It’s Not Worth It

They sat across from each other in the booth – I brought the coffee over and sat next to her.  I was a little stunned – I did not expect him to be there.  She didn’t say that he’d be there; I expected it to be just us.  I don’t know how I looked to them – I didn’t have the strength to feign gladness, and used what little energy I had to keep my mouth shut.  She rubbed my shoulder, and it felt good – but it didn’t light me up like it usually did.  I had a “good angry” going on, and I wasn’t about to let it go.

For the next hour they talked as if I wasn’t there.  I managed to chat a bit about an introvert/extrovert question from work that day:  “You have a birthday coming up, and you have an unlimited amount of funds.  How would you like to celebrate it and how many people would you like to be there with you?”

I answered, “Out to dinner with one friend” – which may sound sad to all you extroverts out there, but is in fact one of the more pleasurable things in this introvert’s life.  He thought it was a sad answer – there was genuine pity in his heart.  I didn’t expect either one of them to get it – by this time I really only had two clear thoughts:  1) why the fuck is he here? and 2) why the fuck am I here?  I don’t know why I didn’t get up and walk away.

The arrangement was so uneven that it wasn’t worth being friends.  I listened to her way more than she listened to me.  And it wasn’t just the time – it was the content, too.  I don’t know if she’s a superficial person, but there were definite limits to what could and could not be discussed.  When I was hurting, I wasn’t in a position to talk to her about it.  That isn’t who she is.  And that made my hurt that much worse.

From her point of view, people should keep their feelings to themselves.  Public displays of affection are verboten.  It explains why I didn’t have any “deep” emotional conversations with her – she may have been feeling lots of things, but they were private matters.  You might argue that our friendship lacked the trust it needed to share those kinds of things – and you’d be right.

Marc Maron says something like “you don’t really know whether you’re in a relationship until someone gets hurt.”  Because it’s exactly those moments when you realize that the relationship you have with someone is not a casual thing.  We were friends – emphasis on the lowercase “f.”  Now I’m looking for someone who isn’t afraid, not just of my feelings, but even more importantly, of showing and sharing theirs with me.

What Breaks YOUR Brain?

I’m kicking myself for at least not trying to chat with the woman who was sitting maybe twelve feet away from me but left the room maybe thirty minutes ago.  I’m not sure if she’s gone for the day or not – still have a little less than four hours remaining for today’s free “write in” – but I’d be lying if I said she wasn’t on my mind right now.  Tall slim brunette, around 40?  I can never tell, especially when some people take such damn great care of themselves.

I like pretty (beautiful? gorgeous?) women – sue me.  I spent a huge part of my life trying to ignore that – otherwise, women will obviously think I’m just another one of those superficial men who care only about what a woman looks like, not who she is.  Frankly it took me a long time to allow myself to even look at women, for fear that she or someone else might catch me “gawking” at her and call me out about it.  And even before that, I shared the feeling with Jimmy Carter (and the Bible, I guess) that whenever you look lustfully at a woman, you commit sin in your heart.  I wanted to respect women, even though I had no idea what that really meant.

I’ve resolved the matter at least a little bit by believing that you respect others when you get to know who they are and, regardless of whether what you come to learn pleases or displeases you, you accept them as they are.  And I think that works in nearly every area of life, except for one:  sex.

Sex is the brain busting puzzle of my entire existence.  Being raised Catholic didn’t help matters, of course – in what other religion can you have so little information about sex and still wind up with so many kids being born?  Although, come to think of it, perhaps that’s EXACTLY what to expect with so little information.

Six of the seven boys in our family went to seminary.  The one that didn’t go is married (now over forty years, with three kids, four grandkids).  The next six boys:  married, then divorced (and now deceased), priest, married (two kids, nearly forty years), never married (me), married (two kids, twenty years), and married (two kids, thirty years).  My three sisters:  never married, married (one kid, now divorced) and married (no kids).  What did they figure out that I (and maybe my older sister) didn’t?