It is not always easy to examine one’s own life, but it is the crucial starting point in understanding where you are, and where you need to go. My father always said, “Never wait for life to come to you, you have to go out and get it.” If you leave it up to others, your life will pass you by and in the blink of an eye, it will be over. You are in charge of your life – no one else, not your best friend, spouse, children, boss, or anyone else you can think of, will get you to your desired destination – it is up to you.
Life is not difficult. If it is difficult for you, ask yourself why.
By not putting it off one more day, by deciding that today is the day, you will put the past behind you and move forward in a positive direction. In doing so, you will find that the aches and pains of life will soon disappear. Until you let go of the past, you will not be able to move forward into your future.
In order to do just that, move past… the past. . . take one area of your life at a time for example:
Your home is a living, breathing extension of you. In order to bring peace and harmony to your life, where frustration and chaos now reign, you must be willing to simplify everything within the walls of your physical and emotional home. If you are constantly reaching the point of frustration because you have to rummage through your ‘unique filing system’ (the piles of paper on your desk) in order to find what you are looking for, your emotional home is suffering along with your physical space. Tidying up the latter will lead to contentment in the former.
In a world that seems to be traveling at the speed of light, it is time to slow down, unplug, and re-group. One cannot think straight or be productive surrounded by chaos. Organized thoughts flow freely when the mind is at ease. Concentrate on just one thing at a time, throw out the notion that you have to multi-task; you do not. It seems as though we believe multi-tasking is the way to go, cramming as much into our day as we can, never leaving the house without the cell phone, the PDA, the mp3 player, making sure we are always plugged in. E-mails, text messages, Internet virtual games, looking for a spouse online (not a grand idea), never giving ourselves, our minds, our spirits a chance to rest. Silence creates inner peace, and inner peace creates contentment.
The first step in anything you wish to accomplish is the hardest; disconnecting really means reconnecting and is well worth your daily efforts. Decide, today, right now, to disconnect all but one of your computers, give away all but one of your television sets, come to terms with the simple fact you do not need a phone that can download music, ring tones, sports and news information. Nor do you need to send and receive text messages; you merely need a phone that rings, you can answer, and in fact converse with the person on the other end. Organize your shelves, your closets, your desk – it is there somewhere under the never-ending pile of papers. Tackle one area at a time, and be brutally honest with yourself as to whether you need each item or not. Donate, sell, and trash the things you no longer need – I did not say want, I said need. If it does not add value to your life (only people add value), you simply do not need it. Don’t go overboard though, there is a fine line between orderliness and obsessive compulsive behavior. Have a place for everything and everything in its place, yet leave room for that occasionally misplaced item.
For added assistance, grab a sheet of paper (virtual or otherwise.)
By answering the following questions, you will be able to identify and structure your goals in such a manner that is productive for all concerned.
What goal will you be working on today?
What specific actions are you willing to take, in order to complete this goal?
Can you think of any roadblocks that could possibly get in the way of your ability to accomplish this goal?
What specific actions can you take to work around each roadblock?
Why is accomplishing this goal important to you? Specifically, what benefit will you gain?
By choosing to work on one thing at a time, life is less hectic. Trust me, multi-tasking is for the birds, nothing gets done correctly and usually it is a half ass job and nothing to be proud of – focus on one area, master it, and then move to the next.
REMEMBER: You are the creator of your life – you hold the paintbrush. What you paint is up to you.
Next Sunday, I will let you know what personal goal I have been working towards, so that we may walk this journey, called life, together.
