The boomerang rang rang rang et al

I haven’t posted in awhile. Not for lack of subject matter, mind you. Just that when you work 12-15 hours a day  6 to 7 days a week it’s a tad difficult to muster the energy. I’m lucky if I can read two paragraphs of a book at night before crashing. Ugh.

But this evening I find myself with a bit of time and thought why not bestow upon my eagerly wanting public some of my beatific words of wisdom. Hey. It’s the least I can do.

But what to write? What to write?

I suppose I could write about The Boomerang. She’s the woman I met on eHarmony who, after adamantly insisting that we were not a good match kept getting back in touch with me. I believe I dubbed her Lydia. In any case, I’d thought she was gone for good. And then on day while slacking on the couch and randomly texting every poor schmuck who was naive enough to make me privy to their phone number, I get a text:

“Hi. How have you been?” It read.

“I’m fine,” I responded. “Who this?”

It was Lydia and apparently she’d had a dream about me so of course had to get in touch. At this point the wise thing to do would have been to simply tell her to buzz off, but as is probably apparently, I’m not always the wisest of men. Reference: my marriage to a narcissistic, self-serving sociopath — even great sex (which it so was not, I’ve since come to realize) is an excuse for a knucklehead move like that. But I digress or regress or something like that.

We began chatting again, for a time. But after making the mistake — YET AGAIN — of expressing what a pain in the ass my ex -wife can be, The Boomerang, pointed out to me that my ex-wife was kind of a difficult person. “You think?” I said. The problem, The Boomerang pointed out, was that my pain in the ass ex-wife would become, in part, her problem. And in the end, she just didn’t want that hassle. To which I replied, “Cool beans. Bye. And do not contact me again.”

“I will,” she texted. “You do the same.”

I refrained from sending the “Fuck off!” text, which I think I will always regret. But what are you gonna do, right? Live and learn.

And what precisely have I lived to learn? Well, that in some ways, having an ex-wife is worse than having a wife. Strangely enough, when I was married, I had had way more opportunities with other woman than I seem to be having now. Apparently, there is a breed of woman who are more than willing to have an affair with a married man (my ex-wife for example), but if you have an ex-wife it somehow changes things. You can’t talk too badly about the ex or that bothers them. In their mind, it means you’re not over them. And you can’t speak too warmly about your ex either, because again this means you’re not over her. And then there are the woman who just can’t seem to tolerate an ex-wife existence at all.

It’s like a curse really. And I can’t help wondering if this is instinctually what keeps (some) men from wanting to get married in the first place. Because despite a wife being an ex-wife, she’s still a wife of some sort and that is like an dating albatross around a guy’s neck that can never be lifted.

Well…that was far more bellyaching that I’d planned on, but what the hey. It’s a blog, right. A place to let the proverbial shit fly. And I am a rhetorical monkey eager to fling his prose poo! Bazinga!

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You tell me….

Previously I had stated that I would not blog about any relationship that was currently open, on-going, had potential to go somewhere, I would only blog about those that were closed, dead, finito. I was working up to some that hit the skids some time back, but I’ve got a more recent occurrence I’d like to blather about, if you don’t mind.

So shall we….

In a recent post I explained that a big turn on for me is a sense of humor. I love it. This means not only being able to engage in witty banter but also being able to get/take a joke, most of the time. I know that jokes don’t always go over well, if at all. It’s the nature of the beast. And sometimes they can even hurt and offend. But when that happens one should be at least willing to hear an explanation and/or an apology.

Where am I going with this?

I’m glad you asked.

Last night I had a date with this woman I’d met via OkCupid. Let’s call her ….Rita, okay. Rita and I had already met briefly a week prior and decided that we liked each other enough to try for an actual date. During the past week we had exchanged text messages from time to time, many of which were flirty and jokey in manner, although eventually she told me that she hated texting. Fine. No biggie. Although part of me thought — here come the rules. Still, she said it was fine to text her anytime she just wasn’ that into it, so naturally I not only backed off I told her I’d be glad to call and talk sometime if she preferred, just let me know when would be the best time. She never got back to me on that. In any case, I was looking forward to meeting her again. She was (probably still is too) smart and clever, funny, accomplished, and quite attractive — I’ve never seen eyes that blue before ,I’m telling you.

So Saturday comes and I’ve got some things to attend to during the day. Well, while I’m out I get a text saying that she can’t make it, she’s run into some difficulties with her kids. I was disappointed for sure, but totally understood. I know how it can be with kids, and she has two, plus recently divorced and essentially a single mom. So I texted her back and told her not to worry about it all. And that maybe we could meet another time, if she wanted — not assuming that she wanted, as she may simply have changed her mind about me for whatever reason.

