Tuesday, December 16, 2008

THE WAITING GAME

I spend too much of my life waiting. I attract jerks (don't we all?), actors (great pretenders, yes, but also actual thespians) and people who are chronically late. In fact, as I type, I'm waiting for my friend Daniel, who just informed me that he will be 15 minutes late.

My friend Lori in New York--well, she actually lives in Weehawken, New Jersey, in an apartment with a beautiful view of the Manhattan skyline--fits firmly into the latter category. She's the queen of tardy people. She once admitted to me that sometimes when she calls to say she's on her way, she's actually just getting into the shower. Considering that she lives in New Jersey, and we would usually meet in Manhattan, you can imagine the hours of my life lost waiting on her.

Luckily for Lori, she's such good company when she finally shows up that her tardiness has become part of her charm. Her friends bitch and gripe, but we all put up with it. Maybe I'm going slightly overboard here, but I miss her, and because her poor sense of time is such a huge part of who she is, I guess in some perverse way, I must miss that too. (Interestingly, Lori once set me up on a blind date with her hairdresser, an Argentine who showed up more than one hour late!)

Then there is my friend Jeffrey, who lives part time in Buenos Aires and part time in St. Louis. Since his most recent return to BA about a week and a half ago, he's been late exactly three times. On Saturday night, we were supposed to meet at a restaurant at 11 p.m., and with his previous two late-shows in mind, I imposed my 20-minute rule, which forbids me from waiting more than 20 minutes for anyone. At 11:20, still no Jeffrey, so I split. A few minutes later, he called wondering where I was. After several heartfelt apologies, he explained that he couldn't find a taxi to the restaurant, ended up having to walk there, and when the hostess told him that I had left, he went all the way home to get my number so that he could call me and explain. Now that's what I call dedication. We met up, after all, and I'm glad we did. The night ended up being one to remember (though thanks to too much wine and beer, I kind of don't).

I love Lori and Jeffrey to death, so their lateness, while annoying, is tolerable. But not Fabian's. Last night I had a date with him at 9 p.m. The plan was that he would meet me at my apartment and then we would go out to dinner. I got dressed and waited. And waited. And waited. No Fabian. No phone call. At 10 p.m., I undressed, slipped into something more comfortable and got ready to order from my favorite delivery place.

Otra noche, otra vez dejado plantando. (Another night, another time stood up.) Been there, been done that to so many times that it barely fazes me. I was disappointed mostly because Fabian has great taste in music--loves Morrissey, Pulp, Blur, Oasis all the Britpop greats from my mid-twenties--which is a quality that is so hard to find in totally addicted-to-bass gay men. At 10:10, just as I started to dial for delivery, Fabian rang my buzzer. I went downstairs and listened to his flimsy excuse. If he had bothered calling to warn me that he was running late, I may have been moved by his act of contrition. The way I see it, if he couldn't be bothered to show up on time for our first date, where were we supposed to go from there.

Nowhere. I made it very clear that he should leave, and he did. The date was a bust before it even began. I can't even use tonight as ammunition in my love-hate relationship with porteƱos, who are known for being chronically late, because Fabian is from Chile. Come to think of it, when I visited Santiago in May, I ditched two guys two nights in a row for showing up more than 45 minutes late. Fabian sent me a message later apologizing again, which was a nice gesture, but the damage had been done.

And, like Amy Winehouse sang, I wake up alone.
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