Wednesday, February 26, 2014

It was good news for one of them

My cat Charlotte had a rough February. But as the month draws to a close, she's so much better -- eating her regular kibble, drinking at a healthy clip, and happily following me around in the morning when I get ready for work.

She even hit my other cat, Joey, in the face several times in rapid succession, just for existing. If she has the energy to punish big ol' Joe, simply for offending her diva sensibilities,  I KNOW she's feeling better.

I am so grateful. Even if Joe may not be so happy about it.

How much is lonely worth?

How much insensitive behavior does desperate justify?

My oldest friend, the one who moved to California more than three years ago, has been so unhappy so long. She didn't think this move out well, she acted out of desperation, and so much has gone wrong. She's had health problems (big and small), employment problems (being canned three times in less than four years), kid problems (all big), money problems (ditto). 

The cousin she moved out there to be near simply refuses to be of much help.

I realize how awful this has been for her. I've visited her twice and am going out again this autumn, even though Los Angeles is not my favorite place on the planet. But I'm not enough. I'm 2000 miles away and in another time zone. She needs a support system out there.

Instead of listening to my advice and joining Meet Up, she signed up for Christian Mingle. You know, the site that promises to help you find a "God-based relationship." "God's Match for You." Late last year, she began dating a very nice man we'll call Kev. He's age appropriate, divorced and eager to fall in love again. They spent Christmas together, spent the weekends together with his friends, watched the Super Bowl together, went to a bed and breakfast for Valentine's Day. He's fallen in love with her and wants to take it to the next step. If not sex, well then he wants to know that their relationship has a future. 

"What's the rush?" she has asked, both him and me, with a touch of derision.

This tells me she is sooooo not in love with him. It's one thing to not be ready to introduce the physical into a romantic relationship yet. It's quite another to not even understand why the man you're dating would want to. (After three months!)

She is not attracted to Kev. Never has been. Now Archie Bunker, the first man she met out there, him she has always been attracted to. She was more enthusiastic about Archie complimenting her smile and her hair than was about Kev saying he was in love with her. We don't choose who we're attracted to, I get that. But if she isn't attracted to Kev, she should let him go.

But she likes having a friend. Someone to talk to. Someone to travel to different parts of the state with. Someone she can depend on.

I told her that's known as a friend, not a lover. And if she's not interested in a lover, she shouldn't be going on websites that promise a life partner. She agrees, in theory.

But when she had a panic attack last week, she didn't call me. She didn't call her shrink (the logical and wise choice). She called Kev. So now he feels like her knight in shining armour.

I feel bad for saying this, but I don't like her very much right now. This makes me feel guilty because I know she loves me and because she has many good qualities (funny, warm, bright). But she's being very selfish when it comes to Kev.

Then there's the matter of her phone. It's never on. And she doesn't have a landline.

She always says she wants to be there for me, but every time I have reached out to her, she's not there. When I was going to the hospital to see my mother's dead body, her phone was charging. When I was coming unglued, leaving my childhood home for the last time, and I called her, it went to voicemail. When I called her, missing my uncle so a few weeks ago, she was asleep and didn't hear it.

She ends each email asking me how I am, but she either doesn't read or doesn't retain my answers. In response to her question about my job stability, I explained how I'd just learned something interesting abut my salary in comparison to my coworkers. It was big news to me. I wrote that all of it to her. In response to her query. Back on February 5.

This week she claimed to not know a thing about it.

I know that she feels she's at capacity. I know she feels pressured about her troubled kids, her finances and her exhusband. I know she's terrified of losing this job. And know she wants to have it both ways with Kev. She simply can't be there for me.

I just wish she wouldn't ask then.

And, I guess, I wish I'd learn. I can love her. But I can't change her. I can't dictate her actions. And, guilty though it makes me feel to confess, right now I don't like her very much.

Image courtesy of jesadaphorn/


To play along, just answer the following three questions ...

• What are you currently reading? The Country Girls Trilogy by Edna O'Brien. The story of Kate and Barbara, two girls growing up in rural Ireland, and how they go off to the big city. I just began it, but I'm enjoying it so far. Ms. O'Brien has been all over the magazines recently hawking her memoir and this exposure has caused me to thoroughly dislike her. However I've found it easy to separate the artist from the art as I dive into this book.
• What did you recently finish reading? Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter. An epic story that takes us from Rome to Edinburgh to Hollywood to Seattle and the midwest. It covers decades as well as miles and introduces us to some very unique and lovingly drawn characters.

• What do you think you’ll read next? Time for non-fiction. After Visiting Friends by Michael Haney. A reporter wants to know the truth about his father died many years ago at the young age of 35.

To see how others responded, click here.