How to lose a girl in 10 days

I sat in an airport recently, after a long day with little sleep the night before. To be specific, I sat in the bar part of the airport. Completely unsatisfied with how things had been going lately, and inevitably delayed after a stressful day, and a long couple of weeks, I hit rock bottom. I stopped giving a fuck. I mean, I thought I’d hit the “fuck it all wall” long ago, but it felt fresh that night.

Feeling brave, and like I had nothing to lose, I joined a dating app, OkCupid. Sitting belly-up at an African themed safari place whose food identified in no way with any African country’s cuisine, my second caramel apple cider-tini in gave me just enough wherewithal to pull a sloppy, bare-bones profile together with scotch tape. Slap in a few selfies from my Europe trip this summer and voilà: “You’ve got an aesthetically pleasing configuration of hair that humans go nuts over.”

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Brilliant. Up and running. Immediately, people were viewing my profile, and literally minutes in, someone decent chatted me up. Lo and behold, she could hold a conversation. She was actually funny. She was real. Spoiler alert: she just deleted or blocked me from contacting her or viewing her profile on OkCupid, and she blocked me on Facebook, too. Me. Me?! What the actual fuck. To claim the default 5 year old response: she started it.

I’m no stranger to heartache, and have been nursing some wounds which feel fresh but now carry an expiration date long past due. I had to keep reminding myself to be cool, and withhold most emotion, keep it easy, and not be too intense. With being a klutz in real life, I also have mastered the relationship klutziness. There is no ill will or intention. I just really suck at this. Multiply it times a thousand for being lesbian, and trying to get to know a woman. In my favorite words of Socrates, “The only thing that I know is that I know nothing at all.”

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What makes one woman hot makes another one just as cold. No two are the same, so all you can do is be true to yourself. I’ve noted the following in this brief interlude which leaves me with a bad case of the feels on New Years Eve. If they couldn’t help me, maybe they can help you. Or maybe you can just laugh at my tragedy/comedy of errors.

1) Be intense.
I don’t know what it is but people cannot handle my intensity. It’s not on purpose. I’m honest, blunt to a point where it actually hurts. Usually I withhold, or ask questions to deflect. But when I get caught in the headlights, in the throes of an interrogation, it gets ugly. I love hard. I feel hard. I burn bright when someone ignites a flame.

2) Be honest.
Surefire way to lose a girl – when she asks you about what you’re looking for – be honest. Share those lofty dreams of a relationship tall and strong like a redwood tree, around for centuries. Go big or go home. Don’t bog her down with details like you know you have to plant a seed and water it/nurture it for many days in a row before it becomes that tree.

Tell her about the feeling unhappy with your current work situation, but at least being proactive in trying to change it. Share with her the real reason you’re sitting in an airport in the first place – taking a leap at trying to make things better for yourself. Chat to her on the good days, when you’re cupcaking hard and on a roll. Then, chat to her on a down day, when your dark side has floated to the surface, when, as John Steinbeck put it so well in East of Eden, “Sometimes I think the world tests us most sharply then, and we turn inward and watch ourselves with horror. But that’s not the worst. We think everybody is seeing into us. The dirt is very dirty and purity is shining white.” Seeing your dark side will chase her away, probably because she thinks hers is big enough for the both of you, and is equally, if not more, worried about you seeing her own dark side.

3) Answer the question first of what you’re looking for.
And when you expose yourself and what you want first, instead of reciprocation from the girl you’re talking to, instead of a thoughtful response telling you where she is in her life, and what she wants, here’s what you can expect instead: silence. She’s performing a background analysis during this silence, matching it against what she has in her head of her response. She won’t share it with you. She’ll make decisions with this information you’ve provided, and make a call right then and there – well, she will if she’s the smart, no-stranger-to-love type of girl. She’s cautious, calculating, and if you’re lucky she has enough guts to follow through when she tells you she just doesn’t think a romantic connection is a good idea at this time because of your current state of unknowing flux and inner conflict. She won’t string you along, at least.

