This was going to be one of those wiki-like entries with an early publishing date and timestamped additions throughout the rest of the day. Of course, like most things I had planned to do Sunday, my plans changed enough to completely alter the course of my day.
Yesterday (the 27th) Morning
I managed to get only very little sleep Saturday night. I didn’t go to bed until almost six in the morning because I was blogging (and, as usual, ended up writing a lot more than I had intended), and then got a little caught up in a conversation with an online buddy. It was a minor heart-to-heart in which we both shared some personal things that had happened (or, in my case, had been happening) in our interpersonal relationships.
Though we both have very different ways of interpreting and analyzing our actions, there was (at least) one very strong common thread among everything we talked about. The difference between us and the people with whom we’d had interpersonal relationships (of various sorts, not just romance) is that we never give up, and we have never let ourselves become victims. Shit happens to all of us, it’s inevitable, and some shit is really, really bad, but we have ultimately never played the defeatist card.
As a result of my lack of sleep, I woke up with much-inflamed sinus trouble this morning. What actually woke me up was noise from the kitchen. Danica was home, eating a donut from Dunkin’ Donuts for breakfast. When I realized she was home I couldn’t relax to go back to bed.
I welcomed her back, and she said hello. One of the first things she told me was
I have your money for the coffee. (And yes, I actually did recieve a twenty-dollar bill before she left for work today.) She was clearly in a pretty horrid mood.
I tentatively questioned how the night had gone for her. She told me, in not so few words, that it was awful. Most of what she talked about didn’t have anything to do with Randy, either.
Apparently, there was a stream of what she described as
propositions from various men on the street and on the subway during her trip downtown to see Randy. I asked for clarification,
You mean guys hit on you? She said that no, it was more like they thought she was a prostitute. Due to her lack of clean laundry, she couldn’t wear the clothes she had wanted to and ended up having to put on a shorter-than-usual black dress, fishnet stockings, and the like.
She said that on her one-block walk to the subway station from our (oops, my) apartment a car slowed down and followed her, and the male(s?) inside rolled down the windows. She described the subway ride itself as
harsh, though at first I thought she was talking about the night with Randy in general.
Confused about her apparent hurt that men would proposition her (it’s been something she’s talked about being very interested in for a long time), I rather thoughtlessly said,
So what’s the problem? Isn’t that your thing? when what I meant to say was more akin to,
Why did you not like it when these men approached you tonight? (Cut me some slack, I had just woken up and couldn’t even see straight yet. I’m allergic to waking up.)
She stared at me and, in that really firm and staccato tone she sometimes uses, said
No. It has to be concensual. I nodded (that makes sense to me) but didn’t actually say anything in response. (I suppose she’s going to read this anyway, and I’ve probably explained what happened here better than I could do in words to her.)
Cancelling my Gym Plans
A little later, I called my mother and told her I had to cancel our gym date. I feel pretty awful about that since I really do want to exercise, but I just can’t for the life of me see myself pulling anything better than a 2:50 split on four hours of sleep. That just sounds utterly useless to me to even attempt, so I thought I’d aim for a good night’s rest and try again the next day.
My mother was disappointed and did the typical motherly thing of asking how I was, reminding me to do various items on my to-do list (which never really helps, by the way), and telling me to get better quickly. She can’t work out as often as I can, unfortunately, and it’s a shame that I’ve missed my chance to go to the gym with someone else. It’s a lot easier to actually do the work out when you know you can have a bite to eat with somebody at the end of it. (Note to self: find a workout buddy that’s not a blood-relative or a jock.)
Danica Reads My Blog
Afterwards, I went online and did nothing other than kill more time. (I think time should be dead by now, after all this senseless violence it’s had to endure.) I spent about an hour on Orkut before Danica appeared behind my chair looking at my computer screen. My web browser (which, I’ll plug, is the best browser ever) was displaying my blog’s main page. I asked her if she wanted to read it and she said sure. I busied myself with almonds and preparing a peanut butter and jelly sandwhich in the kitchen while she read.
