Sunday, June 22, 2008

Hello, You Must Be Going

I didn’t make it to my parents’ grave on Father’s Day.
My sister and I had planned to go out there in the afternoon, but it looked like rain, so we scrubbed the trip. And then, of course, the skies cleared up.

I don’t like going out there because I find it depressing and I don’t believe it means much to stand over a patch a ground, but to be honest, it’s also a long trip and I don’t like driving around the city unless it’s absolutely necessary.

My Uncle Joe in L.A., my father’s brother, understood the situation.

“You go pretty often at first,” he said, “and then gradually you go less and less frequently until you stop.”

I hate to admit to that, but I think he's right. And I find that a bit depressing.

Father’s Day was just another day for me and that feels wrong somehow, even though I’m not a father myself and I no longer have a father.

I think there’s some regret about not having children combined with some bad memories and lingering resentment toward my father that has the staying power of nuclear waste.

I caught myself wondering why things had gotten so bad with my father, but I stopped myself. It’s too late for that and all the pondering in the world won’t change anything.

I saw a man I grew up with out with his family the other day. Actually, I heard him first, yelling at his son.

I don’t know what the kid did to get in trouble but he ticked off my friend pretty seriously. I remember this guy as a child himself, getting bawled out by his old man. And now he’s taken his father’s place.

Maybe that’s what I’ve been trying to avoid by not getting married. I don’t want to wind up yelling at my kids.

This has been a week of missed connections. I missed my train coming home two nights running.

On Monday I was bounding down the stairs while two people with seeing eyes dogs were coming up.

I had some reservations about knocking over blind people to catch a train, so I slowed down and made it to the platform just in time for the doors to close in my face.

I had to wait for two B trains to come and go and the next D train to pull into the station was packed—as opposed to the one I had missed, which had enough empty space for a game of handball.

To make things worse, I apparently have a stalker, someone who likes me in a way I could never like her, and she came walking in the train behind me as I got on board.

"Fancy meeting you here," she said.

Yes, fancy that. Nothing personal, dear, but I really wish I could have missed this connection. Actually, that's about as personal as you can get.

Token Gesture

My stalker friend rode all the way with me to Brooklyn and it had to be one of the longest subway rides of my life. And then she stood on the platform with me at 36th Street, even though she told she had planned on walking home from there.

I jumped on the N train as soon as it pulled into the station, but at that point I was so fed up I would have jumped on the Lusitania just to get free.

I know I should have more compassion. I've been in her situation plenty of times, where I care for someone who will never return my affection. But I was tired.

The following night two transit workers lugging trash bags were coming up the stairs, and they, too, slowed me down just enough to miss the train. I was half-expecting for the conductor to moon me as he went by, but then I’ve always had a little problem with paranoia.

I almost had a date this weekend, which is like almost winning the lottery and equally frustrating. I had met Molly Malone—not her real name, but she is from Ireland—at my local butcher shop during a recent Saturday morning shopping run.

We had a nice chat over a refrigerator case full of chop meat and sausages, but I lost my nerve and didn’t ask for her phone number. Another missed opportunity, I thought, but then the next time I went in there, the cashier told me that Molly had been asking about me.

Excellent, I said, and I gave the cashier my card—I really do have one, you know—and asked that she pass it on to Molly. The next time I go in there and Molly has left her number for me—she feels awkward calling a guy.

Hey, I’m all right with that. You want to do this old school, no problem.

I banged out her digits, we had another nice conversation, and we make tentative plans to get together in the hood, meaning Bay Ridge.

I left a message for her suggesting we get together Saturday and when I called Friday to follow up, she thanked me but said she doesn’t want to date anyone right now.

Now how did I fuck this one up? I didn’t even go out with this woman, damn it, and already she’s cutting me lose. Why did she make me go through that penguin dance just to give me the heave-ho?

My relationships are getting shorter and shorter. I’ve heard of speed-dating, but this is speed-dumping. I'm worried a woman I’ve seen before in my life will walk up to me on the street, shout “you son-of-a-bitch!” and slap me across the face.

Before Molly, I had a semi-drunken make-out session with a woman in a bar in the Village who then turned around and gave me the “let’s be friends” routine two days later. She mentioned that she had a problem with my height, or my lack of it, to be more precise.

Well, she knew how tall I was—she had seen me. It’s not like on the Internet where you can say you’re hung like a giraffe, you’ve got hair like Trotsky, and you’ve got enough money to buy out Donald Trump.

This is the real world, damn it. I want to go back to the old days when I would go out with a woman and legitamately piss her off. Then she can dump me, but at least give me a chance to crash and burn on my own.

I know can do it, if they just give me a chance.

After the wreck of the Molly Malone, I went to the Rubin Museum on Friday night, had a few wines with my best bud Hank, and then hit on nearly every woman I saw. I wasn't rude or crass, just friendly and uninhibited for a change.

I mean, I even starting talking to a woman on the subway who was reading the Bible. We couldn't convert each other to our respective causes, but we had a nice chat and then went our separate ways.

I got one phone number from one lady I met at the Rubin--oh, the power of liquid courage.

Maybe I'll pull fast one and break up with her before I even call her. That'll fix her wagon.


Jennifer G. said...

Rob, you crack me up, as always. Have you ever wondered *why* you are missing the trains, rather than looking at it merely as a nuisance? I mean, "why" as in, maybe there is a bigger reason. Have you ever read "Eat, Pray, Love"? I'm reading it now. I hesitate to say that I think you would like it, because maybe you already read it and hated it. But I think you might like it. And re: Molly Malone - I bet she has terrible self-esteem and just couldn't face the prospect of going out with you and then possibly being rejected. Maybe it wasn't about you at all, you know. Maybe it was *her* demons.

Rob K said...

Not about me?!? What a concept, Jen. I'll need time to work that one out.

I haven't read "Eat, Pray, Love" so I'll give it a try. Thanks so much for the tip.