Zoe Dolan


What I Would Have Missed in January 2018

“Life can be beautifully simple and simply beautiful.”

What’s going on here and where’s the Intro/Table of Contents?

On Monday, January 22, 2018, I would have missed finally succeeding with the code for my first enciphering program. It had me stumped for days and the mistake was — in retrospect — so little and silly. I would miss getting to learn how I learn at age 40 and more about humility and power in persistence.

I can’t really call her a “secret crush” anymore — and also I know that, even if I fall short of being someone she might want to have a relationship with, she is way beyond a “crush” for me now — so I will call her “Don’t Fuck This Up” in hopes that the name will encourage me to treasure her. I would have missed dreaming of Don’t Fuck This Up all day and grasping at tails of the cloud I was still riding from our first afternoon together.

On Tuesday, January 23, 2018, I would have missed a serious of text messages — just a thoughtful and encouraging series of text messages, you know, wishing me luck with the GPU situation for my little mining experiment, which I’ve been posting about and discussing with helpful friends on FB — from Don’t Fuck This Up. Is this what normal looks like? I would miss finding out. I would have missed talking Dad through our upcoming project to pare down his possessions and endeavor to get him ready for the next phase of his life, and him asking me for guidance and advice — and, astoundingly, me being able to provide it. At the spa, I would have missed a woman with green fingernails and red hair approach in the shower area to admit that she has felt bad for three years because — did I happen to remember? — she once took a picture of me and my ex-boyfriend The Handsome Musician under a bridge in Pasadena along the Arroyo Seco Trail… but then she lost my card and so never e-mailed the image.

On Wednesday, January 24, 2018, I would have missed managing to clear all the issues with my motherboard and adjust BIOS properly — and, after two or three weeks of puzzling over stuff — getting the fifth GPU on my rig to work. OMG. What gratification. I would have missed helping a client and taking care of business on some cases and more or less making progress in work generally, and feeling that, no matter what happens next, I have given life a shot. I would miss wanting to keep trying.

On Thursday, January 25, 2018, I would have missed, after so much learning and effort and so many miniature successes and failures along the way, getting to see this:

I would also have missed knowing inside that this undertaking will help me through the emotional dip I am experiencing, and that all this, too — for better or for worse — shall pass.

On Friday, January 26, 2018, I would have missed an invitation from a woman I met at Consensus last year — to collaborate on a crypto security webinar. Because life is life and the world works the way it does, our conversation when we first met revolved around how a major hack might affect the influx of new adopters — and now, eight months later, here we were reconnecting several hours after the Coincheck hack — which apparently has been the largest theft in crypto history so far. I also would have missed heading out to Palm Desert to help Dad organize things and coming across a picture of me and my brother that many family and friends on FB remembered, too:

Also I would have missed Don’t Fuck This Up texting me that she had dinner up in SF with a friend from LA and “mayyyyyyy have talked about” me. She’s so fucking hot.

On Saturday, January 27, 2018, I would have missed challenging some bullshit at the Continuing Legal Education seminars I slogged through all day — exposing a tech presenter who had no idea what crypto and blockchain and decentralization are, despite their bearing on everything she talked about — and talking with colleagues and exchanging a few personal confidences and appreciating how crucial it is to remain vigilant so that life might not, even in the best of circumstances, culminate in a moment like the one featured at the top of the stairs at the lawyer party I dragged myself to at some swank Palm Springs house:

I would also have missed all that stuff just sort of fading away as I looked up at the moon and stars shining in an open sky:

On Sunday, January 28, 2018, I would have missed the desert mountains as I drove home to Los Angeles. I would have missed how they remind me of the Sinai and being young and excited to be living in Egypt for the first time while exploring the world with eyes soft and hungry for more. I would have missed trying to muddle through Dad’s situation with my brother. It is not good. But we are doing our best and I would have missed being on the other end of the phone so that neither of us has to go this stretch alone. I would have missed a nice big plate of vegetables at Whole Foods and a warm night to enjoy eating outside — and the taste of the apple I treated myself to for dessert, and also the figs and cup of hot tea I had before bed. I would have missed struggling after a very rough weekend because it is these experiences, I realize now more than ever, that render pleasures all the sweeter. Can I also just say I would have missed wearing my turquoise and blue top to that law school board luncheon and meeting thing earlier in the day; the outfit I chose — and maybe the oomph I wore it on top of — made me feel kind of pretty.

