Monday, 18 August 2008
I was driving down to my uncle's home in Newark, Delaware this past Saturday, on my way to our annual McTague family reunion. Gee, it feels great to get out of here. I really enjoy being home and have a very hard time breaking away. At the same time, I find that being alone too much is not good. I like being around people, especially family and friends, and usually come away feeling balanced, that is, when I can force myself to break away. Which is hard.
Saturday morning was beautiful. Cool, clear, refreshing, and free from worries or traffic. I was filled with anticipation, as my plans for the day not only included the family reunion, but a drive, later that afternoon over to AC to meet up with Mike for a Bob Dylan concert. Second one this week, thanks to M who always knows who's coming to town. Thankfully, he remembered to invite me. Ah, this is the life.
So. I'm driving down I-295, feeling happy and carefree, listening to my latest favorite radio station, 89.7. After about an hour south, I need to get some gas. I'm somewhere near Moorestown, which is like the boonies to me. I love these little hamlets which dot the Jersey countryside, exit after glorious exit. By now, my station has faded into a Beatles tribute, one song after another without interruption. It's really good and takes me back to strawberry fields of my youth. I gas up, grab some bottled water, some Juicyfruit, and find my way back to the interstate. Bopping along, singing a song. Full tank of gas. Nice day. I just love the open road.
This song comes on. 'Jealous Guy'. I haven't heard it in years. Certainly bitter sweet. Having been through the cycle of rejection more than once, I understand the turmoil of jealousy. I am familiar with the anger and misery and the..ahem... head games, and I can't understand why people who have experienced it, would ever want to jump back into a serious relationship. Like...Why?
The desire and need for closeness outweighs the angst of all those painful memories, I suppose. Worse for me, than having to deal with my own jealousy, is having to deal with a jealous man. Oh no. I'd much rather have a guy who can handle a friendship on less of an emotional level, than someone who is smitten. The full love treatment never sat well with me anyway. Sadly, love leaves me waiting for the other shoe to drop, for the emotional pendulum to swing the other way, and when it does, depending on the depth of my feelings and level of insight, I may wind up behaving in ways I'd never imagined, sabotaging any hope for reconciliation. Unfortunately, the sad and scary thing with jealous rage, is that by the time you realize the impact of the behaviors, the damage is done.
It's just an awful thing to become so entwined with a person that you lose your own boundaries and leave yourself open to that kind of pain. Hammering away at his ID bracelet as you sit sulking on a curb. I know.
So I'm thinking these PMS thoughts when suddenly, and while the song is still playing, my cellphone rings. Thinking it's my mother, calling me back with directions, I pick up without checking the caller ID.
"Hello G.(pause) This is B."
B is a nice guy from Eharmony I had actually met for one date last week, but decided not to continue on with, for reasons I won't go into. He was a very pleasant guy, just not my type. That's OK. I was careful not to lead him on but obviously somehow sent him conflicting messages, something we needed to clear up so he could move on. I understand. Turns out that the man was having a difficult time with the 'rejection'. I told him not to think of it that way. It was a date. Not a commitment, but he truly believed that ours was a match made in heaven, by the people who KNOW bout these things...and that I was just fearful of intimacy. The latter part is probably true, but truthfully, I really couldn't get past our differences, which to me were as big as the Rockies, and deep as the deepest sea. I'm exaggerating, but as M once told me, you pretty much know within the first 5 minutes, and with B, I knew sooner than that.
In the days that followed, B called a couple of times, and each time, trying to figure out what went wrong and how he could fix it. Though initially pleasant and reserved, I grew more annoyed with each call, and less apt to withhold my personal feelings, which would inevitably cause him pain and anger. The last call, 2 days prior, I said something which caused him to explode and I had to hang up. He called back and carried on as if nothing had been said. I just wanted to end it peacefully.
At this stage of my life I am really quite comfortable with my singleness. Sure it gets lonely but i enjoy the simple pleasures. I go through phases where I am open to meeting new people. Low pressure meetings. No assumptions. No promises of second dates. Like fishing around for a keeper without a hook. NO strings attached. More like browsing for shoes. While something that fits and is comfortable doesn't always feel that way at first, there is an initial attraction. A reason why you actually went for them. And after time you know that you know. They take on the imprint and smell of your feet. You put those stinkers back on and it's like your feet are home. Home. These are some good shoes. Glad I found 'em.
