Monday, September 21, 2009

Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot. OVER?

I hate it when it turns out I didn't know someone as well as I thought I did. I'm ready to punch the next person who mentions anything to do with relationships in general.

A little background: I'm in a (currently long-distance) relationship with someone who overwhelmingly resembles Dr. Moreau of H.G. Wells' tale of the mad scientist - the sort of person whose science experiments turn out to be great and terrible (in the same way as "I am Oz, the great and terrible"), and who, when he was a bit younger, you never quite knew which dimension he was in at the moment. Somehow we managed to hit it off without leveling a city in the process, but that's another story. He's currently serving his country by jumping out of perfectly good airplanes and the like, but all too soon he's going to be in a place where people are going to be shooting at him on a regular basis. I have my fingers crossed that he'll return from the latest hellhole he's being dropped into with all of his appendages and psyche still intact.

Yeah. Being in love drives me nuts in all senses of the idiom, especially now that I know a few months from now I'll be freezing and then praying that a certain name doesn't pop up when there's an announcement about an attack on US troops. Be careful who you love, folks.

Which makes what happened the other day all the more upsetting.

I was out getting in trouble in the nearest fiber craft shop (I knit, crochet, spin wool, sew clothing so it'll actually fit me, and do other things with pointy sticks so I am not tempted to stab willful idiots with them) and had just selected a few orphan skeins to buy. While I was getting the yarn wound into useable blobs rather than the long, twisted hanks it's sold in, I got into a conversation with an older woman in the store I'm familiar with. She has plenty of advice, generally good for whatever situation I find myself in and always good for calming me down out of my initial panic when I think I'm in trouble. It was nothing serious this time, we were just shooting the shit about the semester starting and whether I think I'll do well in my classes.

So I was caught utterly flatfooted when this came out of the blue:

"Are there any cute boys in your classes?"

I know I've mentioned Moreau to her, but I thought she might have mixed me up with someone else.

"Hugh Jackman, Gerard Butler, and Michael Sheen don't attend Big State U, last I knew. And besides, I have one in uniform out East."

"But what about here? Having a boyfriend doesn't mean you have a ring on your finger, and there's-"

At this point my brain shut off the connection to my ears. Luckily, it also disconnected my mouth for about thirty seconds, or I would have been screaming obscenities to the tune of:


I stammered something about being loyal that probably looked and sounded weak. I can never articulate clearly when I'm upset. It's hard to enunciate when your lips are pulled back so far you're showing off the scars where your wisdom teeth used to be, or when your teeth are chewing on nothing because they can't take a chunk out of what upset you.

Then I paid, grabbed the bag of yarn, and bolted before I could do something stupid. I was beyond upset. I wanted blood. I wanted to rip down the whole building with my bare hands.

More than anything, I wanted a sympathetic ear, but the one I knew was immediately at hand was no longer there.

Great. As if I didn't have to deal with "he's military, you know what they're like" and encouragements to break up so I can "graze in greener pastures," now I have someone who had a military husband from when she was my age giving me a wink-wink nudge-nudge encouragement to cheat on my boyfriend just because our connection isn't formal. This is upsetting on too many levels to articulate. I can't even swear properly. And I thought I knew this woman well enough to...oh, damn it.

Looks like I'm not setting foot in there for a while. Or sewing my mouth shut before I do. It's the only fiber shop in town, and I want to be able to go back more than I want to show her exactly what I meant when I said I used to be a little ball of rage.

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