I asked her out, hoping she’d say no. Well, not hoping beforehand, but I was happier after her rejection than I would have been otherwise.
We were in the grocery store. She inspected a can of Campbell’s soup. She replaced the can it back and grabbed another. I asked, “Good read?”
“Not really,” she said.
I asked what she was looking for.
“Sugar,” she said. “It’s in everything.”
“I gave it up for Lent.”
“Do you always give something up for lent?”
“Yeah, it’s like a second shot at a New Year’s Resolution.”
I asked if she’d enjoy grabbing coffee. She said she has a boyfriend, “but it’s still nice to talk in the grocery store.”
Walking away, I celebrated. I hadn’t asked her out because I wanted to go on a date with her. I had asked her out because I decided to start dating again. Asking someone out is uncomfortable, so you’ve gotta hurdle it at your first opportunity.
Thanks, Dad, for an incredible day. More connected with you than I’ve felt in memory. Your stories that weaved from place to place—about which I sometimes ask, “what was the point?”—today, the sharing was the point. Maybe that’s always true.
Am I focusing on the present because I’m having intensive surgery on Monday?
Right now, I’m afraid. Not of death, but life:
- What if improving my breathing isn’t miraculous?
- What if I fail?
- What if I die?
Death I can deal with. It’s failure that’s unacceptable.
I’m donating my tomorrow to high school kids. Teaching, mentoring, engrossed in giving.
When I could die at any moment, why do I hop stepping stones?
- “But Kid, the best stepping-stones are rock and their own right.”
I didn’t think about any of that today. Just talked with you, Dad. And I loved it.
I probably don’t like you. You’re welcome.* (*: Not sarcastic.)
My fourth-grade classroom restricted its students to bringing identical Valentine’s Day cards for everyone or no cards at all. I found this a problem, as most of my classmates were bland blobs, while a vocal minority were… [people I didn’t like].
Only this year—at age 25—did I finally realize I can choose my friends. Four of my friendships ended this year, and I’m glad they did.
An ex ended our friendship—my first official ending—in July, followed by an old poker buddy in August. I ended one in October—my first initiation—and a different ex ended our friendship on Monday. Every one of these has been a wonderful change, with benefits extending far beyond free time.
It’s common knowledge—and I find it experientially true—that you “can’t please all the people all the time.” Apply that to relationships: Some people won’t like you. Turn that around: You won’t like some people.
Ending a friendship is therefore an act of integrity. It forwards your values. It makes manifest your soul.
You prioritize your family. You care about your friends. Most people choose a partner to prefer over all others. Having preferences is Good. It’s the foundation of consciousness.
All my friends have former, now-dead friendships. Most drift apart instead of going out with a bang, but both seem to happen surprisingly often. People grow and change. Friendships die. We can still love what was.
You can hate some people and everything they stand for. You can love with abandon those you prefer. You can express your soul. If someone doesn’t like you, good for them.
What if my dating profile were just a list of my values? After all, that’s what I’m searching for.
My values, 9 Feb 2019
(In the order they came to me)
- Positive impact
- The human species
- Honesty of impact, not necessarily of speech
- Word choice
- Personal optimization
- [Censored for privacy]
- Personal improvement
- The youth group I advise
- [Censored for privacy]
- My long-form creative projects (especially my novel. Soon to be my TV show as well)
Previous values that no longer carry such great strength:
- Board games (comes back out when I’m with old friends/family)
- [Censored for privacy]
As a kid, I’d schedule a play date weeks in advance. These days, even when after confirming a reptile festival the day before, I still assume a 50-50 chance my friend bails. When he does, 8am day-of, I’m annoyed. I’m confused. How much is him and how much is changing culture?
I’m not here to tell you, “Something is lost.” It is, but that’s not the point. Instead, it’s simply that some things have changed:
- We’ve lost certainty and confidence.
- We’ve gained flexibility and opportunism.
- We’ve lost reliability and comfort.
- We’ve gained the more frequent upgrades.
- We’ve lost security in friendships.
- We’ve gained the freedom to follow our whims.
If people still lock down plans, I don’t know them. My friends might be outliers, or perhaps the Bay Area’s incessant climbing keeps everyone on the lookout for upgrades. Or maybe this experience is a worldwide phenomenon. Faster communication means more rapidly changing circumstances.
No matter the reason, I must adjust. It’s a tough lesson to learn. Negative punishment can easily become mis-associated. In this case, to self-blame:
- “What did I do that made him cancel?”
- “What’s wrong with me that made him cancel?”
I try not to see it in those ways. I try to see it as the new world order. I think that’s accurate, but I’m not sure. Are you?
Why did you buy two pizza pies?
You’re only one man, and you have thighs
That will grow fatter
If you eat all that batter.
“They were deep dish,
Which makes me its bitch
When combined with the heaven
Of ‘second pie costs $7.'”
Well, that explains
Your stretched-tummy pains.
Now go and count sheep
You should be asleep.
“I would be! I would!
But it’s hard to be good.
After crunching all week,
I feel so… uh, weak.”
That I can see!
It’s going to be
A much-needed weekend
Spent with a friend.
Xfinity, you tease
In the unlikeliest of places
By stoking my hopes with the promise of bars
Then dashing them all with a “cannot connect!”
I must say I’d rather
Have no WiFi at all—
Be forced ‘pon my phone’s hotspot
Than hear your wispy false claims.
But sometimes, my dear,
You appease this old soul—
Like this ‘forenoon, when I video called
My boss from the street.
Though your robustness did waver
So we switched to “just audio,”
You did remain connected! Aye, you stood strong throughout,
Leaving boss none the wiser
That I’m a van-confined hobo.
Why do you toy so, dear Xfinity,
With me, of all people—loyal lover of your service
As I try to log in
With my dad’s friend’s account?