Tuesday, August 19, 2008

This and that

A few things I failed to write about…

The other day, I went to an Asian place for a late lunch/early dinner. When I ordered, I pronounced something with an American accent and the waitress/owner (?), said, "Oh, you speak English?" Yes. Then she warned me that what I ordered was "not too hot, inside." I smiled and nodded and said that was fine. I had no idea what she was talking about. Was it that the dish was room temperature rather than piping hot? Not too spicy? When it came out, it seemed sufficiently warm and not spicy at all. Who knows what she meant but the dish was about what I expected.

Also, I said no to a guy. Yes, it does happen. As you may recall, I briefly had a small collection of French suitors. One of these guys was still calling me. I didn't dislike him but I knew he wasn't for me. I stopped answering the phone when he called but he didn't stop calling. I was IMing with Pele last week when he called again. She said I needed to answer the phone and tell him I wasn't interested. I said I wasn't sure how to convey that message in French (he has a little bit of English, but not much). She said I could tell him I wasn't interested and that I've met someone and she gave me these words, "Vous êtes gentil, mais je ne suis pas intéressé par la datation vous. Sans compter que moi ai rencontré l'amour de ma vie."

I took exception to the phrase, "l'amour de ma vie."

Pele wrote, "It's very French to say l'amour de ma vie."

Perhaps, but not very me. Not long after, the guy called again. He asked if I wanted to meet him that evening and I said I couldn't. He asked if he could call me later…or if I'd want to meet another time and I said I didn't think so. Long pause. He asked (in French) if I'd met someone else. Good job random French guy! I said, "Yes." And that was that.

It was a good thing I answered the phone because the very next day on my way to the metro I ran into him! If I hadn't bothered to talk to him, imagine how much more awkward it would have been (don't worry, it was sufficiently awkward).

That's about it. Yesterday, I hung around the house in the morning (per usual) and took care of some business. I took a long walk. I stopped for a coffee and read for a while. I walked some more and I went to the movies. After, I called A. We did not get together--his excuse: work. He said he'd call the next day (right). I wasn't surprised and I was barely disappointed.

I got a beer (my first out in weeks) and wrote a little sitting at a pub-style bar. I took a train about halfway home and walked the rest of the way. On this walk, I caught the eye of a guy, not intentionally--it's an American habit. Well, in France, I've found that if I make eye contact with a guy, break it and then look back, he'll smile and say something. If I continue to retain eye contact, he will approach me. Basically, that's what happened last night, except I made eye contact with a different guy than the one who talked to me. (I'm not kidding! The rival guy actually walked back and forth in front of me and the other guy a few times. Yeesh.)

Anyway, the guy spoke English, he's from Brazil and he was working it. He asked me what I thought of him and I said he was nice looking and he was an operator. I have every confidence that he didn't understand what I meant. He wanted to explain a lot of things to me about attraction. So much so that I actually said, "I've been doing this quite a while and I know exactly what you're talking about. You don't have to explain it to me." It occurred to me that he must have thought I was quite a lot younger than I am to think this was the right approach. Or maybe it's his only approach.

During this conversation, I got progressively sadder. How is it that being hit on by a fairly attractive guy made me miss A. more than ever? If I didn't have an enormous amount of self-restraint or pride, I would have called A. as soon as I walked away from my Brazilian lothario. But, I didn't. Instead, I called Pele. Unfortunately, she was on the run and only had five minutes to talk. Can you imagine? She has her own crises to deal with! Then I called Spesh, who is only one time zone away.

Talking to Spesh was incredibly helpful. He was kind and understanding (and probably embarrassed now if he happens to be reading this). The problem with the kind of emotional crisis I experienced is that it feels as bad as something serious (like, oh, a death in the family) but, objectively, it isn't. I mean, what had happened? Someone I'm casually dating hasn't been in close touch. That's it. No one said anything unkind, he didn't break up with me, and there's a good chance that I'll see him again. Yes, he's blowing me off. Yes, it's quite likely that our engagement is near its end, but it's hardly tragic. Nevertheless, I had a full-blown, pure misery reaction. I hurt.

But, Spesh was good, he didn't give me a hard time about it and we talked it through (though we skipped the details--these problems are always the same and there's no point hashing through every word of every conversation). He said, "You know what the problem is--either he likes you too much or not enough." Indeed. He started to tell me what to do, but I interrupted. "I know what to do: stop waiting. But I don't know how to do it."

Then we talked about other things. I managed to laugh and smile and I started to feel better. Spesh encouraged me to do more writing about anything but particularly about Paris. He wondered if the blog was helpful or not in terms of doing other kinds of writing. He also said that worse writers than me make money doing it--and even make a living writing. (I was very flattered.) Then again, those people are probably more productive than me and actually know how to market their writing.

Before I went to sleep, I felt calm and collected. I knew what I needed to do and I felt like I could do it. I fully intend to go about my business (such as it is) as though I live in a world where A. does not exist. (Sigh.) To that end, I made plans with American friend, Dara, to see a movie tonight. Thereby almost guaranteeing that A. will call. (Sigh.)

I also may just take a break from dating. It seems to be about time.

Grateful for: strong feelings.

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