Well, then a funny thing occurred to me and I texted it to her. I texted that I had to make a confession. That I was actually kind of relieved that she’d cancelled as I’d accidentally pulled a Peter Brady and booked two dates for the same night and at my age did not have the energy to run back and forth between two women. I added to the text a wink 😉 and the explicit explanation that it was a joke. Just to be sure.

Rita did NOT get the joke. Her response seemed to indicate that she was serious, although initially I thought she was joking back. She was not. I explained again that it was a joke, that I had not booked two dates, that I would not do that, not for the same night anyway. I apologized if it was ill-advised. I tried to call her, thinking that maybe this required a verbal explanation and even apology. She would not answer. She would not take my call, despite my pleas. She was convinced that I was a playa and trying to purposely hurt her, that this was typical of the men on OkCupid. I told her  (via text) that I did not mean to hurt her. She texted back: I said tried. You did not hurt me. I am stronger than that. Well, clearly I had at least truck a nerve and I felt badly and wanted to understand it, but she was not allowing it.

Finally, I asked her how my joke was any different than when she said, at our initial meeting, that she needed me to go because she had other candidates to interview, which I thought was quite funny. She responded with: Please, no more texts. So I obliged.

For a moment, I considered getting online and emailing her via the site to try and explain but in the end I opted not to. I texted a female friend and asked her opinion, which was that it was total drama and to take it as a red flag and to run. So I decided to do just that. I eradicated her electronic footprint from my life, blocking her on OkCupid, deleting our correspondences and removing her from my cell phone. I do not need that kind of crap in my life. And I will not be manipulated by that kind of emotional terrorism.

Since this incident I have received confirmation from at least two other women that Rita’s reaction was troubling at best, and disturbing at worst, and definitely more than reason enough to have nothing to do with her anymore. It was suggested to me that I tell her to leave me alone but I think a non-response is the best one. It was also suggested to me that it would not be surprising if she actually contacted me at some point. I doubt that, but we’ll see.

What do people think? Was my joke funny? Out of line? Ill-advised? Hurtful? Cruel? Harmless? And if it was a bad joke should I have been at least afforded opportunity to explain and apologize or whatever? Do chime in. Enquiring minds want to know. So do I.

I beginning to believe that online dating sites are receptacles for bat-shit crazy women. Maybe men too, I don’t know. You tell me.

txt-dependant

It would seem that I have developed something of a text message dependancy.  6 months ago I almost never used the txt messaging option of my phone. Hell, I hardly ever used my phone. The only person I ever really talked to on it was my wife, Colleen. In fact, that was the reason I got a cell phone in the first place, when Colleen was pregnant with our daughter, so she could contact me anywhere when she went into labor. As it turned out, it wasn’t necessary — Colleen was induced after she’d gone past her due date. But I kept the phone. I’m not sure I’ve heard of anyone giving up their cell once they’d gotten one, even those who swore they never would, like myself.

Back to my original point: I txt a lot now. So much so that we changed our phone plane. Yes, though separated, Colleen and I are still on the same phone plan. Is that strange or unusual? Got me.  It is what it is. I probably txt my cousin in Iowa the most, but the majority of our txts are of the juvenile variety, ie ham jokes. It’s too complicate, and a bit twisted, to explain. Just accept it. Colleen is the person I txt most after that. In fact, we txt more now than we ever did before, but then we were living in the same house, and yet we seemed to communicated far less than we do now.  In many ways, although not all, our relationship is better than it was before the separation. Often it doesn’t seem like we’re not a couple anymore, that we’re not a family anymore. It’s almost as if we’ve somehow entered our bizzarro relationship. I don’t know. It’s late and I spent three hours in the dentist chair getting fitted for two — count ’em — two crowns. I’m still slighty out of it.

I find txting to be helpful in a way, although it is difficult to describe how exactly. A friend on facebook gave me her number and told me to call her if I ever wanted to talk. We’d been chatting. I told her I appreciated it, although I’d be more likely to txt than chat. She said she understood, that sometimes you want to talk but not really. That made sense to me.

Anyhoo…my txting fetish doesn’t seem like it will end anytime soon. If anything it is going to become even more prominent. I’m looking into getting a new phone, one that makes it easier to tap out messages.

Warning Millenials, Warning! You are under attack!

To arms! To arms!

Or in this case: To the books! To the books! As well as newspapers and sustantive magazines etc.

The attack comes from Emory University prof, Mark Bauerlein in the form of a book titled The Dumbest Generation: or, don’t trust anyone under 30. A rant against what he sees as the apparent ignorance of the Millenial generation.

