Saturday, 3 November 2012

So, is it "ask and you shall receive" or "askin' ain't gettin"?

Diva and I have bonded over the fact that on the one hand, things are out in the world for your taking, and on the other hand, there are people and situations that like to play keep-away with you.

Right now, I'm dating someone who is truly generous and kind. It sounds great, but let me tell you, it takes some getting used to.  How am I supposed to transition from relationships where I felt like I was some inconvenience to the guy to being in a relationship where he actually wants to know how I'm doing? The answer, of course, is to transition as gracefully as possible.

Due to some health setbacks and subsequent pharmaceutical intake this year (doctor-supervised, of course), I have only some fuzzy memories of dating before now, but unlike the pictures, which have faded, the feelings are still with me.

One of my exes (Tim), who is a good guy in all fairness, called me up a few weeks ago.  He was traveling through town and wanted to meet for lunch, so we did. It was the first time he'd ever driven to me. In all the time we dated, I always had to go to his house.  Given, his truck was twice as expensive to gas up as my car, and I worked in his town anyway, so I was already there all the time, but it was always up to me to go see him.  (In time, he became too immobilized to send me a text or call; our dating relationship kind of evaporated.) Contrast this with my current beau, who got on a plane to come see me.  He rented a car, booked a place for us to stay in a beautiful town by the coast, and showed up.  Excuse me, what? Men are capable of doing such things? Yes, apparently they are, when they are motivated.

Once upon a time, when I was dating Iceberg, I tried to hang on to a dying relationship by moving closer to where he'd relocated for work.  It wasn't a total disaster... well, as far as our relationship went it was, but I had other things and people there so there was somewhere I could turn for fun and friendship. Instead of being greeted upon my arrival, he angrily talked into his phone about how he had to work the next day and didn't have time to come see me.  He didn't invite me to come see him, although I had nothing to do for the week before school started.  He didn't want anything to do with me.  I don't remember if we had any awkward encounters or not after I arrived (blame the pharmaceuticals) but I remember feeling very much turned away.  We were kaput a few weeks after that.

His roommate, whom we can call St. Adam because he was just that nice, said to me when the relationship was falling apart, "This just isn't right.  If my girlfriend were here, I'd want to spend time with her. I'd get off the couch and leave the video games alone.  It comes down to... social skills." St. Adam was the first person to use the phrase "social skills" in regular conversation with me, but he wasn't the last. I sent St. Adam a present when he got married; I'm sure he is a great husband. He called me to say thanks, and when I asked (out of obligation) how Iceberg was doing, he said, "Oh, he's right where you left him, playing video games on the couch."

I knew how to pick some winners, but of course they never started out that way.  I had more than one person say to me that it was my own lack of imagination,  my lack of asking for what I wanted, that was the root of the problem.  The reason why I kept attracting these lame guys was because I just didn't have the imaginative capacity to know what it was like to be with a good one.

Now just because I can't give you an exact description doesn't mean I won't know it when I see it.  I fell IN LOVE with my car, for example, the first time I saw it; had to have it.  If you'd asked me the week before what kind of car I wanted, would I have described it exactly as it ended up being? No. That's the issue I have with all this mumbo-jumbo.  I've met a few friends over the course of my life who've made an instant and great impression on me, and as I got to know them, I realized how easy it was to spend time with them, and how loving and cool they were in return.  I didn't go into those situations with mental images or drawings of who I would meet or having rehearsed in meditation what it would feel like to meet a great person. I showed up, and there they were.  I think that's really simple.

And then we have to tackle the opposite issue.  If "ask and you shall receive" works so well, then what about "askin' ain't gettin"? I borrowed this from Gone with the Wind; it's one of my favorite movies. Excuse me, I am not a world-famous novelist married to a rock star, having retired from a madcap dancing career as a Radio City Music Hall Rockette. That is the only future I envisioned for myself when I was younger. Sure, maybe I could have been an actress instead of a Rockette. Perhaps I could have ended up with Daniel Craig instead of a rock star.  But you get the gist of it, right? I didn't think beyond 1) having a glamourous life and 2) what life would be like after age 35.  But there you have it- here we are. My life is not glamourous. Up until recently, I spent time dating guys who were incapable of sending a text or making a phone call after a few months of dating. The torpor would take them over and they'd just kind of get sucked into the couch or whatever.

And I'm left wondering, does it come down to the raw materials? Some people stand the test of time and others don't.  It's not a judgment, just an observation.  Some relationships grow out of a mutual desire to be friends, to know each other better, to spend time together.  Others that don't need to be weeded out over time. Now, I don't mean to sound high-maintenance about it, as in, "I just can't work under these conditions!" But sometimes, you just don't have enough raw materials to make something.

And sometimes you do.  But now the lesson I have to learn is, what do you do when he actually wants to be a part of your life? How exactly does that work?