Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Maturity is overrated

Today I was in the mood to write something insightful and thought-provoking, something that would provide food for thought and fodder for conversation.

I was going to quote Thoreau as a starter, and riff on the quote, creating a sermon of sorts on my beliefs and life mottoes, thereafter castigating all mankind for not recognizing the evil that is in all of us and admonishing us all to rise to the occasion of goodness and mercy that is within us all to effect.

Then, after one or two false starts at sermonizing, a blinding flash of insight seared into my consciousness, rendering my fingers unable to restart my self-important preachifying, and speaking thusly to me: "People don't want to read that crap! People want to read about farts and burps and things you did that caused you embarrassment! People want to know what it is about YOU that makes them feel better about themselves!"

And so, I threw Henry out the virtual window of my virtual bedroom (an aside: he was there because he's a sexy sexy man with all the quoting and whatnot, and who doesn't like a man with brains AND publications and a sense of moral indignance?) and turned myself 180 degrees toward you, gentle readers.

Herewith, then, is a story of yet another of my quirks, another example of just how much real life is a discomfiting place for me to live. Sit back, and enjoy, for you could have been subject to much higher moralification than this, and thus you should thank your lucky stars I'm always thinking of you.


When I was in my fifth year of college, I was dating a fellow I'll call Marc (because that's what his name was, and he doesn't read this, and so ha-ha I can too if I want to call him by his real name).

Marc was a tad younger than me, by, oh, about 3 years. No matter, he was tall and had a moustache, which met many of my criteria the time for a likely bed partner. We'd started dating the previous year, and had lived in the same apartment over the summer while we both attended summer school (me to get my organic chem classes out of the way; him to, um, I don't remember).

Over the year or so that we had dated I had met his family - Italian Catholics from Connecticut who looked askance at me, the blond Protestant, very likely despairing for their son's soul should he keep on with my particular brand of heathen. I had visited his grandmother in the old-folks' home, during which visit I was instructed not to speak directly to her lest she get upset. I had listened to his music (John Prine and The Grateful Dead, which was a sacrifice because I was more a Laurie Anderson/Prince/Syrogyra kind of girl) and coached him through a lip-synch contest and loved him as best I could.

But I was clueless, and as the relationship began to fall apart I hung on much too tightly.

I hung on when we didn't see one another for days.

I hung on when he didn't call me to go out.

I hung on when someone told me he was becoming "really good friends" with another girl (a girl I later despised with the power of a thousand rabid ferrets).

And then, one day, I cornered him in the science building stairwell and told him we needed to talk.

About what? He asked.

About us, I said.

I don't think we should be seeing one anymore, I said.

I didn't realize we were seeing one another at all, he said.

Oh, I said. I don't recall us breaking up or anything.

Well, I thought you'd get the message when I stopped calling you, he said.

At which point my heart sunk straight to the bottom of the earth, my soul cracked open, and I think I may have experienced a moment or two of hysterical blindness (or was that blinding fury? One wonders).

I had been so very stupid. I had thought that the breakup signals would have been more clear. Maybe a fight, maybe a note, maybe a phone call? I hadn't read between the lines to see that he'd left me behind already, and had started in with another girl.

So very very stupid. Put me off men altogether for a couple of months, it did.

Several months later, when I was working at JM's (now closed) as the deli manager, we got a takeout order from Marc and the girl (who looked a great deal like a mole, complete with squinty eyes and protruding nose. Why he dumped me for her I'll never know, except to suspect that she must have given extraordinarily good head or something). Well well, I thought, well well. Here is my chance to get back at Marc-with-a-"c", the fiend, the cad, for making me feel so foolish!

And so, in addition to the lettuce and tomato and jalapenos on his "Rat" (a sandwich made with 4 kinds of cheese and herb mayo, then toased), he also got a big ol' honking gob of my spit.

"Eat frrrraish, you bastard!" could have been my cry, but instead I quietly wrapped up the cheese and spit sammich in white butcher paper, handed it to the delivery guy, and felt very very good indeed.

So.Awfully.Mature, don't you think?

And yet, so very satisfying.


What would YOU have done, in the same circumstance?

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