I was in Seattle last week pulling some of my personal belongings out of my condo to feather my Portland nest. In the interim between planning this trip and executing, the place sold, so there’s that. However, I decided just to do the day run anyway and make the next few weeks of my Portland life a little more plush.
I drove up with The Silver Fox, leaving at 7:15 in the morning. It was one of those fantastic middle-aged mornings, where I woke up at 4:30 to pee and couldn’t go back to sleep. So I went to a 6:00 spin class and was 15 minutes late for our 7:00 departure. We counted the number of times Hello by Adele came on XM Radio on the trip up as a way of passing the time.
Three, if you were curious.
The trip was fast.
A little rain.
A little traffic.
But we arrived just before 10:30, so I’d put that squarely in the “Making Good Time” column…even though it took us 30 minutes to get from SeaTac to Seattle proper – 15% of our travel time to cover 7% of our trip’s distance.
It helps that we didn’t stop to pee.
Unless you ask The Fox, then he might say that the 10 minute Rest Area detour would be worth it.
Especially if you asked him as he did his pee-pee dance outside my building’s front door as I struggled to remember how to buzz myself into the building. For the record, “9” was the appropriate entry – aka: my first guess – but the damn call box hiccuped and it didn’t work, causing me to second guess my usual and obvious correctness and try alternate entries until I gave up and called the building’s on site coordinator to let us in.
That poor Silver Fox. It’s not easy being my friend…misadventure just follows me wherever I go. Particularly in Seattle, that town hates me.
Anyway, I go up to the condo and the whole situation between Seattle and myself just feels so suddenly mutual. I can’t get into the fucking building I own a condo in. I’m waiting for the elevator and when it arrives, someone walks off and right by me like I’m Casper – he doesn’t even make eye contact, nor does he seem to mind at all not even acknowledging the way he has to collapse in on himself to squeeze between me and the elevator door frame to avoid colliding with me. I approach my unit’s door and feel nothing – no nostalgia, no excitement at being home like I always feel crossing back into the Oregon Territory after being gone – until I see the scratches on the door from either the renters of the last 18 months or the realtors of the last three weeks, I don’t know…but I do know that someone was doing some heavy leaning into that poor door as they entered.
You know life is hard when you have to struggle just to get through a door.
I’m thinking about how done I am with Seattle. How I just feel nothing about pulling up stakes. Scratch that…I’m still excited to grab some of my possessions to make my home in Portland more homey, but that feeling is pretty much yet another indictment of my relationship with Seattle.
I go and have lunch and visit with my former neighbor and one of my closest Seattle friends, D-Slice and she kind of voices the same hollow, emotionless attachment to her home there. Openly stating that she’s “giving” it two more years in Seattle, but only to see what happens with her band. Literally nothing else excites her about her adopted hometown. I know part of it is the building. The mis-management of the facility has been pretty egregious, most recently – and inconveniently for those trying to sell units this year – manifesting in a 50% increase in HOA dues for 2016. I’m stewing on how the Seattle Intelligentsia – ask them, they’ll tell you they’re smarties – are falling face first in front of a $2200 problem for the balance of the year’s HOAs and can’t get past that relatively little obstacle to buy a space that they purportedly love.
And why wouldn’t they?
I certainly fell in love with my condo again from almost 200 miles South as I looked at the staging photos in the MLS listing. But maybe someone who knows the building as I do just shouldn’t be allowed to ask the question. Perhaps it’s too traitorous since I know why they shouldn’t.
Anyway, after lunch, I’m walking with D-Slice and her horse-sized dog before she heads back to work and Rib pulls up…ahead of schedule from his place in Renton, as if to point out to me that some people just live a charmed Seattle life that evaded me during my residency.
He’d come by – specifically, I think – for a roasting pan that I bought for the family Thanksgivings he cooked during out relationship, which he’d developed an understandable emotional attachment to. Plus, it’s a $200 roasting pan, who wouldn’t want it gratis?
He can have it.
However, I’m relatively sure that he was excited to see me, too, though.
For my part, I really enjoyed throwing my kitchen into boxes as he sat at the table, catching up our lives. The Fox eventually returned from his side trip to visit his granddaughter and joined in the conversation, and suddenly, with Rib and The Fox there in what is soon to be my not-home…it felt like home again.
The Fox and I had a grand plan to get back to Portland before the rush hours hit in Tacoma, Olympia and Portland that involved us being on the road by 1:30, so we planned to load at 12:30 and leave at 1:00. Hey, it’s good to build in cushion. As it stood, it was 1:00 and I declared the coffee klatch to be over and that it was time for Rib to earn his swag – which had grown to quite a pile as I packed up the kitchen.
He was always the cook in our relationship, anyway.
We begin our bucket brigade to the elevator and load up the car. On the last trip down, I’m listening to Rib tell a story and I just blurted out “I really, miss you. I’m proud of what you’ve accomplished for yourself”…which isn’t an embarrassing thing to say to your ex at all. Ish.