I do have, for those who seek a bit of enlightenment, a small book that I wrote a few years ago, it is found here
Our lovely heroine had now passed the point of no return, she had become what she had always hated, a tart, a floozy, a woman that rarely makes smart decisions – she had become addicted to the excitement of free love. Her experience with Mister Creativity pushed her over the edge; the adrenalin rush began to fuel her life. Up until this moment, she believed she had everything under control; her job was fantastic, the rush of exceeding expectations, meeting deadlines, and giving it 110 percent everyday kept her mind off the fact her life was indeed, spinning drastically sideways. The battle to end her marriage dragged endlessly through the Los Angeles court system, the judge never taking more than a moment to hear what anyone had to say, and then surprisingly declaring her calendar was too full to engage fully in their dispute and so it was always put off for another time. While her time at the courthouse consisted of long eight-hour days, time spent in front of the judge was never more than ten minutes. Adding to the tension, the death of her father consumed what was left of her now empty heart. All of the things left unsaid, the myriad of questions left unanswered and the shocking knowledge that her wealthy father left everything to the woman he carried on with for most of Laura’s childhood, eventually leaving her mother, was a tremendous blow to her soul. Her addiction to booze and sex would now transform her life in ways she would have never imagined.
Laura found herself one Saturday morning strung out on booze and pills, fancifully playing with the last of the prescription pain pills that were scattered across the carpet – stacking them, lining them up, making pyramids, circles and otherwise assorted pictures – she pondered if life was truly worth living. Her father had left nothing, not even, a note explaining why. She had lost her house, her life savings and her self-esteem somewhere inside the court system. Her now ex husband had tricked her into signing away the house, her house – a slick move on his part having her sign papers just days after her father’s death, she hadn’t been thinking clearly. Was she ever thinking clearly? The house, her life savings to her lawyer, and to top it all off the promotion she had been vying for was given to a colleague – management sighting she was off her game. It’s true you know, I am off my game, I have become nothing, a worthless piece of human existence – there is nothing left. She sat crumpled on the floor, her fingers tracing the outline of the still unopened bottle of booze, wondering if anyone would notice if she didn’t show up to work.
As she contemplated washing down the pills with the bottle of booze, her phone rang – Mister Knight in Shining Armor was on the other end. The week before she had met him online – he too was seeking ‘fun’. They had exchanged phone numbers, pleasantries and had spent some time on the phone; they had yet to meet. They say there are angels that live among us mere mortals; this guy would prove to be one of them – a savior. Mister Knight in Shining Armor would prove to be the most important person in Laura’s life. Before she could utter a sound, she heard; “Hey Baby, what’s up? Let’s say we meet for coffee.” Somewhere deep inside her she thought this must be a sign that she shouldn’t end it all, that there may be something to live for – she agreed to meet him.She gathered up the pills and booze, ran a comb through her hair and hurried out the door.
The coffee shop was bustling with business, people gathering, chatting, enjoying the brisk morning air while sipping their steamy hot cups of coffee. He sat basking in the sun at small outdoor table, a lovely breakfast spread out before him – he smiled.
“Good morning Baby, come sit with me.”
She smiled back as she walked towards him, breakfast, and most assuredly, her salvation. . .
. . . . . . . . .
*You never know when your actions will help someone through their day or their life. So, today, help someone become a better person, even if it is to buy them a cup of coffee (most certainly needed on this brisk day) and listen, truly listen.
I continue to work feverishly to finish this lovely little story of shenanigans with publishing during the first portion of the New Year.
* I know I have said the following before, but it is certainly worth repeating, as this time of year is cause for reflection and can be a source of frustration when we have not accomplished all that we had set out to do in the beginning of the year. Well, folks, let me tell you I have not accomplished all that I wanted to do this year, either. Apparently, I am the holder of the surgery frequent flyer card and because I am so darn special, I get to have another surgery in two weeks! Woohoo! ;) And they, (those they people) say that skin cancer isn’t a big deal. I do believe, if I am counting correctly, this will be surgery number five. Awesome. Ah, the word awesome, it can be used in so many different ways, but I digress. . .
Let’s move forward with beginning a marvelous plan for 2014, one that will bring about joy, and happiness to your life.
To understand where you want to be you must understand where you are and then create a map so you will know how to get there. If you simply go along in life without a process, a strategic plan, you will flounder about never reaching your goals — happiness eluded.
• Who and what are you, what do you do now, and why?
• What do you want to be and do in the future, and why?
• How do you get from here to there?