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4) Be human. In fact, be vulnerable. 
She hates it when she discovers you’re a real person with feelings. Reveal those life experiences, best and worst, that have significantly impacted your life. Give her insight to who you are as a person. And when you’ve already gone and done #3, she’s already made up in her mind how it’s going to end. Maybe she sees you getting hurt and knows you’d be just pitiful so she doesn’t want to break your heart. 

If she sees herself getting hurt, you’re in for a real treat. She’ll spin it around, take her power back, if she was any kind of good woman to begin with, and hurt you before you can hurt her. Keep in mind: you don’t know this is happening.

Even if, like me, you have no intention of hurting them. You’re not a cheater, you’re not a hurter, you don’t want it to move too fast, you never had any power to hurt them. Yet, you still get the kick to the gut. Nice people finish last. Write that down.

In 10 days, I did all of these things. Despite the pain I’d experienced in previous relationships, and the fear of it happening again, I opened myself up to a connection. It wasn’t hard. I’d do it every time for the chance at something real. In the end, it got me a brief “Dear John” note of why at the most inopportune time, even though to me, it was completely premature to cut it before even meeting in person. I did the dance of desperation, trying to contact her to at least talk about her concerns/thoughts, and was frozen out. I tried.

Minus 5 points for stupid me actually smiling and entertaining the thought of new love when chatting to her. Minus another 5 points for believing her when she said she wasn’t judgmental and it was safe to come out, when I indicated I was a bit gun shy. Minus 10,000 points for taking it personally in the end.

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It’s not about you, though. She had something going on in the first place and the light on her taxicab shouldn’t have been on in the first place. Or, the last one hurt her so bad, she had no threshold or time to let it evolve naturally. Second verse, same as the first.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: dating is like being the only cab on the road. I’ve got an empty ride now; I can take a fare. So I turn my light on. There’s no telling when anyone’s light will go on, but the first person to get in makes a big difference in all the ones that come after it. To take the metaphor even further, you get people who don’t tip, pukers, and flat out rude people that force you into a mood of impatience until they vacate your cab. This one got out before we made it to the destination – the ride we never got to finish, that’ll possibly always leave me wondering. I’ll never know. And that possibly hurts more than she thought. Dead in the water, didn’t even have a chance. At any given time, there are so many out there looking for a fare at the same time. It’s blind luck. It’s throwing darts at a dart board, blindfolded.

This time, after she told me I could come out, I was Anna from Frozen, asking if her if she wanted to build a snowman, making contact, reaching out. I sent her little notes, not expecting her to have time for me, but hoping still that she did. She was Elsa, ultimately rejecting me because of her own fear of hurting me, if I give her any credit at all, or at the very least, her having her own shit happening that she was struggling to get a hold of. Either way, I hardly think it warrants deleting accounts and unfriending. When all I did was try. Let it go, let it goooooooooo…

With dating, we all have baggage. The question is whether her baggage goes with mine. I guess I’ll never know with this one. It’s sad because something told me that if she’d gotten to know me a little better, and wasn’t so quick to make a decision, maybe it could have been something good. I don’t get that feeling about many. Luckily it’s New Year’s Eve and I have a pretty damn good excuse to leave this one in 2015. Bye Felicia.

As a side note, it is ok to fart in a taxi if they stop for a yellow light. But I digress…

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Troopers

Well December, like the rest of 2015, hasn’t quite turned out the way I thought it would be. I feel like I got so frustrated this year when things weren’t working out the way I wanted, and every door I seemed to try was closed. I had a great 2 month trip in May and June through Europe, but after coming back home from that, I was infinitely more disappointed with my life. Work took over, and I couldn’t really seem to catch a break. I wanted it to be more like life was when I was traveling. It’s not that life at home was so bad, it just wasn’t that free, happy feeling I had while moving about every 5 days or so, having new adventures, seeing new places, and meeting new people.

