My psychiatrist tells me that it’s time for me to get out there and find ways to have a good time.
I went to the doctor guess what he told me
guess what he told me
girl boy you better try to have fun
no matter what you do
but he’s a fool
It’s my own damn fault. I’m so introverted that finding new avenues of enjoyment is both foreign and daunting. It’s work for me to be out there, real flopsweat activity.
Realization: My life has been a series of parasitic friendships. I attach myself to the back of (hopefully) unsuspecting pals and simply go along for the ride. It’s symbiotic, albeit odd, but workable since barnacles stay mostly out of the way, eat very little, and seldom knock over the punch bowl.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but my lovely wife Lisa was the perfect companion for a shy man like me. We had such mutuality. She was fearless in social situations, the first to work a new room and make friends, laughing, glowing, energized. After learning to surf her wake, I became entranced by the whole show, punctuated often by my special guest appearances when brilliance, a playful grin, witty remark, or well-placed snark was needed, like a hot spotlight to illuminate a portion of the set.
And it worked. We were a good team when I kept my petty jealousy and sharing issues in check. We were a great couple for entertaining, either as hosts or guests.Things never stalled. Fun was around somewhere if you were willing to poke and prod a bit, and Lisa was. No one was going to have a lousy time on her watch.
So I developed friends as a benefit of this dynamic, many of which led to solo lunch invites, offers to meet out for drinks, inclusion in events big and small, mostly the result of doing fancy jumps and pivots behind Lisa as she piloted the cigarette boat of extroversion.
Nearly fourteen months after Lisa’s death the wake has ceased, and most rippled waves have become smooth as glass, interrupted only by my solo forays into society which, by comparison, mimic the thrashing, choking, and shrieks that our young son demonstrated at 5 while learning to swim, which helps explain my deviated septum and fear of elbows, come to think of it.
There have been several dates, normal enough, dinner, movies, a rockin’ Joe Bonamasso show, maybe seven women in total over a few months. All fine, some good conversations, a fair amount of first date awkwardness as we take turns playing Relation Operation, reaching for Adam’s Rib or Water on the Knee with our psychic tweezers, trying to exhume some relatively harmless piece about the other person without giving each other a sudden jolt that causes our nose to light up like Rudolph.
But nothing sticks, or stays. Several have seem excited to branch out and spend more time together, but that tends to drop and waste away when I fail to water it to help it grow. I’m accountable to make everything else in my world happen, because I’m a single dad with a big job and loads of commitments, and I just can’t muster the energy to do it with relationships, introversion notwithstanding.
One of the first dates, a very smart private practice therapist, caught my attention quickly, and we spent some good time together for awhile, trying restaurants, sipping coffee, discussing events large and small. I earned my geek wings by helping her navigate the Verizon store to dump her old mobile phone that I’m pretty sure had only three buttons on its face and was powered by a mixture of nickles and dreams.
It was an area of weakness and panic for her, but the opposite for me. I went through that strip mall out-parcel like Sherman through the south, and my date emerged with the latest Droid with a physical keyboard (deal-breaker for her), more accessories than she could carry, training materials out the wazoo, and more important, the direct number for the asst. manager and manager in case something popped up, as always happens.
On what turned out to be our last date - the blues concert - I held her hand a little in the venue, smiled and chatted, and stroked her arm as we walked thought the streets to my car. I drove her home, thanked her, kissed her softly, then again, and started back to my car when she asked my why I didn’t touch her more.
I was surprised that she asked, but even more so when I thought back over our many dates. It has been hit or miss at best, with no consistency. She explained that she was a very touchy person and had been holding back because she sensed my discomfort, which was odd because I’m also usually very physical. But she was right. I had erected physical and emotional fences.
The best I could do was croak out a line about being broken before driving off, saddened and filled with self-loathing.
Everyone wants me to meet new people, saying I’m too young to spend the next 30 years alone. Maybe it will come to me, this way of moving among women that brings a sparkle to their eyes and plants the idea inside their head that I might possibly be someone worth knowing, I’m not hopeful, but it could happen.
My primary goal is to get my son from year 11 to year 18, and to have him cross the stage to snag his diploma from the principal while pumping the pasty flesh of very important school administrators. His life can start, and I will have finished more than 35 years of acting parenting.
That sounds like a nice point to stop and smell the roses. If my smeller still works then. Parts begin to fall off, I hear.
** Updated the next morning to fix typos, run-on sentences, and incoherent ramblings. Composing a blog post while waiting for the Ambien to kick in is like a chemical race with the devil.