I’ve addressed some of these issues before in this forum (or maybe it was The Geography of My Mind, who knows. If you pay any attention to these articles, first, sorry, and second, there is no rhyme or reason to how the essays are allocated. I digress…), but I’m going to try and marry two of them together here: Always Leaving and The Ephemeral Crush. You could say this is a move away from armchair philosophy, navel gazing and theory, and an attempt to put it into practice. For a quick recap: I spoke in the past about how I’m always uprooting and moving somewhere, never really staying anywhere long enough to put down a firm foundation. Maybe that’s why my plants are always dying. When it comes time for me to shove on to the next port, something inside prompts me to reach out and grasp at what I’ll soon be leaving behind. Why? I don’t know. I guess you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone could be at play, just I catch it right before it’s gone. Kind of like in the movies when someone is dangling from a rooftop and someone else is trying desperately not to let their hand slip from their grip. I guess that is kind of like what happens with me. Spoiler alert: whomever I’m holding onto always slips away (or maybe it’s me who slips away?).
I’ve also talked about how I have these relationships in my mind with lovely young ladies who I may never even actually talk to, let alone court. We’ll share a glimpse, a laugh, something fleeting. I’ll inevitably wonder if she is the “one.” But then the grains of time spill on, and the reader turns to the next page. Poof! They’re gone… But in some cases there will be those interactions that lead to engagements with one of these young lassies that may last a night, a week, a month, but they always fade. The hopes and expectations we had lose their shimmer as they’re exposed to the elements. Sometimes the best parts of any relationship exist in the anticipation (see The Artificial Construction of Celebration). Just the same, in the earliest stages, all our hopes and dreams are revealed to us, and in some instances they dissolve, and in others the situation necessitates that slipping from the others’ hands. What follows is a mostly true account, still being “written” in my life.
I went to see the band Yuck play the other day at Mississippi Studios in Portland. It was a Monday night and I hadn’t had much luck in getting anyone to come with me, but I’d seen them before and really liked their first album (not as much their 2nd or 3rd) so I thought it was worth the $15 to go again. Besides, maybe I’d like the openers. I’m always up for new music. Well, I found a place to hold up the wall near the bar and by the bathroom. Several people came up to me and asked me if I was in line, and I said, “No, I’m not” numerous times. I guess it is natural to assume that when you stand by the john, but it was just free space where I didn’t have to get stuck in the crowd. Then this very pretty young lady came up to me to ask me the same question, and I gave the same response. Clearly captivated by her attractiveness I took advantage of the opportunity to have a few minutes of engagement with her, whipping out my best 3-beer material. I was essentially putting on a performance to win her over. Her turn came up to use the facilities and I stood there waiting by the door. When she came out, I grabbed her and tried to apply more of my witty observations and one-liners. She seemed to dig it. Then she said she was going to get a beer and that she’d be back. I thought to myself, there goes another one. Oh well, back to the music I guess. Then she came back.
We continued to talk, it was setbreak between the 2nd band and the headliner (she had come to see the 2nd band), and then when Yuck came on we kept on chatting. A band I was really interested in seeing got demoted to background music because I wanted to chat this young lady up. The specifics of the conversation escape me, but we were clearly having a good time. Then she remembered that she came with a friend who she had basically abandoned over the last 30 minutes or so. She drug me up to the front of the stage – something I hate to do – and we met her friend and spent the rest of the show at the front. We continued to chat, though less so because we were both into the music, and as the show wound down I began to think about how I might see her again. Dating sucks in general and I’ve spent an awful lot of time doing it. One of my moves is to put the onus on the female: I may be the interested party, but I’m not going to make the first move. I gave her my number and told her to text me. It doesn’t always work, but my batting average with those whom I make the first move with isn’t that great either. It was worth a shot and this way I could avoid the superficial back-and-forth texts and the potential for a plain-Jane evening out. This way if she contacted me I knew my chances for success would be greater. Ah, pragmatics and dating. She texted me the next day.
We made plans to hang out that Friday (we met on a Monday, she contacted me on a Tuesday), and I told her I was going to a show Wednesday if she was interested. I didn’t expect for her to come as she had to work in the evening, but I figured I should float it out there. She came to the show after she got off work. That band also became background music.
Some relevant back story: If you’ve been reading these columns for a while, you know I moved from Colorado to Oregon in November and that it was only a temporary move; if all went well I’d be moving again this summer. And it has. I will be switching coasts in roughly June. I’m overjoyed, but here I am again in a familiar position: finding someone who I click with as I make my way out of the state. This has happened to me in my last three moves from Colorado to Texas, Texas to Colorado and Colorado to Oregon. Fitting that it would happen on this departure too. When I first met her I told her that I’d be moving, so at least that was out there. The topic has come up very casually once since, but we didn’t address it in much detail. And maybe that’s what she wants: a summer love, no strings attached. Question is, is that what I want? I guess it doesn’t matter since I’m leaving no matter what, and any other scenario just couldn’t be.
But even though we’ve only been hanging out for a short time we’ve progressed and engaged as if we were setting up something bigger. I try to keep that at bay and keep reality and the future in my crosshairs. It seems what I thought was an ephemeral crush was a little bit more, and soon enough that crush will be crushed because I’ll be leaving again. Is it bad luck, bad timing or fate? Is it random chance or part of the evolution of myself? I don’t know. At time of writing there will be about two months until my departure. At time of press there will be about one month till departure. For all I know this may end before press and I’ll be happy about it. It could also not. I may find these things I think we connect over are real and it will make it all the harder for me to go. This wouldn’t be the first time. In the past I’ve had relationships where I wish there was an impending move to make an easy break; they never come when you want them. Such is life.
We’ll see if there comes anything from this encounter that leads to a good story for the future. Maybe there will be a Part II. For now, I’m left wanting to shape my interaction as to always keep at the front the cold hard facts of my impending departure so I don’t get too swept up in what might have been had I not been leaving. I never believed that there was ever “the one” for anybody. That, to me, is just ridiculous. Too much relies on circumstances and choices, and I really don’t believe in fate. That would be like saying there is only one possible person that could be a best friend, or heck, even the one chance for the best night of your life. These aren’t truths either. But it is curious how one little ripple can affect our relationships and our lives. Our choices we make – or in many cases, and oftentimes more importantly, don’t make – can have significantly lasting implications, or at least impactful if they only exist in the short-run. Had I not chatted up this gal who was waiting for the bathroom, my last two months here might not be that interesting. Had I not chosen to grab her as she walked out, my exodus might have been a lot easier. Only time will tell…