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Bed Bugs: Part II

Monday, November 23, 2009
My day started around 1:30am with men pounding on my door. I hadn't really been asleep, as I was constantly awakened by the sensation of being bitten. I was sure that couldn't be the case, however. I was just being paranoid. I had switched beds and loaded on the bug repellent. And, not just any bug repellent - the good stuff. The stuff with "how to store pesticides" information on the back label. The stuff that burns through plastic. Yet, I kept feeling something on my leg.

Then, loud knocking.

I ignore it.

More loud knocking.

Go away!
I silently scream.

"Kristy!?" KRISTY!?"

Are you fucking kidding me?

More knocking, more name yelling.

“YES!?” I yell back.

“Kristy, hello! Do you know where Tom is?”, it’s Jerry yelling through the door.

“NO! I have no idea!”

“OK, thank you. Sorry.”

For fuck’s sake, I think. Why would I know where Tom was? Did they think he was in here with me? How insulting.

Tom and Jerry’s real names are not Tom and Jerry. I’ve changed their name for anonymity. And, because I can’t remember what their names really are. I met them earlier in the day at the pool. The tiny pool was way over capacity at 8 people sitting around the edge. As much as I tried to ignore them and read my book in peace, it was a bit hard when we were elbow to elbow.

tiny pool photo, as requested

“Kristy, do you learn through reading or through life?” Jerry asks.

“Uhm, both?” I say.

He gives me a smug look.

“You don’t think you can do both?” I say.

“I like to learn out there” he says as he waves his hand around.

“So, you’re not much of a reader?” I say condescendingly.

Another smug look.

What? What was that about?

Then Tom offers me a beer, almost as if to apologize for his friend. “What are you reading, Kristy?” he asks.

This is the begining of a series of questions that last until about 10:30pm. (I met them at around 3pm, mind you.) Tom and Jerry are Indians serving as UN Peacekeepers in Goma, DRC. They and their friends are on holiday in Uganda. Jerry is a civil engineer who I eventually found to be quite…civil. Tom has no idea what he wants to be, but is reading self-help books to find his way.

One thing I’ve found with many Indians is they ask a lot of questions. A lot of questions that Americans would typically not ask. Or, not immediately and in rapid succession anyway.

What’s your name? Are you married? Why not? How old are you? And, not married? Why? What does your father do? What does your mother do? How many brothers and sisters do you have? How old are they? Are they married? What do they do? Why are you not married? Do you want to get married? Do you have a boyfriend? Why not? Do you want a boyfriend? But, you don’t have one? Why not? Where are you from? Do you live with your parents? Why not? How often do you talk to them? How much money do you make? And on and on and on...

All the questions are asked in such a way that you can actually see them putting together a mental picture of who you are and what they think of you based on your marital status and the profession of your parents. You are being interviewed. It’s as though they are sizing you up for themselves, their brother, their son, whoever…

It can be very exhausting. However, I did have much else going on so I talked to them throughout the afternoon. And, I eventually went for an early evening walk with Tom and Jerry. They were pleasant enough company. We walked through a poorer shanty neighborhood up to richer larger walled houses higher on the hill.

Tom slapped backs and shook hands with everyone he saw in uniform. Maybe it’s some secret camaraderie among security-types, because the guys in uniform didn’t seem as annoyed with the whole thing as I did.

Jerry continued to ask questions that seemed to be designed to annoy me.

“It’s common knowledge that women cannot read maps. Do you find this to be true?”

This was shortly before Tom asked for direction back to Chili’s (complete with back slapping through the taxi window) as Jerry and I stood and waited for him under the big sign that said “Red Chili’s Hideaway” with an arrow.

When we got back Tom and Jerry invited me to go out with them later. They were going “discothèque hopping”. I was hesitant, but decided that it could be fun. So, I agreed.

I showered and got ready, planning to meet up with them and their other friends a bit later. When I opened my door to leave I found Tom standing right in front of me. Even then I was wishing he didn’t know what room was mine.

“Kristy. Hello.”

“Hi, where are your friends?” I ask, looking around.

“They are waiting for us at the bar.”

Oh, good, I thought.

“So, Kristy. If you were to take me somewhere, just you and me, where would you take me?”

Oh, not good, not good at all.

“Uhm, Bubbles, the Irish bar” I said, trying to think of somewhere he would hate.

“Oh, Bubbles, yes, we have been there. We shall go to Bubbles.”