Yet, before you can begin the process you must determine if you are actually ready to move forward in a positive direction. I will tell you now that while it can be difficult, with proper planning (as I shall show you) your life will become more than you ever imagined. More joy, happiness, laughs, less stress, depression, illness. By developing a Strategic Life Plan you open the doors to the rest of your life — abundant and drama free. You must be willing to stick with it, it is not a one and done exercise, just as working out is not a one and done, gee I am glad I got that over with, accomplishment — a Strategic Life Plan is living breathing thing, it lives or dies with you — no one else, you are in charge.
Answering important questions before you begin is essential, as it will provide insight into whether or not you are actually ready to move forward with your life.
1. Who and what are you, what do you stand for, what do you do, and why do you do it? Determine, with brut honesty, where you are now, what is your current situation.
• Do you have bad / unhealthy habits? Are you addicted to anything? Drugs? Alcohol? Food? Poisonous Relationship?
• Do you have more month at the end of your money?
• Are you ready for the radical change that must occur? What/Who must you removed from your life to move forward?
2. List the most important reason why you are creating a Strategic Life Plan. List five to ten reasons why you must create a new direction in order to succeed, leaving enough room to expound upon them in detail. List the first things that come to mind as your gut is usually right and one should listen.
3. Identify, List and Define 5 to 10 proven concerns that must be dealt with as part of creating your Strategic Life Plan. They must be real, as many concerns have not been proven and are directly related to our inner fear of success. Examples are such things as removing those less than stellar people from your life and the effects if you do not remove them.
4. Prioritize your concerns, the most important being first.
5. Who, besides yourself, must be included in your Strategic Life Plan and why? (Those who inspire you to be a better person and encourage you to achieve your goals.) Who should NOT be included in your Strategic Life Plan and why? (Those who add unwanted drama, criticize or otherwise are detrimental to goal achievement.)
6. For your Strategic Life Plan to succeed what must occur? What is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY for your success? Why?
7. Determining what must change in order for you Strategic Life Plan to be successful. Remaining completely focused on important issues, determine what if anything may change, what MUST change, and what, if anything, will remain the same. For example: You are determined to become healthier. What MUST change, is your eating and exercise habits. What may change is renewed sense of self-esteem, and positive energy boost. What may remain the same is your regiment of eating smaller meals at specific times of day.
“Successful people have a clear understanding of who they are and where they are going.
They embrace all that they are — the good, the bad, and the ugly.”
Elizabeth A. Potter
Are you ready to implement a Strategic Life Plan into your present lifestyle? To help you understand where you stand and how to proceed you need to determine your Strengths and Weaknesses. Define your Opportunities and Challenges. Be honest, do not over or under inflate your core competencies’ This exercise will help you understand and come to terms with everything about yourself, the good, the bad and the ugly, as this is the only way to move forward with your life, to free yourself from all that you believe is holding you back. This may be a very difficult step and may, indeed, require revisiting as your life progresses forward, learning new, positive skills, actions, and eliminating old unproductive habits. Life (understanding your core, your soul) is a living thing, we change every day — when we learn from our mistakes we grow as human beings and become closer to living the divine edge.
1. Identify and List overall for the following categories:
• Budget — Does it need to be revised?
• Time— When will you find time to create your Strategic Life Plan?
• Resources— What resources are needed to expand your knowledge? Where should you reach out?
• Skills — Do you have all the necessary skill sets to move forward in a positive direction?
• Communication — Do you understand how to promote productive dialogue? Do you implement what you know?
Business terms help promote an abundant personal life.
By thinking in business terms one becomes better qualified for Strategic Life Plan creation.
Leadership — Creates effective, positive, values, vision, rules and a positive action plan to move forward.
Managers — Make certain that positive action plan is carried out. Managers are in charge of day-to-day activities; they delegate.
POSITIVE CULTURE AND VALUES MOTIVATE TO ACHIEVE SUCCESS.