December has surprised me in good ways, though. It would be much too preemptive to disclose what’s happening publicly as it’s much too soon, and nothing is official yet. I don’t want to jinx it, and if it ends up not coming to fruition, it’ll be that much harder to stomach if I have to tell people those things didn’t end up happening, again. Maybe the tides are turning, and the doors are unlocking. Maybe I can be satisfied where I am now, knowing things may change for the better in the very near future. So I’d like to bid 2015 a not so fond farewell, and already begin looking toward 2016. As my travel companion for part of my summer trip, Hank Moody (as I’ve affectionately dubbed him for purposes of this blog), used to say, “This is the year of the scrappy dog. This is the year it’s going to happen and come together.” I know we’ve been saying that every year, but I mean it this time.

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I sit back and look out the window to the woods behind my mother’s house in the sticks, with a gray sky and steady rain, hoping it’s washing away the slate for yet another clean start. The rain always makes me happy. It makes me hopeful. It’s never good to get one’s hopes up, but in this case, I need something to look forward to.

I decided to bring Cheddar with me to upstate New York, on 2 plane rides, through 3 airports, as my emotional support animal. He’ll log 2 more plane rides on the way back, and 1 more airport. Cutest little jetsetter there ever was with four paws. He rode along in a mesh carrier with plenty of airflow and soft sides, so he could fit under the seat in front of me and be at my feet the whole trip. He was such a trooper – he can’t speak English. He had no idea when I slipped cat sedatives into a treat and dropped him into a carrier that he’d emerge 12 hours later in a strange place. He rolled with the punches, without being able to ask any questions. Trusting me. He knew he was with me the whole time, as I’d often stick my hand in the carrier and give him pets and lubs. He was a hit with the other travelers, and seemed to calm the other passengers just by chillin all drugged up, slung over my shoulder.

He’s been enjoying exploring grandma’s house, from the fish tank and the new hiding spots, to calmly handling the seemingly endless barrage of family that wanted to meet him and treat him like one of the gang. Fur babies are big in my east coast family. He’s eaten probably more than me, and everyone wants to give him treats and play with him. He’s exhausted and just burrows deeper in the pillows to sleep. He’s been such a good boy though, not getting into trouble. Goo’boy.

I’ve been logging in some good family time while here, since I’m related to basically the whole town of Rome. I caught up with my 90 year old godfather, a veteran of the Korean War. I’ve seen my aunts, uncles, cousins, and had time with my mother. For a quiet introvert, to say I’ve been overstimulated is the understatement of the year. Everyone yells, because they either don’t wear their hearing aids, or because they’re fervent New Yorkers. Maybe people will put in their teeth for an occasion of a family gathering.

I’ve had to bring my work laptop and take some work calls while here, which does irk me. I was assigned two new clients recently, one of which files January 21 in Sacramento, which means lots of commuting in January, and working over the holiday break to ensure we meet the deadline. I’ll be making the trip to Sacramento for 2 days every week in January, logging sometimes upwards of 5 hrs of driving each trip. Not to mention my full plate of other clients happening simultaneously. Screw me, right? This busy season could be one of the worst I’ve had in a while. So this is what I have to tell my teams when I’m stretched too far, and must rely on them to find the answers instead of trying to help them out:

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I head back to San Francisco in time to celebrate a quiet New Year’s Eve back home. I get a few treasured vacation days before my hellish January. I plan to spend them the best way I know how: concocting an optimistic 2016, meeting new people, saying good riddance to bad rubbish I’m choosing to carry no longer, and taking back my life. I said when I repatriated from Australia that coming back to San Francisco was only temporary, and was meant to be a launch pad to bigger and better things, once I stabilized from major life traumas I’d experienced. So here’s to San Francisco in 2016 becoming the Kennedy Fucking Space Center. Major Diana to Ground Control, motherfucker. Over and out.

Wind, sand, and stars

Sometimes I do judge books by their covers. Or in the case of one book I’m reading at the moment, I chose it based solely on its title and author. Wind, Sand, and Stars. By Antoine de Saint-Exupery. The same author who penned The Little Prince.

He was a pilot for France, who flew planes to deliver mail to routes in Africa and South America, amongst other places. He also wrote and what he wrote, well, it comes from an adventurer who couldn’t make up the shit up he’s seen.

But this particular book, well, it’s sort of special. You can tell by the printing, I guess? You can tell the book was translated, possibly in a secondhand granny panty manufacturing facility with no air ventilation by 10 year olds in between smoke breaks. You know, where great ideas are born.

