6.08.2008

Keep 'em coming

TF and I are talking over margaritas about the day’s climbing, how he’s convinced I’m a “5.11” climber (respectably difficult route rating) but that I allow myself to get psyched out too easily. I tell him I don’t like to think of myself at a certain skill level with climbing because I hate to get the ego too involved (mostly true) and also, if I were to rate my skill level that high, wouldn’t that mean I’d have to be a little more ashamed on those days I go for all the easier climbs (more true, and more often these days)? Somehow this segues into a discussion about all the questions in life we make a conscious decision not to ask because we don’t really want to know the answer to them. He suggests this is why I've now gone several days at a time not asking my brother what is going on in his head, what his plans are beyond August, etc. I concede the point.  I'm not actually ready to face that my brother hopes to live with us for another year, or indefinitely.  That he has nowhere else to go, and no one else he feels safe with.  Mature, no.  But I'm getting really good at avoiding that conversation lately. 

TF starts talking about this 20-year old “sex kitten” he has his eye on, a girl with an unusual name about which he has yet to ask. “I don’t want to know” he admits. “It’s so weird that I’ve made up this fantastic story in my head about her conception and naming while it’s probably more of the I Was Born in a Trailer Park and This Road Map Blew In From the Neighbor’s Garbage Can kind of thing. I don’t want to ruin the fantasy that she’s this fascinating person through and through.  God I hate dating.”

I’m scrolling back through the past year or two, the relationships and life events, and thinking of various moments I could have asked certain questions (“Do you think of me even though we haven’t talked in a year?”...  “Does your wife know how fun you think I am?”... "If you die in your flat across the ocean, how will I know?"... “Am I becoming a bore?”...  “How often do you really think of ending it?”) and realizing that yes, I too swallow the questions that probably have answers I’m too tired/petty/scared to deal with. And I’m wondering how many of us do this in our day-to-day existence, take a deep breath and an extra-long blink, and change the subject- realizing in our maturity (self-absorption? self-awareness?) that we are better off keeping some things a mystery.

TF is telling me he doesn’t know what to make of this young hottie, that he is getting to the point of inviting her to climb with us so I can judge the situation and give him the inevitable feedback he (most likely) doesn’t want to hear. “But she’s so hot," he groans, "I can’t really give up on the whole idea yet. I mean, out of 10, she’s like an 11.” I dip a chip in the slowly-congealing queso and pause, trying not to drip all over my t-shirt. “To be honest,” I tell him, “I’m not sure I’m feeling up to being in the same room with a 20-year old sex kitten who rates an 11 on a scale of 10. I’m kind of feeling bruised and battered enough in general, my self-esteem is making a beeline for the toilet... I don’t know if I can deal with all the hotness. Sorry. I know that’s petty. Can we do like a phone interview or something to help you figure things out?” 

[The truth is, things with my brother and my family are taking their toll- I think I’m under so much stress that it is no longer even registering on a conscious level, just manifesting in a general impatience towards everything; all I feel lately is that my emotional inbox?  It is full. Please direct all inquires and issues elsewhere.  I cannot deal with any additional/outside drama or attitude. I just want to be left alone. So that's... pleasant... Hello, Depression, long time no see! You haven’t changed a bit!  Wanna go get a coffee or something?]

He looks at me and half-smiles. “I get it. That’s cool. But for what it’s worth, I think of you as a ten-and-a-half, and mostly the half point that keeps you from an 11 is that you’re married.” And because we’re friends I smile at his flattery and don’t ask if he’s just saying it to make me feel better. I don’t ask because I don’t really want to know the answer and it (really) doesn't matter.  Sometimes you have to go on faith, acknowledge that dark mess inside of you and carry on regardless. Hold on to the fun moments, and stop thinking so hard about the Big Stuff.  

Sometimes the best thing you can do is sit, order another margarita, accept a damn compliment already, and use a salt-and-peppered tortilla chip to get that queso off your t-shirt.