taking the passive out of passive-aggressive

Sunday, February 06, 2005

My friends and I went to a new bar last night and I walk in, sidle up for my beer, and who should be bartending but my ex-boyfriend. Now, he's been an ex for over ten years, but he still makes me nervous, because our breakup was not very nice. Well, our relationship was not very nice. It was pretty awful for a solid two years. And yet now, we smile and joke with one another as if we were two mere acquaintances, as though he were merely the bartender I see around town.

His main talents, to this day, appear to be shooting pool and mixing fruity drinks. He now has a whole host of Tom-Cruise-"Cocktail" style moves that make me embarassed to watch, although the other patrons seem to really enjoy them. He's still really skinny only now he's bald as an egg, and I kept thinking "God, Claire, WHY??? WHY did you stick with this guy for two whole years?"

I've thought about this over the years, usually when I run into him at this or that bar, and the only conclusion I can come up with is this: I really, really could not believe that someone could be so silly and one-dimensional, that their entire set of ambitions could involve pool and alcohol, and so I figured he must be the deepest, most mysterious man on earth, if only I could dig deep enough and figure out what he was REALLY about. It was actually a good lesson in Occam's Razor. Because after a while I realized that the obvious solution was really the solution after all. When he said he wanted to be a bartender for the rest of his life, he meant it! When he said that his main ambition was to get really good at pool, he meant it!

It's truly embarassing now to realize that it took me two years to figure this out. I mean, it wasn't that he didn't have his good qualities--he could be charming, and I think he really did love me in some fucked-up way, and we had some good times together (usually involving pool and alcohol, of course). And he did teach me to shoot pool. But still, fully facing my own delusions, personified by this thirty-two year old bald man with a cocktail shaker, can be humbling.

And it makes me wonder, too, how we can be so convinced of something, so totally convinced we're in love with someone, and then when it's gone it's like it never happened. Is all love like that, in the end? Supported by its own weight, propelled by its own delusions, the fantasy life you've created around another human being?


At 9:56 AM, Blogger XLT said...

Sister, I've created entire *volumes* of fiction based around some of my past relationships. Some, that at the time, I thought were metaphysically deep, or frankly, just straight-up cosmically perfect.

Once it went south, depending on the intensity of the link, it would either be met with complete bitterness or hand-wringing depression fueled by alcohol. (In some cases, as sucessive stages.)

Sure, when I review my track record, I have to admit I made up a whole lot of shit up just to make myself feel better for going through it. Then I'd have that familiar realization: "Golly. What was I thinking?". Then start the process over and over again.

wash. rinse. repeat.


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