Monday, October 31, 2005

Love is Not Enough

I broke up with my boyfriend this weekend.

He came down on Friday night to pick up his truck, which had been in the shop since the previous weekend. (The clutch had failed - for the second time - in 34,000 miles. And no, it's not the way he drives.) The whole situation sucked so much for him, and I hated to pile more on... I didn't see any sense in making his overnight stay uncomfortable, or (more likely) inspiring him to drive back in the middle of the night. So I decided the least I could do was wait until the morning and do it over coffee when he was leaving anyway.

But I wear my heart on my sleeve most of the time, and as I was starting to fall asleep (after I told him I didn't feel like having sex) he guessed at the situation. "Do you not want to do this anymore?"

We had been together since April, after two years apart. Before that we were together for four and a half years. I left him that time, too - packed my shit and moved two states away without even telling him. I'm terrible at initiating confrontation, and he's terrible at accepting ideas that are not his own. He had to call me up to discuss being broken up with last time, and this time he had to bring it up in the first place. But seriously, I would have done it- like I said, I had a reason for the timing.

So of course he couldn't accept it, even though I was saying some of the same things to him that he had said to me the previous weekend. He brought up all the ways that he had changed and how hard he was working to make me happy. He asked me why I wasn't willing to work that hard. He told me I was running away, again, and brought up other examples from my life when I had done the same thing. He's right about that; I've given up on a lot of things in my life - but I don't feel like that's the case here, at least not in a bad way. There's a difference between giving up on things because they are hard vs. because they are not right for you.

He said he didn't understand where this all came from, and told me I was unfair to not discuss things I was unhappy with until it was too late. It's true that I'm not the greatest at communicating the negative, but I've gotten a lot better than I used to be. I actually have discussed things I was unhappy with all the way along... He apparently did not take these things seriously because I did not indicate that these things could destroy our relationship. Well first of all, I don't make threats like that, nor do I think it's appropriate to do so. He stopped doing this to me at my request, so I'm not quite sure why he expected this behavior from me.

In my experience, it's not often one thing that destroys a relationship, but several, or even a long string of little things. I don't usually recognize that something will ruin the relationship at the time, so how could I possibly know to say so? And why does it take the threat of losing me to take me seriously, anyway? These things build up over time, and all the while they are merely irritating or hurtful... until suddenly they build up to the point where it's unbearable. It happens in an instant. I hit the wall. The other shoe drops. It's the straw that breaks the camel's back. Confusion becomes clarity, and the message is clear: Get the hell out; this man can never keep you happy in the long term.

While he was here he fought me on it. He tried to get me to change my mind, to keep trying to make this work. As he drove home he realized that I was right. This in itself is an example of why we struggled so much as a couple. Our communication styles are different, I guess, and he often does not give what I have to say a real chance. He reasons with my words until he seems to have proven I'm wrong with logic... in a way I can't refute, but still do not agree with. This whole process takes a while, and it's indescribably frustrating and infuriating. He talks... a lot. And he'll keep on arguing the issue until the fight is completely gone from me. At this point a good hour or two is down the tubes to a really unhappy time. Then he'll turn around the next day or the next week and change his mind to agree with me. Sometimes he'll say I didn't explain it well enough, and he misunderstood... but I suspect he either was not listening at the time, or his alpha-male ego prevents him from even considering the possibility that he may be wrong until later.

I'm totally trashing him here, and there's two sides to everything, so keep in mind that there are plenty of things that I do wrong, too. For example, my frustration during these "discussions" gets my tone pretty nasty at times. That's not exactly a plus for getting people to see your point of view.

The thing is, I love him very much. We just don't get along well enough to be together. Relationships are supposed to hard, yes, but not THAT hard. We both deserve something happier and more peaceful in our future, and I have a feeling the many things we've learned from each other over the years will help us acheive that.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

A New Twist to an Old Game

We used to get a lot of junk in the mail. We still do, I guess, but since the dawn of internet-spam I guess there's not so much. I remember my mother getting annoyed with this. It got to the point where she really could not stand it. She started stuffing it in postage-paid reply envelopes, and sending it back, so to speak. This could be the only time I've witnessed my mother not only seek revenge, but exhibit joy in getting it.

Clearly she was not aware how far she could go with this.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

New friends

Just as I'm getting ready to leave town, I've started to make some friends here. We can't do much about the timing of random events, I suppose.

It all started last month when I caught the train to NYC for my sidewalk adventure with Jere. I ended up in amicable conversation with two guys sitting nearby, each of us traveling solo. One of them, Chris, said he lived in the same town as me. Chris is an easy-going sort; he's out for a good time, and he doesn't try to be anyone but himself. I really appreciate that in a person. Chris gave us beers from his backpack, and the three of us drank beer and chatted about whatever came to mind as the train chugged along to the city. The other guy, who's name has escaped me simply because I haven't heard from him since, got off somewhere in the Bronx, and Chris and I chattered right on to Grand Central. We exchanged numbers, and he told me where he could be found most of the time, a little dive bar not terribly far from my house.

A couple weeks ago I was feeling antsy. Maybe it was the balmy weather that itched me to get out and about. Monday night football was on, and since this little dive happened to be a sports bar, I decided to check it out. I hadn't heard from Chris at all, so I was just taking a chance that he might be there... I don't mind being by myself, but it's always nice to have people to talk to. I didn't see him right away, but when I sat down at the bar he stuck his head out a few chairs down and recognized me, and then introduced me to his two friends, both of whom he had mentioned on the train. One of those two was already not too fond of me, I'm pretty sure... unbenounced to me, he had already visited my blog and been offended by something I wrote, and frankly I should say rightfully so - but I shall address that some other day. He didn't say much but the rest of us had fun discussing this and that, mostly sports stuff, which as you know I do love to discuss. The bartender, also Chris, turned out to be pretty cool and Jay is more knowledgeable about sports than myself - something I can really appreciate, and Chris's father, also a Chris, showed up at the end of the night to bust his son's chops.

