2010 to 2023, lessons.

I went on a lacklustre date last night and then you texted and asked (again) whether I would drive down to your place. Start our days with coffee, end with you fixing drinks. Booze on the stoop, forever. I feel myself pull towards Yes, but then I remember why it will always be No when it comes to you and I.

Before she died, my mother laid it out to me in the form of brass tacks; there are people in your life who are going to love you for all of the wrong reasons. They will love you for the prettiest part of your face, the ideal part of your naked body, your best mood on your best day, the greatest heart-wrenching story you ever wrote, the most gorgeous dress you ever wore.

They are going to miss the burn mark on your right forearm from the first time you made gingerbread from scratch. They’ll miss the scar on your finger, when you sliced it open while cutting a paper snowflake at 7 years old. They’ll notice that you have great tits, but they’ll miss that your thumb tucks into their palm when you’re walking together, you steal glances at the bar, and that your eyes have darker circles when a migraine is coming.

(They won’t know you get migraines.)

They won’t ask where the story you wrote came from, so they’ll never know that it was true. They’ll simply love it because it feels real to them in a way they cannot discern. They’ll miss knowing the hoodie full of holes that they criticised you for wearing once was your mom’s, remarking that you looked unusually “dressed down”. You might tell them some of these things along the way in an attempt to reveal the real you, but they will choose to remember the Best things instead.

They will adore your good moods, your charisma, your sense of humour, but miss that you never turn to them, but rather to a shower or a pillow or the driver’s seat to shed tears. They won’t ever consider you strong.

When the parts that aren’t your best come out, they will shield their eyes as if you had just forced them to stare at the fucking sun for hours on end. They’ll silently make you promise to never show them that again, the rough edges, the imperfections. Those things are not to be shown. Be at your best so I can love you. I would love you more if only you never show me those things.

And you do not marry those people. You do not sit and sleepily drink coffee with those people. You leave those people and you remind yourself that they missed the better parts of you, and you fucking get on with it.

all candy

rage paves the way for sorrow
and then regret. i find myself holding you
close to my heart and my mind, slowly
driving myself into a pothole. you are
never far, and

i know you feel it too. come on out
and dance instead. think of
me, think of the moments we could be
stealing instead of dead air suffocating
the both of us beat by beat. i long
for your touch, hollowing me out
and then ending it all.

the shape

the new year’s day,
when the roof caved in. the film
moved me from tears to an
unending sense of
absolute dread and nothing was
the same after that.
guilt, a steady piercing ache
humming in my head like the
emergency broadcast system.
electric and sour.

the bar,
silently sitting staring and
stirring my whiskey rocks, i can recall
that exact moment i knew we were
done— an albatross deep in my chest
years later. my shame is
immeasurable and trying to piece it all
together now feels futile. but as i find
myself again, ounce by ounce it
dissipates.

another frightening dawn.

the good // the bad

the good— no longer do i have to endure
the same tall tales, the nostalgia, the
discrete blowjobs, every last “you’re so
cool”. not that you aren’t, but it
gets old feeling like a violently
collapsing star in your universe
of yes men. i have
never felt less sure of
myself, more minute
than i did standing by your side.

the bad— our shared language was
hiroshima’d in my backyard, photostrips now a mausoleum.
i’ve tucked them away one
by one. you never gave me credit for
jokes or photos, and now, the
pieces will never
fit again. we clash vying for
the same love. i hate how i miss the
way you pomp your hair, the
deliberate way your hands move
flipping the record. bloodies and wry
smiles and shared dirty jokes, zapped.

i am tired of this dynamic.

Mad Men s5e12: Commissions and Fees

“But what is happiness?? It’s the moment before you need more happiness.”

We all have good days that turn into bad ones, but some of us just can’t shake it. As much as it’s Real Life, the consequences of our own actions are sometimes too much to bear. Sometimes shit is just so devastating you can’t cope.. enter Lane Pryce and his illicit cash grab.

image courtesy of Vulture

We knew it was coming, but Lane’s been caught red-handed by Cooper, cancelled Christmas bonus check with Don’s faux signature and all. And we all know Lane is one proud motherfucker, so his chat with savvier than expected Don does not go well.