On Monday, January 29, 2018, I would have missed the Guatemalan guy at the car parking service say Hello to me with a twinkle of recognition in his eyes, and getting to sit in one of my favorite seats — 4D — on the way to New York. I’d have missed starting to read the forthcoming report from a judicial committee reviewing the Criminal Justice Act (which I’ve been challenging as unconstitutional on behalf of my clients for two years now). The goddamn report fucking vindicates everything I’ve been saying this entire time in the Judges Run Amok project. Such validation sure felt good — even though I know it will ultimately prove meaningless and nothing will change. But, still, I am so proud to have fought for these issues, and to have gone down trying to do the right thing. I would have missed walking into my apartment in New York and receiving the reassurance my home gives me every time. I will be so sad to have to give it up as all my dreams go swirling down the drain — but I will never miss the memories that I’ll always have.

On Tuesday, January 30, 2018, I would have missed walking through the East Village on my way to Whole Foods, where I enjoyed a nice, hot, tasty and healthy meal. I would have missed a subway ride that zipped me right up to 23rd Street, a pleasant jaunt through brisk air to the movie theater and A Fantastic Woman (which I was lucky enough to see for free!). I especially would have missed having secured a complimentary a ticket for my theater buddy, as well; he has, really, been responsible for nearly all our outings and comps and often treated me to things over the last ten or so years we’ve been seeing things together. I would have missed how many gay men piled in to see a movie about a transgender woman in Chile, and how much society has been changing for the better, and how swiftly. Oh fuck did I fall into such a sound sleep in my bed here in New York — so far away, so close, so safely distanced, so right in the middle of everything I ever dreamed of. Meanwhile, I’d have missed having some fun with Neeraj on Twitter with a meme I made:

On Wednesday, January 31, 2018, I’d have missed getting on top of some work duties and the invigoration that flows from achieving dominion — however fleeting — over external factors. I’d also have missed receiving my tenth legal retainer in crypto — and being able to donate to Coin Center again. I’d have missed learning that the Beautiful Young Man With Long Hair at the Baths previously worked in a hospital in northern Michigan and was preparing to take the MCATs when he decided to move to New York to pursue modeling and acting instead. I’d have missed the sweat on his body, his smile, and his laughter when I admitted that, now that I am massively crushing out on a woman, I suddenly understand all the hullabaloo about breasts. If I had not been here on this earth to tell him that I believe I was able to feel my heart pounding when I went to collect Don’t Fuck This Up on our date because — for the first time in as long as I can remember — I did not have to bookend with a friend for safety reasons, he told me that he sometimes feels the same about going to shoots solo. I would also have missed his fist bump when I mentioned that I taught myself how to build a computer and am learning to code — not just because being a beginner at something opens me to new things but also because the exercise generates altogether new ways of seeing. He really seemed to respond to that idea. I also would have missed sharing my hopes and insecurities about Don’t Fuck This Up with the Extraordinary Facial Bone Structure Guy, whose eyes — as usual — almost hypnotized me as we spoke. Both these people in my life are 25. I’d miss their cynical, cutting-edge youth and vigor.

On Thursday, February 1, 2018, I would have missed descending into some U.S. Supreme Court case law that made my blood curdle. I saw — all of a sudden, with clearer eyes than ever before — how profoundly ingrained racism has been in our “system of justice.” I saw — all of a sudden, with clearer eyes than ever before — how deeply the tendency of courts over the past century to conspire against Constitutional rights for the purposes of efficiency has cut into principles that judges once upheld. I saw — all of a sudden, with clearer eyes than ever before — how overbroad our criminal law is, and how insidiously that characteristic has infected American jurisprudence. In this fashion, my belief in the importance of my work was restored. I would have missed this perspective almost as much as a hug from the Elfish Architect slash Proust lover at the Baths — I closed my eyes for a split second into the feeling of his chest against my exposed breasts — and an introduction to his poet friend.