Sometimes, there are zeroes instead of oh’s. There are random 1’s or 6’s which show up every so often in the middle of a word, unexpected. Some sentences just end, like a staircase in the Winchester Mystery House.

Yet some of the translated prose is poetic and powerful, despite looking like it was written by a third grader with the extra extra large crayon.

When I read books, I’m a highlighter. I underline with whatever pen is around me (though the OCD in me wants to use the same highlighter and a patented color coordination shorthand notes system in the margins, with deep, prolific meanings, both provocative and silencing.)

I’ve highlighted tidbits of wisdom in my translated copy of this book, and hereby share my favorites with you.

“… gruff, not particularly approachable, and inclined somewhat to condescension when giving us the benefit of their experience.” – describes some people I’ve had the distinct pleasure of suffering through.

“…looked at us with embarrassing sympathy, as if they were pitying a flock of condemned sheep.” – looking upon on the faces of the new crop of college graduates who join my firm every year.

“Nobody grasped you by the shoulder while there was still time. Now the clay of which you were shaped has dried and hardened, and naught in you will ever awaken the sleeping musician, the poet, the astronomer that possibly inhabited you in the beginning.” – sometimes you need to be the one to grasp your own damn self by the shoulder.

“Nothing can match the treasure of common memories, of trials endured together, of quarrels and reconciliations and generous emotions. It is idle, having planted an acorn in the morning, to expect that afternoon to sit in the shade of the oak.”

“Wind, sand, and stars… a handful of men who possessed nothing in the world but their memories were sharing invisible riches.”

“There exists a quality which is nameless… It is the quality of the carpenter face to face with his block of wood. He handles it, he takes its measure. Far from treating it frivolously, he summons all his professional virtues to do it honor.”

“Never, never in my life have I listened as carefully to a motor as I listened to my heart, me hanging there. I said to it: ‘Come on, old boy. Try beating a little.’ That’s good stuff my heart is made of. It hesitated, but it went on. You don’t know how proud I was of that heart.”

“In anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away, when a body has been stripped down to its nakedness.” As it is also with cooking.

“I was no more than a mortal strayed between sand and stars, conscious of the single blessing of breathing. And yet, I discovered myself filled with dreams.”

“That house was sad for being empty, but none other should live in it.”

“…his over-full heart was quivering on the brim and needed only to find itself back in Marrakech to be poured out.” – There’s no place like home.

“Of what can we be certain except this – that we are fertilized by mysterious circumstances? [In] the story of man’s gropings towards self-fulfillment… [we] learn what happens to man when the scaffolding of his traditions suddenly collapses.” That is when life begins, and there is no safety net. Each decision becomes more important than the last. “The time to hesitate is through,” in the immortal words of the Doors.

“One man in misery can disrupt the peace of a city.” True especially of Paris, of San Bernadino, of so many other countless places on this small world of ours. The left wing and the right wing belong to the same bird. We’re all in the same lifeboat, and the hole at one end impacts us all.

“When they read in their provincial newspaper the story of the life of Basil Zaharoff, master of the world, they transpose it into their own language. They recognize him in the nurseryman, or the pharmacist. And when they shoot the pharmacist, in a way they are shooting Basil Zaharoff. The only one who doesn’t understand is the pharmacist.” The innocents pay the price.

“Nothing had changed visibly, and we ourselves were unchanged. Nevertheless, in that clump of trees someone had just died.”

Ironic, not having an iron

I tend to be more a lover of people than a lover of things. I don’t usually fall for material goods. But I found out today that I really love my living room rug.

First of all, I use the words “living room” loosely. What I mean is that corner of my 419 square foot apartment where the sofa resides, coincidentally facing the television.

Flash back to 2 years ago, in my bedroom in Sydney one Friday, when a lit candle somehow splattered against the wall as I moved pillows to pull down the bed, and the orange scented tealight fell behind the headboard dripping all down the wall and into the carpet.

