My name is Alex. My world is water and mud. Once I saw the sun. The light bringer searching for an opening in the cloud cover. As the rain fell, each of us in our own way was flooded. It was hard to know who had more grounds for complaint: me, or everyone else.
Actually, it’s very clear that I have no business whining about a few overcast days of constant drizzle when Texas is drowning and California is cracking from dehydration. I’m sure Walt Whitman – who was born 196 years ago yesterday – would have had something poetic to say about the current imbalance of water distribution throughout the United States, but it’s been a while since I’ve perused Leaves of Grass and all I can think of is him sounding his barbaric “yawp” from the rooftops. Maybe I should have paid more attention in English class, or studied more about meteorology so that I could more professionally deliver an explanation of why things are the way they are right now. Instead I hope you’ll be satisfied with my mopey musings of missed opportunities.
Later this summer I get to be a part of a close friend’s wedding party and I could not be much more excited than I am. That is until a few days ago. Part of that high-soaring, open mouthed continuous screaming joy was knocked down a few pegs when I received the invitation addressed to “Alex and Guest”. Unless my friends-to-be-wed intend for me to bring along someone named Guest, it seems I am left to fill that spot with a person of my choice. Traditionally this spot is reserved for the girlfriend, wife, significant other, plus one, better half, hooker for hire that you’ll fall for and help turn around each other’s lives for the better with, etc. I currently have none of these boxes checked which leaves me with a search to continue and decision to make very soon. It doesn’t seem likely that I’ll meet the woman of my dreams anytime soon, partly because of time constraints, and also due to the limited number of realistically attainable Lana Del Reys in the world. Talk about your su-su-summertime sadness. Wish I could fuck my way up to that top of that Brooklyn Baby. I’m more of a Coke man, but for her I could get into Pepsi.
As it stands, I’m not atop anyone at the moment and find myself looking back with some regrets. Blame it on youth, social inexperience and awkwardness, unrealistic standards, and Ray Liotta, the lying bastard. Turns out, 1800 Tequila can lead to many regrets. Still, I can’t blame my whiffs at the plate on alcohol (I mean, I can, but it wouldn’t be true). For the most part my love life – which is a rather grandiose term for staring at women on the bus – has been more of a crumpled reel of nervous interactions and sweating in the great View-Master of life while the See n’ Say of my experiences recalls that the Sarah says, “I’m actually busy on Tuesday… and Wednesday too.”
However, while I may have had my fair share of misses, I’ve been rewarded with the attention of others I did not desire in the same capacity, and I’ve usually been blessed with the inability to recognize their true intentions until it’s too late to distance myself without hurting them. But hey, how many people can say they’ve been pursued by both genders? (I do actually wear that with pride.) Have you ever had to hurriedly talk to all of your friends who are also friends with the person you’ve let down, and maybe even scorned by doing so, in order to present the truth of the circumstances before the once-aspiring lover attempts to defame you out of anger? I actually kind of enjoyed that part (certainly more than the “breakup” label my friends gave it later). It was like taking inventory on my social circle and made me realize how many friends I had and how close they were to me. I was pleased with the results then and am more so now (I’ve made more friends since college, yay!), but I still would prefer not being haunted by the memory of doors I let close through one ineptitude or another.
My freshman year of college was easily the most interesting of my five spent in a four year program, but it wasn’t always joyful. Frequently it was filled with adversity both small and large, and not much of such stress was a result of class. I was in a strange state of emotions after the death of my father shortly before my high school graduation, as well as the move away from my family, friends, and the house I’d always lived in to a new place that I knew well enough but was far from familiar to me. I wasn’t exactly brimming with confidence and this kept me from making a few moves that would have at best yielded little more than a triumph in a twin bed, but a triumph nonetheless. When I finally did express some emotions toward a girl it was toward the wrong girl, but I didn’t pay attention to the red flags since she was the first female to have shown such an interest in me for many a year. I continued to roll along in her wake even as she clearly showed more interest in my roommate (who was taken at the time) and teased many of my new friends in the same way as she did with me. I eventually wised up to the game and simply became angry at her, my cheating roommate, and myself for behaving so foolishly, but the damage was done. I still don’t trust any woman who shows an attraction to me until her intentions are apparent enough to be less than devious, at which point she loses interest or assumes I’m paranoid (not incorrectly it would appear). It’s not the worst thing to exercise caution when meeting any new person in life, especially when they introduce themselves with a large smile. It’s rarely genuine, and if it is they often are crazy. Then again, I’ve just made the case as to why I’m not the best immediate judge of character and intention. Nevertheless, I don’t have herpes or a child.
