It's been a long time since I've posted. I've got a whole bunch of stuff I meant to write about, like my crazy week at work. First time I was on call, and people kept apologizing to me, "it's not usually like this", and "man, you drew the worst week ever". But whatever -- the weekend has been quiet at least, and I've got some sleep now.
I've been biking a lot again this year (687 km so far). Mark Weber and I are riding the Fells mountain bike loop tomorrow if anyone wants to join. I've decided I'm not doing the Pan-Mass Challenge, not because I wouldn't love to ride it, but because the fund-raising commitment is simply too steep. Psychologically, I just can't armtwist 40 of my friends into paying $50 each so I can do a bike ride. Not that there's anything wrong with the Jimmy Fund, but it's just not my charity. Does that make sense? I mean, I don't think I'd hesitate to browbeat you all into giving money to say Medicins Sans Frontières or the Trust for Public Land, but I can't really muster the same energy for the Jimmy Fund. . . . You should still support Andromeda, of course. I have. Don't make me come after you.)
I want to ride the CRW Climb to the Clouds century on Sunday the 17th. Either 60 or 100 mi with a 2000-ft climb up Mt Wachusett in central Mass. This is fairly crazy, but I feel sure I can finish. Any chance I can talk anyone into joining me? I'm willing to do the shorter distance if it means more company. (If anyone wants to "sponsor" me, Medicins Sans Frontières takes donations by credit card. Particularly valuable is a regular monthly pledge. For full guilt value for your dollar, make sure you tell me about it.)
I also want to finally do the ride to Provincetown I've been talking about for a couple years now. The plan that seems most plausible is one-day, 110 mi, starting from Forest Hills. I hope to get someone who's not interested in the crazy bike ride and talk them into taking the ferry and meeting us in P-town with some overnight bags. Then we can all poke around the Cape a bit and take the ferry back the next day. Late August, second week of September? The plan is still inchoate.
Last weekend I was home to visit my parents. My father built an 8-foot dinghy over the winter -- technically, the design is a pram -- and we finally got it in the water. There was no reason, really, he couldn't have got it out earlier, but I think he was waiting for me. It's a beautiful little boat, with both rowing and sailing rig. The boat itself is a kit from Chesapeake Light Craft, but the oars are from Milton Fancy & Sons of Mahone Bay, the mast and spars are Nova Scotia pine planed to order directly from the lumber yard, and the sail was made in Lunenburg by North Sails Atlantic. (I love having sail from the town that ruled the waves in the Golden Age of Sail.)
The rig is weird. It's called a standing lug -- it's a trapezoidal sail instead of the more common triangular bermudan rig, and the first hour I was out there I flailed a lot and missed a lot of tacks. Plus there were a few issues with the boat design, such as the tiller being too long so it got in the way when I was trying to switch tacks. But eventually I worked out the rhythm of the boat. Beautiful little thing.
I also did a few miles of rowing -- same boat, with the mast and rudder removed. This made the dog happy. Riley loves going out on the water, and got purely frantic when I took it out sailing and wouldn't let him come. (Allowing the dog amidst all the ropes and confusion of me trying to sail: not to be contemplated.)
So there we are, me at the oars, dog at the prow, nose to the wind, heading out into the Outer Harbour. Good weekend.
I'm having a barbeque Friday evening, July 8th, 7pm. If you're reading this, you're invited. If you didn't get an invitation, let me know. It pisses me off that I can't trust email to get delivered anymore.
There are tennis courts at Tufts a couple blocks from my place. I'm not sure if they're technically public, but they don't appear to be guarded.
I think I've played one game of tennis in my life (though in grad school I played enough racquetball to at least stop embarrassing myself). But maybe it would be fun. I'd get a racquet and some tennis balls if there's anyone who'd be up for playing with a total novice. What do you say?
I don't like it, but I don't know what to do about it. I find myself losing all optimism that I will ever find myself a woman I admire who wants me in return. I need advice, encouragement, moral support, a swift kick, I don't know what.
It's been a draining month. At the start of the month, I thought I was doing well. There was D, who I found terribly interesting and attractive. We'd had two dates that I thought had gone very very well. It seemed like there was actually a chance that a relationship could really go somewhere with this girl. There was also M, who I'd been flirting with. It seemed like the possibility of something maybe not serious, but fun and morale-boosting. I was starting to think that maybe I'd finally got myself to a place where I could have women in my life again.
