If social media would stop recommending that I connect with my ex-girlfriend. Do they not remember that we used to be connected and that I disconnected us?
This is probably going to sound a little whiny, but that’s not how it’s intended. This is more just a “Dear Diary” type post for me to remember things later.
I’m a huge Costco fan. I like the cheap gas, I like wandering around when it’s raining or storming outside or I’m bored but too lazy to come up with something better to do.
A couple of years ago I was wondering through the closet one to me and it was right after the tax refund came and they had a killer deal on a Yamaha stereo receiver. I convinced myself that I needed it. It had HDMI inputs! And a remote! And a front jack so I could plug my MP3 player into it!
That one lasted about six months and then died. So I took it back and got a replacement, a slightly newer model that cost a little more. Which again, lasted about six months and then died. Costco wouldn’t swap this one out, so it just sat there, powered on but not generating any sound for almost a year. Finally I got sick of it, and how long it took me to do anything about it, and disgust got me to shopping for a new receiver last week. Originally I was just looking online for a used one through Craigslist, but then ended up getting one new from BestBuy.
I plugged that sucker in and got it hooked up to the TV and was promptly amazed by how well I was able to hear and understand things. I knew my hearing has been failing as a result of way too much time playing with explosives, heavy machinery and guns, but this is just another sign of how bad it’s getting. I’m catching myself favoring one ear over the other lately in conversation and now realizing that I’m catching so much more dialog at lower volumes with the stereo hooked up to the tv vs. just through the tv’s tinny, higher pitched speakers is another sign. I’m slowly steeling myself for the hearing aids which I think are coming sooner rather than later.
I got my eyes checked a couple years ago and the optometrist and I were talking about changes in contacts, glasses, lens technology, surgeries, etc. And we were talking about bi-focals and he said that in the old days, when he was first starting out, the common advice used to to wait until after you actually needed them until you got them because then you’d be so happy to be able to see clearly at both near and far distances that inconvenience of the bi-focal lens didn’t matter as much. I think it’s kind of the same thing with hearing aids. That point of being able to hear clearing outweighing any inconvenience and pride is fast approaching.
I didn’t have the absolute best dating luck in the beginning. The first girl I ever made out with committed suicide. My first REAL girlfriend cheated on me while I was laid up for the summer with a broken ankle. I got engaged to my second. But she was settling for me. Once she got accepted to Harvard Divinity School for her graduate degree she moved away and called the engagement off less than a month later. My third serious girlfriend broke up with me while I was in a month long residence course in the military. We were sequestered in a section of Ft. Bragg, NC, cut off from the rest of the world. Of course, she didn’t really tell me that she was breaking up with me. This was early in the days of usable cell phones, when they were becoming affordable and small and not everyone had one yet. I sure didn’t. So we communicated a lot via old-fashioned mail. One day the letters started coming back to me. It wasn’t until I graduated the course that I finally got her on a landline and got some answers.
Years later she tried to get in touch with me. We haven’t been super close, but we check in from time to time. A couple of times she wanted to get back together, but I could just never trust her again. I can’t really explain it, but she was kind of the straw that broke the camel’s back. After that I definitely turned turtle and I don’t think I ever opened up as much or was as sappily, openly romantic again.
When I was a kid, I was way more painfully shy, awkward and introverted than I am today. I was a senior in high school before I really ever asked someone out. And those “asks” probably didn’t go well. I think my Dad knew, but didn’t have a clue what to say to me. He was always on the extroverted side: no such thing as a stranger, just a friend he hadn’t met. And apparently he was a little bit of a player back in the day so he just couldn’t relate. I never really moped about it much, but once he felt the need to try and cheer me up a bit. I actually think it was when I didn’t make a basketball team in junior high and his pep talk had nothing to do with dating. He just admitted that he grew up gawky and awkward and had to get by on his personality. He told me to hang in there, that when I was 30 I’d be a catch. When I was 13 or 14 that wasn’t a helluva consolation. I can remember when I was finally in my 30s and things didn’t really get better, thinking I’d been cheated!
That girl texted me today. She’s working for a florist and doing all these arrangements for Valentine’s Day. She’s single, so that’s a special kind of hell. “You did a lot of cute romanticy things for me when we were dating. I appreciate those things so much more now. It’s been years since anyone tied my shoes. And years since anyone did anything really romantic for me.” Now to be clear, I don’t have a creepy foot fetish. She’s 4’11” and had tiny feet. I used to love to tie her little sneakers for her.
Anyways, it was… something. A weird validation or something. I’m not happy to see her life as the big mess that it is. Yeah, there’s a petty part of me that is happy that the woman that broke up with me way back then now wishes she had someone like me. But it’s more a validation that the work I’ve done over the years is good. Getting over the things that happened in the past and opening up and making myself vulnerable is essential for connecting with people, for making good, lasting relationships and reconnecting with that goofy, romantic side of me is fun.
My Dad and I have been having some interesting discussions about combat and military service over the last couple of years. He read “After Action, The True Story of a Cobra Pilot’s Journey” by Dan Sheehan a couple of months ago and it was pretty impactful to him. So much so, that he jotted down these two notes to himself:
Really, I’m just writing this as a note to myself, just to keep the photo. But he felt that military service gave a lot of servicemen and women an enhanced consciousness and world changing knowledge. It’s not the only way to gain such things, and some servicemembers are too… closed off to ever grow personally. But for most of us, it’s both a gift and a curse.