I have always been bigger than most situations. I can handle the cornucopia, the variety and spice. Throw me in almost anywhere and I can adapt, with nearly any type of person. Part of it comes from moving around as much as I did when I was a kid. Florida, Arizona, Washington, D.C., 4 different homes in Colorado, 2 in California, New Orleans and Ohio for college, and then, finally, at long last, to New York, where I’ve lived in 6 apartments in 8 years. When you are forever the new kid you are forever adaptable, or you get your ass kicked. Actually, when you are the new kid, you get your ass kicked quite a bit, but you don’t have a choice but to acclimate yourself.
I don’t understand what it’s like to grow up in one particular place, to know people your whole life, and I would not want to have lived my life any other way. I’ve been so many different places, in so many different situations, and I think it shows whenever I find myself somewhere unfamiliar. I can generally, most of the time, be bigger than the moment.
This past weekend, sitting on the beach with my father and step-mother, I was telling them about my date last week. Just talking about it, running it over, trying to explain what it was like to be out there again. It felt good. I felt charged. I was excited to be back out there.
Until today. This was definitely one of those moments that was bigger than me, or at least I let it get that way. My dad and I were sitting at the kitchen table, I was eating one of his luscious egg sandwiches and drinking coffee. He was asking me about my week ahead.
“We’re starting another close,” I said, “So I think my hours are pretty fucked. But I think we’re going to try and hook up this week. She said to e-mail her on Monday and we’d figure out the week, see if we couldn’t hook it up. I was thinking of calling her tonight, though.”
“You should call her,” he said. And here’s where the problem comes in. Usually, in most situations, we know what the right thing to do is, but we can talk ourselves out of it, or, more to the point, let ourselves be talked out of it by someone else.
“I was thinking about it,” I said, “But I’m not sure if I should. I haven’t been in this thing for awhile, but I thought about it.”
“You should definitely do it. Call her tonight. You should do it.”
So I let myself be talked into it. Calling her tonight was not a bad idea, but it put me outside of comfort, only because, in truth, I actually did want to talk to her. But I don’t know what she thinks of me, if she’s curious about all this the way that I am curious. It puts me at a slight disadvantage, this whole not knowing thing.
I called her on my back into the city after I had landed.
“Hey, it’s Jarret.”
“Hey!” She sounded excited. This is good. I thought this was good.
And so we started talking. She was watching the new Terri Hatcher show with her sister, and asked me how my weekend was, how it was getting out of the city. I told her it was great, that I felt relaxed, that it was just needed. She said she’d gone for a 16 mile run on Saturday, one of her training runs for the New York City marathon in November, and then went out with friends till 4AM. I asked her what her week looked like, if she thought she might want to get together.
“CMJ starts this week, so my week is going to be pretty fucked. I don’t keep my calendar here, but let me get into work tomorrow, check my calendar, and I’ll e-mail you.”
We said our goodbyes, and I just sat there, trying to figure out what it all meant. This is where I wasn’t bigger than the moment. This is where the moment ran me over, leaving the license plate number imprinted on my forehead.
What did that mean? Did it mean, I’m being very kind and telling you I’m busy, now go away? Or did it mean, I’m very busy, I’m telling you I’m busy, let me check my calendar and I’ll e-mail you tomorrow? Why the hell was I so intent on deciphering this last little sentence. I’ve never been someone who just let’s things hang. I like knowing what’s happening, why it’s happening, the ins and outs of all the little things we all might be thinking.
But it left me off balance, uncomfortable. It blew! I stopped myself from calling her back, because that would have been just the stupidest thing I could have done. I should have just let it go, I shouldn’t have called. I should have waited until tomorrow so I could e-mail her, keep it casual.
I wanted to call, and I’m also sort of a rash person. I tend to do what I want to do when I want to do it, and often impulsively at that. But my impulses get the better of me, and what can seem overwhelming at first, after someone has known me for a little bit, ends up being something the women I’ve dated have loved most about me. The fact that I talk about what I think, what I feel, that I ask what they are feeling. That I even want to know. But in the beginning I have to curb this instinct, because it’s easy for me to get excited and grab the ball and run with it before I turn around and realize, people weren’t ready to play that game just yet.
If you are the type of person who thinks all the time, who tends to analyze and think about everygoddamned thing, then you’ll recognize quite easily what I did to myself tonight. You can talk yourself into something that doesn’t exist, especially when you’re shouting in a canyon and the only voice you hear repeating is your own echo.
I’ve been saying something to myself for the rest of tonight. Chill. Just chill. You don’t need to go a thousand miles a minute a thousand percent of the time. It’s okay to not know the answers right now. You’re not going to be above the moment for a little bit because you don’t know the moment right now. So you have to sit back and let come what may, and enjoy the experience of that.
Sleep may not come easy tonight. I’m going to try and let the little seed of doubt go, because I’m just being a foolish, stupid boy right now. And I hate that.
I will get into work and she will e-mail. And she will either want to meet up this week, or over the weekend, or she won’t. And I’ll be okay with either.
I’m the kind of person who reads the end of books before I’ve read the middle. It generally happens about ¼ of the way into the story. I just get fed up, pissed off. I should wear the button that woman wore in The Truman Show. When Jim Carrey’s character was in the library, the girl he really liked was there and she was wearing a button that read HOW DOES IT END?
“You know?” he said, “I’ve wondered the same thing.”
I wonder the same thing all the time. But I will be fine no matter how this goes.
But I’m kind of hoping she wants to meet up again.