9/15/99 - I figured I might as well get an entry up about Paula.  It's been exactly two months since I called her up and confessed my heart's desires to her one Thursday nite around midnite, and we're still together.  Granted, our togetherness does have the hang-up of 1750 miles of mountains and prairies between us.  Plus, there's also that little hitch of having never actually met each other.  But hell, if the Night Stalker can get hooked up with a girl while he's in prison, then this doesn't seem too insurmountable.  Must be something about us LA boys that just drives the girlies wild...

Getting fired and paying off the $1400 in phone bills I accumulated put the big fat kibosh on our original planned meeting in October.  That and Jenny's reactionary move to cut off the long distance service has also ended our phone calls for the most part.  So instead we get by like this -- through the Net.  Got I feel like such a nerd saying that.  I half-expect a patronizing TV crew doing a story on "Internet Romance: The Hidden Dangers YOU Should Know About" will jump me and make me look like an idiot and misspell my name and then the anchors back in the studio will put on their faux serious manner and say something condescending and then move on to a story about who wore the best shoes to the Emmy Awards.  But we do what we can, and I've resolved to take a leak on any TV crew that comes within 10 feet of me.

OK, so I'm a little paranoid and insecure.  But this is the kind of tripe you get for TV News in LA. 

Anyhow, Paula and I are doing good, all things considered.  And there's a fucking lot of thing to consider, too -- just re-read the first two paragraphs if you've already forgotten what they were, ya damn potheads.  But there's also me and my depression, which is like a shadow over this whole relationship.  As you can imagine, it can be emotionally trying and exhausting sometimes for her to have to read my e-mails and, once again, my journal.  It's not like I've had a bad day and she can take me out (or keep me in) and make feel better.  It's more than just "a bad day" and she can't take me anywhere, not that it would do any good.  It's frustrating for her, because she can e-mail me and worry about me, but as she's learning, she can't take it personally or feel responsible for it. 

I tried to be the compassionate yet tormented soul and push her away for her own good.  I reminded her of what I go through and how I frequently fuck things up and that I can't expect her to put up with that or wait around until we meet.  But she ain't having none of that -- she wants to stick with me.  Yeah, I know, sometimes I think she's the crazy one, too.  But can you blame ME for falling hard for the girl?

I'm glad we're not totally similar, because I don't think I'd want to be my own girlfriend.  Yes, I know my right hand has been my girlfriend for all these years, ha-ha.  We've got our different backgrounds (SoCal reluctant geek vs. Midwestern Canadian punk rock girl).  We have our different relationship experience (None vs. Uh, Not None).   Just a lot of differences like that, but that's part of what makes her interesting to me.  What does she find interesting about me?  Good question.  She first kind of got interested in me by reading my journal, so go back and read my archives and tell me what's so damn cool about me.  I'm too lazy to do it myself.

There's also the problem of our medium of communication.  Not only do words on screen fail to create a suitable level of intimacy, but there are the usual problems of context -- am I being sarcastic or am I being serious?  Is she joking about something or is she upset?  Computers are supposed to revolutionize how people interact, but sometimes I think smoke signals would be more effective in conveying our feelings.  But we make the best of our situation, and exploit every fucking virtual card site on the Net to try and add some variety or convey a particular feeling more effectively. 

A plus side of it is that I'm better able to budget my time; e-mailing Paula doesn't necessarily cut into my schedule the way talking or being with her physically might.  Not that she a ball-and-chain, but a lot of the stresses that couples encounter haven't been a factor.  Yet.

The truth of the matter is that no matter how much we think we know each other and how strongly we feel about each other, our actual time together will probably be radically different.  I'm a little sad when I say that, because I'm so damn pessimistic about a lot of things in my life that I figure that things can only go wrong, especially with the romantically-challenged soul that I am.  When it comes to the school of relationships, I'm in Special Ed. 