Determine your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Challenges. Be honest, do not over, or under inflate your core competences. Successful people have a clear understanding of who they are and where they are going. The embrace all that they are, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Identify and list overall for the following areas:
Once you have identified all of these areas, you are better equipped to take positive steps forward to living the life you deserve, one filled with great happiness and joy.
It boggles my blonde mind. . .
Recently, I have encountered many people complaining, complaining about the weather, their life, their lack of money, how it is always the other person’s fault regarding how their life is. IF so and so did not do this that I would not be in this situation. IF my boss was not such a jerk. IF my spouse did not nag me so. IF, IF, IF. Good lord, it is more than I can handle and it is all I can do not to give some smart retort as to the world outside them is not the problem, it is how they react to it, and the simple fact they have yet to make any positive actions steps to move away from whatever and whomever ails them.
A recent conversation:
“I hate the snow and winter,” he said.
“No you don’t” I replied.
“What the $@#! I really hate it! You have no idea how much I do!” He hollered.
“If you really hated the snow and winter, you would have figured out how to move to someplace warmer.”
Ironically enough, our fear of success is what holds what and frankly, us back we fear we do not attempt. What if he found another, better paying job, and could move? What would he have to complain about then? You see, we are stuck in our comfort zone, and if we happen to be stuck in a dysfunctional comfort zone then we are more apt to never venture past what we know, even if our normal is far from normal at all. Instead, we blame our parents for raising us wrong, we blame our boss for keeping us down, we blame everyone and everything for why we are the way we are as this releases us from doing any inner work and looking towards the real source of our problem – fear.
To move past the fear, we must first understand ourselves, and do that we must be willing to do our due-diligence on understanding every fiber of our being. It is not always an easy task but it is the first step on gaining ground to where you wish to be in life. Looking inward is the answer, not outward as you have all the answers, you just have to ask yourself what positive action step will you take today to move closer to what positive goal you wish to accomplish – whatever that may be.
With any decision you must take everyone into account before, during and after you make it – here is a simple process to get you started.
Remember, time waits for no man, or woman. Begin today.
BEST PRACTICES (the potter principle, strategic life planning)
Rational Decision-Making Process.
Instructions: Answer the questions to gather and analysis data in order to develop a positive decision and subsequent action plan.
1. Determine who ALL the people are who are affected by the action/decision.
2. Is the action/decision beneficial to just me or to everyone involved?
3. Is the action/decision for the greatest good of all the people that were determined in step 1?
4. Does the action/decision treat everyone involved with dignity and respect?
5. Is the action/decision something to be proud of?
6. Is this an action/decision of a virtuous person?
7. Is your spouse, family, significant other in agreement?
If you have answered YES to all the above questions then go ahead with the action/decision. If, on the other hand have answered NO to all of the above questions then you must clearly rethink your position. If some answers have mixed answers, you must modify your action/decision regarding the NO answers.
The other day I posted this photo on my Facebook page and stated how I intend to grow my hair until next summer, which should have it at least to my waist or beyond and donate the lot to charity.
The reasoning behind my decision is due the simple fact that I was blessed enough to not have to endure chemotherapy during my long, at times ridiculous, relationship with cancer and so I decided that I should give to others that haven’t been so fortunate – Lock of Love creates such miracles. For those who do not know what this organization does, the concept is simple, they create wigs for those who have lost their hair for one medical reason or another and giving is as easy as growing your locks until you have enough to donate. I have been blessed (or cursed depending upon the day) with a ton of hair – the volume is tremendous.
I have been asked why I would do such a thing and I have been congratulated on thinking of others when I am going through so much.
This week also brought about watching an 8 month old little boy, his mom has gone back to work and being a single mom she really needs the help. I offered whatever assistant needed as I have been the single mom struggling to raise children, work, be all to everyone, while keeping a chipper attitude – its difficult. He now hangs out with me a few days a week. It has been 20 years since my own children were young so it has taken a few days to dig out the memories within my mind. Yet this decision, like the first, brought about the question of why would I do such a thing.
I simply reply… Why would I not?
Do something nice for someone else today – even if it is just a smile.
