Monday, March 15, 2010

Alia/Rob: Middle ground

My life - and by that I mean Rob's life as led by me - is exhausting.

I'll be the first to admit that I don't have much of a life outside of the job. Cathy was on my case about this as we supervised the cafeteria today. I keep telling her we're not kids, and that by the time I get home from my after-school commitments, I'm usually too tired to do anything.

I make fun of her for nagging me and ask, "What are you, my wife?" unconsciously forgetting the implications of that statement.

She replies, "Ouch," then pauses a moment to let the meaning settle. Awkward. Then she continues, "No, I'm your friend. I want you to get out there and meet people, have fun while there's time. Don't get old too soon." Too late, I think, but anyway. "Do you do anything but work, watch TV and sleep?"

"Sure," I say, trying to defend myself, wanting to seem like it was true. "I go to movies, I... grocery shop... laundromat."

She laughs, "Errands don't count, buddy! You told me you were busy on Valentine's day. Don't tell me you were folding shirts."

"No, that was a real... well, it was platonic." I had a note of shame in my voice, not because I wish it weren't, but because it's irritating that Cathy is so right and yet so wrong.

"Look," she says, "Once a month, some friends and I go out to see a movie. Usually something we can laugh at. Next week, we're gonna go see that Hot Tub Time Travel movie."

"Hot Tub Time Machine," I correct her.

"You should come along, okay?"

I roll my eyes. "What kind of friends? Women?"

"Mostly, but it's a mix. one of my girlfriends usually brings her boyfriend, too, even though we can't really stand him. Otherwise I think you'd like them."

"What do you mean I'd like them? Is this a fix-up or something?" I start to get really defensive for no good reason.

"What? No!" she says in a way that means kinda, adding "Look, I'm not gonna lie. I do think it would be cool if you ended up liking one of my friends, but that isn't what this is about. I just want to hang out with you in a non-school setting for once, let you loosen up."

I give her the benefit of the doubt. Listen, I think Cathy's a really cool woman. She reminds me of myself. Smart, with a bit of a playful streak, but less vulnerable. My problem is that once I started dating Todd, I became sort of a "guys' girl," because I realized I hadn't enjoyed the company of women that much in my teen life. Now that I'm a guy, it's sort of coming back estranged (this is my vague recollection of Freud) and I like it. So I do want to hang out with her, but I don't want to lead her, or any of her friends, on.

So I agree to it. I've kind of followed the opposite path from Cliff... she got really social pretty quickly and regretted it, and I've been anti-social this whole time and regret it. We both need to find middle ground.



Todd said...

Use protection.

Alia said...

You're gross.