Monday, August 28, 2006
Sometime's there's benefit to being the bearer of bad news
Not necessarily direct benefits, but you can kind of do all right. Kate had bought a pair of tickets for Saturday's "Futures at Fenway" event a few weeks ago, but as one might imagine, wasn't in any particular mood to go with Carter. So Alex and I wound up reaping the benefits. I tried to pay her back, but she said to forget it, I'd eventually return the favor. A paranoid person would wonder if she thought my relationship with Alex weren't long for the world, because that's what the analogous exchange would be, but I think it was just Kate saying I'd have something I couldn't go to eventually.
It was a fun day at the ballpark. It was obvious who the stars of the show were - Joshua Papelbon, the recently-drafted younger brother of Sox Rookie of the Year candidate Jonatahn Papelbon, and Carlos Pena, who grew up in the area and played his college ball at Northeastern University. Neither let the fans down; Papelbon the Younger threw a one-two-three ninth just like his brother is wont to do, and Pena drove in the winning runs in the second game with a homer over the Red Sox bullpen. Judging from the crowd reaction, both could be real popular if brought up to the big club.
Josh Papelbon is fun, too. His older brother is a straight-ahead fireballer, but he's a submarine-style pitcher who nearly scrapes the ground with his knuckles as he pitches. Throwing like that's got some disadvantages - like, the ball may already be heading in an upward direction when the hitter catches it - but I'm surprised you don't see more people throw that way, just because it seems to do much less damage to the shoulder. I mean, try it yourself - throwing overhand causes much more strain (and, no, it's not because lifting your arm lifts your breast). Anyway, the really amusing thing is watching him warm up in the bullpen - from where we were sitting, it was like he was ducking down and out of sight behind the bullpen wall every time he threw a pitch. That's just funny.
Still, I couldn't completely enjoy it - it's a bit rough when you only have the opportunity to have fun because something crappy has happened to a friend.
Alex stayed at my place that night; we had breakfast at Zoe's before going our separate ways for the day, since I'd promised to hang out with Kate, tell her what was what from seeing Carter and just generally hang out. Finding yourself suddenly single isn't a lot of fun, because there's this socialization cartography that you get knocked around: The single people are here, the couples here, the married people here, and the families are way over here, and the distance between those points might actually be physical space. Couples live in the same neighborhood, but they have to figuratively travel to see the single people. So now Kate suddenly finds herself living a little further from most of the people she knows and on the opposite side of town from Jen.
Okay, let's stop before I abuse that metaphor much more.
Anyway, Kate and I hung out. We wound up in a tea shop during the worst of the rain, which was were we finally got around to talking about Carter. I told her what he'd said, and felt like I'd punched her in the gut, but I liked her reaction: "At least it was something stupid."
Most folks, I imagine, would feel extra broken up if they were dumped for a stupid reason, but Kate's smarter than most of us. A breakup with a rational explanation, she figures, is seldom cathartic or a clean break; you understand why it's happening, still have some respect for the guy, and maybe convince yourself that you can make it work, if you just help resolve whatever the obstacle is. You just keep making yourself miserable, and no good can come of that. When you get dumped for a reason that is completely irrational, though, it's an eye-opener - the guy's an idiot and you deserve better. You can be finished with regrets about the past but not the future, and move on to the next, better thing.
(Note: Do not take this attitude if you have less self-confidence than Kate, because you will be lying to yourself, and making yourself more miserable)
I bristled a little when she said this, and she noticed. When pressed, I said I did understand the twisted logic that Carter was using a little - I told her she had no idea how often the sperm donor scenario had gone through my head. Okay, she says, I get it, but suppose Korpov had actually turned out to be Michelle. Putting the fact that it could happen the old fashioned way aside, would I feel any sort of obligation to get knocked up for him if he decided that it would be really cool to have a kid that was genetically half new-him and half old-him? Or even have eggs harvested? Carter's got to learn he's a new person and deal with it.
I tell her I've told him the same thing, but then I do something hypocritical like ask if Mom's called him since the last time I talked to her. There doesn't seem to be a right answer.