I was asked to share my journey, and so I did.
Stories of Courage is a collaboration of many people sharing their battle with cancer. Nearly everyone knows someone who has battled cancer and therefore this is an important subject. I shared my story to begin the conversation of the importance of staying out of the sun, as Melanoma is not “just” skin cancer as I have fought this battle for the last two years and continue to do so. This was an effort of love and I was not compensated for my time, nor will I be.
A portion of all sales go to vital cancer research and so, I invite you to experience ordinary people going through extraordinary events.
If you care to pick it up, it is available on Amazon
My previous post was extremely personal as I remember where I was, how far I have come, and indeed how far I have yet to go. While I do appreciate your indulgence with these types of posts, I know you look forward to glimpses into the world of 101 First Last Dates, and I can appreciate that as well. I hope I do not disappoint as I give you yet another glimpse into the life of Laura, our heroine, as she struggles with becoming the woman she needs to be.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
. . . Fascinated by this new little dance, Laura forgot all about finding Mister Right and spent every spare moment weaving words in order to outdo Mister Creativity. One Friday night, after work, she opened a bottle of Merlot, promptly filled her glass, and began to write. . .
The instant their eyes met neither moved, neither uttered a sound, they simply stared. She had yearned for this very moment for too many years, his handsome frame stood before her, stirring something deep within, those gentle eyes of his, his rugged good looks, his strong arms and chest that filled out his shirt in a way that would make any woman in her right mind blush.
His eyes sparkled at the sight of her, sparkled like they had not in many years, the suffering he had endured for so long, the dark cloud that seemed to follow him lifted the moment he saw her. She was beautiful, her legs seemed to start at her neck on go on forever, her long blond hair flowed down past her shoulders framing her delicate face and he noticed a tear welling up in her deep blue eyes. Her long blue sundress accentuated her tall slender figure and the sight of her stirred his soul deeply, so deeply it warmed him completely-he was home.
They stood there for a moment, the world around them, the city noise, the automobiles, the honking, the radios, even the birds pleasant spring songs ceased to exist — it was just the two of them. He made the first move the first step toward an embrace that he had longed for many nights and finally she would be his—forever.
He pulled her close, drinking in her fragrance, somewhere between Lavender and Honey. She smelled wonderful. His hands stroked her long hair as their lips met; hers were the softest he had ever tasted. What began as a soft sweet kiss quickly transformed into a hungry wanting kiss, lips parted and tongues entwined.
The more she drank, the more she found herself lost in a fantasy world in which the words seemed to flow from some lost place within her and onto the paper. . .
The flickering candle light cast shadows on the wall, the wine glasses sat empty across the room on the dinner table set for two, the flames of crimson and gold flickered from the fireplace and he was laying on the floor in front of it, his back was turned to the rest of the room as he stared at the dancing flames. He was so consumed by his own thoughts of this night, their first night together that he did not notice she had walked back into the room until she was standing above him in an elegant black lace teddy leaving little to the imagination. He rolled onto his back, stretching his arms behind his head, not saying a word he watched her. She was beautiful, sexy and all his, he had dreamt of this night for three years and now here she was standing before him, his physical reaction was more than apparent, heat flowed through his whole body; he could get lost in her.
We have this uncanny knack of remembering anniversaries of life events, birthdays, deaths, religious holidays, national holidays – we remember nearly every important event. Every individual has an important life event that they come across once a year that brings about a smile, a quiet sigh, or perhaps an emotional welling up and eventually a tear shed for a time lost. At times, the human condition is most perplexing.
Thus brings about a date in my life, a game changer date, one that would bring about great sorrow, yet freedom from the sorrow that gripped my soul – a ctrl-alt-delete moment. Five years ago, I broke free from the insanity of my life in Los Angeles and with just the clothes on my back, a few hundred dollars to my name, I headed eastward to Wisconsin – I knew precisely one person.
