Matters Of Little Consequence

There’s a reason antidepressants were invented, and it’s called winter in Chicago.

Me and Dame made the winter of 2008 bearable seeing as how it was the honeymoon we never got to have. New Years Eve had been a John Hughes script in real time. Written by of all people, the Dame’s hellion of a daughter. The two of them had gone out with friends and when her mom began waxing on about our November breakup, her daughter snatched the phone and put in a call to yours truly. The conversation was brief and decidedly one sided.

“Happy New Years . . . Fuck You!”

It had confused me, since I recognized the number but not the voice. The less than ceremonious salutation and the quick hang up? Yeah . . that was her MO alright. The phone chimed back to life as I was sifting through possibilities and when I picked it up this time, there she was. The Dame.

She apologized, sweetly. Her voice dripping with grace, it was velvet to my senses. And when she directed any little reasonable facsimile of a bouquet in my direction, my knees wobbled. I told her she had no apologies to make, and that her daughter had helped open the lines of communication. And before too long, I realized I was already back in it with her. I was curious, but even more than that I wanted to be close to her again. To hold her in that certain way that Marvin Gaye once wrote into solid gold. To bury my face in her perfumed hair the way Old Blue Eyes taught me how. To speak to her in words that described the constellation we had painted over precious little time, as if standing at the corner of Shakespeare and Jane Austen.

The winter was magical, in spite of the Arctic relocating to the windy city in its annual eight month tour. In spite of her ex husband who wouldn’t quit and my blog which was about to. Because blogs are like houses. If you tend to them regularly, they will provide you with equity. If you lapse or become something less than diligent, your neighbor stops bringing you her prized casserole.

Something had changed with Dan. He was writing infrequently, which in and of itself wasn’t a shocker. But whereas he used to provide me with an excuse, now he would just disappear for days at a time. And when he did write something, it was usually vague nonsense, or just a music video with a cryptic title. I didn’t care by this point, because while the podcast was fun as hell, the blog itself was degenerating into the Bataan Death March. Never mind the fact that we flew past half a million hits and then kept right on going. It was no longer mattering.

When retired New York Giants great George Martin blew us off on a podcast interview, I sensed the end was coming. And when I blew off a well known gossip blogger, I might as well have gotten to writing our obituary. Not that I had a choice, seeing as how her communications with me had gotten a little too cozy for my comfort. After the breakup, I’d grown leery of the Dame’s cross-hairs. So I passed it off to Dan, who passed it off to Chris who passed it off to Richie- who oh by the way, didn’t contribute a fucking thing to the blog. And when the interview didn’t happen, we got shit on.

Dan’s reason for not doing the interview had to do with his new pal- the hippie chick poet I’d turned him onto the year before. The girl had a falling out with gossip chick and Dan didn’t want to appear as if he was taking sides. Dan insisted it was nothing more than friendship and that she had a boyfriend. I figured nothing into the equation, since I no longer read hippie chick poet after the Dame accused me of a cross country affair with her. Something felt off, but by this point Dan spent most of his time hanging with Chris and posting whenever the hell he felt like it so I didn’t really care.

I was more interested in writing to and with and about my girl to give a fuck about a blog partnership that was on its way out. Me and Dame dined in the best steakhouses, grabbed coffee on the regular from Intelligentsia, stuffed our faces with Frangos, sipped on gin martinis in the Water Tower, debated the best deep dish joints, riffed on pop culture and books and movies and cicada sex, chased snowflakes the size of saucers and started writing with each other. We were sick little puppies whose dull moments were thrilling. Everything was possible inside the crazy chances we signed off with on our second lease.

Like the way we’d drift away from each other in a bookstore and when we came upon each other again, we would play out a skit as long lost friends bumping into each other. It would start with Oh my God! How have you been? and within moments lead to us making out furiously and talking about grabbing a hotel room. The looks we fetched were priceless, and we loved it.