On Friday, February 2, 2018, I would have missed getting through a bunch of stuff for work — just, you know, methodically proceeding through shit and completing tasks there was no real reason to wait on anymore. What a stark contrast to the day prior, when — even though I wrote about how subversively inspiring my research turned out — the truth is any progress at all was blood from stone. I would miss this sensation of being on the cusp of something — and yet of not knowing quite what. And, how could I forget that amidst it all I received my first payout from mining ether?

On Saturday, February 3, 2018, I would have missed a heart-to-heart with Don’t Fuck This Up, in which I learned that she cried at the end of A Little Life, too. I would have missed discovering how my instinct that she harbors reservations over the long-distance thing has turned out correct, and working to overcome that obstacle. I’d have missed baring myself as who I am. Oh, the reality of living in a dream!

On Sunday, February 4, 2018, I would have missed a week of hibernation climax into drama and personal transformation. At dance class — where it was so astonishing to be a part of an experience that involved people ranging from their 6s and 7s to 60s and 70s — I’d have missed Ariel (who reminds me of every Israeli I’ve ever crushed out on) playing a remix of Dreams by The Cranberries that turned me into a puddle on the dance floor, crying over these last two decades of life on this earth that I have lost to Time and Memory. Dolores O’Riordan’s recent death a couple of weeks ago had the same effect on me. Goddamnit. I’m telling you: I would have missed dancing through all this savage beauty right up to pondering what I wanted to convey to Don’t Fuck This Up — just as must as knowing what would happen when I did and so therefore preemptively opened myself up to someone else — a guy I’ve felt an attraction to for a few years now. Seva is his name. He clasped my hand three times longer than normal, and I told him he has the most beautiful skin I’ve ever seen on a human being. He shared about how he was pushing through fear and vulnerability right now, as well — and I reciprocated with how Dreams had taken me back to the Middle East when I was young, for, as you know if you’ve read my other stuff, I learned Arabic and ventured over there to live among Arabs for the same reason. I would have missed smiling a Goodbye to him, so I could retreat into an unoccupied ballet training room on the fourth floor, where, sitting on a chair amidst the emptiness, I wrote to Don’t Fuck This Up:

I hope you are feeling better this morning. Look. I want to be physical with you because I like you — not the other way around. If I liked you because I wanted to have sex with you, then you would already know. I meant everything I said about wanting you to feel safe and am more than happy to wait — or never do anything — if that is what you prefer. You should also know that my attraction to you is way more than physical and that any physicality derives from emotional and intellectual desire. Think about it: interacting with a woman in this way is totally out of character for me. It hurts a little that you might ascribe anything but pure motives at this point — but I do understand. So let me say this. The most compelling moment of our first afternoon together was when you expressed relief after finding out I am a dog person. True, that pleasant surge inside was electrifying in part because I finally knew I might be lucky enough to kiss you. Yet the most compelling moment of kissing you was not so much when you lunged over the armrest to make out some more after I picked you back up from the airport — although that sensation was extraordinarily hot — but rather several moments later when you touched my hand for the first time. I would have been just as happy just holding hands with you. I would have been just as happy just being together and learning more about you. For me, our friendship is already more than enough — although I am unafraid to tell you I will say yes to more (even if “more” really carries the wrong connotation because being friends with you is already more). I feel no shame in being true and open about how you make me feel. And I’m sure you must know that the most compelling moment of getting to know you so far has been discovering that, even beyond sharing an affinity for some of the same books or whatever, we also treasure those types of experiences for similar reasons, in our own individual but fundamentally common way. You must also know I would never want anything other than the very best for you no matter what happens between us. I realize I overwhelm you a little and I regret that problem — it’s a character defect of mine and a lifelong project that I’ve been making progress on and fucking up for quite some time. I hope you will continue to see past it. There is something of a struggle in remaining patient and allowing life to unfold. But I trust your heart to tell you it’s worth the risk. Thank you for letting me in. Talk later. XO

