Friday, August 25, 2006
Explanations which I don't like
It's a bit of a kick to make people cringe when you approach them via entirely non-physical intimidation. Sure, guys can and do occasionally confront each other the way I confronted Carter yesterday, but there's still the implied threat of an ass-kicking. It's a reminder that women by and large control the social network when we want to; I really can't do much to him other than say mean things, but that's enough.
I knew that between meetings wasn't going to be enough to say all that needed saying, so I went to the office kitchen the same time he was there, crossed my arms, and stared. He blushed a little, looked away, and muttered "so, I guess you've talked to Kate, then." I nodded, still not speaking. This leads to "look, it wasn't something I wanted to do, but I had to." I think I throw him a skeptical look at that point, and he says look, I have to be in another meeting now, but meet me at five-thirty, I'll explain everything. I grumble a little, but I did corner him. Really, what I want to do is say screw that, I just came to tell you that you're on my shit list, but that's not really an option. At the very least, I told Kate that I'd try and find something out.
Six o'clock rolls around and I get into his car, my hand on my pepper spray just in case one of Kate's more paranoid theories actually has some merit. He doesn't do anything threatening, though, and pulls into a Waltham Central Square restaurant's parking lot. I say something sarcastic about how he hadn't even dumped Kate a week ago and he's already trying to buy me dinner, and he responds that it's neutral ground to talk on and he's hungry. I suppose that's true, and it beats talking in the car. It's a casual dining chain, Margarita's or something like that and I figure if his goal was to seduce me he'd try harder.
Even though we're hear to talk, he tries to avoid conversation by looking at the menu, but I'm not really having that. I put down my menu and just go at it: "So, why the hell does someone dump Kate? I've used that brain, so I know you're not stupid."
He laughs a bit, nearly choking on his water, and says, no, there's nothing wrong with her, and he probably can't do a lot better, but she's not the girl for him. I say that doesn't make any sense, and he says he knows but let him try to explain.
A couple weeks ago, he says, they were eating at S&S, and Kate saw something in the window at Stellabella that she thought Eloise would like. So she bought it, called Jen if she was busy, and when Jen said no, they came over. He goes off on a tangent about how maternity leave was driving her stir-crazy and her entire life now being about Eloise would drive her crazy if she weren't the greatest thing in all the world, so it was great to have visitors, and (this is me) get to the point already! Right, so, he's looking at Kate playing with Eloise and he realises that if she's not ready to start a family now, she will be soon.
And you're not?
No, he says, he looked at Eloise and Jen and Carlos and realized that that's what he wants, too.
I'm stumped. Apparently, I say, having had your brain doesn't mean I understand how you think.
He sighs, and looks relieved when the waitress comes to get our orders. After she leaves, he says he's not sure how to say this without it sounding terrible. I say don't worry, my opinion of you is pretty low right now anyway. Okay, he says, and then as if to stall, says he's glad I'm the person he's telling, becaues maybe I could help him explain it to Kate. I'm like, whoa, you're not really still stuck on me, are you? He's like, no, I mean, I still like you, even if I'm over you, but you're not right for the same reasons as Kate.
I'm still not getting it, and I'm getting frustrated. Just what are you saying? He looks uncomfortable and says that he looked at Jen, Carlos, and Eloise, and they looked like a family, and he knew that if he settled down with Kate, they'd look like one, but not his family.
It takes me a while to get it when he stops there. "You're not serious. You're dumping Kate because she's not black? That is the stupidest..."
I guess he's expecting that, because he's ready to throw it back at me - my last couple boyfriends are and have been movie and sci-fi nerds, and that was one of the things I'd liked about him. I say that's just common interests, but he says that's only part of it. It's natural, he says - we want to propogate ourselves into the next generation. That's part of the reason that people tend to date and marry within their own ethnic group - we want to try and reproduce ourselves; it's natural. And our self-image, what we're trying to bring forward isn't the bodies we're in.
I say that may be true, but if you know it, you don't have to be a slave to it. He says he knows, but he doesn't think it's a bad thing. His body's dead, and even if he can't extend his original family, he can at least try to approximate it. It's something he feels he should do.
Look at it this way, he says - if he were to go to a sperm bank and make a deposit, so to speak, with instructions that it was specifically for me without any strings attached, would I tell them to destroy it? I admit, the question stops me. I've thought about this, actually. But, still, I don't think I'd throw out a good thing for it, let alone just the idea of it.
But I can understand it, damn it.
Monday, August 21, 2006
I Wish It Could Explain Everything
My friends are a fairly close-knit group, or at least we feel that way. We're united by our proximity to the odd, the acceptance of strange things that other people doubt exist. Sure, Carlos and Jen are settling into a nice, comfortable family life, but they know things. They know them in a way that all you folks reading this blog, much as I appreciate you, don't; they've seen it first-hand, had to make peace with the fact that their friends and lovers are something different. It's a bond between us, and I like to think that our relationships are stronger because of it.
I'm sometimes wrong about that.
We were doing a sort of girl's afternoon out thing - me, Kate, Maggie, Jen, and Gertie. It was sort of ad hoc and last minute; we'd only heard about the Brattle Movie trivia fundraiser at AllAsia a few days before. Jen had Eloise with her in one of those sling deals, so we joked about filling a team of six. We got our butts kicked, but the theater raised a little money. The thing is, part of the reason we got our butts kicked was that Kate just wasn't in the game at all, and she's usually really good at this.
We stuck around for a drink afterward, and at first Kate said she didn't want to talk about it, but it was one of those cases where she obviously really did. She hadn't taken but one sip of her drink when she put it down, composed herself a little, and flatly stated that Carter had dumped her.
Our jaws all dropped - none of us had any idea there were problems. Apparently, neither did Kate. It just came out of the blue. She looks at me and Maggie and asks if we have any idea what's going on. I'm like, no, it's been years since we were together, and he was literally a different person then. Yeah, he tried to get back together once he wound up in my old body, but that was just reflex. He hasn't really talked to me much in months. Certainly, there's been no indication that he's still attracted to me.
Oh. My old body. That's why you're asking Mags, right? It's like Natasha two years ago, wanting to know if this is some thing inherent to that body, something hormonal that he can't help. If it's something that came from me, or the old me, sort of. Which is disconcerting and a little hurtful, because Kate's about my best friend and she thinks I could be that way. Maggie assures her, though, that she and I broke up out of typical male potential baby freak-out and her reaction to the same.
Which leads Kate to "do you think he's still Carter"? And we all stop, because we love Kate and really do think that someone would have to be out of his mind to break up with her. Carter not being himself would explain that, but it's hardly sufficient reason to ask the FBI to start giving blood tests.
But, man, I don't get it. I think Carter's going to be at the Waltham office on Wednesday; I'll have to corner him and ask him then.