When she was finished, she went over to her computer and started typing furiously. I thought she was angry with me, but when I asked her if that was the case she responded with a sad look and tears. She said that she wasn’t angry, just that everything that happened last night was taking its toll.
The Larry Situation
I expressed my relief, and the suspicion I’d had that her furious typing indicated furious emotions. Then she told me,
If you really must know, I was writing a letter to Larry. He emailed me this morning. At that point, I took a really deep breath and said,
No, I actually don’t think I want to know.
The Necessary Background
Larry, for those uninformed and because I didn’t do enough blogging about this whole fiasco when it actually happened, is a man Danica met on one of those online BDSM “dating” sites a while back. For the sake of reference, Larry would have been “Official Reason Number 2” why I should have broken up with Danica, but never did.
Danica corresponded with him a few times back and forth via email before actually meeting him one night around Halloween of 2004. They went out together on these pseudo-dates several times after that and conversed over email much more frequently.
I never liked Larry the moment I heard about him. Firstly, he’s thirty, if not older. Secondly, by his own admission (though this is admittedly heresay via Danica’s words) he is
only interested in a sexual relationship and not really in any kind of friendship at all. Thirdly, I spent more nights than I’d like to recall doing my best to subdue feelings of raging anger and supplant them with compassion and empathy when Danica would come home and, mere minutes after telling me how great the night had went, sob uncontrollably as she recounted how he would, and I quote,
grope [her] ass and feel [her] up. (Danica had said many times how she felt horrible about not saying or doing anything about that.)
Last but certainly not least, Larry’s manipulation of Danica is one I instantly recognize from my time in the public New York City BDSM scene. He was pulling a nearly identical emotional power-play over her as was pulled over my previous girlfriend when the two of us joined the BDSM scene and started meeting all the so-called “friendly and like-minded folks.”
Thanks to my experiences entrenched in the sociopolitical warzone that was (and likely still is) the public BDSM scene, I have gained some invaluable social experiences that have done miracles to hone my perceptiveness and degrade my naievety. Which, by the way, is exactly what I hope this relationship with Danica has done for me in regards to my love life.
The bottom line is that Larry is scum and somewhere not-so deep down inside her Danica knows it, too.
So she told me that Larry had emailed her this morning and I told her I didn’t even want to know more than that about it. I may have a new attitude in regards to my feelings for her, but that still doesn’t mean I want to see her end up with scum. Danica may not be ready to committ to a serious relationship yet, but I’d like to think she is still better than scum. I don’t want to see her prove me wrong by ending up with said scum.
Also, while there are certainly compassionate, well-intentioned, and caring feelings behind that motivation, I will readily admit that part of it is utterly selfish. I think my last girlfriend ended up with scum after our break up, and I’d like to keep my record of respectable exes higher than two-out-of-three. Especially since the only one I would consider respectable if Danica ends up in such a self-debasing situation is respectable only out of sheer doubt, as I no longer have any means to know what has happened in her life.
I did my best to try and put the fact that she was back in touch with that man out of my mind. I returned to the kitchen and tried to focus on helping the organic peanut butter for my sandwhich to thaw. (I kept stabbing it with a spreading knife to help the oils sink back in.) Every once in a while, however, Danica kept appearing at the doorway in tears and asking me something.
First, stammering a little and face streaked with salt water, she said she wanted to beg me for something. She didn’t say what, she said she couldn’t say what it was. I just shrugged and kept stabbing at my peanut butter.
Then she told me she wanted to beg me to take her back. She said,
I’d go to counseling, I’d do anything. […] but I know you can’t do that now. I wasn’t saying anything, but I was taking deep breaths and stabbing at my peanut butter pretty harshly.
The second time she appeared at the doorway she was still in tears and again said she wanted to beg me for something. This time she didn’t have as much trouble getting it out. She said that she had read my blog and figured I wouldn’t do this anyway, but she still asked.
