In May of 2008, I wrote in my journal that my goal for the year was to go to India with Ellie. It took me a few extra years, but here I am in Mysore. The circumstances, of course, turned out to be wildly different, but that’s India too. Have no expectations and you’ll be fine.
On the 23 hour plane rides from San Francisco to Hong Kong to Bangalore, I wrote a love letter to a girl that was actually a love letter to me. I won’t send it because writing it was the point. Actually I did send the letter to two of my exes. I wanted them to rein me in. One of them asked why I wrote it and I said because I wanted someone to miss while I’m gone.
I should probably stop referring to them as exes and start referring to them as what they are—friends. It’s weird though, when you share your life with someone and then that stops and picks up again somewhere else and the map you’ve been using no longer means anything so you have to draw another one. The map is still called Love but its street signs are missing. And the Dairy Queen that was on the corner is now a KFC/Taco Bell/Dunkin Donuts. It’s disorienting, for a time. But it works.
I’m friends with all my exes, except for one because I can’t find him. He’s not on Facebook. I think of him every time I go to Tucson though. I think about calling people who used to know him and trying to get his phone number. I think about getting drinks with him at Famous Sam’s even though when I knew him we both didn’t drink. I never do though because he’s married (to the girl he left me for) and I think we’d have nothing to say to one another. We didn’t back then either. We would lay on my bed or we’d skip first period to get breakfast at Waffle House or he’d play songs on guitar. He learned to play Jewel songs for me. I’m pretty sure that’s when I knew I loved him. In return, I bought Metallica’s Black Album and learned to scream along. “Nothing Else Matters” was our song. I’ve had songs with other partners but I don’t remember most of them anymore. Music has too much meaning sometimes. I have to block it out or I’ll never enjoy it again.
The amazing Wendy MacNaughton made me into a cartoon. And Dear Sugar said I was one of her favorite advice columnists. I can officially die now. I probably say that too much, but it’s true. I’m really lucky.
I’m so productive on airplanes. Sometimes I think if I were a rich eccentric, I would rent planes and make them into my cubicle. Sometimes when trying to impress a girl, I’ll tell her I have a pilot’s license. Even though I don’t fly anymore and probably never will because of my bum ears. Sometimes this makes me sad, but mostly it doesn’t. Anyway, I wrote my SF Weekly, After Ellen, and RedEye columns in less than three hours on the plane, which is CRAZY, and is a keen reminder to turn off the fucking Internet once in a while. Sometimes when I can’t write a column, I’ll write a love letter. One was chosen in this collection. Can you guess which one is mine?
I meant to write about India and this is what happened. I guess India will have to wait. We’ve got six weeks to get to know each other. I imagine several love letters will come from this particular affair. Until then, lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu. That’s right, I went there.