I may be smart (I actually have documentation of this fact, because like Sheldon Cooper, my mother had me tested), but I can be really thick-headed sometimes.
I offer as evidence to my own stupidity the following anecdote.
At work, there are several of us cashiers and we keep pretty busy. Sometimes we chit chat while we are waiting for customers though, and there is this guy… actually, he is a man, probably in his 60s, very polite and friendly. He is either divorced or widowed. He is probably the most dignified man I’ve ever worked with, truth be told.
On my second day, he reached out to me to say, “I am amazed at how quickly you are picking this up!” and I thanked him and said that I have been a lot of people in my life, had a lot of odd jobs, generally good-natured, and a quick learner overall.
We did a fist bump and I didn’t think too much more about it afterwards.
Then, about a week later, when he was sent to relieve me for a break, he said, “You tell the most incredible stories when you’re helping customers. You really have lived a full life haven’t you?” Again, I smiled and said a couple truisms and moved on.
Then, yesterday, I was sent to relieve him for a break and he was speaking Spanish to some customers.
As far as I know, he’s Anglo, and it showed. His attempt was very halting, and he had an absolutely horrible accent, but the customers were tickled pink. And his honest attempt to communicate was so much better than the hunt-and-seek mas-o-menos smoke screen that I do with the language (despite the fact that I have a marvelous accent), so I drawled, “Hey, Ron, where did you learn Spanish?”
He kept working and said, “Oh, you know. I’ve picked it up here and there, just trying to be helpful with folks.”
I smiled, because that is exactly my sentiment on the matter. It made my heart happy to know that there were other people out there, especially in my part of the country, who realize that we all just need to learn how to co-exist with mutual respect and courtesy.
So, as we were doing the hand-off proper, I told him that I was going to use the company’s cheap tuition plan to study Spanish through Rosetta Stone.
He nodded a couple times and then said, “Well, you’re a smart woman, so I am sure you will have no problem with that……… In fact, you’re the smartest woman I’ve ever met…….. and that smile of yours, it’s out of this world.”
That’s when it hit me that I was being an idiot.
I looked at him for a brief second, and he was adorable. I didn’t dare do more than a glance, because I needed some time to think, and I didn’t want to lead him on.
So sweet. Six decades of life, and a boy still gets nervous when telling a girl he likes her.
Problem is, my heart is spoken for. I really wish it weren’t. It’s not like the object of its affection (i.e. MRME) is ever coming to come claim it, so my heart languishes in some sort of medically induced coma halfway between Rapunzel and Sleeping Beauty, to keep it safe until I am ready to let it try again… years in the future.
Unless it breaks free between now and then, which is a real possibility.
My heart is like a dog. It escapes, frantically humps whatever it can before I can cage it.
Still, Ron seems like a nice guy, an interesting and honorable and trustworthy sort of beau. I could do worse. I have done worse. I am currently doing worse.
Doesn’t matter, I can’t make my heart feel anything more than a gentle kindness towards him. And that isn’t fair to him, so if he asks me out… which I am pretty sure he is gathering up courage to do… I will probably have to turn him down.
Or maybe I can just be honest with him and let him know that I can’t give him any sort of promise when I would be emotionally available, i.e. open to considering sex.
No doubt, a date with him couldn’t be any worse than those guys from the Tucson Street Fair who were, to the last person, only down for a one-time fuck. He would probably take “no” for an answer without calling me a bitch and a cock-tease. But I’m afraid it would still ultimately be “no” so maybe I shouldn’t say “yes” first.
I really want romantic love in my life, but I’m afraid it ain’t happening anytime soon.
And workplace romances are always a bad idea. Always. I need to remember this.
So that leaves me where I was. Which isn’t that great of a location, but I have hope.
In the meantime, there is mother-child love. Which is what prompted this poem.
the chain that binds me to this life
is soft and smooth and pink:
of silken ribbon, a loop tied,
heavier than you’d think.
you might say I’m love’s prisoner,
but, no, it set me free.
it owns every inch of my fate;
I yield, its property.
of all the names I’ve ever used,
the best it gave to me.
strange how the souls whom we create
own us so utterly.