Tuesday, July 13, 2010

MORE BULLET-DODGING IN BA

Yesterday, when I was mad, I did something that I regretted a few hours later.

The devil, or JM (see "SATURDAYS WITH BO DEREK" below), or both, made me do it. Since last Saturday with Bo Derek and JM, I've been getting mixed signals from the latter. He may not be Argentine, but in five years here, he's mastered the Argentine way: act interested and disinterested at the same time.

We'd spent the latter part of the week communicating by text message. I had a hard time reading him. Whenever I wrote to him, he always responded enthusiastically, ending every sentence with an exclamation point!!! When, on Thursday afternoon, I texted him suggesting a Thursday night rendezvous, he responded two and a half hours later, suggesting Friday night. I accepted, but he didn't respond. Of course, when I went to bed on Thursday, I knew that Friday night was not to be. The next day, I thought about sending JM a message to see if we were on, but I couldn't get that that final text message -- the one he didn't respond to -- out of my head. I decided to test him and see if, for once, he would take the initiative.

Naturally, he didn't. No worries. I wasn't expecting him to. I went out with my friend Cara and had a great time anyway. The next afternoon, I sent a message to JM. I was testing him again. I apologized for not having contacted him on Friday. I wanted to see what his response would be. He immediately replied, going on about how he was worried about his computer, on which he had spilled orange juice the other day. He didn't know if the technicians at the Apple Store would be able to fix it.

I felt for him. I told him I was sorry about his rotten luck, and I offered him my Mac, which I rarely use, if he needed to borrow it. He thanked me for my generosity, and asked me what I was doing that evening. Did I have plans with our mutual friends? He never mentioned the previous night, the fact that he had asked me out, the fact that he had never answered my response, the fact that I had apologized to him anyway.

The writing was on the wall, but I needed some blog material, so I decided to go for broke. I told him that I didn't have any plans, but if he wants to come over later, we can do something together.

No response.

One hour later. No response.

Six hours later. No response.

The next morning. No response.

I woke up on the wrong side of the bed, filled with rage. Now I've learned my lesson about sending emails when I'm in a state of extreme rage. It's never a good idea. But I also have this overwhelming need to express my feelings -- be it love or anger, love or happiness, or hateful hate -- in the moment. I decided to send him a message on Facebook, keeping it short, sweet and on subject. I wrote, "Not responding to my text message yesterday was very rude. I will not be bothering you again." I pressed send and deleted him from my list of friends.

Oh, how I hate doing that dreaded delete-from-Facebook thing. But I have this thing about burning bridges. I'm very protective of my sanity, and rather than live with the temptation to contact someone hanging over my head, when I know it's over, when I'm done with it, I remove all forms of possible communication with them from my life. I delete them from Facebook, MSN and my telephone. I felt proud of myself. I'd said what I wanted to say, in two short sentences, without making a big scene. I sent an email to Cara to tell her about it. Mid email my phone rang.

I thought about not answering it. I knew it was JM. I also knew that he wouldn't leave a message. Though my email had been not a test but a a parting shot, I wanted to know what he had to say. I'd hoped he would do it by email because I'm so much better there than I am on the telephone. But I picked up anyway.

"Hello."

"Hi, Jeremy?"

"Who is this?"

"It's Juan."

I don't know what clicked in me, but I suddenly was overcome by rage. I couldn't understand why it took that email for him to call me. Why hadn't all of the nice text messages I had sent over the previous few days warranted that response? Why hadn't the invitation to which he never responded? I started to take a deep breath, but I stopped mid-breath and told him that I was asleep, and I couldn't talk to him. Then I hung up.

I immediately felt terrible about my response. Not so much because I'd probably ruined any chance of reconciliation, or because I may have hurt his feelings, but because I wanted to know what he was going to say. I still do. But in that moment, I was so angry, and I responded instinctively, without thinking.

No matter what his excuse was going to be, I knew it was not going to be good enough. Two years ago, after being blown off by this guy named Alejandro, I sent him an email to which he responded in the exact same way -- a telephone call within five minutes of my pushing the "send" button. I had given Alejandro one more chance, and we had one great date before it ended very badly. I didn't want to go through that again, and I think I had this brief moment of deja vu during which all the rage bubbled over to the surface. JM would have to go. Later, talking to one of my friends, I found out that I'd probably dodged a bullet. "He has a lot of issues," the friend said, when I told him what had happened.

But I'm sure he's not gone for good. Not here in Buenos Aires, where no encounter with any guy is ever your last one. The fact that we have friends in common almost guarantees that JM will be back. Hopefully, by then my anger will be tucked away in a place where I no longer have access to it, and I can finally hear his lame excuse. If he bothers to give one. If he has truly become like every other porteño, he'll probably say, "Tanto tiempo," and act like nothing ever happened.
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