So, my dear readers I take you back to that time in my life, with the following, it is not for the faint of heart, as it is quite dark and yet it stems towards the inevitable truth that there is always a tomorrow, as whatever is troublesome will pass and thus there are always brighter days ahead, it simply takes courage to steer your ship out of the storm – the right decision is often the most difficult.
I have plucked two passages of my darkest hours. . .
The first being a piece I wrote two years before I knew I was on a journey to the fateful November 11, 2008, in which I would find myself headed out of Los Angeles and into the blazing sunrise, the second I wrote shortly after my father’s death in 2005, a single event that would turn my world upside down. (Yes, that story is next on the to-do list)
If you have found yourself in a dark place please reach out as there is help, and I am proof that there is always a better tomorrow and we can turn things around, which just a bit of courage. If I can do it, anyone can.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
When one gives their heart away, gives of themselves completely, all that can eventually come of it is pain: pain that reaches deep within the soul and rips it apart. There are only so many times in life that one can endure such pain before the heart and soul close up for good, no longer remaining vulnerable to such things. The mind becomes cold along with the heart: freezing, permafrost engulfing the human spirit to forever protect it, sealing it up against the harsh reality of life itself. The sufferers of such events turn inward on themselves, shutting the world out, yet perhaps no one notices, no one gives them a second glance. There are those who will rise above this constant pain, create their own ripple, and eventually their own stream allowing them to move forward, slowly breaking free from the ice that shrouds their soul. The decision to rise above and follow the illuminated path that leads away in the distance is not an easy one; the path is overflowing with hurdles and hazards, real and imagined, but will eventually lead to the ‘Holy Grail’ of one’s search.
Somewhere along the line, God has given me the ability to keep going, to persevere, to never stop hoping for a better day, a better life: something inside always keeps impelling me forward – even if at an extremely slow pace. An inner need to prove myself, not just to me, but to everyone else on the planet (even to God), has kept me going in my darkest hours, when it seemed there was no hope, no light… no Holy Grail.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
The grass is neatly manicured. Daddy would have liked that, being one for a meticulous landscape. I slowly sink to my knees next to the headstone bearing my father’s name, the date of his birth, and that of his death. A bouquet of flowers rests there, replaced daily by his widow. I watch the bees hum busily around the fluid hues of pink – did Daddy even like flowers?
I have come again to the cemetery to gain insight, hoping answers to all my questions will rise from the earth, and all will be well in my soul. A shadow from a hawk soaring overhead creates a fleeting respite from the sweltering summer sun. The summer breeze blows just enough to rustle my hair about my face; it is getting too long and falls across my eyes, something daddy never liked. I wrap my arms around my crossed legs and rock gently back and forth, having a secret, silent conversation with my father; the man I was too busy to come across town for when he was alive, but now I have found the time to be here next to him, in the sun, every weekend.
I rock back and forth and converse with him: sometimes he replies, other times not.
Do I come out of guilt for not being there when he needed me most? Do I come out of bitterness trying to find the “daddy” I never had? As I rock back and forth, humming slowly, the coarse grass poking at my skin, I ask him why he hated me, why he was never home, why he couldn’t be a father like the one he should have been.
I only hear the steady humming of the bees that hover around the flowers. I look to the sky, the bright summer sky that is free from clouds, just a vast expanse of never-ending blue, and the heat from the sun ablaze in my eyes.
“I tried to take my life last night,” I say silently to my father. “You have left me with more questions than answers”
“What am I to do Daddy?”
“Why didn’t you leave me a letter saying you loved me, that you were sorry you didn’t do things differently?”
My eyes are closed. I continue to rock back and forth and wonder why the pills and alcohol didn’t work, and that I am still here.
“Just one day at a time, Elizabeth,” comes from out of the blue expanse.
Today I would like to thank YOU, a thank you to those who have stuck with me through it all, the good, the bad, and the sometimes ugly – as without YOU I would simply be talking to the computer screen and that would be ridiculous. So, THANKS! I do appreciate it.