Sadly, this is grisly familiar territory for Don; it’s not the first time that a guy he knew has hanged himself as a near-direct result of Don telling him to get on with it and leave. Before Lane Pryce, there was of course Adam Whitman. Don’s motivations as well as the circumstances are super different, but the endgame is identical; Dick Whitman imparts some hobo code ‘run away’ advice and both of these guys instead choose to violently exit the world.

And the punch is that Don was truly doing do the right thing for Lane, giving him an elegant exit with a resignation– obviously trying to course correct after Adam.

Adam & Lane || image courtesy of Tumblr

Don really thinks he did the decent thing for Lane here, and he’s not entirely wrong. When that type of trust is broken, natch Don cannot keep working with him; letting him resign sans scandal is miles better than outing his embezzlement and shady shit to the partners, much less ringing the coppers. Trying to do him a favour and send him off on a semi-OK note, Don gives Lane a variation on the speech he gave Peggy in the mental ward back in s2 about moving forward from absolute shit circumstances.

“I can’t go back to England like this. What will I tell my wife? .. What will I tell my son?”

“You’ll tell them that it didn’t work out, because it didn’t. And you’ll tell them the next thing will be better, because it always is. Take the weekend.. think of an elegant exit. Cooper doesn’t know anything.”

“l feel a bit light-headed.”

“That’s relief. I’ve started over a lot, Lane.. this is the worst part.”

Seems like good advice on how to get on with it, but Lane ain’t Pegs and he certainly is not Donald Draper. Peggy has enough common ground with Don to make that hobo code a part of her aesthetic and make it work to her advantage. Look at her bounce to a better profesh situation as soon as the opportunity presents itself; however, Lane is not particularly equipped to do the same.

Take a look at the guy. Lane is a middle manager– the moneyman hemming and hawing over payroll and Jaguar’s fee versus commission structure, treated as a malleable marionette by PPL, seen begrudgingly as a necessary evil by the SCDP partners. The kicker is that whenever he strives to achieve more in life beyond his predetermined glass box, he gets beaten down.. quite literally by his crust-ass dad’s cane.

(Also, anytime I think of Lane Pryce’s father I think of Mr. Burns’ mother..)

Brass tacks– handsome and determined Dick Whitman could start over; Lane Pryce cannot. Don’s schpiele to Peggy gave her life a clean slate, but his speech to Lane instead brought his to a screeching halt. He’s got more at stake than Peggy did as well. Don’t forget that Lane is in the USA on a work visa, has a wife and apartment in Manhattan, kid in a good NYC school.. no wonder he thought it was all over. Being stripped of his visa would fuck that all to hell like your prom date; briskly and thoroughly. How could he return to England under those circumstances?

Trying to off himself in the surprise Jaguar he and his wife can’t afford (unbeknownst to her) and having the damned unreliable thing not start was a bitter touch.

Even though Don was of course never as close to Lane as he was to Adam, nor was he as arctic in his rejection, the parallels are suffocating. Insisting upon going into Lane’s office to prevent the guy from dangling up there alone until the coroner makes his appearance, I get the vibe that he’s attempting to deal with lingering memories of his departed half-brother. After all, Adam was long dead before Don even knew about it.

If you don’t learn anything from your past, you’re absolutely fucking doomed to repeat it. And though Don tried to do it right with Lane, at the end of the day he cannot control anything other than his own shit; a hard pill to swallow for sure.

I leave you all with this Don Draper iconography directed at Leland Palmer and Dow Chemical. Once he essentially sacks Lane, he yearns to move onto the big leagues account-wise, to think bigger than Lane ever did. And let’s be real, he ain’t wrong; what IS happiness? The moment before you need more happiness. Nothing is ever enough.

“Ed Baxter told me the Lucky Strike letter poisoned us with all those companies.

“What? Why didn’t you tell me that?”

“Because l wrote that letter.”

“You let that wax figurine discourage you??”