But it's also so damned exciting -- I can't think of anything else at this point that would be more exciting for me, personally.  I'd rather meet with Paula than with Warren Moon, or Tony Gwynn, or Nick Van Exel <-- any of my sports heroes.  "OK, Haole, what if you won the lottery, isn't that more exciting?"  It's funny that you ask that, Random Voice In My Head, yeah, winning the lottery would be better.  But after taking a plane up to Sacramento to get my first check (take the payments, not the one lump sum!) I'd fly directly up to the Great White North to see her.  The lottery would only be a means to an end -- getting to spend more time with her.  And maybe I could see Bob and Doug McKenzie while I'm up there.

A little surprise -- homegirl gave me the OK to bust out with her real name, since if you didn't know, "Paula" was actually an alias.  Her real name is actually Tasha.  I came up with Paula b/c I thought before that it was a cool name, and when I was looking at my old firm's phone directory one of the secretaries was named "Paula".  It sounded nice enough and so it stuck.  But I guess from here on out it'll be Tasha.  (I know that all these color changes must be annoying, but I like them.)

She's still understandably worried about her anonymity (something I should put more thought into myself), so that's all the info I'm giving out on her.  OK, it's all the info SHE'S allowing me to get out.  Yeah yeah, whipped already.  But really, I'd love to go on and on about her, show you pictures and all that.  But I can't and I respect her so I won't.  And it's not a big deal, so shut your chuckling mouths. 

Because of the four-figure phone bill I racked up (and the bill she had to pay off herself), our planned October rendezvous had been delayed indefinitely; maybe til' New Year's -- hopefully.  In June, October seemed like it would never come.  Now our meeting won't be until year's end, and seems so far away.  We don't know how things will be different.  Our big concern is if the "magic" will be there for both of us in person like it is over the phone.  OK, my big concern is that she's actually a four-hundred pounds transsexual Nazi, but I'm willing to trust her enough that she's not -- that's what relationships are about -- trust.  Right?  I'm not sure since my parents' relationship seemed built on lies and deceptions.  But I'm digressing.

We seem so close, but if I take a step back I can see how far away we really are.  And that's a little discouraging, but it only makes me want to try harder to get closer.  Well, maybe "closer" isn't the most accurate word -- maybe "tighter" is, as in the bond that keeps us together.   Hopefully this job with Ray's company will work out (I'm still waiting for my second interview), and if it does, then I can think about finally fulfilling a promise to myself and getting a second job on the side.  Whatever it takes, mes freres et sťurs

There's also a larger question; what if we meet and the magic is there between us.  Then what?  Then we'd be in an even bigger quandary, because our feelings would be even stronger for each other than they already are.  But what could we do about it?  I've got no plans right now to relocate up there, and likewise with her.  She does want to get out of the city where she's living, but SoCal isn't exactly what she had in mind.  I like LA and all, but I'm pretty tied to the West Coast.  It's something that's useless to worry about right now -- we still haven't met -- but if things do go as we both hope and dream they will, then we'd have an even bigger problem on our hands.  God, and here I was all these years, thinking that a girlfriend would solve all my problems.  Hah!

I guess I've figured that if we really felt like we had to be together and she couldn't,  or wouldn't want to, get out of her area, then I could relocate to where she is.  That's so far off at this point that it's not worth considering, but so far I don't doubt that she's worth it.  Of course, a good Canadian winter could change my mind real fast...

So anyhow, that's where Pau--I mean Tasha and I stand.  I figured that would make things clearer, since I try not to talk about her that much.  I don't want this to become Haole's Mushy Page.  I'm much more comfortable with it being Haole's Whining Page like it usually is. 

It's quite a ride for me; not only is it my first real relationship (I don't consider what I had with Akiyo as a real "relationship"), but it doesn't come during the best time of my life, and it's ultra-long distance.  Not that it's any easier for her; it's just as tough if not harder.  But I have to be passionate about something in my life besids smoking up, and she is it.  And I trust she feels the same way.

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