0. December 28th, 2004, 19:52 PST. Rachel calls again. She wants to be Michael’s friend. Nothing going.
1. In the course of working on a client project through a sleepless Thursday night on August 22nd, 2002, Michael looks up Rachel’s address on the Internet. (Theretofore, they had met exclusively at Michael’s Hollywood Hills hovel.)
2. On Friday morning, Michael rides his red Ducati 916 to beautiful downtown Santa Ana. The site indicated in the phone directory is a commercial building dedicated to art and food, one worse than the other.
3. Daunted by the apparent lack of residential spaces, Michael orders a double espresso and inquires about living arrangements. The barista directs him to an awning that conceals the locked entrance to the grad student dorm.
4. Navigating through two locked doors in his finest Soviet street urchin fashion, Michael knocks on the third one to pay Rachel an unexpected visit.
5. A bleary-eyed, red-lipped visage of East Asian pulchritude greets him, startled but not displeased.
6. Michael enters Rachel’s abode and invites her to join him downstairs for his and hers espressos.
7. Alternatively, Michael offers to join Rachel in bed.
8. Two minutes later, Michael enters Rachel.
9. Five minutes later, Rachel comes and instructs Michael to hurry up.
10. Michael complies.
11. Rachel informs Michael that she has a new boyfriend scheduled to arrive from China with matrimonial intent.
12. Michael’s rooster sings on Friday, August 23rd, 2002, at 09:35 PST. He offers himself to Rachel as an alternative, delivering the first marriage proposal in his life, though expecting full well that the offer of his hand would be summarily declined by his prospective spouse.
13. Rachel summarily declines.
14. Michael feels relieved.
15. Michael and Rachel have breakfast downstairs.
16. Michael reminds Rachel that she owes him a serious drinking session.
17. The next morning, Rachel shows up on Michael’s doorstep.
18. Rachel reaffirms their sordid affair having been superceded by an as yet unconsummated relationship leading to an arranged marriage. Michael feels depressed owing to romantic rejection compounded by sleep deprivation.
19. Michael and Rachel share an omelet with smoked Scottish salmon, Maui onion, and heirloom tomato, washed down with a bottle of Alsacian Gewurtztraminer.
20. Rachel requests that Michael fuck her for the last time.
21. Michael complies all day long.
22. Rachel informs Michael of her matrimonial philosophy, wherein sex counts for 75% of success. Speaking from sketchy past experience, Rachel allows that her marriage to another Chinese man might depend upon the digital and oral alternatives to the phallic conveyance for her gratification. Michael and Rachel negotiate cordial post-relationship terms.
23. Michael and Rachel eat pho noodles and watch an appropriate video, Birthday Girl, wherein a mild-mannered geek finds the object of his true love in a pregnant Russian bimbo in cahoots with a couple of extortionist thugs.
24. Michael delivers additional breakup party favors.
25.Michael and Rachel doze off.
26. Rachel leaves Michael forever in the morning.
27. Rachel calls Michael for help in the afternoon.
28. Michael composes a modest masterpiece of sexual manipulation, attached below.
29. Rachel calls Michael in the morning to thank him for his letter.
30. Rachel asks Michael for a date.
31. Michael thinks about eternal recurrence.
From: email@example.com Mon Aug 26 15:10:20 2002
Date: Sun, 25 Aug 2002 18:16:49 -0700 (PDT)
From: Michael Zeleny
To: Rachel W… , Rachel W…
Cc: Michael Zeleny
Subject: Another Angle
In keeping with your desires, I have closed the book on the possibility of our long-term romantic involvement. Since you have expressed a desire to be friends, and manifested a need for having me as a friend, I amplify and expand our last conversation herewith.
To quote somebody I no longer talk to, you can bullshit others all you want, but you better not bullshit yourself while at it. When called upon to apply his own principle at home, the author allowed that we all are delusional in one way or another. I both endorse the principle and agree with the excuse. The overarching rule is philosophical: nothing in excess, including moderation. Alas, your life is replete with violations of this rule. For all your positive talk, the emerging professional pattern is one of many credentials accumulated to no productive end. As you account for it, your career always proceeded as an adjunct to your marriage. This is a common situation, for which you cannot expect any special accommodations. Under similar circumstances, real estate sales remains for a good reason the #1 traditional career choice of the American divorcée, leveraging the mind control skills accrued in a failed marriage. I respect your ambition in choosing an alternative professional career path. But as we both know, graduate school is of limited utility as a refuge in life’s passages.
Sooner or later, the schooling comes to an end, and your bills come due. Part of the reason for my willingness to advise you in this transition is my personal history at a similar stage. You remind me of me a few years back — overeducated, undercapitalized, full of ideas, short of skills. Through a series of peripeties and personal connections both beneficent and malign, I am managing to get back on my feet a scant nine years after graduation. You would be well advised to learn from my experience. Get to work and stay at it. Make a real career plan and follow through. Give up useless distractions to focus on achievable goals. Cultivate relations to help you along the way. Be aware of your assets and liabilities. Be able to negotiate and deliver quid pro quo. Look sharp, stay alert, listen to people’s needs, and be willing and able to fill them to mutual advantage. These lessons extend into the personal domain. First and foremost, try to understand your own needs as a woman, while accounting for your assets and liabilities. For example, if marriage is your true goal, think of it in terms of staying married rather than getting married. As you know, the deck is stacked against you, since second marriages fail on an order of magnitude more often than first marriages. As with all human endeavors, unrealizable expectations are the primary cause of failure. These include denying your own interest in sex as the foundation of marriage, dreaming up alternative ways of satisfying your sexual desires, and last but not least, deluding yourself about the matrimonial motive. As in science, the simplest explanation is the most plausible one. If a ticket to the land of opportunity is your most readily convertible asset, you would be foolish not to assume it to be a primary motivation. Far be it from me to discount your innumerable feminine charms. But the scenario that you have sketched leaves no room for their proper appreciation, just as it leaves no room for assurances of any matrimonial basis other than immigration expedience.
I hope that my bluntness does not foreclose your benefiting from this advice. Life is too short for pointless politeness. Having moved past pleading my romantic case, I find myself concerned with your standalone well-being. I welcome your calling for my aid and assistance at will.
cordially, — Mikhail Zeleny@math.ucla.edu
7576 Willow Glen Rd, Hollywood, CA 90046 323-876-8234 323-363-1860
All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter.
Try again. Fail again. Fail better. — Samuel Beckett