Thursday, February 10, 2005

Notes of All Sorts

My dad let me know that, apparently, my hometown dentist has just confessed to killing his wife with a pair of scissors. No shit. The guy's been my dentist for over a decade. Go figure. Small towns. Happy relationships. Psychos.

More reasons why I don't date.

In other news, Yellow - of all people - suggested we stop by Borders before the meeting, and I did pick up my much-wished-for Greenday CD. It's a damn good CD. He also sought relationship advice from me about some woman he's been pining after. I told him I'm bad at relationship advice. I'm surprised to hear that he called her "a real smart girl" at least twice. I should have bet he was actually drawn to smart women. He has three or four sisters, all of them high-powered, quick cookies. One's a psychiatrist, one a lawyer or doctor or something, or maybe one a doctor and one a lawyer. They'd be cool to meet.

He admitted to being hesitant to suggest restaurant choices to take her out to, because she lives around the Loop downtown, and pretty much knows every place like the back of her hand.

"Well," I said, "Why not just owe up to it? Why not just tell her, `hey, this is something you do better than me, would you mind picking a place?"

"You mean, instead of trying to be the guy?"

"Yea... no offence or anything, Yellow, but you're kinda bad at it."

"Is it that obvious?"

I'm reminded of lunch that day, when he mulled around the foyer of the restaurant we were at, indecisive about whether or not we should wait for Sarah to finish her cigarette before we sat down, or to sit down and wait for her inside. I gave him about five minutes of mulling around, talking aloud about what would be best, before I realized he was doing what Yellow does, and I went up to the hostess and got us seated. Indecisiveness drives me nuts, at least until I know how the dynamics are gonna work. If I'm with somebody who hates making the call, I'll make the call, but I tend to default to thinking they'll make the call. Can be annoying, until you figure out the dynamics with the person you're with.

"I just don't like telling people what to do," he said.

"Yea, well."

"I mean," he said - baiting me again - "on dates I'm totally decisive. I tell her where to sit and where to stand."

"And what to wear and what to eat," I said, "and then you wonder why you don't go on more dates."


The problem with hanging out with Yellow is that I've avoided him so much the last year that he's not used to me harrassing him, so when I do, it sort of sideswipes him.

As per the usual, he spent some time baiting me - and for once, I finally gave in and started baiting him back. Talked too much about politics. I drew way back on that one - he's moderate-to-moderate-conservative, so I had to ease off. It was fun. Enjoyable trip. Crappy, useless meeting, but fun chatting with Yellow and Sarah. I love working with these people.

Realized again, after spending time harrassing Yellow, how great people are... and how many men there are in the world just like Yellow; pushing 35, looking for wives, families, picket fences. Ready to settle. Slow down. Cozy jobs. Nice people. Funny, how it's almost like he's sort of looking for somebody to fill a role; actively seeking "a wife," someone to have kids with. Actively looking for the picket fence. I often forget he's a decade older than me because I'm not sure what, exactly, he's done with all that time. Got married and divorced, apparently. And worked a lot. Raced motorcycles. That's about it.

We had a very long trip to Indy, and during the downtime, after we dropped Sarah off and hit some crappy traffic, we got to talking about his racing, and my book writing. Apparently, there are racers who race for "contingency money" - which means that if you win a race wearing/using the products of a company like Suzuki or whatever, then that company will give you X amount of money for winning a race using their gear.

"So," Yellow said, "has anybody ever asked to be a character in your book?"

I laughed. I know Yellow. I know where this is going. "All the time. Though, not since high school."

"So, would you make me a character in your book?"

"You know, you're just the sort of person from high school who would have asked me that question."

The guy who hangs half with the stoners, half with the preppy kids, the one who finds me interesting enough to talk to, but is way too fearful to date me. Yep. Met a million like him.

I wonder what he'd think of being a "character" in my blog....

"What's the title of your book?" he said.

"Which one? I guess the latest in my series is called Over Burning Cities."

"Over Burning Cities?" he considers this. "I'll write the name of your book on my bike, so that if I win, you'll get the promotion."

"Do I have to pay you contingency money, or just make you a character?"

"Well, it would help if I was a character in your book..."

The idea of Yellow writing the title of one of my books on his bike - for whatever hypothetical silly joking reason - is one I find strangely endearing.

And at the end of the night, when he dropped me at the train station, I realized that I'd finally let myself just enjoy hanging out with this guy. I hadn't worried too much about speaking my mind or making fun of him back, because I realized, for the first time, that I wasn't worried about him hitting on me.

Not that I'd mind him hitting on me - I just never trusted myself before to turn him down. I didn't want him to ask, I didn't want to be nice to him at all, to interact with him too much, because I was afraid that there were enough things about him that I liked that I'd try and force something to work with him, because I worried I was too picky, too cynical, that I was turning perfectly good people away.

And yea, Yellow's a good guy. He's got a passion. He's cute. He has nice shoes. He looks very good in cargo pants.

But I'm not crazy about him. He's an Alaska Boy type, meaning I have affection for him. I think he's funny. I like to harrass him. He's the sort of person you're friends with, not the sort of person you're drawn to. He doesn't light up my day. I don't feel a huge pull. What I feel is that he's the sort of guy I'd be settling for. Somebody who was almost, maybe, OK, "He's nice, but he doesn't read books. He doesn't think like I do. I don't connect with him about anything. We look out at the world and see absolutely nothing in the same light. We have way different paths we want to take with our lives."

He wants kids. A wife, a woman to fill a role. A picket fence. He's lived in Illinois his entire life. He will die here. He loves this life, this simplicity. And I respect that, and I enjoy hanging out with him. But there's no life I could build with this person.

And it's funny, because there are so many people in the world, and so many guys like Yellow, guys who are funny and nice and simple, and I've been accused of turning them away, of not seeing them, of being "too picky." And it's funny, because so far, I'm lucky: I'm 25, not 35, so not too many people are trying to force me to settle for somebody who's second, somebody I'm not wild about, somebody who's simple.

If I can find these wild, crazy, brilliant friends, I hold out hope that I can find a lover or two who's just as wild, crazy, brilliant, and inspriring. I think that when something's not right, you know it. And when it's right, you know that too.

And Yellow is fun to work with. And I won't be a bitch to him anymore, and I can say "hello" to him first now. I'm not afraid of what I'll do if he ever says, "So. Valentine's day. You're single. I'm single."

Cause I can just say, "That must have taken a truly decisive mind to figure out. Where are the structurals for site XXXX?"

And we'll move on.

As it should be.

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