Last month I went with HG to a concert. I’d seen a band he’d introduced me to was headlining, so as one of the few people in town that actively attends concerts, I asked if he’d be interested. So there we were, June 10, running into each other again for the first time since the erotic novelling. A nice, safe Tuesday. We ducked out of work early, grabbed drinks and nachos before the show, chatted a bit (he told me he’d decided the night before to go to Bonneroo and they were leaving the next morning), and then headed over to the show and enjoyed MSMR. (Not nearly as good as The Sounds though.)
So the show ends and he asked if we were going to uber – interrupting me talking to mutual friends – and I responded ‘ya’ and continued talking. He walked away, I went to the bathroom and came out to him rushing me forward to a uber cab already waiting outside. It was 10:30 at night. I was immediately livid. I didn't know he meant uber right now. I just went silent; a silent fury. Where was the consideration asking if I wanted to grab a drink after the show?! Hello concert protocol! It didn’t matter; he wanted to get home and get ready for Bonneroo. Once I finally explained that him not even asking or considering what I want was hurtful and rude – he sorta kinda seemed to understand. He apologized and I said “whatever. It’s fine”.
I would like to take a moment to say that whichever pop culture nob decided that “whatever” was going to be a flippant word and make it so pervasive as such in our culture is a jerk. Whatever means whatever; any which way – it’s fine. He didn’t take it the way I meant it (thanks “Clueless”) and we spent about two hours talking. That’s a lot of time to talk for people who are just trying to be friends after a weird initial burst followed by two years of lying low and some months of sporadic meaningless hook ups. Finally I walked him out to my car (we went to my house so he could borrow my sleeping back for Bonneroo) and had a gut feeling I expressed: This is the last time I’m going to see you.
He thought I was being melodramatic, but I wasn’t. It’s just the feeling I got. On the short drive to his house, I tried to get him to admit to the one thing he’d done: Use me to heal his broken heart. He admitted to all the individual things surrounding that, but refused outright to admit he used me to transition out of his relationship and back into the world. That bothered me. Once at his complex we sat in the car for about another hour talking; same car; same spot where I broke up with him years before. The outcome was good enough: I told him if he wanted to be friends, it was on him to do the legwork. And as a peace offering he handed me his pool pass to use. We hugged and he left.
I drove off feeling strange and unfulfilled by such a at length discussion; trying to figure out what it was all worth; bothered he still refused to admit (or apologize) for his foibles. I know it was a mistake; I understand mistakes. But if you forgive a mistake someone hasn’t acknowledged, all you’re doing is giving them permission to do it again. I had forgiven him before - even told him about the post card I got him from New Zealand I planned to write ‘thank you’ on and send because if it wasn’t for him I never would have had the balls to go (although I never sent him the card) - but I’d never been so forthright about my issues regarding it. Now that I was, it was no different; my feelings or opinions didn’t even matter enough to see what I wanted to do after a fucking concert. (And to be fair, he came at the end of a long string of me feeling mistreated by friends, but valid in my reactions I felt nonetheless.)
A few days passed and I dug out the unsent post card from New Zealand. I wrote "It’s been a pleasure" on it in Polish, signed “Best”, taped his pool pass to it, and mailed it off. (I haven’t heard from him since. And I think it’s best this way.) A couple of days later I was still thinking about things and wrote this on my phone:
June 15, 2014, 4:54p
I’ve been thinking about it for a few days in my head – hesitant to write things I don’t mean before I mean them. I finally came to the conclusion that I really just don’t like this person. But the truth is, I like the guy, I just don’t like how he’s treated me. And that’s the weird point – when do you stop waiting for a person to get better and come around just because you like the moments when they make you laugh? When does the potential of good outweigh the amount of hurt feelings? Simply put: He’s inconsiderate; and in any interpersonal relationship, all humans want to feel like they matter; their needs considered. It’s what separates strangers and friends; selfishness from compassion; respect from disregard; love from indifference.
Sometimes I think people who regard themselves as good people, fall short for no more than the inability to look beyond themselves and see the needs of another – particularly when it fills no need within. Self-service is perhaps man’s greatest flaw. And consummate disappointment. You can only be disappointed so many times until you have to stop waiting for someone to be what you think – if they saw beyond their own nose – they have the potential to be. Such is life, I suppose, as I move forward with the sage advice that you can’t expect people to treat you the same as you would them – but! what can I do when I believe in my heart that I deserve no less of anyone than exactly what I put in? I don’t want to have to compromise with what people are willing to give.
That ‘advice’ is an insult to our individual spirits. Our hearts are worth more than compromise. There are plenty of people in the world. I will just keep trying.