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Posted on December 4th, 2018

The Geography of My Mind – Then there’s this one…

Well, sometimes you get a break, maybe? I contacted someone at a partner organization with my work about a prospective project, but she was out of town and would be for a week or so. She recommended that I contact her boss instead, which I did. We discussed the issue to be resolved and decided to meet. She came to my office a few days later, and my ears perked up when she walked in. It was Halloween so she was wearing a ridiculous outfit, and that made the initial exchange all the more endearing, but we started to discuss the project for about 15 minutes and then relatively easily transitioned into shared interests and the like. Our hour-long scheduled meeting ended up being about 45 minutes of laughing and cracking jokes, and I thought to myself, “Hmm. I wonder…”

She sent me an email shortly after our meeting to follow up on some stuff – not work related at all – and then we had a few more exchanges during the business hours, only to find ourselves picking up the email thread again the next day. I moved it to text and it went on from there until we decided to grab a beer that night. Well, sometimes things go smoothly for a while and then derail (see this month’s Remote Senselessness), but this one went alright to begin, but I treaded softly. Sometimes I get a little too “invested” too early… We texted a little bit after the meetup (I’m not sure if it was a “date” or not; does it have to be formally stated as such to be one?) and made plans to hang out a few days later, taking our dogs for a hike. That’s where we are, I’ll let you know what comes of it next month, maybe… But now let’s turn to why I even introduced this.

I think as I’ve gotten older and fully shaken off all the societal norms and expectations that have been thrust upon us, there still is a glimmer of truth about the “partnering up” that remains appealing to me (side note: I hate the term “partner”; it is vomit inducing). I’ve become very comfortable in my own skin and my own time, probably too much. A great dog for a sidekick gets me out of a lot of the BS that comes with relationships, but obviously there are still a few things the 4-legged friends can’t provide…

I’ve never had the focus or ability to stick with hobbies and pastimes much, so the ones that have stuck with me are easily accessible to most folks (yoga [though I’ve shed that one, recently], hiking, bike riding, swimming [also absent from my routine now], listening to music, watching sports, reading, etc.). But I’ve always been drawn to music and the arts, and now that I’m on the downhill slope to death, out of control and with improper form, like a rookie on a double black diamond, I’ve started to come around to trying to learn something to “better” myself, like an instrument, painting, and maybe even a foreign language (though I really don’t have any desire to travel abroad much anymore, and certainly not for long enough to justify learning another language). Somehow I’m at that point where I want to refine myself, but I don’t know if that is my natural course, or if it’s just because I’ve largely removed myself from the social sphere, especially relationships.

I actually think I’m like a camel when it comes to relationships (re: sex): I just need enough to sustain me for a while, but eventually the gas tank runs dry and I need to find a “pool of water” to immerse myself in and drank from; then it’s back to the desert for 40 days and nights (usually much longer). I have friends who are serial daters / hookup artists, several who are in long-term, monogamous relationships (boooring), and others who jump from relationship to relationship, never trusting themselves to be alone. That leaves me on the other extreme, though thankfully far from celibate (phew), yet still not desirous of a constant companion. I’ve seen so many of my friends fight and fuss with their “significant others” that I’ve lost the taste for it. That is, until I find it again. Which is where we are now…

I don’t know if this is true for anyone else, but who I envision the perfect woman for me to be is rarely, if ever, the one I get. Now, that might be because in most instances I’m trying to punch out of my weight class, but even when I bring it back to a reasonable level, I never learned those tactics to make the winning moves. Every once in a while I get lucky, I guess, but I sure ain’t gettin’ lucky enough to get rich; you know what I’m saying?

This one is unique looking; not a classic beauty, not a girl next door, exotic while being Midwestern. She’s tall, my height, which isn’t that big of a deal (especially because she doesn’t like heels), but I have to assume she’d prefer a taller dude. But she’s sassy, spunky, sarcastic, and although I’m catching a little bit of social justice warrior (PC patrol, which is off-putting and worthy of its own treatment), she seems to see that there is room for a joke in most situations, so that’s good. But at the same time, I just can’t help but think that I’ll always be looking for the unattainable, the “ideal” person; the one we all come up with at some point in our lives and refine as we age. For me, this likely causes me to shut down interactions with others, or sabotage them later on, largely because they don’t fit my unrealistic, lofty, or perhaps even evolving idea of what it is I’m looking for. So, I think that suggests why I’m turning to refining myself; maybe I’m trying to craft my ideal self first to see if that is attainable. If so, then how will that affect who I’m looking for – and whether or not I’ll find them. If not, then likely that “ideal” will always stay forever at harbor with me on the beach looking on, as time passes me by.

But for now, today, I’ll think about this rather tall, uniquely aesthetic spirit that has entered my life, wondering whether or not I move forward, shed the expectations, and grow with what is in front of me, or if I’ll simply return to my default setting of wanting what I cannot have. I mean, after all, that is the American way. We’re programmed to want, want, want, and to never be satiated. Why would that be any different in relationships? Today there’s this one, tomorrow there’s another. Eventually we’ll consume ourselves through our inability to relate to others…

Postscript: The tall drink of water came over the day after the first section of this essay, and I decided that if I had to think about it that hard, then I wasn’t into it. I’m glad I’ve matured at least enough to consider others’ feelings in these types of situations; that wouldn’t have happened a few years back. For now, I’ll continue to “graze the verdant malls” of desire…

Marco Esquandoles
Walk away thirsty

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