Luckily, my flatmate in Sydney and I had had just enough Chandon to google how to remove candle wax (and not try our own brilliant intoxicated way first). We learned that if you lay a paper towel or two against the waxed surface, and apply a hot iron, the wax melted, and was absorbed by the paper towels. Problem solved. I tried it that day, and I’m sure he still has a photo on his phone of his crazy American flatmate drunk ironing the wall again. Oh look at that, he did happen to have it, and just sent it my way, approving its use.

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Flash forward to tonight, when I broke out my Christmas present to myself this year, a new Dyson Animal canister vacuum. $300 was well worth no more ginger tabby hair on my navy blue paisley “living room” rug.

After the addition of Cheddar to my one-woman wolf pack, the blonde hair in my apartment has skyrocketed to shocking new levels. Despite his short fur, while the winter months should be thickening his coat, his hair gets everywhere. I bought myself the vacuum just 1 week ago, because I practically couldn’t see the rug underneath all the tumbleweed ginger furballs. My prior vacuum was one you might find in a restaurant to pick up crumbs – upright, 2-in-1 dustbuster and rechargeable cordless sleek design. It sucked at sucking up fur.

I vacuumed my rug tonight with my allergen-removing new toy. I’ve been on a cleaning binge the last few days, because work has been so busy, my apartment has gone neglected all week. When I don’t vacuum after the Cheddar on the regular, shit gets real. It’s looks like Miley Cyrus invited the village of the damned over for a head-shaving party while simultaneously grooming golden retrievers in between buzzcuts.

The unthinkable happened tonight – another candle, this time a glorious balsam & juniper scented holiday candle got tangled in the vacuum cord, and crashed onto the floor. Dark green wax flung everywhere – across the crown molding framing the closet door, the trim, the wall, the hardwood, across the vacuum itself, and across my rug.

Tears. Like the night Cheddar got poop all over my apartment tears. It was Sydney all over again. Here I was, up candle creek, with no iron.

That is right – I never purchased an iron upon my repatriation back to the US from Australia. I looked at it as a flagrant boycott of all things corporate and starched and evil. Wrinkled was pure and real, dammit.

Since I didn’t have an iron tonight, I got on my hands and knees with a butterknife, fervently scraping the wax and probably the top layer of varnish off the floor and wall and rug, probably just making everything worse. I went to vacuum up the last of the loose wax I’d scraped, and knocked the lit candle over a second time, in almost the exact same place, getting fresh wax all over the area I just cleaned. More wax on the hardwood I just scraped with a butterknife, and more wax on my rug. More tears. More scraping. They say there’s no use crying over spilled milk, but spilled candle is a perfectly good occasion to cry. Best break out the wine on an occasion like this. And the chocolate.

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And now, it looks like I’ll be getting myself another Christmas gift. A new iron to clean up my double candle homicide. That’s right – I won’t use it to iron my dress shirts or crease my slacks. I need to buy an iron so I can iron my crown molding. Nothing to see here; move along. I’m just getting the wrinkles out of my wall.

And as for the rug I seem to discovered a new affection for, I’ve already decided I’m getting a replacement if the iron can’t get double the wax off of it. Luckily, IKEA still has it in stock and it’s still below $100.

Sometimes it takes a lot of work to keep something you love from being damaged. Sometimes, shit gets through and spills on it, no matter how careful you are. The forces that be conspire to part the clouds and look down on you long enough to say, “there is a God and He hates you,”and try to hide the beauty of that which you love.

Don’t let it get you down. You gotta do what you can to not let the world ruin your rug.

Said the lesbian. Bwahahahaha.

EPILOGUE

Said flatmate from Sydney called me just after the double candle homicide, and talked me out of my tears by reminding me of some of the laughs we had together. That time we perfected a mac & cheese recipe in Kensington Palace. My giant stuffed panda, Miranda. That time he photoshopped my head onto a baby wearing a Stay Puft Marshmellow Man outfit.

Sometimes friends make everything better, simply by being.

My road to success is under construction

When I was a little girl, my definition of success included being married and having kids, largely because that was what was expected of me. I knew it would make my parents happy, so I figured they were the things to do.

