Monday, July 31, 2006


Today, it seems that everyone I encounter is a character in a novel. I headed home for lunch and saw a Mexican gang-banger with a shaved head and a cigarette hanging out of his mouth driving a low-rider. That didn't seem real.

Yesterday, I was walking in a quirky town with my date, and I felt as though someone was playing some kind of trick on us. At three distinct points in the date, we encountered abandoned shoes. Three very different shoes. One was a brown, male sandal, posed strategically on a rock. The second was a pair of lady's maryjane shoes, tucked beneath a white picket fence. The third and final was a pair of sneakers and socks, resting on a bus stop bench. I felt like I was in some kind of esoteric French or Swedish movie, where the lone shoe is supposed to symbolize the lone conqueror, who stands at the top, alone. The Mary Janes? I don't know. The sneakers on the bench were spotted at the end of the evening and seemed to signal the end, as in, put your feet up and have a rest.

My last boyfriend was frantic, perhaps somewhat manic, and insistent on declaring his love for me at every turn. He was overly affectionate, and twirled me in the street. He kissed me openly whenever he could, even in Home Depot, as we walked behind his mother one lazy Sunday afternoon. He was loud and told obnoxious jokes that didn't make me laugh but cracked him up. He sent me roses at work. He learned how to say "I love you" in foreign languages. He couldn't resist touching me or talking to me, but he also couldn't respect when I didn't want those things to happen. I'd tell him to leave me alone, and he wouldn't believe me, couldn't believe that I wasn't as head over heels as he was...and sooner or later, he would come up behind me, hug me and kiss me and "check on" me. It didn't help that he had a face like a cartoon character, like a child, so this all seemed very surreal.

This new date, almost exactly a year after I met my ex-boyfriend, took things as they came but did not inform that's what he was doing. We toured a local landmark, just because it happened to be open. We had a cool drink in a cute cafe, because that's what we came upon first.

My ex-boyfriend fell for me head over heels from the moment he saw me, and never stopped falling long enough to really see me. This new date is falling for me, I believe, but at a much more reasonable pace, taking in the view along the way, recognizing our differences and not moving faster than he should.

But the fact that this is my life seems so unreal. Does everyone have this sense of distance from their lives? This sense that they live a separate life on the weekend?

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