Sunday, June 17, 2007

24 Hours

Last week, I had a 24-hour span where entirely too many things went sideways. In the grand scheme of things, they weren't life-changing experiences, but the confluence of events was enough to make me want the world to stop for a few minutes so I could catch my breath.

Generally speaking, I roll with the changes. I tuck my head down, plow through, salute the flag and drive on. "Don't mean nothin', not a thing." But sometimes, it would be nice to have a heads-up, even if it's a fortune cookie that reads "Wear a cup tomorrow. Trust me."

Long story short:

Good, but not great.
After talking with a great girl, we finally met for an evening and had a good time together. I may have built it up too much, she may have built it up too much -- but I can't escape the feeling that it's not something I'm interested in pursuing long-term. It's not anyone's fault, it simply is what it is. Good chemistry, but not great. Fantastic person, I just wasn't feeling the vibe that it could be something. And if you're going to try work something out together, especially at a distance, you have to feel like you're working toward something.

Point of no return
My most recent ex-girlfriend (we'll call her "Q")and I are still friends. She's a good person, and I wish her the best. Really. But we lived in two different cities, and a couple of months ago she told me she wasn't interested in a relationship at a distance. She left the door open for getting back together in the future, potentially the near future -- though obviously, there were no guarantees. I didn't expect my stomach to drop to approximately ankle level when I checked her MySpace page at lunchtime and noticed her status block had been changed from "Single" to "In A Relationship." I wasn't necessarily surprised to see that she'd moved on (after all, she's fantastic, pretty, smart, and just moved to a newer, larger metropolitan area -- they don't stay on the market long that way), but I wasn't expecting to feel gang-tackled by reading the news.

My friend JL bugged me to just admit that I loved Q and move forward, but since I couldn't say it without pangs of doubt of varying size and severity, I didn't want to say it at all.

(Q, on the other hand, technically said "love you" once in our six month term of "Official Relationship," but I don't really count "drunken New Years texting" as a declaration of love, and I never reminded her of the event. Did I miss a memo, or is drunk-texting that sort of thing considered an official notice now?)

At any rate, I suspect that I can officially close the book on Q now. She's a good gal, and deserves someone great -- someone apparently other than me. I think I'd have absorbed the news better from a short personal note than from noticing it on MySpace. She certainly doesn't owe me anything, but in the interest of continued friendship, it would've been a nice courtesy.

But my stomach bothered me for the rest of the day, in a way that neither Tums nor whiskey can help.

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda: Ten Years Later
In related news, the reason I surfed MySpace that day in the first place was a completely out-of-the-blue MySpace message from my Favorite Ex-Girlfriend Ever, MM. I hadn't heard from her in almost nine years, and it had been ten years since our breakup.

Editor's Note: Calling it a "breakup" would actually be charitable. In the interest of full disclosure, I ended things after three years with the most fantastic girl in the universe simply by not calling for a couple of months. Yep. I was that guy. Totally. I'm still kicking myself.

Anyway. I still haven't stopped kicking myself for a lot of reasons as far as MM goes. At age 22, I was young, foolish, and had an emotional age of about 17, which is why I didn't cherish her like I should have. At age 19, I'd met a woman of unparalleled character, conviction, kindness, brains, beauty, and tolerance (hey, she put up with ME...). The problem was, I didn't have enough experience to figure out that they didn't grow her on trees. Now I have the perspective to know how rare those things are... and I've figured out that by the time I find someone that rare again, they'd developed the sense not to date me.

Or they've done what MM did, and married guys who liked to do all the things I didn't. I'd followed MM's career occasionally -- because that's why Google was invented. We'd lived in the same state for a while, but I never tried to contact her, because it would just create buckets of awkward, which would then be dumped over my head like green slime on Nickelodeon.

But she looked me up, and I'm glad she did. Getting her message made my day brighter, on a day where I needed it desperately. She's happy, and lives out west like she always wanted. She does good work, and loves what she does. She's married (of course), and her life is going along swimmingly. And of course, she's extra super smokin' hot. Not that she ever wasn't, but the years have been exceedingly kind to her.

I'm reminded after all these years that she's still pretty much my hero, and I never let my membership lapse in her fan club. I just stopped carrying the membership card around, because it hurt too much. I think sometimes I need to be reminded of my seemingly limitless capacity for foolish decisions.

At least I have my health, right?
On top of that, I spent the afternoon at the doctor's office, getting poked, prodded and scoped. And now I get to have CT scan of my head and chest sometime next week. I have no idea what the issue is, and even less an idea of how to fix it. As to its nature, let's just say my future careers in karaoke, freestyle rap, or as a circus ringmaster are in jeopardy.

Let me sum up....
My nightcap developed into dashed hopes. I spent my coffee break with the Ghost of Relationships Past. Lunch was punctuated with a side dish of sudden closure. And by dinner, I realized that my voice may be permanently damaged.

It's easy to think that I should've stayed in bed. But tomorrow, the alarm is going to sound again. And I'm going to answer it.

And move forward.