So, we walk in to the Red Chili’s lounge and his friends are sitting around the bar. Tom hands his room key to a friend and then starts speaking in Hindi as everyone stares at me. Fantastic.

“OK, Kristy. Let us go.” Tom says as he quickly starts walking out of the bar.

I’m speed walking along behind him firing questions.

“What about your friends?” “Are they coming?” “Do they know where we’re going?” “Shouldn’t we tell them?” “Yes, let’s go back and tell them.”

Finally, Tom reluctantly follows me back into the bar.

“Let’s go – Bubbles!” I say to Jerry, waving him out of his seat.

He stands as if he’s coming, but quickly his smile turns and he sits back down. I turn around to see what Tom is doing. He’s standing innocently behind me.

Fuck. I really don’t want to go out with this guy alone. It’s not that I think he’s going to try something…OK, I think he’s going to try something. However, I don’t find him threatening, just annoying.

On the taxi ride there he’s bear hugging the driver from behind asking him if he knows where Bubbles is. (Everyone knows Bubbles, by the way. And, no idea where the name Bubbles O’Leary came from.) The driver gives me a look. I’m up front with him. I had sidestepped Tom holding the back door open for me. The driver seems to have sized up the situation in about two minutes. And, I think he’s wondering what I’m doing. So, I am, buddy.

The driver pulls up to Bubbles and Tom gets out. “How much, my friend?”


Tom hands him a dollar through the window and asks “do you have change, my friend?”

“That’s one dollar!” I say. (Note: although you can pay for things in dollars, 1,900 shillings is approximately $1.)

Tom’s still waving the dollar in front of the driver, who looks at me like “seriously?” but says “$10 or 15,000 shillings.”

Tom’s still waving the dollar. I’m still saying “that’s one dollar.”

Finally I pay in shillings and give the driver a look that I’m hoping says “Gun it! Quick!” But, his foot remains on the break until I get out.

Bubbles is dead. We have a pleasant talk over beer (me) and juice (him). I feel a little bad for not wanting to come initially. However, it annoys me that his friends conveniently never showed.

Then he says, “I like you. You’re simple. And, homely."

That’s really nice. Thanks. I make it clear that I have a strict bedtime of 10pm. And, luckily the bar closes at 10 on Sundays anyway.

At 10:01, after everyone else has left and the chairs are being stacked, Tom finally goes in to close the tab. All I can see from the patio is an annoyed bartender and a waving one-dollar bill in front of him.

“Language barrier,” Tom says as he comes out much later.

“I think it’s a math barrier,” I say under my breath.

We taxi back to Chili’s where people are still up and drinking. Sadly, I have that 10:00 bedtime and it’s already 10:30. Sorry, Tom, I really must get my beauty sleep.

As he’s veering off of the path to walk me to my door I quicken my pace. I know he doesn’t have his room key. It’s with his friends, and they’re long gone. “Goodnight! See you in the morning” I say as I practically start sprinting for my door.

He and his friends are leaving at 8:00am tomorrow morning. I’ve said that I will probably see him before he goes. But, frankly, if I don’t make it up, I don’t make it up.

That was why I was so annoyed that later his friends are banging on my door thinking he would be in my room with me! Seriously? It reminded me of someone in India who warned me once that “men here, they see American women in movies and they think they are very loose.” Lovely.

So, back to my late night wake up knock. After Jerry and friends leave, I can’t even pretend to sleep. I get up, switch on the light and look down. BUG BITES! NEW bug bites – all over my legs! How could that be? Well, there’s no way I’m getting back in bed now. I pick up my BlackBerry; the red light is blinking. One new email at 12:43. It’s Tom; he wants to be my Facebook friend.

I ignore the request and Google “bed bugs”. Wikipedia tells me everything I need to know about bed bugs, including photos. After an hour of research, I’m convinced that the whole room, including my suitcase is swimming in bedbugs. They’re everywhere. And, I’m trapped in my room. I can’t leave. Tom is out there somewhere, wanting to be my friend.

So, I stand in the middle of the room. For approximately four hours. Doing nothing. Just standing. It is the most minimum contact with the surroundings I can think of.

It’s now 5am. I move to sitting on the small side table. It’s wicker, and sags dramatically as I’m sitting.

5:30am. I awaken suddenly. A bed bug! I jump up. OK, it’s just a chip in the wall paint. I risk it and sit on the floor. I research new hotels – the more luxurious the better – on my Blackberry.