Please, if I say anything bad to you about Randy or anything to do with us, which I took to mean Randy and her,
please don’t write it in your blog. Randy means a lot to me and if I say something stupid it’s just because I’m angry at myself and….
I emphatically told her that I would never do that because I consider it low to sabotage another person’s relationships. Besides, I also know exactly what that feels like (a la Larry and several members of the public BDSM scene, who surely know who they are if they are reading this) and know exactly how painful it is to be on the other end of the stick. Yes, I’m a better person than that. (I’m not perfect, but I have no problems at all touting how much better I am than most folks, and for the record, I couldn’t care less about what most people think about that.)
She left the kitchen still in tears, so I followed her to the living room. I asked if my solemn promise not to publish something she said in confidence to me which slandered somebody else made her feel better. She nodded and quiety said that yes, it does, and thank you.
She had to go to work soon, and this whole Larry possibility was really getting under my skin. I didn’t want to, but I finally told her that whatever she thought she needed Larry for, she was simply wrong. I can’t really know how much good that did, but I just had to say it.
Yesterday (still the 27th) Afternoon and Evening
When she left, at approximately 1:13 PM, I started writing this blog entry. Not long after I had started, I got a phone call from the acquaintance I went out with one night last week asking if I had any plans. Since I no longer had any, and since it was a rather nice day outside, I took her up on her offer to walk around Pelham Bay and Orchard Beach (I think that’s where we went).
Snow on the Beach
I love the water, and spending some time out of the claustrophobic city was wonderful. There was snow on the beach as well as plenty of great skipping stones. (I’m rusty, but I still managed to skip some stones over seven or eight times.) The two of us talked, walked, and sat down on some rocks after walking a bit off the trail.
Semantic Side Note
I’ve been asked many times why I keep using the word acquaintance so often, when most others usually refer to the same sorts of people as friends. I was asked again as the two of us were walking in Pelham Bay Park. Apparently, she had read my blog and, while not a big deal, wanted to know why I kept using that word.
The reason is actually pretty semantic. A friend is most precisely defined as someone you know well and whom you regard with affection and trust. This does not accurately describe most of the people I know, since I either don’t know, don’t like, or don’t trust them very much. Thus, to call them friends is simply incorrect. An acquaintance carries no such connotation and is thus far more suitable a word for describing most people I know.
While this distinction might seem appallingly theoretical to some, (“What does it matter how precise you are, everyone knows what you’re talking about anyway,”) it’s actually pretty important because of how deficient the English language can be at correctly communicating the proper intended meanings of things that people say. Until humans are truly empathic and telepathic, language will remain an unreliable tool for conveying the meaning of something that was said and this is why I try my best to use the tool as correctly as I can. Of course, in situations where popular culture has redefined a word to the extent that it is obviously going to be misinterpreted if I do use it properly, then considering the importance I place on communication I’m going to use the word (or phrase) for its percieved meaning rather than for its defined meaning.
While still on the beach a friend of my acquaintance’s called her up, and plans were made to see a movie later in the day. In the end, due to the Oscars, these plans were changed and I spent much of the evening at her place trying (and failing) to help with obscure Windows XP virus trouble. We had dinner, watched a few awards being given out, and then she took me back home before it got too late.
From the car, I could see that the kitchen light in my apartment was turned on. Since I always turn off all the lights in the apartment when I go out, I knew Danica was already home. It was quickly approaching eleven o’clock, so this made sense.
Danica seemed to be in a much better mood than the one she was in this morning. I asked how her day had went, and she responded that thanks to the Academy Awards there were not nearly as many customers as there were most days. This provided her with a more relaxing day than she might have otherwise had.
She asked how my day had gone and I told her about spending most of it out in the Bronx. She remarked that she was
glad [I] have Christine (the acquaintance I spent time with today), and I told her that I was happy I didn’t end up spending another sunny day inside the house all by myself.
Then she went to the kitchen and started eating a grapefruit. She said she was hungry. I told her I’d already had dinner but that I wanted to snack on something anyway.
