And here she be, folks, the fourth and final in a series of posts suggested by readers in the second Kapgar Lyrical Challenge. Today's title suggested by Erin,
who was a bit of a fixation on the Old 97s. Read on!
As I'm sure some of you may have noticed from reading this blog, there are tons of little things in life that bug me.
"What???" you might be thinking. "The hell you say!"
Yep, it's true. Things tend to get on my nerves from time to time. Lucky you, I've got this wonderful outlet to get it all in the open and, thus, thrust these problems upon you.
I love you all. Really and truly.
Well, guess what? I have another one for you and I hope you'll bear with me as I detail it.
Let's call this one "There's nothing worse than knowing that you're not wanted."
This happened to me early in grad school in the years B.K. (Before Katie) when I got involved in a Web-based, long-distance relationship with a girl I shall call "B" from N'awlins. That's "New Orleans" for those of you wondering to where my pseudo mastery of the English language disappeared.
As I'm sure is the case in most Web relationships, we got along great online. Why else would we have continued forth, right? When we progressed to the phone, we even held up pretty well there. When some friends and I traveled to N'awlins in November 1997 for a U2 concert at the Superdome (completely coincidental... really), the first in-person meet up we had was awkward, but we pulled through. And when she and a friend made a trip to Chicagoland for a week to visit me, things were great.
So why, in May 1998, when I returned to the Crescent City solo, did it all go to hell in a handbasket?
The second I stepped off the plane, I knew something wasn't right. She was incredibly aloof with me. A very impersonal hug, little conversation, jacked up stereo in the car. I seriously wanted to turn around and get back on the plane right then and there.
I was in town for her graduation and the parties and whatnot that accompanied such an event. Yes, her college graduation, you sickos. She was actually a half year older than me.
During road trips, as we'd travel from her home in Covington to get togethers in Baton Rouge, Slidell, and other towns, I became quite familiar with whatever music the radio happened to be playing. I learned more lyrics to new songs than I thought possible. I developed a love for Ben Folds Five's "Brick" and Natalie Imbruglia's "Torn" in particular. Great songs that, up to that point, I had never heard. And, oddly enough, both spoke volumes to the state of my relationship with B. As great as a song might be, the last thing you want to hear when you are in what is clearly a failing relationship are lines like "She's a brick and I'm drowning slowly" and "I'm all out of faith, this is how I feel." Painful.
If anyone ever tries to tell me that music doesn't perfectly capture the mood of now, I'm gonna tell them they're full of it.
To be honest, the only time she did pay me any attention was when one of her friends did.
At a party with several of her college friends, one of them took a liking to me. True she was drunk. But it was attention that I had, to that point, not received from anyone else and was in dire need of. She proceeded to teach me the finer points of crawfish ingestion, a skill that apparently requires powerful oral suction. This girl was a fantastic teacher, on top of being cute and overly fawning on me. Yes, she was also known to be overly flirtatious, but that never bothered me. And, when I would catch a glimpse of B out the corner of my eye, I could tell she wasn't happy with how the evening was progressing. Considering I was none too happy about how the entire week was progressing, I was fine with this bout of jealousy on her part.
A little while later, my teacher became slightly overcome by the effects of her night of drinking and I, along with another friend, helped her inside to a bed. The two of us sat there with her to nurse her through the heaves and whatnot. B came along shortly after I got in there and I'd swear she was calling me to her side like a dog. "C'mon, let's go. She's got plenty of people that can take care of her." I projected an "I'm sorry, but I have no other way out of here" look to the other girl who was playing nursemaid and she returned it with an "it's fine; I understand; I got it" look.
I really didn't want to leave because, 1, I didn't want to bail on my sick friend and, 2, I didn't want to be alone with B in the car again. But I did because I really had no choice.
A couple more days passed and I returned home.
I IM'd and e-mailed her a couple more times and received no response. A few days later, I received an e-mail from one of her friends apologizing for her behavior. She said that everyone who was around us could tell that she was being a bitch to me and they all felt bad because they all seemed to like what little they saw of me. No, this was not the crawfish friend. She also told me that she had been trying to convince B to contact me to apologize and even break up with me to save me any more pain. I thanked her for her honesty.
I then shot off a final e-mail to B. I took the step she was clearly too afraid to take herself. I ended it once and for all.
And my timing couldn't have been better. A mere six months later, just enough time to recover from the sting of this relationship, Katie and I got together.
And the rest, as they say, is history.