Dudes and Time

Suddenly, there are guys everywhere.
Some of them are not new to me. In fact, one of my greatest fears is stagnation and I've got an almost-exact replica of what was going on when I left Illinois, with one calling and one kissing.

I mean, it's different, most definitely. I live here, I'm not that much of a partyer, and I'm a doggy-mama. So it is different. Isn't it? Is it?
What does it say but that, five years later, maybe I haven't changed all that much. The same dudes are around and mostly in the same capacity. It's not repeated itself this clearly but omigod, there's no question that what's happening now is the same thing as what happened in late 2001/early 2002.

The second one often shows up right when I'm about to do something stupid for the first, which sounds literary and fanciful but that's my life... it is kind of like a novel and it's a novel with a very real protagonist.
He has always been around like that. I've always been able to cling to him without having to apologize whenever I need to do some self-preservation so as not to fall victim to my own weaknesses regarding Number One. Who is my Kryptonite, and not in a joking way, either.

I love him, no doubt; I love him infinitly because we're so much a part of each other. Increasingly obviously nothing is going to change that. I take this to be very important and quite unique... in an age and experience of ealisy ended relationships and broken contract, I take it very seriously that I've loved him so much and so long and that we've sustained som pretty serious invasions, not to mentiona the civil wars. In the plural.

Years unfolded and that love hasn't waned but things have changed.
There are deeper insecurities and addictions and the reality of aging has set in for everyone.

In a moment of weakness, I can say that I would go and be with him and soldier through the consequences of making that choice but the truth is that I do not soldier very well.
I can throw grenades and punches and rally an army but I am not exactly known for stoic perseverance or the ability to not ask questions.

I'm teary and I'm homesick and wondering what would happen if I got on a plane and never looked back. It's Christmas Eve. I find myself stuck in the parking lot of the laundry mat, the one with wi-fi. I've got my dog, my laptop, my laundry, and no nothing when I turn my key.
Of course I called my mom, who sagely advised that I needed to find someone with jumper cables. I knew this when I called. I didn't call because I needed to know be told to find some cables but because I needed to be TOLD to do something so that I wouldn't collapse into weird public tears that have very little to do with needing a jump and probably a new battery.
I feebly asked a few patrons to no avail, called a friend with no answer and called my ex.
He showed up within minutes, and told me I looked good, even though I was unshowered and basically wearing pajamas. He also got my car back on, tested my battery for me, followed me home to make sure everything was all good and spent the day with me.

There's no delusion here, believe me.
But there is the same sense of what was going on when I moved here - I AM questioning what I'm doing here and why I keep feeling like I'm all alone. I keep worrying about why Number One means so much to me, still - am I supposed to be there and not nere?. I DO wonder if I am doing the right thing, thus far without kids and a husband and a house like I really always wanted.
I think about how I was sort of hot shit in the Midwest and how out here, I am average, at best, because of the West Coast Standard of Beauty. If you're not a 10, you're a 2 and that's kind of it.

You can find friends who are also 2s but as soon as you realize that you're Not That Hot, you stop playing the game.
And as I've learned this slowly and quietly, the way years of growing up lead you to learn things, I've also learned that being a 2 out here is kind of awesome. Having strangers look at me and think I am hot isn't very important. I care that I am clean and comfortable and appropriate but I no longer think about being in the competitve world of Trying to be Hot.
Because it totally doesn't matter! It's so much better to just be me and soak up all the new friendships and attractions that have come my way since I stopped thinking of myself as not measuring up to an unattainable and false standard of perfection. And now I'm hotter. It's a riddle but it's also so fucking satisfying, I can't even stand it.
But I digress.

I definitely and unapologetically have questioned what the hell I am doing out here and why I didn't marry that guy.


So along comes Number 2 to save the day on Christmas Eve and there's this thing he has, you know? This cowboy thing, with the Jeep and the sunglasses and his giant dogÖ and I know what time it is, okay?
I do.
I don't want your concern or your lectures because some things HAVE changed. He's not where it's at for me and I'm not his dream girl, either.
But I'm thankful for him, you know?
He makes me feel like I matter in a way that new people can't really do because they don't know me like he knows me. He's got insight wrought from history and can open my fridge and go, "Typical Sarah". It's not patronizing because by now, dude knows what he's gonna find when he opens that door. And that's an incredibley calming feeling. Like, one of the best feelings in the world - familiarity. Deep, genuine, indoubitable familiarity feels SO GOOD.

But about saving me from myself and showing up at the right time to lasso me back form the edge of my own needy cliff... there's this one little comment he makes, right as he's pulling out of my driveway. It's this gorgeous Tucson winter day, with the sun blasting warmth and the air so dry to make the day clear and sparkly.
He calls me over to the Jeep, "Baby, come 'ere." and I'm standing next to it, next to him and looking at the tire feeling smallish, feeling very feminine. I can smell his dog and maybe oil or something very car but I can also smell him and I really did love the way he smelled so I lean in just the littlest bit and look up at him like he's waiting for me to do. He touches my cheek and he's all, "It wasn't working, it never will, and you're bigger than that."