I've been back to the little hole a few times since, and have met some really nice people. Mostly guys - not too many chicks hang out in sketchy sports bars... Wonder why? I get hit on quite a bit, despite having made it pretty clear that I have a boyfriend. That's alright; I suppose a man's gotta give it a shot, anyway, and no one's been too aggressive about it. I'm sure the three Chris-es would be there to help me out if I ever had any REAL problems. I have no intention of cheating on my man, whom I am fairly serious with, and I keep things light and friendly. I buy my own drinks (best to keep it that way, I think) except for the occasional picked up by the bartender, and sometimes a shot or two from Chris. I must give props to both Chris and André, both of whose poker winnings I have benefited from in some small amount...These two are the sort who make a girl feel safe through their genuineness of spirit. Neither puts on an act nor creates an expectation; some people are just good - and that makes them good to be around.

One night I ended up smoking a bowl out back with a couple of people whom I had not even met, invited randomly because my oversized cardigan and don't-give-a-shit demeanor gave me up to be a stoner, I guess. Later on I ended up at the diner with Chris, chattin' over BLT's and cheese-fries with gravy. "You're kind of quiet tonight," Chris commented. I wasn't sure what he meant; I had certainly not been silent. "Well I am stoned..." I say to him. "Oh I don't mean it in a bad way, " I think is what he said. "You're just usually all over the place. Tonight you're actually staying on topic." He seemed a bit embarrassed after saying this, afraid he had hurt my feelings. On the contrary, I'm glad he said it.

I wasn't sure how to interpret it at first. I'm still not all that sure, but I've been chewing on it for awhile, and it's giving me some insight on a few other situations. I have very strong opinions, and also the strong urge to express them. I don't always (ahem, often) think about whether people want to hear it, or if the venue is appropriate. I don't mean to, but I'm sure I offend people with that, and chances are I do it a lot more often than I think. I guess I can understand why people might decide even if they like me that I'm best in small doses.

Funny how clearly I think when sober, and how clearly I express my thoughts, and yet...It's when I fuzz things up that I realize where that expression may be inappropriate. Here I've been thinking that it's good I haven't had any smoke lately, and now I check myself and realize that no- the self-reflection I gain from it can keep me in line, or at least help me realize when I'm off of it.

Also funny how you can struggle with understanding something your whole life, only to have it pointed out unknowingly by someone you've just met.

Finally, Folks, I can fill you in

Several people have asked for an update regarding my housing situation. I have not been able to do this, as things have been very much in the air. Early this week I was informed that my parents had accepted an offer on this house for the asking price, with a closing date of November 15th. That fell through. Real Estate is often affected by the chain reaction; somewhere along the line someone cancelled a deal for who-knows-what reason. The seller in that deal is therefore forced to back out of another deal where they are the buyer. And just repeat that last sentence over and over again. So anyway, the people who's offer had been accepted had to back out as a result of their own deal falling through, which could be their fault or someone else's eleven degrees away in Schleswig, Iowa - who knows.

By Tuesday there were several offers on the table, including one asking for a closing date of November 7th. I don't know how many of you reading this are familiar with the process of buying a house... I have never purchased one personally. I have, however, seen others go through the buy/sell process, and from what I've gathered it is pressing the envelope of realism to go for a closing date one month away; six weeks is usually a safer estimate.

Meanwhile if the house IS to close in mid-November, I need an apartment for November first. Apartments rarely lie empty in the area I am moving to - the liklihood of finding a mid-month place is slim to none. Plus this area is 3.5 hours away from here, so if I need an apartment for next month, I need to look NOW. As in this weekend AND next. I was a tad panicky about this situation. Also I was frustrated, as it does not seem to me either realistic OR necessary to close mid-month. I didn't want to rush around to get this place and then find I really didn't need to.

I asked my father to make a decision by Friday, mid-month or Dec. 1st. Because of one of the offers they are interested in , they've decided to work toward the Dec. 1st date, greatly simplifying my situation. So now I've got a bit more time and flexibility in regards to finding a place, and time to move some things up slowly as well, possibly eliminating my need for a rental truck. And so I sigh in relief. Being pressed for time like that stresses me out; I like making decisions carefully. Having the time to do so helps me look forward to a new chapter in my life...

Friday, October 14, 2005

This is not the crisp Autumn air I was looking for...

I raked my driveway today. Oh, yes, I realize in this age of technology that the preferred method of leaf removal on driveways is the "leaf blower". Trouble is, after eight straight days of near-constant rain, leaves don't fly. So there they have collected, day after day, sticking to the ground wherever they might fall, until only small specks of ashalt were detectable by eye. For several days I have had inklings of concern as I turned up the hill... can tires slip on wet leaves?

Raking was only marginally effective. I can see a majority of pavement now, but it's not obvious that I have cleared it off recently. Some are stuck quite firmly to the ground. I was not about to get picky about it; wet leaves are heavy and require some effort to move along. The street is lined with trees, and as I got closer to the bottom of the driveway, the layer of covering slowly thickened. With more leaves there was also more water collected, and some areas had enough of a stream, once I started moving it, to help me move things along. By the time I got to the street, nature's carpet was waterlogged to the point of mush... I was reminded of the dregs at the bottom of a bowl of cornflakes.