I would have missed her calling a few hours later to pull the plug on everything and the emotional tailspin it sent me into. But I would have missed that tailspin precisely because, shortly thereafter, I began to rebound — mostly, I think, due to how this project has rearranged me inside and calibrated my reaction to things. Out of curiosity I delved into a love e-mail I wrote to a guy 19 years ago:

Just before we met I stood in Times Square watching the snow swirl about in the lights. Despite the wind there was calmness in the air — or at least I felt the serenity within me and it was so strong it made the world seem tender. As soon as we saw each other I wanted to kiss you. A part of me says it was your eyes, another your smile, another just the moment itself. There were forces at work. Now, sitting on the carpeted stairs of the theater lobby, I feel them.
Perhaps the best way to express love at first sight is to experience it. A destination can be reached in many ways, and there are many journeys along each way. Or is there only one way, after all? We believe in choice until we suddenly have no choice — a situation which may be more beautiful than we ever imagined. Do you believe we can know something, ever? We might have a good argument over that because I don’t. I barely believe that you are real, that you could continue to be real, and that the feelings I already have are not being tossed out into the void of fate and chance that gives us, every so often, our illusions.
I know that I want to share with you. Looking into your eyes gives me something I yearn for always: hope. The clarity of your expression… The height of your energy… Your soul is strong.
Writing these words almost scares me. But what really does scare me is the idea of missing an opportunity with you. I suppose it’s best to move gradually, and with deliberation. But I want to be with you so much. When I close my eyes I can see your lips right before we kissed, in the subway station at 50th and Broadway, yesterday, the last time I saw you. I also see you bending over the server in the Com room, then looking up, smiling at me. I still feel myself standing next to you, gazing at the moles on your beautiful, edible neck, bugging you to kiss me while you finished up your work. And I get [excited] thinking about how we could not stop kissing each other in the street, under the umbrella, nearly falling over each other into the snow.

What struck me over the next several hours — and particularly as I shared about it with friends at the Baths — encapsulates in a thought I just tweeted:

yesterday I got creamed in love again
I compared
my last love textstorm to her
with a love e-mail to a guy from 19 years ago
they could have been the same
all these years
I have loved
in the same way
seen love
the same
felt love
the same
love has remained unchanged
so have I

On Monday, February 5, 2018, I would have missed realizing that I stood up against being manipulated — even if she didn’t mean it — and took control of my life to live the way I want and fuck the rest.

On Tuesday, February 6, 2018, I would have missed waking up to the fog in Los Angeles — those mornings always remind me of home. I have so many homes in the world now, yet the first one will always remain the first even as life adds other keys to more. I also would have missed being quoted in a CoinDesk banner article about the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs hearing on cryptocurrency:

The day ambled eventually to a like two-hour call with My Dear Friend From College — which decimated my plan to spa for a while at the Club and blew right through my dinner over at Whole Foods, as the laughter kept coming and coming. I love when life gifts me with a heartful conversation right when I need some faith restored but have no idea how much.

On Wednesday, February 7, 2018, I would have missed Ryan Selkis, Meltem Demirors and Michael Krieger RTing my initial take on the Senate hearing:

Yeah so I would have missed walking a good friend through what it would take to: (1) start a business, and (2) raise money by issuing tokens as securities on a blockchain. We have such extraordinary technology here — but people really have yet to understand how it works and how it can revolutionize business and fundraising for all the world. You know, I really would miss feeling closer to the heart of it all every day. And I should also mention how much I would have missed seeing Bloomberg cover one of my crypto clients — I am so proud to be working with such extraordinary and cutting-edge guys.