But it was true.
I don’t know if I’ll ever finish the blog entry about him, I get emotional when I begin typing it out…re-immersing myself in our memories. But the gist of it is that I ended our relationship because I knew that his growth and development with me was complete. If I hadn’t ended it, I have no doubt that at some point he would have realized the same thing and left me. That was a skid I could steer into, emotionally difficult as it was.
Because it was the right thing for him.
It made me consider that – given my attractions – this might be my last relationship, why not go out on a high note and salvage a potential positive relationship instead of one that ends with resentment and negative emotions?
I dunno. Maybe he secretly hates me but really wanted that roasting pan.
Nah. He’s a good one.
As I mulled that over on the way home, it brought to mind my basic dating mantra for younger guys, “Leave ’em better than I found ’em”. With Rib, I really feel like we succeeded in realizing that goal. I suspect his new boyfriend would agree that he’s a pretty solid and fun guy. More to that point, though, was that if this was my last relationship, at least I had a great legacy in the man my final boyfriend had become. He was definitely better than the Lost Boy I had encountered in Purr back when the new century had just barely celebrated its tenth anniversary.
In case you were wondering…we also made good time on the way back to PDX, leaving at 1:30, back in town by 4:45.
Hello by Adele count? Five.
Anyway, it all reminded me of this blog entry that I began last summer when a friend of mine chatted me up on The Facebook about talking to her son as he entered dating age. I thought, with a new title, it would nicely fold into what I want the younger guys I date to gain from their time with me: support, love, security, encouragement, guidance…all the things developing teens need from their parents to mature into decent young adults.
This friend who asked…she admitted that she just needed an ear to help take the sting out of learning that her 15 year old son had not just a date for prom, but also a full-fledged girlfriend. It hurt her momma-bird feelings because all she had ever asked her kids to do was be open and honest with her. She cracked me up by admitting that the only thing she had ever asked them to hide from her was murder. Understandable, but I do think that if the unthinkable ever happened, I would rather have her on my side to help me hide the body than have to worry about successfully keeping her in the dark.
She’s a crafty and smart one.
Not that a 15 year old man/boy/son would immediately realize this. Hell, he might realize it at twice his age, but for sure not just yet.
I walked away from her trust that I would have the answers and went to the gym.
But couldn’t shake the feelings the conversation had stirred in me.
The trust of a friend from half a life and half a country away is a warm mantle, to be sure. I was happy about that. But what kept popping up was how I related to the guys I dated over the last decade or decade and a half of my life.
How, when I pushed, they ran.
When I expected, they rejected.
Why when I asked, they lied.
The blame I put on the Seattle water system for making these guys act so fucking weird and contrary.
The realization that these guys were no more men than her son was a man himself. The difference was that most of them were a good 10-20 years older and had an income, usually.
The second realization that while I told myself I was dating them, part of dating the adults of this modern age of America was picking up where the parenting left off. Or abandoned them altogether.
I spontaneously epiphanied at the gym.
Returning home, I resumed the chat with just the basis of knowledge that I thought would help her.
Don’t expect that this relationship will be his last.
Encourage versus discourage.
Remain loyal, constantly letting him know that she’s in his camp and that if it goes to Hell once one or both of them realize it’s like that they are feeling and not love that she is there to help him regain his identity and value as a single person…having lost the security of a relationship, which generally allows two single people to identify as a single entity, for whatever that insight was worth.
So, to extend that safety in numbers strategy, my friend and I were engaging in a little group parenting: her to her kids, me to my potential boyfriend.
Look at me, embracing life like a madman.
What did I learn from supporting my friend as a sounding board?
I had offhandedly mentioned that her son was indeed most likely in like, not love…but that if he didn’t at least play the lottery of love, he certainly would never win the jackpot. I also mentioned that like most people, he probably wouldn’t win this lottery the first time he bought a “ticket”.
I’ve bought a lot of tickets, trust me. In doing so, I’ve also passed up a lot of opportunities to buy a ticket simply because I could see that the “jackpot” potential was just too small to merit my investment. But on each ticket that I’ve matched a few numbers on – Rib, Sasha, My GI (world famous on MySpace from a blog entry I wrote there about a hundred years ago) – over the last 20 years, my life and existence has become somewhat enriched.
That realization gave me the…strength isn’t the right word…optimism? The optimism to keep an eye out for the opportunity to date again. Yeah, I’ve had a couple of (sorry, mom) fuck buddies over the last year in Portland, a few “one hit wonders”, too. But I have also – as I did a few weeks back – kicked an irregular to the curb when someone that might have some LTR potential comes on the scene.
Or the scenery.
Another lottery ticket for grumpy, old Xtopher?
If I don’t play, I won’t win.
If we only match a few numbers and don’t hit the jackpot, well…hopefully we both walk away with a little bit of winnings that make us smile and remember that time we got close to hitting the big one.
Shut up, Diezel.