Sunday, October 22, 2006

Blogging the Relationship Lucky Number 13

I’ve always been proud of my communication skills. Maybe a little overly proud. (Example: well, this blog. And this one. And this one. And THIS one. Duh.)

Well, all that has gone out the window. Newsflash: if you don’t sleep, incoherence isn’t just a word in the dictionary for you, anymore.

I can still tutor well—in fact, I’m doing better than well—but apparently I don’t talk to my boyfriend anymore. Like, at all, ever.

(See that shining example of articulation? Perhaps you begin to see what I’m talking about? Yes. I thought so.)

We just went to this wedding, you see, the wedding of two Old College Friends of mine, a relationship that had been friendship for four years before they started dating, and therefore they had a lot of mutual friends, and they (we) all came to the wedding, and it had been quite some time since we had seen each other, so of course there was much rejoicing and catching up, and I was introducing the LT around, or so I thought, but he was being sort of quiet, unusual for a guy who can make himself at home anywhere.

We stepped away to look for a bathroom for me, and when I came back I found him hanging back by a mirror.

“What’s wrong?” I said.
“Nothing’s wrong,” he said, in that voice people use when there damn well IS something wrong, but they’re not sure how or why to tell you. “But…how do you know these people, again?”

I looked at him, amazed. “I went to college with all of them. So did you, actually, but that’s obviously beside the point. We were all science-type freshman majors together.” (It’s a little known but true fact that I started out my college career as a chemistry major before switching to chemical engineering.)

“Oh,” he said, and it could have ended there, except that the next words out of my mouth: “I could have SWORN I told you that already.”

As anyone who’s had a relationship can tell you, this is NOT a constructive thing to say, ever. Really.

More examples of really constructive (not) conversations the LT and I have had recently:

A few weeks ago, we drove by my old high school, and they were re-doing it, and I wanted to sneak around the back to see it, even though the streets were blocked off. The LT saw the cops and flashing lights and was apprehensive, which is understandable. I was mad that he was questioning my judgment at all. I went ahead and did it even though he was more than a little unhappy. Ah, the little touches that really make a relationship.

As we successfully passed the cops by me pretending that I lived in one of the surrounding apartment buildings, the LT said, “You used to live here?”

I was speechless, and also blazing mad. “YES. I USED TO LIVE HERE WITH T-Town. I’ve only told you that about a hundred times. My mother and I point that out every time we drive by my old high school.”

Again, readers: this is not a constructive way to have an argument.

And more recent constructive conversations:

Me: “We have plenty of time to catch this flight.”
LT: “No, we don’t.”
Me: “Yes, we do.”
Me: “YES WE DO.”

(And then, when we did:)

Me: “HA! I TOLD you we would make it.”

Me: “You’re driving too fast.”
LT: “No, I’m not.”
(Me, gripping the Oh-Shit-Bar.) “YES. YOU ARE.”
LT: (Nothing. Speedometer does not move.)

Me: “This cup is glass.”
LT: “I’m pretty sure it’s plastic.”
Me: “It’s GLASS.” (I should have said: “I study MATERIALS for a LIVING, jackass.” See Chemical Engineering Degree, above.)
LT: “Honey, it’s plastic.”
Me, the girl, gives in to the man’s superior knowledge. “Maybe you’re right, sure.”

It became obvious that it was glass when it broke a day later. So much for that.

The worst part was driving back from the wedding, on our last night—we were so sleep deprived that I was beginning to hallucinate, I think, and we got lost, and of course I was navigating, because he was driving, and we were arguing about directions—really arguing—and he ended up being right about something, and I was so mad by this time that my reply was, “Fuck you.”

He looked at me, dead quiet. I started to bawl.

(On the plus side, I discovered that Urban Decay’s Primer Potion works to keep mascara from running, too!)

On the plane today, on the way back, the “fuck you” of last night forgotten, we were cuddling and talking and I said, “This reminds me of the time I flew with Geeb and we talked about the air circulation patterns.”

“The what?” he said.

“The air circ patterns on a commercial aircraft,” I repeated. “I haven’t told you?”


So I explained it to him, and it was good. And then we got to talking more, and I realized I hadn’t told him about how I met most of my work friends, the fact that we’re building a new building at work, how the condo search is going, or much of anything about my tutoring students. Complete strangers that I met at the wedding know more about me than my boyfriend does.

“Do I EVER talk to you?” I said.

“Apparently not,” he answered.

So: Communication? I might be good at it in a meet-and-mingle setting, but apparently on a day-to-day basis I suck. Simultaneously, I’ve realized that my work attitude is severely lacking because, frankly, I’m not being friendly with the people I work with. I’m just not friendly towards them, at all. They probably think of me as that stuck-up bitch in the corner cube. Not good.

SO! The point of this extremely long post is to remind myself—and you, readers—that if you feel people aren’t listening to you or being friendly, maybe you should try being a little friendlier yourself. And opening up a little.

Because while I was on this train of “Open up your mouth and TALK to your boyfriend,” I broached a difficult subject. “We were using the L word for a while, and now we’re not,” I said, breathing slowly, in and out. “Why not?”

(Full disclosure: this start and stop usage has possessed me for months. I have been worried that he no longer likes me, or that he had said he loved me when infatuated and changed his mind. It’s not like I haven’t eaten or gone to work, but it has eaten several holes in my self-esteem. Not that I’ve told him this, of course. I don’t talk to people, remember?)

Anyway, back to the L word, and I’m not talking about the TV show. “You didn’t reciprocate,” he said.

Me: “WHAT? I thought I said it more than you did!”

We stared at each other.

Like I said: This is an example of how NOT to run a relationship. So if you’re mad at your significant other today, or insecure for any reason, start talking. It’s a good thing.

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