Monday, August 14, 2006

thursday night far from sleep

SP called me on Friday evening. She had also dropped me an email on Friday afternoon asking what my plans were that night. That was a bit of a surprise, because she knew this weekend was supposed to be spent in devotion towards The Goal. When she called on Friday, I was still at work. Then we had this exchange:
    me: Sorry, my cell phone gets no reception at work.
    SP: Ah, I didn't have your work number... so you are still at work?
    me: (long pause, controlling the urge to b*tch) Yeah.
    SP: Well, I was wondering... okay, I've had a really bad week and I was hoping you would have some time...

At this point, I must interject to log a few notes. SP never interferes with my work towards The Goal. She usually encourages my hermit-like tendencies during this time. What is more, she is rarely, if ever, needy, in that wah, please spend time with me way. So her request was actually enough in and of itself. Okay, back to the conversation:
    me: Yeah, okay, I can-
    SP: Because (blurts this part out) I got mugged, held up at gunpoint last night, and I really-
    me: Wait, what?!? Are you okay?
    SP: Yeah. Oh, and I was on a date, and-
    me: When did this happen?
    SP: Last night-

At this point, I was already pressing shut down on my laptop. SP and I started talking in half-sentences, interrupting each other, and we quickly realized we needed to stop talking on the telephone. She came to my place straight from work, and I was already there, straightening up the crack shack just enough so that she could come up to the apartment without being further traumatized.

Thankfully, SP was not hurt. She had some money and a credit card taken, and was clearly shaken up by the incident, but was otherwise unharmed. The gun was held at the back of her date. When she described his reaction, I realized that, in some ways, something like this is even more difficult for men to process than women. I hope that does not sound foolish, but I do contend that women are allowed to be upset, to be a little fragile. For a man, I can just imagine it is a bit harder- you're supposed to be the tougher one, you've been set up to think you're the protector. So, to be on a date, and be mugged, well, it must make a man feel a bit like a eunuch. This is not to suggest that this man was in any way a wimp. He did all the right things, making sure SP was okay, accompanying SP all the way back to her place in a cab.

When SP was finally sitting on my couch, though, she revealed that her bad week had started before the mugging. This dude, who I refer to as The DB, invited her to meet up earlier this week. The DB has a dog, and SP is partial to dogs, and also pretty partial to The DB, so she agreed. First, he backed out of dinner with a feeble excuse of having to prepare for an impending visit from his parents. Then he showed up with two dogs, instead of one. The second dog was his ex-girlfriend's. Guess what? The DB, after meeting up with SP, tried to casually incorporate into conversation that the ex part of the ex-girlfriend's title had been recalled. Why SP did not channel The Wedding Singer at that moment, and yell, "Information that would have been useful to me yesterday!", I will never fully understand.

I cannot tell if it was a blessing or a curse to have these two things happen to SP at once. In a sense, this heartbreak at the hands of The DB distracted her from the very real danger associated with the mugging. But then again, I would not have wished either of these incidents on her. When we met again on Saturday, it became clear to me that The DB's sucker punch had actually wounded her much more deeply than the mugging, was going to stay with her for much longer.

Why is that? And is it only true with women? When she told me everything, I was hard pressed to chide her about taking the sucker punch harder than the robbery. The impact is different, but no less piercing. And in some ways, it is easier to forgive a stranger than it is someone you thought meant something to you. Maybe Saul Bellow's title says it all: More Die of Heartbreak.

If nothing else, I suppose all of this definitely put my meaningless whining in perspective. When I was on the phone with SP on Friday evening, a moment of sharpening occurred, just as it had in the past. All the bullsh*t becomes a blur, the picture focuses into plain view, and an exclamation mark punctuates the thought in your head: This! This is real and this is life! It makes me realize how much of my life is spent lolling, gently down the stream.

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