At one point in childhood, being successful meant having a treehouse just for me. It meant I could design a home to my liking, and put a water ride in the hallway to get from room to room, if I wanted.

 photo stairs.gif When I went through my rebellious teenage years, defining my own identity and self, my portrait of success changed. I wanted to be a millionaire. I figured being rich equaled being successful. Again, though, that was based on society’s expectations of me.

I’ve been going through a bit of a renaissance in creating my own definitions of success and what it means to me, right now, at age 34, without legal title to my own home, unmarried, without kids, and certainly not a millionaire. When I compare my life to what I thought it would be when I was much younger, I appear to be most unsuccessful. I don’t have a very clear picture of what success looks like to me right now. I know I want to be happy. So maybe success is happiness? I think that’s part of it – true happiness comes with using the gifts we’ve been given to satisfy a purpose in this life. Whether we’re directly or indirectly helping others, or making the world a better place to live in, we are happiest contributing, and fulfilling a purpose.

I’ve written multiple blog posts on the pursuit of happiness, on life’s purpose, and finding passion. These are all ingredients of an enriched life. I feel like I know what happiness is supposed to be, what having a purpose is supposed to feel like, but I can’t seem to find what they mean for me.

I’m not a failure though. I make my own money. I pay bills; I pay taxes. I’m not in prison or jail. I’m not in a mental institution (yet). I haven’t fully turned into my mother.

 photo whew.gifBut I’m not wholly happy either. I’m just fine, as an only child, lone wolf, and marcher to the beat of a different drummer. I’ve been content on my own, but I enjoy the company of a significant other. I can get by without them… I just don’t want to. But I don’t have anyone right now. No matter how hard I try, I seem to be Teflon for the people I want to keep in my life, and fly paper for those I don’t.

Paulo Coelho, one of my favorite authors, wrote, “What is success? It is being able to go to bed each night with your soul at peace.” Or maybe, it’s what Maya Angelou wrote, “Success is liking who you are, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” Winston Churchill claims, “Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.”

I sort of feel like Churchill was probably closest to it, but that could just be my pessimism talking. Right now, my definition of success likely includes something about not losing hope in the face of all the not-so-great things that happen on a daily basis.

I don’t have a great tweetable tidbit on what success is to me, because I’m still figuring out what success looks like to me, at this point in my life. Success is a journey, not a destination, and not all of this road is paved. I’ve had some hard miles, and I’m sure I look it.

Part of success is sharing my life with someone who cares about me a great deal, and wants me to be happy. I saw a quote yesterday and it’s true, “Some people are so poor, all they have is money.” I don’t want to end up like Scrooge McDuck, swimming in my vault of gold coins, alone.

Success also encapsulates growing and reaching new heights, challenging myself, no matter how big or small. Success is holding my tongue when I really want to rip some idiot a new one with unkind words and a mean spirit. Success is trying to understand instead of wound someone back.

Then I think about who the most successful people I know are. You know what they are? Ducks. They let everything the world throws at them just roll right off their feathers. They just keep swimming and ducking around. They know their purpose, they try new things, even if they fail. How can someone be successful and still fail? Isn’t that a conundrum, a paradox, or an oxymoron, or something like that?

All I know is I rest peacefully enough, though I feel like I’m not. I slept all the way through last night, and didn’t even care when Cheddar sat his little ass on my neck in the wee hours of the morning, trying to find a new spot to cuddle and warm up on me. Yet I feel restless. I’ve had my fair share of sleepless nights, and I imagine I’d still be having them right now if I didn’t physically exhaust myself by hitting the gym daily, and mentally exhaust myself at work right now.

Life isn’t a race, but when you see everyone zooming by you, looking like they’re going somewhere important, and moving quickly, you begin to feel like maybe you’re just treading water. Like they all see a golden snitch you don’t, so you sort of follow them for a bit to make it look like you’re doing something.

I was speaking with someone last week, and I joked about how they had the direction but perhaps lacked the follow-through, while I had the discipline, but lacked direction. Success has to be the presence of both of those. You need direction and discipline. You need to know what you want, and go for it.

Right now, success feels like this far away place, somewhere over the rainbow. One day, I’ll look out across the abyss and see a better me on the other side, saying:

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