6:00am. I go through my luggage, picking up each piece of clothing. I scrutinize each piece, looking for any sign of bugs.

7:30am. I’m so freaking tired. I lay down on the cold hard concrete floor using a recently inspected pair of dirty jeans for a pillow. I’m cold, but wearing clothes seems dangerous. I finally fall asleep.


Are you fucking kidding me!!?

I stay silent.


Go away!

More knocking, more yelling my name. It’s Tom this time.

So, first of all, my room is 10’x10’. Second, the window is open and the door is about 1” thick. And, third, you can tell if someone is in the room or not by how it’s locked. So, clearly I’m there. Clearly, I’m ignoring him.

After MORE name calling and knocking, finally I think he’s given up.

“Excuse me, miss? Yes, miss, will you please come here for a moment?” I hear him say.

“Yes?”, it is one of the housekeepers.

“Yes, thank you. Hello. Will you please knock on her door and ask for Kristy?” he says.

What the FUCK!?

“She must be there. She’s sleeping, I think. Don’t you think she’s sleeping?” the very reasonable woman says.

“But, it’s 8:15, she needs to get up,” Tom says.

WHAT!?” I scream.

“Hello! Kristy! Yes, are you sleeping?”, Tom says.


“Are you getting up now?”


“Are you still sleeping?”


“OK, will you come out for a moment?”


“Come out for a moment.”

“I’m sleeping! What?”

“Ah, I see you through the window. What are you doing on the floor?”

What!? Get the fuck out of my window.

“What do you want?” I ask.

“I am leaving.”


“Will you get up?”


“I am leaving.”


He stands outside for another minute at least and then leaves.

I hear the housekeepers snickering.

Am I a complete bitch? Yes. Is he fucking insane? Yes.

9:00am, I’m up and ready to check out.

I walk straight into the ‘private’ managers’ office.

“I need my credit card run. I would appreciate my last two night removed from my bill as I was eaten alive in my sleep,” I say as I shove my hideously disfigured arm in the manager’s face.

He recoils. I imagine a scene where I scream “You did this to me! Look at it! Look at it!” while pulling up my shirt and forcing him to see my bite riddled back. Unfortunately, it was unnecessary as he silently removed the nights from my bill.

My mood improves a bit as my taxi winds its way up through the hills. I call out roads I know like a crazy person. “This is the road Mercy Corps is on.” “Oh, that’s the corner my boda boda driver left me at.” “Hey, Tank Hill Road! I’ve been here!” In my defense, my driver seemed equally excited that I knew where we were.

Finally, at twelve noon, we pull up to a beautiful hotel overlooking Lake Victoria and Kampala. At $95 a night it’s totally out of my budget. I don’t care. That is why there are credit cards. For stupid people like me.

“You got here quickly,” the receptionist says with a smile.

“Yes, I was just at Red Chili’s when I called,” I say without thinking.

“Oh, I see.”

What does that mean? She knows! She saw the bites on my arms. She knows I’m riff raff. If I were a cartoon I’d have swarms around me like Pig Pen.

I am disgusting.

She smiles again and pulls my contaminated luggage down the hall to my room. It’s a beautiful room with…my own bathroom! As the door closes behind her, I sigh with relief.

I take everything out of the suitcase and put it away in the closet. Then, I take the hottest shower I can stand. I shave for the first time in weeks. I throw my on swimsuit and stand in front of the bathroom mirror. My entire back is covered it red welts. SO gross.

I put a ridiculous outfit on: Long sleeves. Pants. A scarf. It says, “hey, this 95 degree weather is pretty chilly, yes?”

It’s 1:30pm. I’m walking to the full size swimming pool. I lie down on a cushioned chaise lounge in the shade. I make eye contact with no one. Slowly, I start to feel human again.

Plans for a Sunny Saturday

Saturday, November 21, 2009
It is a glorious glorious day in Kampala. I'm not sure if it's summer or winter here... we're slightly north of the equator, so I guess that makes it winter. Regardless of the official season, I'm deeming it a beautiful summer day. The sun in shinning through blue skies, the breeze is cool and someone is singing in a rhythmic melodious tune that reminds me of prayers from a mosque. Perfection. Well, almost. It's hot and sunny and putting on clothes and shoes just seems wrong. I long for the beach culture of wearing as little as possible pretty much anywhere and anytime. But, alas, I will wear clothes. And, I'm sure my neighbor appreciates that. We were siting outside discussing his dissertation on the history of HIV/AIDS in Africa. It might have been awkward to discuss condom use and the Pope with me in my underwear. Anyway, I have no intention of going anywhere. That just seems hot. No, I intend to sit in the shade of the sweet smelling honeysuckle and read my novel and then lie in the intense African sun until my skin can't take another second and plunge into the tiny pool. That's the day's grand plan.

