Wednesday, October 29, 2008

today was not awesome

As you get older, it is harder to make new friends when you relocate. At least, that has been the case for me. I've navigated two cold relocations in the last 6 years - moved first from Illinois to Texas and then from Texas to Clevo without knowing a soul. Each time, it takes quite a while to make new friends, especially good ones.

When I made the first relocation to Texas I immediately got into a romantic relationship. That really made it difficult to meet new folks, as much of my free time was spent with her. No one to blame, and I'm not saying it was even a mistake, but when I moved up here I was determined to meet friends first, girlfriends later.

So, I was pretty darn happy when, a couple months after moving here, I bumped into a guy at a neighborhood bar and struck up a friendly conversation. A few days later, I bumped into him again, while I was walking my dog before going to work and he was walking his girlfriend at the time home. He invited me to stop in his place of work some time (it is a pretty social place, not like an office or something), and a day or so later I took him up on the invitation. We quickly became fast friends, in fact he soon became my very best Cleveland friend and one of my better friends anywhere.

A few months later, I met my ex at the Beachland. As we started dating, she mentioned that she had a keen interest in learning a new skill, one which my new friend did professionally. He gives lessons for a hundred bucks or so, so I bought her one for her birthday - a nice way of encouraging her efforts and putting cash in a buddy's pocket.

She loved it, and over time she kept going back for more lessons and then a kind of unpaid job. And then a paid job.

And after a while we broke up. You know that story, I won't retell it here. If you don't, read back over August and some of September and you'll see my extensive whining and public self-guided therapy about it.

Anyway, we broke up and it didn't have anything to do with the friend or the job. At least I don't think so. Or didn't think so.

It just so happens that I haven't talked to the ex since we broke up, 2+ months ago now, and haven't hung out with the friend for probably 3-4 months. I assume she kept working there, and since I moved to the Heights I haven't even been back to the old neighborhood.

Anyway, today I'm getting a haircut on Coventry at Fast Eddy's, in a chair by the window, looking outside when I see a familiar person walk across the street to the parking lot. I see that person is all cuddled up with another person (inasmuch as one can be cuddled up when walking). I think the chick has a cool hat (and I like girls with cool hats) and then suddenly, stomach lurching, realize ... oh wait ... that's my ex ... and my former friend.

As I'm processing this development, I'm also in mid-sentence to my stylist, but my mouth goes dry and I forget what I was saying. My head clears a few moments later and though I feel a bit nauseous, I manage to barely hold up my end of the conversation. Once the cut is done, I pay, leave, go grab a coffee at the Coventry Phoenix, and then wander the street, stopping in shops as I kill the remaining 40 minutes on my meter, not really looking at anything, not really thinking about anything.

I don't really have a point to all this. Just a weird story that makes me feel sad. I don't feel wronged or betrayed, and at this point I haven't started trying to remember clues or hints that would've indicated there was something fishy going on while we were still dating. There probably wasn't. Maybe there was, but it doesn't really matter. I mean, you gotta go where life takes you, right? And if you meet someone you want to be with, but there is a third party in the fading past, should you really give up an opportunity to be happy? No, I don't think so, and honestly, the two of them make a lot more sense than she and I did. She and I were two different types of fish swimming in different directions, maybe in different ponds. The two of them, though, are on the same wavelength. That isn't me being shitty - really. Just me saying they have very similar expectations in life, very similar interests, very similar desires and goals and so on. That is probably what drew me to them in the first place - how different and even exotic in a professional/cultural way they were from me, that they invest their lives in things I admire but only engage in as a tourist. I wouldn't trade my life for either of theirs, of course, but, well, anyway, my point is I don't begrudge them for getting together. And I don't begrudge them for not calling me and giving me a heads up. I mean, that conversation never goes good and we are all a little too old to have an ex-friend/ex-lovers objection really matter.

So, I'm not mad or jealous or even feeling jilted or cuckolded. Maybe I should feel one of those ways, or all of them. But I don't and I doubt I should.

I just feel a little bit sad about it.


bonnjill said...

Dude, that totally sucks. I've been there (several times), and it isn't a good feeling. You're handling it better than I would. I have met a lot of really cool people through There are tons of groups with various interests. You should check it out!

Kelly and José said...

What are the odds?? That is crazy. . .

We always talk about how everyone seems to be connected (one way or another/for better or worse) in Cleveland*


CB said...

That's what I was thinking. Especially considering it was in the middle of the day and Coventry was otherwise virtually empty. Then again, 2/3 of us live in the Heights and none of us have traditional 9-5 jobs (i.e., one professor, one artist, one effectively unemployed/stay at home parent).

But yeah, it does seem that everyone is connected here. Which is, as you also point out, good and bad.

Right now, I'd totally dig a good example of the small world that is Cleveland falling in my lap...

Blue-Eyed Brunette said...

Hey CB, I think its great that you don't have any of the emotionally tormenting feelings over this. I think it shows growth. Way to be you dude!!
Thanks for being so publicly open about it too!