I wouldnt be labeled a conventional romantic, but I dont think I should be labeled a cynic either. Im skeptical and yet hopeful. Im a realist, I guess. Someone who has genuine hope for people and for himself, but who has lived long enough to be aware that its so easy for things to go wrong.
Whenever anyone starts a sentence with I cant believe you.... And follows it with some arbitrary mean/insensitive/petty thing Ive said or done, my automatic response is
Have we met?!
That theres anyone left out there who has no concept of my capacity for anger, temper tantrums, spite, and bitterness.
MOST people already know.
Last week, for example, a guy couldnt believe I fed his dinner to the dog.
This was a dinner it took me a week to make, mind youand Id sandwiched all the shopping and prep time in between work, child-care, family responsibilities, and the usual holiday planning.
It was not an especially simple meal. It was three to four courses (or wouldve been). The soup alone took three days.
And he ruined it. (Not the soup. The plan.)
By getting the day wrong.
I thought Saturday, he thought Sunday.
Heres where I would point out: I THOUGHT Saturday because he SAID Saturday. Heres where he would point out: he thinks he just said dinner.
My argument for having a minimum of three alternate plans ready to kick in the second he vacillated or suggested the slightest deviation was: the holidays are busy; I know by now not to count on him; and my schedule was already so finely timed that if a bug so much as hits my windshield, it could set into motion a chain of miscalculations that could throw my entire YEAR off.
Id only left Saturday open; thats the only day hed mentioned being free. I assumed hed be leaving town soon thereafter. Everyone is. And the rest of the time, I was busy, and also, oh yeah, I have a job. Where we dont take two weeks off for Christmas and New Years. I OFTEN go there on Monday morningswhich means I dont typically stay up all night on Sunday cooking and doing dishes.
PLUS: in the hierarchy of dating, as my evil party twin and I decreed in the 90s (though shes since married and moved away): we are NOT Sunday night girls, we are Saturday night girls.
Unless youre in a very, very, very longterm committed relationship (defined exclusively as the kind where youre listed first on the life insurance policy), Sunday plans mean you are an afterthoughtyoure leftovers. The weekend is finished. The good time that was had by all has already been had. And you werent it. Maybe it wasnt another girl
maybe it was a sporting event of some sort, an evening of theatre, dance, or music
or perhaps a night out drinking with the boys wrapped up with all of them passed out face-down in a pool of their respective vomit
the point is, it just wasnt you.
The point is (as everyone knew LONG before it became a Sex & the City topic): hes just not that into you.
Sunday supplies an automatic escape route that will not involve anyone chewing their own legs offtheres always an early Monday meeting thatll conveniently and justifiably limit the time devoted (although that doesnt apply to bass players, so dont fall for it in their case).
Sunday night plans means therell be no awkward Sunday morning Starbucks recriminations over beer goggles and regretsno need to fake a seizure, or a sudden, unexpected 24 hour case of bacterial meningitis to get rid of anyone (as I myself have, admittedly, doneand that was just to walk out on a movie date that I wasnt enjoying).
So THATs why his Saturday-night dinner got fed to the dog on Thursday afternoon.
It coulda gone in the trash.
I couldve eaten it or served it to other guests (if I hadnt made lightning-fast backup plans to go elsewhere and do otherwisebefore the word Sund
was out of his mouth, Id flashed up the emergency Barbie-head silhouette over the Park near my houseits like the Bat Signal, only it lets everyone in a 20-mile radius know I AM in fact free and I COULD use those tickets).
But feeding it to the dog seemed the perfect gesture. Cause I love my dogand my dog looooooves sweet potato soup and pork loin (although to be culinarily honest, he frankly did not seem to be THAT crazy about the fancy little pockets of Montrachet goat cheese wrapped in radicchio).
So notwithstanding the fundamental incompatibility of mesclun and canine digestive tracts this was a harmless way to throw a fit where no one got hurt and nothing got broken.
Because in the grand scheme, skipping one dinners not that big a big deal (enough to merit something mild
instead of say, a shock collar)it was only MADE bigger by the cumulative effect of months of this kind of miscommunication
Never telling me specific days or times hed be free
and on the rare occasions he did, itd be wrong (like showing up hours after a ballgame ended)augmented by plenty of fall and summer travel plans that never got communicated in advance, like spontaneous fishing trips, which usually got casually dropped into conversation mere hours before the plane took off, as in, oh yeah....Im going fly fishing this weekend. (And for the record, the weekend is not defined by anybody as leaving on a Wednesday and coming back on a Tuesday
that is whats technically known as a Vacation
and Vacation Schedules are subject to a heads-up for all significant and insignificant others. When one plans them.)
I can never tell if hes REALLY that thoughtless (always a safe bet)
or if he just figures if I dont have much notice, Ill have less time to PLAN to better-deal him while hes gone.
(Which is absurd. Theres ALWAYS time for a better deal. And it doesnt require much of a plan.) n