On Thursday, February 8, 2018, I would have missed stepping into the other side of the looking glass — where a tweet of mine became Financial News. My bullish quote appeared in a Barron’s article. Weird. Meanwhile I would have missed standing up to an Assistant United States Attorney on something — and prevailing. It’s the big/little things — it always has been. Check out this eye-catching, colorful mural in Central LA that depicts the President’s head as a pale turd:

Another thing I would have missed was going to the doctor for a routine check-in, bloodwork, etc. — I want to always remember how important it remains to stay on top of my health and take care of myself because life is so precious a responsibility.

On Friday, February 9, 2018, I would have missed squatting down on a hill and running my hands through the grass during my morning jog. I only thought to engage in that activity because of this project, as I caught myself wondering what I would remember from the day and wanted to take that feeling — whatever it was going to be — with me. Oh shit — I almost forgot: I stumbled toward the light of a philosophy of being that involves two lines of inquiry: first, what we might be able to change in ourselves v. what’s ineluctable; and, second, how changing our behaviors might impact who we are to begin with. Human existence seems like a process of becoming an improved version of the same thing — continued iterations, or possibly variations on a theme — in an interplay between mind and matter. Our minds comprise both spirit and character, and character arises out of relationships with matter that matters above anything else: other people. Also, I sure would have missed CoinDesk featuring one of my clients in a prominent article.

On Saturday, February 10, 2018, I would have missed wondering, Why do we call them blades of grass when they feel so soft?, and, Did I fall for Jimmy and I Fucked That Up for what they represented rather than who they are? Yet the attraction welled up so real! Whatever. In the afternoon, I would have missed making out with an FB friend (whom I apparently met on Tinder last year? — a Short Cute 40-something Indian Guy) in the parking lot of a bowling alley in the Valley. Delightfully, bowling morphed into an experiment in necessity breeds invention inspired by that old muscle injury in the middle of my right lat: but for that problem, I would have missed discovering I bowl a better game with the “weak” side of me! From what I could gather, I made fewer errors that way because my left hand didn’t know what it was doing, and, as a virgin, exercised both more care and more openness at the same time. What. A. Fucking. Life. Lesson. Afterward, I’d have missed the Short Cute 40-something Indian Guy come at me with his lips. I’d have missed his hand clasp the back of my neck and his body press against me. And to think the day got going over a conversation with a cashier at Food4Less — she complimented the color of my eyes and my only response was, “Wow, I was thinking the same about yours.”

On Sunday, February 11, 2018, I would have missed scoring three goals at water polo and taking a bike ride through the mountains above Malibu.

On Monday, February 12, 2018, I would have missed a heart-to-heart with My Dear Baby-faced Lawyer Friend ranging from I Fucked That Up to recent experiences of his (at our favorite sushi place, where I’ve been going for their salmon options ever since I started exploring a possible life here in LA five or six years ago or whenever the hell it was), and the 2000th person to follow me on Twitter.

On Tuesday, February 13, 2018, I would have missed feeling proud of some work I am doing on behalf of an indigent client. I also would have missed interacting with some guys on Crypto Twitter — a couple of whom DMed me. Which is a good reminder: I would miss things looking up from time to time; it’s always so nice when they do. To be sure, I also would have missed soldiering through some more weirdness with my mining rig — and hoping, fingers crossed, that this time I have made progress on achieving consistent and smooth functioning. Doubtful. But on we go: I would miss being in flow. It sure was nice to say, What the hell, and swing by a friend’s place for “Galentine’s Day” — where I spent an hour with some women talking about stuff and sensing that I am less alone than I sometimes allow myself to believe.

On Wednesday, February 14, 2018, I would have missed rock climbing for the first time.

On Thursday, February 15, 2018, I would have missed going back to Red Rock Canyon for my first multi-pitch climb.

As we ascended this 750-foot rock face, I’d have missed talking about life and love with a high school friend, and, on the hike back to the car along a trail illuminated by our helmet-mounted flashlights, talking about vaginas, boobs, penises and crypto with her and her husband. During the short drive to Red Rock Casino for dinner, I would have missed delving into things I think neither of us shares much with other people, and wondering where the fuck the last quarter of a century went, and knowing in my heart how lucky I have been for over 40 years, and thinking, After scaling a mountain I feel like I can do a lot more now and I want to be alive.