A bit of an update on my bizarre journey through the never-a-dull-moment-cancer-land, we (meaning my doctors) have decided to manage my pain. And here I thought eliminating my pain would be the best route. Who knew? So, we’ve been testing out different drugs (eww, hate them all) in which brings my pain to a ‘tolerable’ level. Tolerable? Do you mean a place in which I cannot function because my head is so twisted up that I am no longer coherent, but the pain is gone? I have to laugh at this last go around with my physician, as I was telling him about the entire house listing to one side, my mind being somewhere between Jupiter and Mars and his response was “But was the pain gone?”. Seriously! You are going to ask if the pain was gone, as if living in such a state is actually living at all? I replied that I did not recall if the pain was gone because I was too busy gripping the floor in order to not fall off. At any rate, he decided to double my dose of the ridiculous pill I take to sleep – it worked wonders - I SLEPT THE ENTIRE WEEKEND! I then promptly became violently ill the following Monday. I have since retreated back to my original dose, although I can anticipate my physician’s question the next time I see him . . . “But did the pain disappear?” I digress. So as I sift through the plethora of drugs and live the life of a laboratory rat, I continue to inch my way closer to completing the fabulous tale of dating in Hollywood. (Although, I do admit to having lost an entire week to this last drug experiment – I would have made a horrible hippy. )
Again thank you for all that have stuck with me throughout the last 21 long months and thank you for simply being you –as without you, the world would not be complete.
Here is today’s episode of 101 First-Last Dates and Other Suspicious Activities.
This one is my favorite. I give you… Mister Las Vegas. We can only wonder what poor woman he is bothering today.
Like the majority of dates that Laura had been on, Mister Las Vegas, was no exception in the wacky world of online dating. He expressed his interest; she said they were geographically challenged and that she had no intention of moving— his persistence would teeter precariously on the edge of the slippery slope towards the insane world of stalking.
After several weeks of persistent emails, Laura finally agreed to meet Mr. Vegas. Why the hell not, if he was willing to drive the several hours it took to get to beautiful Southern California then sure I would let him buy me dinner — at the very least I would get a free meal, she thought.
Friday evening, they met at the usual hot spot for dinner, the place where everyone went to see and be seen, where a tie and jacket was preferred, where they frowned upon sneakers and shorts, where you had to have some decorum in order to get in the door — where Mr. Vegas obviously did not belong. Laura arrived early, as she was a stickler for promptness, she watched other couples meet for dinner, exchange pleasantries, and move towards a delicious evening as this little out of the way French establishment was très magnifique. Attired in her black evening dress, Laura continued to watch the Beautiful People as she waited for Mr. Vegas, her wait was over when she nearly fainted from the shock — Mr. Vegas, shorts, sandals and to make the ensemble complete an old worn and faded Mickey Mouse t-shirt, accessorized with paint remnants and strategically located holes, sauntered up the walk as if nothing was wrong — she wanted to hide.
Fuming when they were forced to go to the steakhouse down the road, Laura veered from her usual inexpensive chicken entrée choice, and with no remorse ordered the most expensive item on the menu — steak and lobster. Halfway through their meal, he was already planning their wedding, how she would move to Las Vegas, how she would take care of his children, and precisely how she would be dressed for every occasion that may arise. Mister Las Vegas was a bit more than she had bargained for and quite frankly, it scared her – Laura was not scared easily. What an asshole, who did he really think he was? What happened in Vegas should have stayed in Vegas, she thought. This guy was clearly a nut. How could she ditch him while making certain he did not follow her home? Luckily, she had a friend who was always knew about her dates and would call to make sure everything was fine and if not it would give Laura an excuse, the office needed her and she would have to get back there immediately as some major disaster would happen if she did not scurry off. Ironically, at that precise moment, the phone rang. She had a brief conversation with her friend, her end of the conversation related to an imaginary work related issue, while her friend understood that the date was a disaster – a date from hell.
