Thursday, May 10, 2007

Small world -- make that tiny

"What're you drinking? I'm buying your drinks," said the so obviously not Jewish guy. Shimona and I looked at each other, nonplussed.

"Amstel light," she said.

"Ginger ale," I said.

"No alcohol?" he asked.

"I'm getting over a cold," I said apologetically. Actually, I've had stomach cramps half the day. Not sure if it's the increased lithium or something I ate; hoping it's the latter.

I went to the bar to celebrate Shimona's graduation from a master's program; she was having a joint party with a girl celebrating her birthday. The bar door stood wide open, admitting the mild fresh spring air (as fresh as air gets on the Upper West Side). Bellying up to the bar was a big, friendly guy in shorts and a baseball cap. Blond crew cut, blue eyes, big tattoo on his arm, a few sheets to the wind and feeling magnanimous. He bought us our drinks and stood chatting with us while the bartender poured them, then tipped her lavishly and went back to his table.

"He is so obviously not Jewish," I said.

"Yeah -- a Jewish guy would have watched us, but wouldn't have had the balls to buy us drinks without even knowing us," said Shimona.

"That's why we're still single," I declared.

"I see a blog entry!" said Shimona.

The world got a little smaller when I realized that the guy salsa dancing with the birthday girl was someone I went to college with. Rafael was a few years behind me, and we were never that close, but when I told him who I was he was thrilled and grabbed me in a big hug. "Oh my Gd! Ayelet! I totally didn't recognize you!"

Ouch. I hope that's not because I weigh about 40 pounds more now than I did as a sophomore.

Rafael asked me if I was still in touch with anyone from college; I'm not, really, and neither is he. But I knew that he'd gone to high school with G.I. Josh, so I told him I'd dated a high school friend of his. He was a little surprised to hear that.

"How is G.I. Josh? What's he doing now?" he asked.

"Working in the family business and playing video games," I said. "We went out a few years ago while I was getting my first master's. Things were great while I was studying -- I'd be working on my laptop, writing papers or doing research, and he'd be on the computer playing war games for hours at a time. The problems started once I graduated and we actually had to talk to each other." Rafael laughed.

Another guest, Shoshana, arrived. She's a social worker; I hadn't seen her in a long time. I told her I had left The Bad Place and was now in social work school. Turns out she's supervising one of my classmates.

Then a tall, thin friend of Shimona arrived. Eldad came over to us, greeted Shimona, and said to me, "I've met you." He didn't look familiar, and I'm usually pretty good with faces. He was cute, so I became flirtatious.

"Oh, I look like someone everyone knows," I told him. "People are always saying, 'I was at a wedding and there was a girl there who looked exactly like you -- do you have a sister?' 'I do, but she looks nothing like me.'" He laughed, and we chatted easily; he seemed attentive and interested.

When he went to get a drink, I asked Shimona if Eldad was too much younger than me to consider dating. She said he wasn't too young, but he was definitely too married. Story of my life.

And it turned out we had met. After a few hours of conversation, Eldad told us that he commutes from Chicago to NYC for work; his wife is in a post-doctoral program there. I asked what he did; he said he was a research analyst with his father's investment firm. And something clicked in my memory.

"You're friends with G.I. Josh, right?" I asked him.

"Well, I don't see him very much these days, but yes, we're friends. How did you know?"

"I used to go out with him. You and he and I went out to dinner once, remember?" I said. Actually, it hadn't been an entirely pleasant dinner; Eldad and I got into an uncomfortable political discussion, and finally I'd sort of withdrawn until he changed the topic. But our conversation tonight was nothing but charming.

I walked home thinking about G.I. Josh, how sweet he was at the beginning of the relationship and how mean and passive-aggressive he became as the time passed and he realized that we might actually get married. I didn't see that for a long time after we broke up; I hoped that we'd get back together. It's good to really feel there is no way I'd go back to him, and to know that I deserve better. It took me a while to feel that way about RD-SOB, too, but now I have nothing but contempt for him. I'm hoping to achieve that distance from Little Marty as well.
Copyright (c) 2007 "Ayelet Survivor"

1 comment:

  1. It's healthy to recognize the "pain points" that made these guys unworkable. I'm starting, very slowly, to recognize those in X, too. Regardless, I'm glad you're getting out there!