I have to get on an online dating site, leave my apartment and then I have to meet guys and then I have to hope that this time, things will be different..
One of my saddest memories was the day we sold my horse, Magic. I didn’t name her Magic, my mom did arguing that since she paid for her, she got to have a hand in naming her. I wanted to call her Juliet so either way the horse was screwed. She was doubly screwed because shortly after we got her I realized that being the only one taking care of a horse and riding a horse and going to school at the same time was a lot of work.
So after a lifetime of begging for her, I lured my black Appaloosa into a trailer and tearfully watched as she was hauled off to a farm. Another sad time was when my pet cat Tiger ran away. I blamed it on getting my window screen fixed. I had cut a slit in it and trained Tiger to climb through it; his own secret entrance the other cat didn’t know about. The day my mom got it fixed he disappeared. I thought he took it as a symbol of my rejection, my mom thought he got eaten by a coyote. Neither was a comforting thought. There was also Henry my mouse, found stiff and dead in his sawdust one chilly morning. There was a rat, more cats, and a crayfish I was watching for a Korean student at my school one summer who seemed to evaporated but was more likely dinner for a cat. What I’m getting at is pet ownership is a direct route to tragedy. Just like dating.
I decided after watching so many animals disappear or die, and then pet-sitting for so many animals that croaked, their once bright eyes turning milky, their once plush fur in matted clumps, that I didn’t want to ever own another pet. It was too sad. If I wanted companionship I could turn on “Marley and Me,” experience the joy, hilarity, and ultimate sadness of having a pet, all from the safe distance of vicariousness. And why not do the same when it comes to love. Every single person I have ever kissed, loved, dated, wanted, fantasized about, and needed has, if not immediately, eventually been unrequited. That’s a 100% disappointment statistic. And don’t they say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results? If that’s true, continuing to date makes me a crazy person, and not just by default.
Going through all that hope and inevitable heartbreak is enough to drive a person mad. It’s what’s led me to read an incredible amount of something into a miniscule amount of nothing. It makes me reword texts nine times before sending. It makes me brainwash myself into believing I don’t care before a date to the point of exhaustion. It makes me someone even I wouldn’t want to date. So when I’m not in the mood for Marley, I put on, “50 First Dates,” or, “When Harry Met Sally,” or season 2 of, “Buffy,” and enjoy a romantic (vicarious) night in.
The catch of course is being a human being. Despite promises to myself not to bother with the dismal dating scene or the sticky web of a crush that always ends with me realizing I’m paralyzed from the neck down while the ugly love spider creeps over to destroy me, hope – that nasty weed – sprouts up unexpectedly and makes me go, “Well, maybe this one last time.” I can avoid trips to the human society but unless I get used to take-out and a job as a phone sex operator, I have to get on an online dating site, leave my apartment and then I have to meet guys and then I have to hope that this time, things will be different. Because insanity is one thing that can’t be experienced vicariously.