Apologizing about the crisis at the office, she excused herself from the table and dashed out the door, leaving him sitting at the table as they had yet to pay for their meal. Laura did not make a habit of ditching out on a date, but this guy was borderline psychotic and thus she felt justified in her actions – she took the long way home just to be safe. Undeterred by her sudden disappearance, he continued to call her a dozen times a day and send hundreds of text messages detailing their wedding and how he was very excited to have found her. Even with her flat out refusal to see him again, her politely declining and repeatedly stating that it would not work, and that she had no interest, his calls continued over the next three weeks, and then silence – he had given up.
Unedited snippet of 101 First, Last Dates, and Other Suspicious Activities due out the first of the year. (Based upon a true story, only the names have been changed to protect the not so innocent.)
As the days, weeks and months wore on Laura finally landed a 70 hour a week management job that scarcely paid the bills and as she fought her way through divorce court, exorbitant legal fees stacked clear to the ceiling — if only she had access to Fort Knox. This grueling lifestyle was taking its toll on her spirit as well as her pocketbook, although it did not stop her from seeking the comfort of strangers. Some strangers would become friends.
She had begun her strange twisted journey into single-hood with Mister Hollywood, and because Southern California is littered with those who pursue such careers, she was about to encounter Mister Executive.
Mister Executive was most certainly going to be a handful of trouble, as was evident within the first few fleeting moments that was their first encounter. Hollywood rarely sleeps, the entertainment industry runs on the ‘ I needed it yesterday” perception and thus time is money, Mister Executive barely had a moment to break free from the high rolling deals to meet for lunch. They met at a quaint restaurant next to the studio.
An exquisite man, with exquisite tastes, attired in the finest of suits, his sweet smile gave away his boyish charm that lay just beneath his polished exterior. His ruggedly handsome face, his steady blue eyes along with his perfectly combed, short blond hair, revealed a strong man with the penance for overworking — his full attention was not on lunch, but rather some upcoming deal that was in mid creation. They shared idle conversation, while he continually checked his watch, and he suggested they meet again when he was not so preoccupied. Once again, Laura ignored her inner voice telling her to just walk away, say no, as she was not in the right mental state to become involved with anyone, let alone an Executive within Hollywood, and agreed to another time — dinner.
Laura was now busting her ass 5 days a week, up at 5 AM, only to inch her way to her desk, through the never-ending parking lot that was the Los Angeles freeway system, a 2-hour trek that in any other part of the world would take 30 minutes to traverse the 60-mile route. She endured this every morning, only to endure it again, every evening. Her mind, filled with courtroom bullshit that made no sense and a lawyer that was more concerned with his hourly fee than her case, she now lived on coffee and booze as there never seemed a point to eating — her depression, although a well kept secret, gripped her by the throat. Dinner with the new handsome stranger would be just the thing she needed to unwind.
Dinner, led to more dinners, movies, long chats on the phone, flowers, candy, thoughtful gifts and of course, romantic evenings in — things were nearly perfect. Laura had a great way of pushing the obvious aside, ignoring all the red flags, hoping that if ignored sufficiently the dangers would simply vanish. They always met somewhere, whether it was for dinner, movies, or strolls on the beach, and when it came to romantic evenings in, they were always at her place. He had asked that she not wear perfume, sighting allergies. It was obvious he was married, yet she continued to ignore logic and foolishly follow her heart. They never spoke of his wife, his children, nor the fact he was leading a dual life. If they did not acknowledge it, then the fact they were falling in love would not become the tangled mess it was most assuredly destine to become.
“I love you, but I will never leave Marie,” he said one evening over the candlelit dinner for two she had painstakingly spent all day creating. It was the first time he had spoken her name aloud. In the year they had been seeing each other; her name had been a mystery. “I love you too” was all she could muster. She tipped back her glass of Merlot, swallowed hard, and thought . . . How had she let it go this far? The evening ended, as most every evening ended, with Mister Executive leaving in the wee hours of the morning sighting work obligations, big deals about to close or other such rubbish said to avoid the obvious.
Their affair would carry on a few more years, Laura seeing other men, Mister Executive being fully aware of this fact, and the two of them grasping at stolen moments, hoping upon hope that their lives were different. . . .