That kind of thing makes you believe in forever.

41 thoughts on “Matters Of Little Consequence

  1. I can see that scene in the bookstore. I’ll bet all the old folks standing around said to themselves that they wished they could run into someone like the way you ran into Dame. You described Chicago so well. I lived in the greater Chicago area for eight years and came away with a love for deep dish, Vienna dogs, Wally Phillips, the Miracle Mile, Water Tower Place, and those lovely waits on the JFK. I did not miss the winter.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. B,

    If we didn’t know the first part of the story, this would have chick-flick movie written all over it. Wait… even knowing the beginning it still could be. Nicholas Sparks eat your heart out.

    You write of your love and the joy in being in each other’s company in the beautiful city that is Chicago so beautifully. It gives us a sense of hope – which I know you shall dash in the next episode or so…

    As for Dan and the blog, well… you knew that was coming and like you said, you no longer had your heart in it so it was destined to go the way of the sabre-toothed tiger…

    A wonderful chapter in your story, my friend,


    Liked by 1 person

    • Q,

      This was 2008, which in effect was the second act. The first act had been fireworks and then a five alarm fire. The second act was mostly great. The ebbs were never dubious enough to get me wondering.

      The more I write this, the more I have no regret for having gone there. Mind you, once it was over, it was over forever. But that doesn’t mean I regret it. I think it’s foolish to regret the time you believed in, even if it doesn’t end the way you thought it might.

      This part of the story, with Dan, was by far the worst thing to happen in that year. The blog going away was unfortunate, but what would come to light in the fall was devastating.

      This was a cheery chapter, wasn’t it? Good, I don’t want to come off as the Master of doom and gloom. 🙂

      Thank you!


      Liked by 1 person

      • 2008… The second act gives us faith.

        And no, Never regret what you went through. Good and bad are part of our make-up. We don’t learn how to appreciate the good without having experienced the good, as you well know. It is very foolish to regret. Plus, it’s a total waste of time.

        The blog had such promise but, like you said, if you don’t tend to your house, it will fall down around you. I’m sure you shall fill us on on the horrid fall to come.

        It was a very cheery chapter. Had me sitting there, feeling all misty and missing being someone’s special someone for a while.
        And no, try as you might, inject all the snark and whatnot, deep down we see a sweet, gentle, generous part of you. Don’t worry, it’s deep 😉

        Thank you for trusting us with your story,

        Liked by 1 person

        • There was every kind of emotion happening. Mostly good ones. The not so good ones were for learning more.

          I totally agree. People who regret time spent in something never took the value with them. Because there is such value to all of our experiences.

          It was a slow and mostly meh roll into oblivion. I have forgotten my one encounter with Richie, so maybe that’s how I’ll put a capper on that ape of a blog.

          Of course, I will have to share the panic attacks I was having, like all the time. And how I never contemplated anything remotely close to marriage on our second go round. But yes, for this week . . I did bring the cheer, LOL.

          Yes, I believe in sweet and gentle. But I also know what I’m capable of and what escapes me. People are under the impression that romance writers- not me, just generally speaking- are romantic creatures. Looking at most of their personal lives though, not so much. I think I can paint these moments with pretty words because it is the spirit which is compelling to me. The actual blueprint as to how to handle the stuff? I don’t got it.

          Thank you for getting it. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • I can well imagine. You had already been wrung through the ringer, there must have been some leeriness mixed in with the joy and excitement.

            Some people spend so much time in regret, they forget to live for today and tomorrow. Everything we live through brings us something, teaches us, helps us grow.

            It must have been if you were otherwise occupied.

            As mentioned in my first part of this comment, I am not surprised there were panic attacks intermingled. And, you had already decided that ship had sailed after the first one you did 😉

            I actually do not believe romance writers are romantic creatures. I think they are often quite the opposite. Nothing wrong with sweet and gentle, and snarky and salty and spicy…. And you can paint with pretty words because you have a God-given talent. Pffft don’t got it. Don’t want it.