Not all of my desired relationships have ended in disaster. In fact, I’ve been able to salvage some enjoyment from some that never got past the “we should go out sometime” phase. I had such a continued interaction with another girl in college. While we maintained a friendly relationship with one another that hinted at something more, we never actually got together to make it Facebook official. A pity, for in a world overrun with penguin admirers, she was a fan of owls, and I gave her two adorable plushes as a means to show my already obvious affections. One even hooted when your squeezed it! However, after I had moved on I still was able to tap into my former attraction to her for the sake of an essay about sonnets I had to write for a British Literature class. In accordance with the assignment, I included a sonnet of my own creation partially inspired by my experiences and the sonnet I focused on for the essay, Shakespeare’s Sonnet 129, and the lust theme it contains. My sonnet exaggerates the real story in a humorous and, of course, sexual way to counteract the overall heartbreak theme of the poem.
My lust, I sigh upon the windowsill,
What am I to do with you my lovely?
It’d be a lie to say I love you still;
It seems my dear, we were not meant to be.
The owls I gave you as a gift you loved;
How could you not love them, the plushy pair?
Despite the birds you still could not be moved,
And so began my feelings of despair.
You’re my angel no more despite your name,
And I can’t start a fire with wet wood;
If there is no spark there can be no flame,
And your owls won’t do me any good.
Although my feelings could not be mooter,
I will not forget you and your hooters.
Oh God, that’s terrible. My professor even said as much by scribbling ” Oh, good Lord” underneath it. Forgive me, I was still a tad crushed over the butterflies no longer stirring when she walked by when I wrote that. Not to mention I was exceedingly horny then, just like Bubo virginianus (ornithology joke!).
During the past year I have cast my eye in the direction of a few ladies at work, yet this has yielded similarly unsuccessful results. The first seemed to have many similar interests with me, but there just isn’t enough room in her life for two men, and the fact that the other died about 2000 years ago only seems to make Him all the more endearing to her. I ignored her vivid descriptions of Jesus showing her the righteous way while she was water-skiing or whatever. I did not ignore her passing comment about how she “didn’t believe in evolution”. That served as the extinction event of whatever hope there may have been for something more than a pleasant hello around the office.
The second woman at work was considerably more open-minded and we connected very quickly despite how briefly we worked together. Yet therein lies the reason why nothing more grew from it. I balked on my first attempt to ask her out as it had been a while since I did that sort of thing and was never very good at it. I reassured myself that there would be another chance, but the day that I failed to propose a hangout outside of work was the last day we worked together. I like to think she really wanted nothing to do with me and went to very great lengths to ensure she’d never see me again, but this is bittersweet because while it clearly didn’t work out and she could have also asked me if she were truly interested, any woman who shares the same passions as me who is capable of such a quick and complete disappearance from my everyday life automatically gains my complete respect in her skill set to do just that. I’m trying to convey that I’m fantasizing that she is a Jason Bourne-like superspy who can move into a new place and lifestyle with ease, but I’m pretty sure I’m just sounding creepy, which would explain why I’ve made such a big deal out of the word “Guest”.
It is worth noting that none of the mentioned relationships developed into an actual dating girlfriend-boyfriend interaction. This is me lamenting the loss of saplings in the dirt at the park, not the death of the hundred year old oak in the public square in the center of downtown. But for every great oak there is a number of acorns than never germinate or simply wilt away in the tainted soil, and they must not be dwelt on in despair, yet neither should they be forgotten.
How’s that Walt?
Thanks for reading! I hope I didn’t depress (or bore) you, and I pray that you’re not currently taking stock of your own love life and becoming consumed with the less than satisfactory results. All I can say is hang in there and, until you establish some deep roots in good soil, keep watering those saplings. Direct any questions, comments, or anger to firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to request a topic for a future post. Remember: if you’re not a fan of what I’m writing about, you can suggest something you do like and I’ll write about that.
Sing the Body Electric,