A friend from college hipped me to this book and I was immediately interested in reading it mainly because the title irritated me so much. It smacks of certain kind of Boomer ire, turining an old 60s axiom around and pointing at a younger generation. (Although Mr. Bauerlein, who received his PhD degree in 1988 according to his profile on the Emory University web site, probably doesn’t qualify as a Baby Boomer, and is probably more likely an early GenXer.) And it reminded me of the barrage of similar criticism leveled at Generation X back in the early 90s when we were in the postion that the Millenials are now.

Don’t misunderstand. I’m not really disputing the book’s basic premise. In fact, I agree with it. Young people should read more. But then I think most people should read more, not just those of the Millennial generation. Also, I suppose you can’t really argue with the stats the Mr. B puts forth in his book. One assumes he’s not making them up. But I would just point out that statistics can be manipulated. See this book and this book and this book and this book on the subject. I’m not saying the dude is lying, just that stats figures don’t always paint an accurate picture. It depends.

I guess what irks me is the focus on Millennials. It seems too easy. Who would not share the opinion that young people are ill-informed, disinterested, and lack a sufficient understanding of civics and current affairs? Even without the stats and reasoned arguments, most older people would agree. I do. Which begs the question: what it the point? Isn’t this just telling us something we already know or at least belive to be true? Well, I suppose that this publication makes a nice addition to the man’s CV, which is important for things like tenure and promotion and salary increase etc. Of course, that can’t be the only reason for publishing this important tome, now can it. Although it is more mainstream than his previous works, published by a bigger house than the others. One can’t help but wonder….

I’d venture to guess that this book was born, at least in part, out of frustation. The guy is an English prof. I’ve been there, having taught Fresham Comp for several years. Of course, this dude teaches at Emory, which I always thought was a fairly selective insitution and so would attract higher quality students.

I guess that I keep remembering when similar accusations were directed at Generation X a decade or more ago. Of course, for GenXers it was due to too much TV and video games (early on mostly coin-operated arcade games but also Atari and Intellivision and late the first version of Nintendo — dude, I loved Blades of Steel) where as now it is of course TV and video games but also the interent, cell phones, and texting. And I agree that these can be a distraction, but not just for young people.

Perhaps it is true that Millennials spend more time on Facebook and MySpace as well as on their cell phones and texting and surfing the net instead of reading or educating themselves about civics and currents, but I also recall that when I was in my teens and early twenties I was not very interested in such things either. I did, over time, become increasingly more interested in civics and current events and history, although I’d early on been a reader. And I see no reason why this shouldn’t be the case for some Millennials. Certainly not all. But the same can be said for those in all generations. I have had plenty of encounters with people of all ages who seemed, as far as I was concerned anway, less then adequately informed. It wasn’t just young people who could not tell you how long a Supreme Court Justice served (it is a lifetime appointment) or who the Sec. of State happened to be (currently Condi Rice, previously Colin Powell). And it still disappoints me that so many people do not read more just for pleasure. But I don’t see how bitching about is going to help matters.

Of course, I am not Prof. Mark Bauerlein of Emory University either, so…

I don’t know. Maybe I’m reading too much into it but there something kind arrogant and show offy about this book, as if he expects the reader to be, oh, so impressed by what he knows, becuase it is, oh, so vital for the future of our civilization. Take note all who stand before me! For the wisdom that I have to impart could save us, each and every one! Perhaps.

I mean, based just on the title, the dude is cleary trying to provocative. Either her chose the title himself, which makes him kind of confrontational, or he allowed his publisher to choose if for him, which makes him kind of pussy sell out. Either way he comes off as kind of a jerk. And who really pays attention to jerks?

Of course, I am reading the book, and will probably finish it. And I won’t deny that it interest me, and that I think the subject is an important one. But ultimately, this sort of thing was already prominent on my radar, especially in terms of raising my daughter. I can’t control what other people do. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t take opportunities to encourage others, especially young people, to read and develop and interest in the world that they live in. I suppose I’d be more impressed of the impressive Prof. Bauerlien at least attempted to do the same in his book. But perhaps he saves that for his classroom.

In the spirit of encouragment I would urge members of the Millenial generation to take some time to read, I mean if they’re not already. Some of them must read after all. But to those who don’t or don’t very often, please read. Read for pleasure. And read for information. Read for humor. And read for news and politics. Just read. If for no other reason than when books such as The Dumbest Generation come out you can dismiss it because that isn’t you. Take it from an aging GenXer (40 and counting). Once your generation gets tagged with a label it could be very hard to shake it off. Hell, I still occasionally have run-ins with idiots who insist that I am a Baby Boomer, because they still consider a GenXer to be some slacker in his 20s wearing his baseball cap backwards and riding a skateboard from where he lives in his parents basement to his buddy’s parents’ basement to hang out and play Nintendo and get high.