            I get it. 😉

            Liked by 1 person

          • It was the other shoe dropping syndrome. Add in all my quirks, superstitions, oddities and a hilariously dark imagination and I can’t believe it was such a good year! LOL.

            Yes. When I hear people say ” I wasted my time . . .”, it makes the experience they speak of feel less human.

            I was all in, make no mistake. But I was also mindful of my history, which wasn’t exactly indicative of someone who was “all in”. And then there was the matter of blending, which would happen later. I’ve never been comfortable with the joining together of two different families. I know, it sounds strange. But I just never have been able to wrap my head around how that can really work.

            I think they’re actually tortured in many ways. And I think the horror writers are in healthy, committed relationships! LOL.

            Jes, you do. 😉

            Liked by 1 person

          • But how could you not have that syndrome? And hey, you wanted it to be a good year…

            Yes! It makes whatever you had with that person or doing that thing completely lose any value.

            “All in” does not mean “till death do us part and all that other schtuff involving witnesses and signing on a line”. It means you are ready to build something of some sort. That said, the blending of the families is something that makes me shudder and thank the heavens that I wasn’t much younger when Mick died. I might have ended up in the search for a new mate and could have ended up with that scenario. As it happened when I was much more “mature” and knowing of what I did and did not want to do, So I completely get it. I look at all the blended families around me and I just shudder.

            I think they are too. Though, I am sure there must be some exceptions. For both scenarios!

            But of course.

            Liked by 1 person

          • I think I have always been fixed on worst case scenarios so yeah, this relationship supplied.

            It goes back to the puppy analogy. We never think about the end of a relationship when we’re starting out. But every relationship ends. Wow, that’s deep, LOL.

            In 2009, that whole idea of blending families culminated in an absolute train wreck of a situation. I hated to tell myself “I told you so”.

            I find it hilarious to ponder on.

            Liked by 1 person

          • It’s called self-preservation. I am a pro at it.

            Hah! But so true. If you think of the end before the beginning, where the hell can you go?

            I just don’t think I could have ever done it. This week we have all five kids, next week, we are on our own… yeah. No.

            It is amusing

            Liked by 1 person

          • But there ARE peeps who do that. They’re umm . . . called virgins.

            It’s a real scene. It feels as if you’re on the set of a movie, but with more drama than any screenwriter would ever be able to get away with.

            Kinda, right?

            Liked by 1 person

  3. John Hughes. Right there. That’s what did it for me. You know me and John have a standing relationship as he shaped my early-teen years and on-going search for Jake Ryan. Plus the music. C’mon! I’m on this ride buddy 🙂 I’m really enjoying you traveling back in time and sharing these stories. The Dame. I must have met you during your second and third act 🙂 Such a good reflection. And I’m loving the bookstore. I can totally picture it happening!!! Thanks for the ride buddy, well done 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • John Hughes was the voice of a generation. There are so many moments to so many of his movies that I too can look back on and smile, because of how relatable it all was.

      You met me on the second or third act. When I began Drinks Well With Others, it was originally called Drowning the Shallows. The first several posts were post-Dame cry fests. My original “blog name”? Declan MacManus- Elvis Costello’s real name.

      I wiped the whiney/crying/moping posts clean and began with my snark after dark. And then I came up with Drinks from a magnet I got in the Outer Banks and then Cayman happened.

      Drinks Well With Others will always be my favorite blog. 🙂

      Thanks for coming along on this ride, Cali.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I just finished a Raymond Chandler novel called, The Little Sister, written in 1948. It was such a great read and I actually thought of you because you have the knack for that same, sassy language. It’s a huge compliment. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Like the little Ways you reference things with your examples – what Marvin Gaye turned into gold… and stuff like that.
    2008 was a turning point year for me so I always tune in a little more when I see that year.
    And song was great – reminded me of high school

    Liked by 1 person

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