Side story: I had a pair of 'Florshiems' once. Bought em in a Jewish shoe store in Lakewood. Florshiems. Back in high school on summer break, me, Angie and Elena worked at this college cafeteria. Georgian Court. That's where I met M's mom. Francis, which is a whole other story. Anyway. We'd get time off between meals and Angie, who knew about Florsheims, was eager to get a pair. I remember her shoes well. She wore them well with her Levi straight legs. Elena's had a seam down the front. She was cool and could get away with that. Mine were seamless and similar to Angie's. Smooth brown leather uppers sewn around a dark brown sole. Man I loved those leather shoes. Kept em for YEARS. I don't know how I ever let those puppies get away from me. ( bark at the moon...awooo) I miss my old Florsheims. I felt a connection with those shoes. It was all encompassing, much like a childhood crush. Perhaps less intense, maybe more like your favorite patched up jeans that you just don't ever want to let go, because you KNOW you're NEVER going to find another pair of shoes or jeans like them, and it's gonna hurt something TERRIBLE to lose them. That's what I'm talking about. Hard love. Don't even talk to me if you don't know what I mean. So like those shoes, I kinda want someone every now and then with whom I can REALLY dig walking around with, but who, like my favorite old shoes, I can kick off from time to time. PMS talking. It's just that I need time in and out of the thing to come to the realization that it's good for me. I have to miss them to know what they mean to me. Back to the caller.
OK. I've been dumped numerous times, so I understand how he's feeling. If this is the story of his life than why it is so hard? Why fight it? It makes no sense to him that I have no interest in leading him on. I can't make him understand. I'm sorry, B...it's not you...it's the 'chemistry'. Bad answer. He can't believe he's not my type. After all those nice things about him. He wants to know why I am leading him on. Oh I hate this. Could I have been any clearer without being outright nasty? I don't think so. I hate being the bad guy.
"Look, I know how you feel. But if you understood the odds of finding a person you click with? Come on. Certainly you've been down this road before. I have. c'mon. Chin up, Bucky. Take the high road. Consider your strengths. Your positive qualities. You are BETTER than me. At least you have no fear. You are handsome and eligible and healthy. Yes, I mean that. YES, I had a nice time. I just don't want to go out again. OK? I know I know...but please understand." Blah blah blah.
Why did I even let him get started? The song ended miles back in Jersey, however the struggle to end this man's blues from my place on the side of the interstate went on until I am left no other option than to insist he not call again.
" But if you don't want to talk to me, why have you been talking to me for half an hour?"
It was as if he was getting paid to keep me on the line...What IS this? What are you selling? I'll buy it. Just leave me alone! His measure of success, I suppose. Using up my minutes. Breaking me down. What do I want, he asks. What do I need? '
Perhaps I just should have lied and told him I met someone. Or hung up. But I couldn't do that. It was as if he knew that he had finally gotten through to the only woman on Earth and he wasn't about to let her hang up on him, at least not without some drawn out explanations,frustration. Emotional exasperation.
Maybe if I had been with his type I'd have been able to shut him up sooner, but the phone stalker type was entirely new to me. Hey, I remember feeling like that years ago, yes, making excuses for a guy's lack of interest, but that was before I read "He's just not that into you". This poor fella needs to read the book.
Finally, at the end of my kindness, and eager to get back on the road, I gave him what he came for. Sorry Kid. Don't fool yourself with ideas about my fears and insecurities. I am not that into you, and after this nonsense, I'm even less into you. Don't ever call me or harass me, Jackass. Click. Ouch. I wonder if it was good for him too.
So there you have it. When cornered, I'm a mean and nasty Cruella. It's not supposed to be this way. Dr. Warren's plan is failing. The pre-dating agreement isn't working. Aw...I can really relate and hope he can move on the way I've had to, time after time.
Internet dating is like being in a shoe store with all kinds of inventory in the back, but and only a catalog to browse though. Dr.Warren is like the salesman who takes your measurements and requests, believes they've got the perfect shoe for you...trust them, and comes back with a huge stack of boxes. They're ALL perfect for you. Take your time. Thing is, shoes don't feel rejection. They just smell bad and you kick em off. Nobody gets hurt. Goodbye Eharmony.