We sat and talked briefly before I couldn’t help myself and had to ask her why, all of a sudden, Larry would have emailed her this morning. Danica told me that before she stopped talking to him he had told her that around this time he was going to tell her how some surgery had went, so she wasn’t surprised to get the email at all. This all sounded extremely suspicious to me and I asked a bunch of follow-up questions in an attempt to get more detail about what really happened.
I don’t really believe for a moment that Larry would just up and write an email about nothing other than his recent surgery to Danica. They stopped talking months ago, and their last communiques to one another were quite angry. If I know men like Larry (and unfortunately I do), then when a girl stops showing interest in being their sexual plaything, they lose interest in talking to her. These men simply know when to quit.
Thus, I am hard-pressed to believe that it was, in fact, Larry who initiated communications with Danica, despite what she says to me about the way communication with him started again. I have heard her twist the truth so many times to so many people (her mother, her cousins, her friends, and me) about so many things (like her schooling, her work situations, her other friends, and of course me) that I just don’t believe what comes out of her mouth much anymore when it is supposedly a factual recount of the events.
Yes, I admit, perhaps I was trying to pry open Pandora’s box and get Danica to admit to something. Perhaps that was stupid, useless, and counter-productive. But I am telling you, her story just made me so suspicious (and not just of Larry, but of her as well) that I couldn’t help but do my best to try and pry the factual truth out of the steel trap. I did not, however, explicitly tell her I thought she was lying or somehow twisting the facts of the events (either purposely or subconsiously) because I didn’t want to get into a fight.
At one point in the conversation, I asked her why in all of hell she would actually respond to his email even if he did entice a response (with talk of surgery?) from her. She didn’t give me a straight answer, but said something about their friendship. I scoffed and asked her if she even remembered all the negative things that had happened with him.
This is the stunner: She said no! She said she didn’t even remember much of what happened with him at all. She said she simply couldn’t recall what she ever felt like during those times. The only thing she could recall was all of our fights, the bad times her and I spent fighting when Larry was the topic of the arguments, and a few things about going off on a tantrum as being the last time she spoke to the scumbag (aka Larry).
Personally, I have no idea how forgetting all of that is possible, but I am certain it is some remarkable skill that scumbags like Larry possess over weak-minded, victim-mentality girls like Danica. That is their social genius; they can completely erase the negative memories that involve them and replace all of them with negative memoies involving their obstacle (in this case, me) in order to continuously lure willing victims.
I am no longer really interested in fighting Larry via Danica, but I still took the liberty of reminding Danica of all the nights she spent huddled in my arms as a result of what amounts to nothing less than (unfortunately willing) sexual harrassment at Larry’s hands. Danica was somberly silent for a few moments and then sighed,
How quickly one forgets. I would have thrown my hands up in frustration, but have since learned not to be surprised by such things.
Suffice it to say that much of this conversation included the words “Larry” and “scum” and “self-destructive.” I also won’t be surprised if someday soon she meets up with Larry for a cup of coffee. What-fucking-ever.
Despite all this, the generally good mood permeated dinner and continued until bedtime. I had made Danica a mushroom omlette (after I made her actually ask me directly for it; the girl needs to learn how to actually say things directly, like “Please do this for me” and “Don’t do this to me”) and ate the last grapefruit along with some almond slivers as a snack. Then she pulled me to bed and we cuddled for a while before she drifted off to sleep.
I cleaned up a little before putting my pajamas on and joining her in bed to sleep. She needed to wake up early today (the 28th) to head over to the realtor’s to sign the papers for her new apartment before work. I managed to fall asleep without much trouble and only woke up once to go to the bathroom.
When I woke up today, Danica was gone (I suppose she’s at work), and the first thing I did was come back here to finish this entry. I’m still recovering from my sinus cold, and so I won’t be heading to the gym today. (It’s also late, anyway.) I want my head to feel better already, damnit, but I suppose only time will make that happen. I suppose only time will make a lot of things happen.