On Friday, February 16, 2018, I’d have missed getting to wake up in Vegas and go for a little walk!

On Saturday, February 17, 2018, I would have missed a chat with that beautiful Virgin America flight attendant who is a friend of the gay guy from Charlotte, North Carolina whom I talked with on my December 2 flight. She recognized me! I also would have missed tweeting back and forth with a guy I’ve gotten to know a bit through Crypto Twitter and stumbling upon cryptoqueer:

cryptoqueer is for autonomy and self-possession in an increasingly conservative and traditional gender modeled society
cryptoqueer is for informed, mischievous and playful subversion of the economics of sexuality and human relationships
cryptoqueer is for fun

I would miss the feeling of oh-shit-I-think-I’ll-go-with-this.

On Sunday, February 18, 2018, I would have missed reading through the initial month of this project for the first time and taking a stab at a prelude slash introduction for the online phase. Gosh am I nervous. I would miss these butterflies in my stomach — the uncertainty of whether such an idea could fly. I looked into a man’s eyes at dance class as part of our closing exercise in “telling one of our truths” — and, wouldn’t you know it, we both ended up sharing about how we had struggled to “get there” during our respective dances, but fell just short. I would not have missed missing the mark that way — though of course I would have missed connecting with a nice-looking, laughing stranger. I got to walk home in sunshine after the prior night’s snowstorm, almost all remnants of which had already disappeared except for vanishing traces in the park, and have coffee with a potential crypto client — aww, synergy! — and smile at the coffeeshop owner whom I’ve had a bit of a crush on for 22 years.

On Monday, February 19, 2018, I would have missed another hug — and another kiss! — from the Iron Man Guy at the Baths. I mentioned that I was thinking about relocating to Seattle — upon which a guy from Seattle materialized and talked about life there. Shortly thereafter I mentioned 5Rthyms — upon which a guy materialized and talked about his love for 5Rhythms. I adore how the universe works. On the way home, I would have missed calling One of the Loves of My Life just to heart hear his voice… and finding out why he’s been trying to get together for the past couple of weeks: after all these years, he’s finally met a girl who appears to be The One, and he wanted to talk about it with me. How I would have missed the watershed of emotions that came cascading as I listened and gazed up at the paintings I made of us together from our trip to Mexico when we fell in love. Out of the entire conversation, what I probably would have missed most is finally being let go — and at last coming to accept that, even though I’ve been saying for ages that I regret giving him the best years of my life, he was in fact the perfect choice — for I know without question that he, of all people in the world, will remember me at the peak of my beauty forever. I would have missed saying to him that what happened to us is there was just too much love — and it could not be contained. The following morning — today, just before writing this entry — I checked my diary from right around this time eight years ago, when he first left New York and we tried the long-distance thing until it all went to hell. Sure enough, I had written those exact same words, about too much love. Oh, my God: I am free!

On Tuesday, February 20, 2018, I would have missed chatting with the cashier at Trader Joe’s in Brooklyn and bantering in Arabic with the Yemeni at Sahadi’s who bagged my frankincense for me. Life can be simply beautiful and beautifully simple — if only I open my eyes to see. I also would have missed spending a couple of hours at the Baths that just flew by with a CoinDesk Editor who strikes me as gorgeous in every way. I would have missed when the Bearded Anarchist Banker joined our conversation about bitcoin in the Russian Room and when the Extraordinary Facial Bone Structure Guy showed up and hit it off with the CoinDesk Editor and we all talked about sex.

I was just about to write that, on Wednesday, February 21, 2018, I would have missed a normal, quiet day. But then I realized that I started releasing this project in the afternoon — and thus I would have missed an altogether new exposure of what’s inside that feels beyond anything I’ve ever even imagined before.

Next chapter

If this project speaks to you, please feel free to donate in crypto. Thank you for reading.

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