I spent the weekend in New York City with some friends. It was sort of a mixed bag, as far as NYC visits go. On the one hand, there was shopping, and dim sum, and the Whitney biennial, and a showing of Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet at the Rubin. On the other hand there were torrential downpours, and walking around the city with soaking wet, squelching feet for 48 hours straight, and finding my first gray hair while trying on clothes in the dressing room of the teeny-bopper store Forever Twenty-One. Internet, I could not make up such poetic irony if I tried. Although this does perhaps answer the age-old question of when does one become too old to shop at Forever Twenty-One? Duly noted, Universe. I get it. I am old. Can you please stop fucking with me now?
The weekend was also spent entirely in the company of an ever-rotating cast of couples. Now, I know I am single--believe me, I know--but I am not usually as painfully aware of it as I was this weekend. And by a couple (heh) days in, it had really started to wear heavy on me. In a moment alone with my friend, I initiated an unsuccessful heart-to-heart talk on the subject. "You know," I told her, attempting a spirit of confession and emotional honesty, "this weekend has actually been really hard for me. I was never not surrounded by couples, and I constantly felt like the fifth wheel. It's like...I had a vision of my future, and it wasn't good."
Now, I don't know what kind of reaction I was expecting; maybe some nodding, an "I understand," or "I'm sorry, I didn't know you felt that way," or even a quietly sympathetic "Hmm..." In any case, I certainly wasn't expecting a chirpy, "Good! Maybe now you'll be less picky!" If ever I was worried about receiving blind platitudes and baseless reassurance of my own self-worth, I apparently needn't have bothered; not with my supposed best friend there to keep me in check. My jaw dropped; I was speechless. Without anything to say in response, I changed the subject. Even now, two days later, I still don't have anything to say in response; only a swirling montage of images and sense memories and sound bites of every guy I've ever met that keep swimming 'round and 'round inside my head. In my defense, I can only offer as evidence the entirety of this blog; nearly three years' worth of dating disasters, of rejection, of heartache and regret. I wish pickiness was my only problem.
On the phone with my sister the next day, I recounted my weekend. But every time I paused for a reaction, there was only silence in response. "Um, hello?" I said.
"No, stop...drop it."
"Sorry, the dog was trying to eat nail clippers."
"Umm, yeah. So anyway, then she said, 'Good! Maybe now you'll be less picky!'"
"...No, I already had one."
"Bobby was offering me a juice box, but I told him I already had one."
"Becca! You're not listening! You're not even paying attention to me!"
"You have part of my attention, but Bobby's trying to get the other part."
"But I'm trying to talk to you..."
"He doesn't even get home until 8:00..."
"You--you're one of them! You're just another couple person! Gah! Why did you even call me then, if you were just going to ignore me?"
"Bobby was in the bathroom. I thought I had at least half an hour." This was followed by ten seconds of gleeful cackling. Figures. The one reaction out of her the entire conversation and she was laughing at her own joke.
"Well then why don't you just call me when you're not so distracted."
One of the travesties of modern technology is the death of the dial tone. With the advent of cell phones, now when someone hangs up on you, there is only silence. "Bye," I said, but there was no one on the other end. And I thought technology was supposed to make it easier for people to communicate. But with no one on the other end to hear, I realized I was talking to a palm-sized piece of plastic.
If this is a vision of my future, it isn't good.