Wishing you warmth and blue skies where ever you are.

Happy Weekend!

Withdrawl Symptoms

Thursday, November 19, 2009


I’m trying to wean myself off of eight cups of coffee a day. I’ve only had one cup of instant coffee. No thick rich Ugandan coffee in a French press today. Sadness.

Too much coffee was making me a bit…crazy. But, not enough coffee is making me a bit…bitchy. It’s a delicate balance.

Yesterday I walked around looking at crafts, drinking coffee, looking at crafts, drinking coffee, shopping at the most expensive Woolworths I’ve ever seen and then going home.

My eyes itch, my throat stings and my nose is runny. Yet, not runny enough to avoid the smell of burning trash.

Every morning I am greeted by a little surprise in the toilet from someone who has not discovered the flush lever. It taunts me from across the room while I try to shower.

The internet is slow as fuck. 18 download hours remain on the one episode of Dexter I have been slowly downloading over the past 5 days.

My skin feels disgusting with a layer of thick sunscreen and toxic bug lotion over a tight sunburn.

The dog lying under my feet keeps farting.

The 800lb hog standing outside my room was making threatening gestures at me this morning.

Holy fuck, now it smells like someone’s manufacturing rubber next door. I’m glad I turned in my recalled water bottle tainted with 0.00001% BPA before I left. I wouldn’t want anything toxic in my system.

OK…that’s all I can think to bitch about at the moment. Which, actually, reminds me that things really aren’t that bad.

I just need some coffee.

Taking Risks

Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Today started off a bit gray and cloudy, with sad news from home in my inbox. I so wished I could transport myself across the continents with the blink of an eye...if only just to give a hug or two.

A hot shower and several cups of filtered Ugandan coffee did nothing to wipe away the haze. And, after a confusing conversation at the bar, I set off for a meeting with the Mercy Corps country director. I had thought that I was discussing my destination with a special hire (a non-shared taxi) driver. However, after gathering my things I walked quickly through the mist-slowly-turning-to-rain only to discover... I was taking a boda boda. A boda boda is a motorbike for hire. They are known for being very dangerous. And, although occasionally the driver wears a helmet - you don't. Women are supposed to ride side-saddle, but I didn't and I think it's OK for Mzungu (foreigners). Anyway, as I was riding along I was thinking two things: one, thankfully I have emergency evacuation insurance and, two, can you effectively use an umbrella on the back of a motorbike? No, would be the answer to the latter. Anyway... We were going fast. They roads are terrible. We were weaving in and around traffic. And, did I mention that it was raining? Then we ran out of gas and I was left at the side of the road. Twice. The driver promised to come back, which he did. But, for 10 minutes I stood on the corner in the rain having no idea where I was while everyone starred curiously. Of course, the second I got to the offices the rain stopped. But, it was too late; I managed to look somehow both totally windblown and drenched. As usual, I really know how to make a first impression.

Anyway, the meeting with the Country Director went well. I was just hoping for some advice; but, wound up with a job offer of sorts. He was planning to hire an intern to help with writing and editing reports and PR pieces. Perfect. I can do that. And, I just so happen to already be here. He just needs to get final approval from HR at headquarters back in Portland. It sounded like he had already tentatively asked about having volunteers and they said it was "discouraged", etc., etc., but didn't actually say no. So, that's promising. Taking the risk and coming anyway might have actually paid off.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Then, of course, there's the job in Rwanda. Part of me feels bad; but, that part is for the NGO in Rwanda only. I don't feel bad about backing out on the woman in the UK. She still wants me to pay an additional almost $600 to complete the placement. Plus, I have to pay for housing and a plane ticket there and back. Ridiculous. And, it's not as though I've been working towards this placement for a long time - it was a total fallback. Yeah, that's what I'm telling myself. No guilt. But, I was supposed to meet up with the executive director today sometime. I don't have confirmation from Mercy Corps one way or another yet. But, you know what? I just went for it. I emailed the Rwanda people and told them sorry, I couldn't afford it. Which is totally true. I am beyond broke. Plus, as I was wandering about agonizing over the situation, I saw a flyer for an American woman looking for a roommate for $100/mo. And, I thought, hey, even if Mercy Corps doesn't work out, there are plenty of other organizations. I can just get a cheap room and hang out. Whatever happens, it will be an adventure, right?

