bulk, and truth be told, never thought of herself as a buyer of bulk, a drinker of ‘lots of pulp,’ a homeowner in dirty Jersey, or a pigs-in-a-blanket eater.

This person is going to leave her marriage.

U.S. Census Will Count Married Gay Couples

**the U.S. Just wants the median income to be higher and since us gays are typically smarter and make more money (j/k but kinda true)**

Associated Press
Sunday Jun 21, 2009

Married same-sex couples will be counted as such in 2010, Census Bureau officials said, reversing a decision of the Bush administration.

Steve Jost, a spokesman for the Census Bureau, said same-sex couples would be counted, “and they ought to report the way they see themselves,” adding, “In the normal process of reports coming out after the census of 2010, I think the country will have a good data set on which to discuss this phenomenon that is evolving in this country.”

Same-sex couples could not be married in the United States during the last decennial count. But last year, after two states had approved same-sex marriages, the bureau said those legal marriages would go uncounted because the federal Defense of Marriage Act prevented the government from recognizing them.

Since President Obama took office, his administration has been under pressure from gay rights advocates to take a fresh look at the issue.

The White House announced Friday that its interpretation of the act did not prohibit gathering the information.

Going Up Norde, eh?

We drove to Montreal, Quebec (Canada), for the UFC 97 fight card.  We were excited about seeing UFC superstar Chuck ‘The Iceman’ Liddell during his pivotal fight (win = come back, loss = retirement) and the wife’s favorite, Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva.  We soon found out, after crossing into Canada, that our high school French was beyond rusty.  It didn’t take long for us to figure out basic French like that ‘Norde‘ meant ‘North’ after driving back toward the U.S. border.

Shortly after getting back on track, we started passing cars left and right following the speed limit (Max. 100, Min. 60) before the light bulb went off.

“Ah, yes,” I realized.  “The metric system.”

I rarely speak in full sentences anymore since I am mostly only required to do such in 140 characters or less. The idea of a maximum and minimum speed limit was great, but I’d much rather it be mph rather than km due to time constraints.

Once we finally arrived at the hotel where parking was not included, our New Jersey tagged Honda pulled into a makeshift parking lot with only a French-speaking attendant.  After finally finding someone to translate, we paid $32 CAD in USD—overpayed.  We immediately found a currency exchange station.

We went to the Centre Bell for the UFC 97 Q&A with George St. Pierre and without a doubt I became a huge fan of GSP right then and there.  By the way ladies, he wears a size 11.5 shoe (just saying).

The Weigh-ins gave us a closer look (since we were in the 4th row) at the fighters and a sense of their personalities.  Not to mention, it was fascinating to see my wife–the most unaffected by celebrity person out there and the one person that just ‘doesn’t get’ celebrity gossip–starstruck by Dana White.  In some self-satisfying way, I wanted his autograph for myself to hang above my Life & Style collection in the bathroom (the same collection she rolls her eyes at my purchasing).

By the time we made it back to our glorified hotel room (pretty convinced it was really a hostel in disguise), we thought our experience couldn’t be topped until we watched The Simpson’s in French and could actually watch Music Videos 24/7 on Much Music.

Last but certainly not least (part II posted manana), in a true Twilight Zone moment we watched Ashton Kutcher and P Diddy on Larry King Live talking about Twitter. Ashton should win an Emmy for his acting as someone who has nothing to gain from the success of Twitter (I’m convinced he sat in too many Twitter board meetings and will see an investment on his return–his use of ‘content collaboration’ sounded all too familiar like I was in one of my MTV meetings).  I only have followers to gain–so follow me @alisaben05.

Merci Beaucoup, Canada!

Gov. Paterson to introduce marriage equality legislation in New York.

ALBANY _ Gov. David Paterson said Wednesday he plans to re-introduce legislation to make same-sex marriages legal in New York.  Read Full Story.

 

copy-of-wedding-women1

Family versus Family

 

About eight years ago I moved to New York from my native land, Oklahoma.  I had spent a good twenty-three years surrounded by my family and their incessant wonderment of my future.

 

“Got any boyfriends,” Uncle Thed would badger me.

 

“No.”
 

 

“Well, got any girlfriends then,” He just wanted an answer.

 

“I got nothing.”

 

“You going to use your college degree or be a hippie forever,” Aunt Glenda joined.

 

“If it all works out, both,” I knew this wasn’t the end of it.

 

“Do you really think that little band of yours will amount to anything,” My grandmother worried.

 

“Yep, otherwise I wouldn’t be going to New York, Granny.”

 

Within minutes the conversation jumped into the latest gossip about some poor soul in our two-hundred folk town.  I know most people long to be known like the theme song to Cheers, “Where everybody knows your name,” but all I wanted to was to be somewhere that not one single soul knew my damn name.  I needed to breathe for a minute and figure out who I was without everyone else projecting it onto me or reminding me where I came from. 

 

Fast-forward eight years and in taking on a new last name, I also inherited an additional family that is ten times larger than my own immediate family.  Theoretically, my wife and I could have plans every single day of the week if each one of her siblings decided to have a dinner.  The only difference between this is that the back-catalogue of my greatest hits and the infinite collection of tear-in-my-beer songs aren’t carried in the in-law format so excuses like “I have to write because an agent wants my manuscript” are just irrelevant eight-track excuses. 

 

I could write books-upon-books (pun intended) on Alisa Ben, but Alisa Olander really is the forever hippie weaving in and out of responsibilities that amount to a whole lot.

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