Three things…

Ethan advanced the idea that there are three things you don’t like that everyone else adores. I love this topic. I also love the willy-nillyness of social media that can lead me to a boy like Ethan– and in particular, Ethan’s dog, on whom I’ve developed a sincere, passionate crush.

DOG1

I don’t even like animals (there’s my first of three). But who’s a good boy? Who? Who? Yes, yes he is.

Well, not that I don’t like animals. It’s just that cats make me sneezy and I’ll never be a poopbag-carrying sort of girl. The Lee Family pet history is limited to two horrible mini frogs. One tormented and starved the other, and after his acrylic cube companion died, the murderous amphibian was released into the pond. We assured the kids that an unheated backyard water feature was an ideal new home for our lonely African jumper, and that the fish probably didn’t eat him, you know, right away. Though Brodie fantasizes adorably about Dog ownership, I already have two smallish boys with poor aim. I’m immune to all pleas. But not your adorable dog snaps. I mean, seriously. THIS DOG.

Try not to love Charlie.

Try not to love Charlie. Go ahead. Try.

Just this week, Lisa asked me to suggest some fluffy-robe resort destination for her and her lucky husband. This reminded me of my second I-hate, you-love topic: massage. I was flattered that Lisa thinks I’d enjoy a spa day. Maybe my frequent lauding of expensive shoes and brazen champagne addiction does paint the picture of a gal who knows a bit about hot stones and sea salty wraps. But I don’t.

During Zealot Sister’s Wedding Week, my mother gifted me with an hour of massage at the super fancy Victorian Ladies Day Spa. At the time, I was a young, broke graduate student, living in a rodent-frequenting apartment with my excessive revolving credit. A massage? Awesome.

But it wasn’t. No one asked me if I was a massage virgin, and so I faked massage bravado, and climbed naked under sheets nervously awaiting what others had only described with excited, moaning pleasure. But is it supposed to be, like, this chilly? I wondered and waited. Naked. At the Victorian Ladies Day Spa. Finally, my therapist arrived: harried, apologetic, and about 42 weeks pregnant. “Oh my God, it’s so HOT in here!” she gasped along with lots of information about the shenanigans of her furnace fetus. Unwilling to contribute to her preeclampsia, I didn’t mention that I was freezing. She apologized when her hot hands practically sizzled on my frozen feet, but we didn’t call it quits until I started actually shivering.

“I think I’ll just get dressed.”

More apologies and blah blah blah, but no mention of how to remedy my hypothermic, oiled state. So, I pulled clothes over my sticky body and went to find mom, who was perplexed that I hadn’t showered. But NO ONE TOLD ME WHAT TO DO, and so I happily avoided this expensive luxury for the next decade because I hate hate hate being cold and feeling stupidly sticky.

Though Bernie and I often forget our own anniversary, we still totally dig each other and at Year Five escaped small children for a weekend B&B getaway in one of those cute New England towns boasting presidential compounds and spas with couples massages in sweltering conditions. Five years of marriage and hundreds of hours of neck-straining microsurgery were certainly deserving of a dueling oohs and ahhs under boiling wraps in a steamy room! I buried all memories of my polar rubdown and booked a hot room for two. Sadly, a rare plastic surgery emergency called Bernie back to town for most of our weekend getaway. I swapped the couples massage for a single, borrowed an old-timey bike from our adorable B&B, and pedaled over to the spa for my second shot at solo shiatsu.

Again, I approached this with confidence because you maniacs keep extolling its pleasures, only to find myself alone and naked in Maine with NO IDEA who is about to enter the room. Quick prayers for divine intercession that my masseuse wasn’t a dude were issued. Quick retrieval of undergarments just in case. Florid relief when a miniature blonde in yoga pants appears, assuring me I will be warm and comfy. I relax. And for three whole minutes I can stand to be under the freak pressure of her tiny fingers. A massage rube, I’m still quite certain it’s not supposed to, ouch, hurt. But it does. And like the middle-child people pleaser I am, I didn’t say a word… enduring a slow assault that left REAL BRUISES all over my thighs. My quaint ride-a-bike-to-a-massage plan was less charming on the way back to the B&B during which I winced with each incline.

I haven’t paid to be slathered with scented oils by a stranger since. I not so secretly think all of you are nuts at best, adulterous at least to enjoy this nonsense. But, that’s me.

Three is skiing. Yikes and brrr sums it up squarely. Though thousands of tweets and updates attest to a fanatic obsession with all sorts of things assumed to be loved by all, I’m sure all of us are baffled by a few. And maybe we’re sort of quiet about it. How ostracized the furtive few who have only lukewarm feelings about bacon or the Beatles?

Ethan’s confession was Boyhood, tagging it a “three hour menagerie of evolving facial hair.” I could fill a binder with complaints about beer, snorkeling, traveling, and Lena Dunham.

What are the popular obsessions you cannot abide? Before Ethan acquired his dog, I might have complained about over-Instagramming a pet. But I think we’ll all agree that there cannot be too many pictures of Charlie.

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For Lisa…

Do you know? Do you feel this swell of hope, love, and sorrow? Is there time to tell you, again—so you hear us, this is so important—that you are our champion? None of us is a stranger because we know you. We Love You, Lisa. You remind us, every Monday, to be more responsible, less scared… smarter. You encourage us, every day, to find beauty, share it… persevere. You showed us the Stage IV monster under the bed and how to live with it. Never shying away, never tying it up with a pink ribbon, never excusing the ravaging rogue cells who take away too much, too soon, unfairly and cruelly. This is no gift. This is no blessing.

Does it help? Can knowing you have the awesome, angry, prayerful, solemn, witty, fierce, and unrelenting support of thousands be of service? Here’s what we can do. This is what we will do. In lieu of a thousand casseroles and get-well-soons, we will plant thousands of flowers. We will donate thousands of dollars to Sloan Kettering. We will make doctor appointments on Mondays and take our Christmas lights down promptly. We will make you proud.

Lisa Bonchek Adams, you educated a nation about metastatic breast cancer while simultaneously creating a supportive community that shares information and love, blooms and corgis. Your name is an emblem of fearless writing, intelligent advice, compassionate nagging, and Beauty. We are grateful, angry, sad, beholden, and helpless. If we can have no miracles, then we wish you peace and comfort.

We Love You, Lisa.