Thursday night, in the interests of leaving town the next day, I went out for drinks with Pele and some new blog friends. It was a good time, but the bar was the one where Tim and I watched football games. It's also next door to the bar where I last saw him and it gave me the heebie-jeebies. The chances of seeing him were slim, but they were a lot higher there than almost anywhere else I could go. There were tons of guys at the bar in his same military profession and at least one that looked enough like him that if you saw him out of the corner of your eye, you might think, "Is that Tim?" Pele had just such a thought and told me so. I said, "That guy's been scaring me all night." I stood strategically behind a large post so that I could see who came into the bar and I could hide. I enjoyed the privacy of the post most of the night.
Thus, it was not the most relaxing, carefree evening. I managed to tell a funny story about Tim as though he were in the distant past. But then one friend said, "I don't think he's back with his wife." Another friend agreed. And I felt sick to my stomach. Really sick. Like back when I first met him and would think about how he was separated but not divorced sick. It is super annoying because I haven't been thinking about him. Going to the old haunt brought him to mind, but I could handle that and it was fine. I was fine. But this business about him not being back with his wife. I can't handle that at all. So, dear friends, STOP SAYING THAT. And I promise to never, ever mention him again. Ok, not really, but you know what I mean. I'll tell a funny story, you'll laugh, and then we can talk about something else. Like, the guy who had a kissing "side" or the speed dating thing you want me to sign up for or my trip to New York. Anything else.
On Wednesday, Spesh invited me out for drinks with some friends, but I turned him down, with regrets, because I had to go home, clean up, do laundry, set up my new wireless router and make brownies. (Three out of four accomplished that night.) When I visit my uncle in New York, especially around this time of year, I bring him brownies. He loves them, doesn't bake, and he's very appreciative. Spesh had me on the phone a couple of times on Wednesday. He read from a list of cities in the US where he may apply for a job. "What about Provo, Utah?"
I said, "No."
"You would not be happy in Utah."
"But it's a real school."
"Maybe, but the only place you could live in Utah is Salt Lake City. Trust me."
"Ok. What about Middletown, Connecticut?"
"I used to live there. That's ok."
"Isn't that the school from the movie with Julia Roberts?"
"What? No. That was Wellesley. Wesleyan is in Middletown. Wellesley was an all girls school."
"I think it's co-ed now."
"But they do sound the same. It's easy to get them confused."
"I think anyplace in Connecticut is ok. It's civilized there." Spesh said.
This is what it's like on the academic market. Most people apply for dozens of positions. It's possible to apply for hundreds. Spesh already sent the applications for his top picks (I don't know how many--between 25 and 50). Now he's sorting through a list of another hundred openings . He was going to apply to all one hundred, but he decided that it's too much. He's trying to narrow down using a few criteria: geography, quality of school, and likelihood of getting an offer. The likelihood of getting an offer is inversely related to the quality of the school and the desirability of the location. A crap school in a crummy location is most likely to make an offer (unless they think you're too good for them, then they won't waste their time with you). A crap school in a good location is the next most likely. Then a good school in a crap location. A good school in a good location is the least likely, because they can command the top prospects. It's brutally competitive and if you didn't graduate from a top ten school and get a glowing recommendation from your advisor, you are pretty screwed.
"What do you know about St. John's in Queens?"
"I applied for a job there once [only because it was in New York; I didn't have a chance]. It's on Utopia Parkway. "
Who wouldn't want to work on Utopia Parkway?
On Tuesday, Ian dropped by again. His visit was very short, and, as usual, it coincided with lunch time. I had just finished eating a sandwich, so the interruption was inconsequential. He wanted to tell me was that he'd had a date on Friday, they had a good time and he saw her again on Sunday. And they're emailing. I said, "Beginner's luck, I guess. That's great."
He shrugged his shoulders, "I don't know. We'll see." He smiled.
"Well, you have to let me know how it works out." Oh, please don't let me know. Please.
"See you later." He smiled and walked away.
I told Pele, "So he's not interested at all. I don't get it." Yes, that's right. I don't like him, but now that he's all happy and dating I'm jealous. I suck.
"He's interested in being interested."
"I have no idea what you're talking about."
"Look, he likes you, but he can't ask you out because of the separated thing. But it's not going to stop him from dating."
"And it shouldn't. And I don't want to date him. Argh."
"Whatever you say."
Grateful for: friends and funny stories.