D went incommunicado for a week or two. She reappeared with explanations of how busy she'd been, but without any suggestion that we should meet again, and I got the familiar sinking feeling. Then M cancelled a date at the last minute with no particular excuse other than "she's overbooked", and because I was out all day I didn't get the message until an hour and a half before we were to meet. Goddammit, despite my best efforts to control expectations, I'd gotten my hopes up again. I was looking forward to that dinner. I called her back to confirm that I'd gotten the cancellation and it's okay to reschedule; got voicemail and left a message asking her to call me back. I sent e-mail also. I haven't heard boo from her since.
The next day I got a message from D asking me to call her. After some small talk, she told me she hopes we can still be friends, but she's just not romantically interested in me.
Just like that I was right back where I've been for three years now.
I had a week or two of depression and self-pity and then general crankiness at the bitch of life. Why could I not find women who would give me a chance? What the hell did they want, anyway, and why couldn't they see that there's no such thing as a perfect guy? But there was a nagging little voice spoiling that sad narrative. Back in January I'd met H and she'd been quite taken with me, and I'd broken it off -- why, exactly?
Fuck, how much do I want to go in to here? As far as I know she doesn't read this, but it's not really hard to find. I'm sure I've hurt her enough already. She doesn't need to read me puzzling out loud about why exactly I might have felt no chemistry.
The point is, I had to admit I had been probably just as unfair with H as I was ranting that D had been with me. So I emailed her to say hi, been a while, what are you up to. And ended up almost immediately with a date.
She met me with a kiss and I was feeling lonely and needy and cranky and determined to prove that I could give her a better chance than the women I really wanted were giving me. And it was so so good to actually feel wanted for a change, I shut off the responsible part of my brain and we spent the evening making out.
And the next day I felt no urge to see her again; in fact, my brain started making excuses for why I didn't have to talk to her right away. That was Friday, and I still haven't talked to her. I don't know what I'd say. I like her, but I just don't want to date her.
I told myself I was going to give her more of a chance than this. I was noble. My rational brain was going to overrule the lack of infatuation, and give real friendship and love a chance to grow. But my gut just does not want her, and apparently it gets the last vote after all. I feel like a jerk, and now I have to admit I'm probably no different from those women who have told me they just weren't interested in me.
It's funny how having to turn someone down has in some ways left me more messed up than getting dumped. Rejection is a more intense pain, but at least it's familiar. I know what to do with it.
So where does this leave me? Weirdly resigned. I feel like I've lost one of my last comforting illusions about this whole dating business. It was already hard enough after three years of mostly-rejection to believe I was actually going to find someone who wanted me. You learn from experience, yes? And all of my recent experience is of striking out. And now it seems even less plausible, as I am forced to admit how fussy my gut can be.
Short of an arranged marriage, the guy is required to take the initiative in starting a relationship. There's no point in pretending otherwise; I have never turned down a girl who's asked me out because in 34 years it has never happened. Taking the initiative is tiring and emotionally expensive; you have to risk rejection and that still hurts every time. And right now I can't seem to muster the leap of faith that says it's worthwhile making the effort.
It's so frustrating. I watch married friends and new parents and am so envious. I want to have a wife. I want to be a father -- I'm sure I'd be a good one. I want my parents to have grandkids. And I'm getting old enough that I have to start facing up to the idea that it might really never happen. And it really won't unless I can find some way out of this rut.
I hope this all isn't a grand exercise in self-pity. I hate whiners; I hate to admit to problems I can't handle on my own; I hate really to draw attention to myself. But I'm having a miserable year and I need to get it out somehow. I'm too good at keeping a brave face on things in person, even with friends. It's really probably not the right way to handle my problems.
So what do I do?
I think I shouldn't leave that last post as the top entry for too long. After some combination of venting and sleep, all-powerful sleep, I am again feeling pretty good. Life goes on, and things will work out. To that end:
Come hang out on my sunny back deck Sunday evening (starting from 5 pm). There will be hamburgers and sangria with the works! Left-handed All-Terrain Pirate Croquet -- victory wicket between the legs of the Zombie Cow! Free suntan lotion and booze for anyone in a bikini! Come one and all! Bring cute single friends!
Barbeque!Guests are asked to bring drinks, snacks, and dessert items. If you RSVP I'll make sure there are hamburgers or veggie burgers for you; you're also welcome to bring your own grillables.
Sunday, July 24, 5pm until whenever
This is an open invite -- bring along anyone if you think they're cool. Just let me know how many.
Let me know if you need directions.