I like my friends. I find it helps. However sometimes I get the distinct impression that if faced with a ravenous mega crocodile in a swamp they would throw a bucket of fish guts over me and then run for the hills watching from afar as I get torn limb from limb, stopping only to remark to each other ‘poor Lou, she’s just always in the wrong place at the wrong time.’
This thought came about after a good friend of the ‘I just met him at the gym and he was the one and now we’ve bought a split level apartment together in Woollahra and I thought I knew what happiness was but I didn’t, I was a fool on a teenagers errand because now that I’ve met the blood (his name is Ian*) that pumped through my heart, well Lou I wondered how I ever managed without it before’ variety sent me an email admonishing me for not even owning a toaster oven and highly recommending I go on a blind date with one of Ian’s friends.
A new toaster oven I could use, but a blind date, chances of that making me an evenly toasted piece of heaven smothered with Nutalex was highly unlikely and that level of certainty comes with age children, age.
I emailed her back, politely declining, telling her I’d recently bought the box set of Pugwall and I owed it to him to watch it in full over the next say month or 36 years, so she rang me.
‘Pugwall isn’t available in box set yet. I Googled it. You’re lying.’
‘It should be.’
‘This is neither the time nor the place to go into that Lou.’
‘I finished Press Gang last week.’
‘I don’t care.’
‘He’s a very nice man Lou.’
‘I’m sure his mum finds him real nice.’
‘Really Lou? A mum joke?’
‘Technically it wasn’t really a mum joke, but granted there was an inference so I’ll give you that.’
She ignored me and to be fair I understood why.
‘Ok, so he’s nice.’
‘Yes nice and has a job. He’s not leaving someone, dating anyone else, not moving overseas, doesn’t have a harem I know of and he doesn’t dress as a clown.’
‘I’ve never dated a clown.’
‘Clowns, performers, street folk, it’s all the same from where I sit with all my financial security looking down on you.’
‘Look, I’m just really not into the idea of it at all.’
‘Just think of it like going to a Farmer’s Market and you’re the cow that needs to be milked.’
‘That analogy managed to offend me on so many levels.’
‘And look I’m going away in a week so now really isn’t a good time to start anything.’
‘You’re going to Sydney for a weekend.’
‘And his recent STD check came back clear and don’t panic I showed him a copy of yours.’
‘God, I should never have given you a copy.’
‘Consider it a reference check.’
‘Fine, I’ll meet him.’
Within 15 minutes of hanging up I’d received an email from him, informing me he liked going to the gym, the movies and he’d Googled me, thus the absence of questions directly relating to myself I imagined. I’m not a mad fan of Googling people. I have a weird thing about getting to know them on my own terms, not have information thrust upon me, but this doesn’t always halt the expectation from others that you’ve Googled them. Whilst dating someone it came to my attention I’d missed his birthday – oh stop throwing stones – I’d asked him on numerous occasions when it was and he wouldn’t tell me. None of this was helped when at dinner one night I asked how his week had been and he pointed out I’d missed his birthday, something that if I’d ever checked his Wikipedia entry I would’ve known…
I wrote back to email guy and said next Wednesday would be good for a coffee. He tried to up the anti to dinner but I know what I’m like after a meal and a glass/bottle of wine so I told him coffee was preferable. He wrote back saying fingers crossed they might serve nuts there. I wrote back saying that if was prone to such overwhelming bursts of hunger perhaps it best he ‘eat’ before we met up.
The Wednesday arrived and out of the blue so did my parents, fresh from an 8 week jaunt around the Mediterranean. I’d have to reschedule. I sent him a quick text explaining the unexpected events that had led to our coffee cancellation, heck I even through in some wit without trying to sound flippant. All in all it was the perfect text message, however my intended audience didn’t agree.
My phone beeped. He’d replied:
‘Hi, look I’m worried if you can’t make time for us now then what hope do we have for a future. Think about it.’
I couldn’t help but think he had a great sense of humour, so I checked.
‘Are you serious?’ I wrote back.
‘Yes. I need to know now you’re just not going to flake out on me. I really wanted to meet you but I’m started to think you don’t want the same things I want for us.’
Ok, let’s just drown the puppy in the hessian sack now. I looked around to make sure I wasn’t jilting someone at the alter and had some how become so torn from my own reality I hadn’t even noticed, but no, my tracksuit was still firmly on and my kitchen looked nothing like a cathedral, but the floor did need to be mopped.
I deleted his number from my phone and got out the bucket.
My phone rang, it was my friend.
‘It took a lot of leg pulling to get that guy to even agree to meet you, especially after he read your blog.’
‘And hello to you too.’
‘Sorry’ I put the bucket down.
‘He rang to say you’ve stopped responding to his messages.’
‘Yes, about 3 minutes ago I stopped responding to his messages.’
‘Is this what happens Lou? Is that why your relationships end up in the toilet faster then a uni girl’s hair extension after a smoko?’
‘For Christ’s sake, he acted like we’d agree to start working things out after having gone through a legal separation.’
‘You’d be so lucky’ my friend scoffed.
‘He’s not right in the head.’
‘A predisposition to schizophrenia is a non-issue Lou.’
‘Oh my god is it so hard to believe that I have little to no interest in getting married or moving in with someone? If and when you see me advertised on Craig’s list then maybe I’ll re-evaluate, but right now I’m fine with Pugwall and men that might not return my calls.’
She said nothing as I imagined her muting the Lifestyle Channel before coming back to me.
‘Ok, fine. I’ll just tell him you’re taking time to figure yourself out.’
‘No, just tell him his messages were inappropriate and scary and at the end of the day I prefer the company of clowns.’
‘I knew it.’
‘Yes, you know me better than I know myself.’
We hung up and I picked up the mop just as my phone beeped. It was from email guy.
‘Hey, look you take all the time you need to figure yourself out. I’ll still be here. My sister thought she was gay once too, just turned out she couldn’t eat wheat. Take care.’
And so as I deleted his message and blocked his email address whilst buttering my toast I couldn’t help but think maybe he’d end up being the one that got away and I couldn’t be more grateful for that.