I'm not, you know, going anywhere.
And I'm not getting back together with anyone, even though I admittedly had a very seductive day. Seductive eventually becomes laughable - it doesn't sustain anyone at the level a partnership should sustain.

But God, how good it feels and especially when it's familiar and it's coming in this cheesy, mellow yellow scene that went down in front of my shitty apartment in the shitty driveway that's falling apart. That way, I can feel it, not just have it happen around me. It's real and it's the same blonde arm that I clung to the last time this happened; ironically the last time I got carried away in the fantasy of what will never, ever be with Number 1.

I do belong here still, I'm in the right place for the things I've learned and that are still pretty fresh in me.

I can see that being a 10 is a state of mind and that wonderful people can love you even if you're so far away from all those perfect girls that you see first on your TV and then out here, standing next to you in line at the grocery store.
Those Laguna Girls went to school out here.... my example is not a hypothetical.

I can also see that if you wait a couple of days, it's going to be 75 degrees and you'll be sitting on your stoop, throwing the ball for your dog while you read and listen to Bruce Springsteen's The Rising. You'll get this feeling that's sort of over-whelming like, this ONE DAY is all I need to remind me that this is exactly where I want to be and how I want things to be, exactly, down to the way the sun feels on my knee and the volume of the music and the dust clouded-dog that I call Rosie over there, blinking and wagging in the sun.

Falling asleep last night, I had that sun-warmed feeling on one of shoulders and it felt good.
I didn't even hear the phone ring really late.

As for the other dudes, they are there.
Two of 'em.
They're there in that kind of, maybe he'll ask me way. There's no heart-pounding desperation but I truly think that adult desperation, the good kind, is different.
I have a hunch that if I were to feel that way, the way I've felt about both Number 1 and Number 2 in the past, at different times and for different reasons but with the same intensity driven by desperation.... if I felt that way about someone now, I would fucking run away.
Far. Away.

The keenly hot level of purely fear-based desperation that I've felt before; I can't imagine feeling that about a guy who's a boyfriend and I can't imagine that if I felt it, I would view it as a positive.

So these new two are different.
One is more exciting to me than the other because he feels more like home. He's big-time and obviously from the Midwest so that makes sense.
The other one is hot. He's smart, too, and has many appealing traits but there's no denying that the first thing that's clear about him is that he's hot and he should most likely stop wearing shirts so much.
I mean, dude is attractive in the way that makes young girls and divorcees swoon and makes guys become filled with jealousy, so much so that they would put him down and scoff his sense of style by calling him gay.
He's just better looking than you. It's not that big of a deal unless and until you make it so. Once you make it a big deal, you become much less attractive on all levels, not just because your five-o'clock shadow looks like sun-damaged acne scarring and his looks like Magnum P.I.

There was a time when this would've intimidated me or automatically made me feel like any sense of connection I felt toward him was just futile but now I disagree. If someone hot expresses an interest in me, a really great 2, then there must be something more to him than his looks. I donít have a bunch of money or a hidden treasure that would lead a hot person to idyll his time with me while sneaking phone calls to his equally hot, Russian girlfriend while I am in the bathroom or something. Hot people don't use people like me because we donít have anything sleazy enough for them to use.
He's using me for my brains?
My brains are pretty focused on playing Zelda: The Minish Cap on my GameBoy Advance and I'm sorry but I refuse to believe that any hot espionage takes place around a Gameboy Advance and a used copy of Zelda that I bought from Half.com.
He's using me because my house is centrally located?
Please. The chop shop has added a major fence and a dog. There's a goddamn junk-yard dog that's a newly-featured attraction in my neighborhood. A real one, with the foaming and the chains and the lunging. Hot dudes would not normally put their chiseled faces so near to a possible accident unless they are parachuting from a helicopter off the coast of Borneo.

So no, there's no ulterior motive and I should pretty much accept that when I allow it, I am attractive to attractive guys. You're really stupid if you don;t trust a hot guy by now. He's only with you because you put out? Honey, that's one of the basic reasons guys date. Period. Not "Date you" or "Date her" but it's why they take us to dinner and open doors and carry all the bags out of the store - they might get a piece later. Learn it now: A sensitive new ager dates in order to score, a geek dates to score, and hotties date to score. Who do you want to give it up to is the real quesiton, now isn't it? Obviously the whole thing is more complicated but at the end of the day... why distrust someone based on his muscle definition and big, even white teeth?

But about the old ones and the whole thing about being in the same place, with the same guys calling for the same basic reasons. It's true, a lot of it. One is touching this nerve of wanting a home so badly that I can feel my guts ache thinking about how much I want that. He's ALWAYS represented that to me, always, and he's always brought those longings up to the surface of my consiousness. The other is soothing that ache by hugging me so much and telling me that there's more to home, that I'm bigger than that kind of home. He's always done that, in response to the first. Never has he appeared without being like a cosmic intervention when I need to untangle a bit form what's not perfect, what's not possible in the way I want it to be - in the way I deserve it to be for the rest of my life.

The rest are the future, the possible; representative of the kind of thing I've struggled to believe that I deserve and maybe, hopefully, since I believe it now, it's what'll happen for me.

arizonasarah at 8:57 a.m.

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