This is the second part to “A story, short, maybe sweet.” It’s neither as short, nor sweet.
It wasn’t always like that, of course.
Moments came and passed, like summer weather, sunny and warm, thunder and floods. The good washed away by the bad, the bad drowned out by the good.
We must have been in a drought on this day.
I’m an open book, and now I see maybe I should have been more closed off, particularly when it came to things involving her, but since everything was a thing involving her, I wouldn’t have had anything to write or talk about. So talk I did, or, as happened on more than one occasion, write I did.
A couple of weeks earlier, I had written a column about how the Internet can make breaking up different these days, as social sites like MySpace and Facebook seem to gain some sort of digital satisfaction out of posting the latest bad news from your personal life. Personally, I enjoyed what I had to say, but I guess that’s pretty much the case with most everything I write, particularly columns. I mean, if I didn’t like a column, which is just my opinion on matters of importance to me, who will? That’s not egotistical; that’s just basic writing.
Apparently, a few others liked it, too, with some taking the time to put pen to paper (or, more accurately, finger to keypad) to write comments on our Web site. One wrote about how people in a break-up need to realize there are other people out there to meet and date. Another guy, a male mind you, suggested we go out one evening and hang out as a way to get my mind off my ex.
Well, clearly there are two problems there, the first being that I guess these letters weren’t really supporting the theories posited in my column but were instead trying to cheer up my heartache, and that’s the second, and bigger, problem: there was no heartache. I’m not single. I’m not going through a break-up. So if these people are confused and think I’m suddenly single, then that means …
Shit. Angela is going to think I overstated our personal life again.
I guess I had it coming (“We all got it coming, kid,” Clint Eastwood says in Unforgiven, and damn, I guess the ol’ cowboy nailed that piece of philosophy).
“How could you?” she asked, her voice sounding amazingly calm I now realize given the level of Armageddon she was about to verbally unleash over the telephone.
“How could I what?”
“Don’t play stupid with me.”
I wasn’t playing stupid. Stupid is a serious way of life for me with her. I had no idea what she was talking about, causing me to ask what was going on.
“Your column. In the paper.”
“Oh, that. Don’t worry about it. Our circulation is so small, I mean, really, no one will read it.”
“And it’s online.”
“Nobody reads that either.”
“There are already comments.”
“OK, let’s just assume people have read it,” I told her, having great difficulty hiding my excitement over the quick response from readers.
“You have no business telling my business.”
“It’s my business. The column is about me.”
“Well of course it is. You’re the most self-involved person I’ve ever met.”
I would have had a difficult time arguing that statement had she even given me the chance.
“I just can’t believe you’d write those things about going out with other people,” she continued. “Do you just not ever consider anyone else’s feelings?”
I pointed out that I hadn’t actually written the stuff about going out with other people, a fact I thought truly wrapped up the argument for me but one she readily overlooked. I tried to state my well-reasoned argument: “Any reasonable moron could see what’s happening here.”
I really should have thought that one out more.
“So I’m a ‘reasonable moron’?”
“No no no. You’re not being reasonable at all.”
I guess at this point I’d lost all interest in civility. Oddly enough, she hadn’t.
“Look, just consider my feelings when you say this things, or write them, or whatever,” she told me, somehow turning almost calm, almost normal.
And I’m really to blame for the failure to drop the “almost.”
“Well, I’ll try to keep that in mind,” I answered, “but if you’re going to continue reading my work, I wish you’d consider comprehending it, since really, that’s the most important part of reading.”
I waited for her response, but none came. I kept the attack going.
“Besides, the column is about me, not you, and I wish you’d figure that out, preferably more on the sooner side rather than the later.”
“No, your column is about how you want to show everyone how smart you are and for you to be able to say how great you are.”
“Now how do you figure that?”
“All you ever write about is yourself and talking about books you read and movies you watch and say ‘Boy, I’m so smart.'”
“Well, keeping in mind that the only book I really remember writing about is Harry Potter, I sincerely doubt I have ever tried to allude to my intelligence, particularly using children’s literature as Exhibit A. And besides, if reading a book is your idea of what makes a person smart, then that really says a whole lot about you as a person.”
She hung up.
I smelled blood and wanted more. I called back.
Wasting no time to allow me to begin critical statements on her behalf, she immediately launched into one of her patented “you think you’re so smart” rants, which mainly come out when her own insecurities have her feeling stupid. And by “insecurities,” I mean “my harsh comments.”
But I wasn’t putting up with it this night — “Just because you have no discernible talent, don’t disparage someone who does.”
“I can’t stand you,” she yelled. “I’m miserable with you.”
“Well then allow me to get out of your life so I’m not holding you back. I’m sure once I’m gone, you’re life will be able to flourish out if its current level of mediocrity and you can go on to achieve all your dreams. You can finally be an actress and can quit talking about it and just do it. You know, because clearly your lack of a career in that profession has more to do with me than it does with the fact that you haven’t fucking acted since the third fucking grade.”
So, as you can see, we had a good night.
I guess that’s the way the cookie crumbles.