And, I'm all about adventures, remember? Yep, that's why I'm sitting in the bar watching Benny and Joon.

Yes? Can I help you with something?

I got this look right after I caught him eating a wicker chair.

(I'd post more, but this took about 20 minutes to upload)

Weekend Assignment

Saturday, November 14, 2009
Friends, I have a few simple tasks for you this weekend:

1. Turn on your computer, open MS Word and type the following:

Dear (supervisor's name),

Thank you for the wonderful opportunity you have given me at (company name). However, it has recently come to my attention that life is short. Too short to spend the next 20 years sitting in a (cubicle/office/bulldozer). Therefore, I regret to inform you that I will be resigning my post effective immediately.


(your name)

2. Print, address, stamp, send

3. Sell all possessions (well, keep underwear and a few outfits and maybe some DVDs)

4. Rent / Sell house

5. Buy airline ticket to Africa

Done? OK, good. See, that was easy. Just 5 simple steps.

I will pick you up at the airport and we will start our road trip around Africa. What? Oh, right, volunteering. Fuck that. The world is hopeless. Why bother giving back?

There was a couple here last night that I totally fell in love with - and not just because she was cute and he was tall, dark, handsome and tattooed. They are driving around Africa in their pretty red Land Cruiser/Rover/Something. How awesome would that be??! I totally wanted to hide in the back of their truck.

In all seriousness, I really think it would be an amazing experience. And, it would be very affordable. And, soooo fun. I just need a few co-conspirators.

So, what are you waiting for? Come on! Let's go road tripping across Africa!!!

Travel Blogging, Day 2: Failure

Friday, November 13, 2009
I slept from 8:30pm to 12:30am. The rest of the night I spent lying in bed completely awake, thinking about increasingly weird things, slogging to the toilet five times, staring out my window at the tiny pool, photographing said tiny pool, laughing at tiny pool photos, and then going back to weird thoughts.

I know I'm supposed to be travel blogging...but, I'm not very good at doing what I'm supposed to be doing. Besides, I have nothing travel related to report. I'm so insanely tired. I can barely read my computer screen - I have the font set at "85-year-old cataract patient". It took me 5 minutes to remember the difference between cataract and cardiac. My coffee did nothing. It looks stormy out. And, it's Friday the 13th. I could likely be struck by lightening - or a truck. I think it's best if I just stay in the compound and do exactly what I did yesterday afternoon: read (if my eyes will focus) and stand in the tiny pool.

OK, it is thundering loudly and absolutely pouring out. I'm really not going anywhere. Excellent excuse. Thank you, Mother Nature.

So, since I have nothing better to do, I will share with you some of the odd thoughts from last night. A look into the inner workings of my brain: an exciting and scary tale for Friday the 13th.

I was wishing that I had a USB port in the side of my head so that I could download thoughts from my head directly into my computer. I thought someone should really invent that. I could invent that. I have great inventive ideas. One of which is the corner dishwasher. Think about how great that would be for tight fits in small kitchens. It would look like a lazy susan, with circular turning dish racks and a 90-degree folding door. I've actually given this a lot of thought. The thing that excites me the most is not the fame or fortune that will come from revolutionizing the dishwashing industry, it's the factory. The factory will be designed to look like a giant corner dishwasher. Similar to the basket factory that looks like a giant basket. That exists, right? I remember it from Architectural History class. Or, maybe I dreamed it while asleep at the back of Architectural History class. I can't remember. Anyway, I even have drawings. (Do I have drawings for the $450,000 piece of bare land I've been siting on for 2 years? No. Do I have drawings of a giant corner dishwasher factory? Of course.)

From there I thought about how the more tired I am, the more brilliant I believe my ideas to be. I still remember an all-nighter a friend and I pulled in high school. We were entering the State Championship for some science fair. Our project was on cryogenics. I can only assume my friend teamed with me because I'm fun and creative, not because I had any knowledge or interest in the science behind cryogenics. My only interest was in actually being cryogenically frozen - the sooner the better. (An interest that lasted until the Austin Power movie came out and ruined it for me.) Anyway, it was 2am the day of the fair, we were tired, and we hadn't even started our display. At first we were worried. How would we ever finish? Then, around 4am our lack of progress became hilarious. How funny would it be that we had the worst display on display? Then, when we finally loaded the project into the back of my mom's car at 7am, we were convinced we were brilliant. How could we not win? Of course, once the sleepless haze wore off, we realized the display was crap.

