Wednesday, May 18, 2005

how do you guys know?

How do you guys do it? How do you guys know to call or email exactly when someone is at their most vulnerable? Your timing blows me away. Before even the most technology-averse neo-Luddite discovered email and the Internet I was an expert in romantic anguish, but now it has reached new lows.

I received an email from an ex-boyfriend asking, "... are you happy?" Everything preceeding and succeeding that question was a not-so-subtle way of asking not if I was happy, but if I was available. Again I ask, how do you guys know?

I received yet another email from a guy I went to high school with. I barely knew him back then, but I sat next to him at dinner during my high school reunion this past summer. I went solo because X and I were already on the bumpy road to breakup. After five years, we built up a lot of anger and resentment and so I went alone, never even mentioning it to him, didn't ask him to accompany me. Big mistake, but that's hindsight. So this guy from high school, he had the balls to ask me up to his room for a drink while his wife stood less than six feet away from us. To and technology in general - you are making it easier for people to attempt cheating on their spouses and significant others. To Mike, Gil, Paul, Lisa - call off your wives, girlfriends and their sisters because I have no interest in seeing any of you and they can stop with the harassing phone calls and emails. To Zabasearch - I hate you I hate you I hate you!

I met a great guy, spent the most wonderful week with him and he left Sunday for Australia. He is a world traveler, but he'll be back in six weeks - he's making Los Angeles his home. He had an assignment and had to go. Whenever we started to make plans for when he returned, I reminded him and myself, "Anything can happen in six weeks". So F left Sunday night and no matter what happens, I had a great time and he restored my faith that there are really good guys out there. I was making progress, getting over the heartbreak inflicted on me by X and really felt like I was moving on, getting past X and all that residual sadness. Did I get one night of peace? Monday night, every half-hour my phone rings. It was X. I haven't seen him or talked to him since December. Every half-hour he calls, never leaving a message, just hoping I'd pick up the phone. I was facing my first night alone after a week when my toes didn't touch ground. How do you guys know?

I like to think that I finally picked up the phone not because I was curious, because I missed him, or I was horny, but because it was 2:30am and the ringing was incessant. I couldn't bring myself to turn the phone off. I wanted to know how far he would take it. So I finally answered the phone at 3am with, "What the fuck?!" He was contrite, he was pensive, and because he's known me and which buttons to push for six years, he was funny, charming and ultimately convincing. X asked, "if I show up in the lobby of your building in ten minutes, will there be a smile on your face?"

An hour later I'm downstairs in the lobby and there he is. The security guard on duty is the overly-protective one, the one who witnessed much of our relationship's disintegration and how sad I was during the holidays. He was the one who waved F in several nights last week and told me he was glad to see me smile again. He was giving X a hard time, pretending he didn't remember X and wouldn't let him in the parking garage. I asked him to let X park in the garage and he did, shaking his head the entire time.

We're in my living room, I'm sitting there in the dark while X is prone and repentant. He started off well, not noticing (or kindly not mentioning) that I haven't shed my "winter coat", that my sadness over our breakup was soothed by Haagen Daz and nachos from Ye Olde Taco House. He looked great and I veered wildly and violently from hating him to missing him. He launched into his spiel predictably, "I'm sorry... I made a huge mistake... is it too late? Is there someone else?" He begged, he cajoled, he flirted.

When we talk, we don't talk about things that went wrong, and we don't talk about how things will be different. He gets me to admit that I miss him, that I miss elements of us. But too much time has passed and I'm firm in my resolve to not go back. Instead, I think of F, how easy it was to talk and laugh with him, and I remember how much X made me cry. I'm comparing the two and X is coming up short. I'm looking at him with a very critical eye: he needs a haircut, he's sucking in his gut, he's vain and a bit of a himbo, he takes the easy way out every time he can, he is content to coast on his good looks, and more importantly - I don't trust him. Although sometimes his brain's output isn't enough to power a lightbulb he surprisingly understands a joke I make about a book he wants to write. He tells me the groan-inducing title and I quip, "So it's narrative non-fiction." How does he expect me to take him seriously, never mind trusting him? Then finally, the clincher. He uses a very cheesy line that I myself have trotted out in the past and am very embarrassed to admit using despite its effectiveness, "Let's not be sad. Let's be delicious instead."

I'm told the parking garage guys charged him twice the usual rate when he finally left. But still the question remains, how do you guys know?

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