This was around the time last night that I turned my attention to the tiny pool. Why was it so tiny? Was it someone's brilliant 4am idea? Did the architect write the wrong scale on the construction drawings? Did the owner see a photo in a magazine and not read the notice that said "actual size"? Did they run out of money halfway through pool construction? As I stood in the tiny pool yesterday afternoon, I realized I had exaggerated its size only slightly. It's about 8'x12' and the 'deep end' is 4' deep. It did feel really nice, though. And, there were monkeys playing in the trees, so the experience includes entertainment.

All of which brought my thoughts back to travel blogging. In the tiny pool, watching the wildlife, I was acutely aware of the huge cement wall that separated me from the 'real world'. If I wasn't out there, why was I here at all? I could have stayed in Portland, renewed my 24hr Fitness membership and stood in the shallow end of their pool each afternoon...saving time and money. Maybe they'd even paint monkeys on the wall for me. Brilliant idea.


Saturday, November 7, 2009
I'm trying to keep my bag under 15kgs. I can pack four novels or one book of poetry. My beloved Complete Works of Pablo Neruda weighs 2.2 lbs. So, along with all my other Portland friends, I will have to say goodbye to Pablo.

I spent a good part of the afternoon reading over my favorites: Solitude, Suburbs, Love Poem 20, To The Traveler... But, maybe this is most fitting to share with you:


Goodbye, goodbye, to one place or another,
to every mouth, to every sorrow,
to the insolent moon, to weeks
which wound in the days and disappeared,
goodbye to this voice and that one stained
with amaranth, and goodbye
to the usual bed and plate,
to the twilit setting of all goodbyes,
to the chair that is part of the same twilight,
to the way made by my shoes.

I spread myself, no question;
I turned over whole lives,
changed skin, lamps, and hates,
it was something I had to do,
not by law or whim,
more of a chain reaction;
each new journey enchained me;
I took pleasure in place, in all places.

And, newly arrived, I promptly said goodbye
with still newborn tenderness
as if the bread were to open and suddenly
flee from the world of the table.
So I left behind all languages,
repeated goodbyes like an old door,
changed cinemas, reasons, and tombs,
left everywhere for somewhere else;
I went on being, and being always
half undone with joy,
a bridegroom among sadnesses,
never knowing how or when,
ready to return, never returning.

It's well known that he who returns never left,
so I traced and retraced my life,
changing clothes and planets,
growing used to the company,
to the great whirl of exile,
to the great solitude of bells tolling.

-Pablo Neruda

Decisions, Decisions

Wednesday, November 4, 2009
I don't make decisions well.

It's not the little decisions with which I have problems. I can handle a decision about sushi versus Indian. Because, even if I have sushi tonight, there's always an opportunity for Indian tomorrow. It's the big decisions. The life changing ones.

Sure, you could argue that sometimes one little decision - like where to eat - can significantly change your life. The man of your dreams is alone at the sushi counter; but you'll never meet him because you're being rushed to the hospital after tainted tandoori chicken. Those are the unseen possibilities. I'm talking about the decisions we make when we consciously know what we are giving up.

The easiest example is romantic relationships. When we commit ourselves to dating one person, we give up the right to date everyone else. And, that can be scary to a lot of people. (This can also be a part of a larger phobia I have dubbed "The Grass is Always Greener Complex" and have done much research on it with friends, ex-boyfriends and mortal enemies.) But, of course, when you don't commit to one person you are also giving something up. You give up all the great benefits and comforts of being in a relationship.

Now, the flip side is having no choices. Would that make life easier? If we grew up in a culture where arranged marriage was the norm would you really be satisfied? Or, would you just think you should be satisfied?

And, what about the people who get so overwhelmed with all this that they make no choices. That's essential a choice. And, then you're really giving everything up.

So, can we really have it all? No, of course not. And, why do we think we need it all? Is that the curse of American culture? We are so bombarded by choices - usually presented as needs - that we can't make decisions about anything.

It's sometimes hard to distinguish between what other people - whether the media, friends or family - think you want and what you really want. I guess the key to successful decision making is just really listening to your instincts and recognizing when something feels right. And, hopefully, you won't even miss all the things you gave up along the way.

Did that make any sense? Well, it made me feel better anyway.