Operation ITNOWIT #14
- cemetery/my place
- Wednesday 7/4/12
Last Wednesday was Independence Day. I had returned from my time out of town at 2am the day before, and I had to work seven hours later. So part of me was looking forward to a quiet day off so I could sleep in, unpack, cook, do laundry. The other part of me was looking forward to seeing B.
He had emailed, asking me if I had 4th of July plans and if I wanted to do something with him. I responded by saying that as a vegetarian who avoids crowds and cringes at overt displays of patriotism, I don’t go in for the usual 4th celebrations. He suggested a picnic in the cemetery. I said yes. Honestly, adding CP to the above list also means that I’m not a huge fan of picnics. It’s the ‘getting down onto and up from an uneven ground without anything to hold onto’ issue. I’m not able to stand from a kneeling position by bringing one leg forward, so I have to do it the toddler way, and when I push up into a standing position and straighten up, I’m very unsteady. But I said yes anyway because I’m very much like Bartleby in most things (I would prefer not to) and I have to nudge myself a bit or I’d never leave my house.
I also worry about our relationship feeling uneven. I don’t drive or bicycle, and the bus trip to B’s is like 30 minutes from door to door (plus he doesn’t have a tv), so he’s come over here every time we’ve hung out except once. I don’t want him to feel like all he does is come over here and watch movies and I don’t put any effort in. I don’t know if he even feels like that at all, or if it’s just my own insecurity, but it did get me to leave the house.
I had never been to the cemetery in our town. It’s pretty big with lots of green grass (ah, water usage in summer in California) and shade. There were two or three visitors while we were there, and a patrol car came through, but the cop didn’t say anything. What are the city’s ordinances regarding cemeteries, anyway? It wasn’t too hot, and there was a breeze, so it really was a lovely day. And yes, he did ask, “Quiet enough for you?” and I did say, “Yes, this is my kind of crowd.”
I brought food and so did he. He made a macaroni salad that was okay, but I wouldn’t say I really liked it. Food is a tricky thing in relationships, I think. If I say I like something to spare the other’s feelings, well, then they think I really like it and make it all the time. My parents had something like this early in their relationship. My dad kept bringing my mom those powdered sugar donuts, until finally she had to admit that it was a nice treat the first time he brought them but that it wasn’t her very favorite thing. Anyway, B also brought ice cream in a cooler with ice, but of course it was completely melted. We ate it anyway.
We talked about his latest interview (in the next town over, thank goodness) and my train trip with my parents to see my sister. I had finished Love in the Time of Cholera on the train, and I really, really didn’t like it. B had given me this nice new copy, and I’d actually had an old copy already, so I read that one to preserve his copy. It turns out that B bought me the book (or maybe he just happened to have a brand new copy? Which would make me feel less bad), so now I have this nice edition of a book that I didn’t like, which was a gift and not a loan…
We talked travel again and nicknames again. He asked if he brings up the nickname thing too often. Early in our OKC messaging he had signed with a short version of his name and also with the full version, so I asked which he preferred, which in turn prompted him to ask if I have any nicknames he should know about. I don’t. I never really have, and it’s not as if you can just pick one. I had also (I really shouldn’t have) answered a call from my mother when we were first pulling into the cemetery, and I couldn’t tell her why I needed to go. I told B I was thinking of giving him a code name, like Sara. But then if he ever met anyone in my family, I’d have some explaining to do. =)
Because we were in a cemetery, funerals and the like naturally came up. I’m all for being cremated and getting a tree planted over my ashes. I don’t need to be scattered anywhere, and I certainly don’t need anyone to spend money on me (since I’d be dead and all). B told me about his dad, pausing to ask if he should go on. Of course I said, yes, tell me, while inside I’m thinking, tell me everything! You’re talking, keep going! B’s dad had his ashes scattered at a lake where he and B’s mom used to go.
Eventually our bladders dictated that our picnic was over (insert comment about people in cemeteries not needing restrooms here). It was already 8pm, so we’d managed to spend about six hours talking, without Boggle or movies to help us along–go us! We went back to my place and I turned on the end of Capitol Fourth on PBS. We were in time for an instrumental version of “America” from West Side Story (yes, I might have given a ‘woot!’ at the mention of Lenny). I’ve always thought it was pretty funny that we never fail to use Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture for 4th of July celebrations.
After the fireworks, I flipped through my meager selection of channels. We found an old tv show that we didn’t recognize, and then I said, “Is that Sally Field?” It was Gidget, which I’d heard of but never seen. We actually watched two episodes. One of them was about Gidget trying to have time alone with her boyfriend, but his dad kept going on their dates with them. B asked if that happened to me in high school. What followed was something like this:
“Uh-oh, we’re getting into personal stuff here.”
“Yes, how much to reveal? Uh, let’s just leave it at ‘no’.” (Instead of the full explanation of, no, no parent bothered me on dates in high school because I didn’t go on any dates in high school.) “And what about you?” I asked.
“I didn’t really date in high school.”
I looked at him. “At all?”
“I didn’t either.”
And so now we know that neither of us dated in high school. It’s hard to remember that guys can be just as shy and awkward as girls. I know that plenty of people don’t date in high school. It’s actually pretty common. What’s uncommon is to then also manage to graduate from college without dating. And I wanted to ask B if that was the case with him, too. What if we’re keeping the same secret?
But we left it at that and continued watching tv. It’s weird–I almost never watch tv on my tv and was ready to turn it off after the fireworks, but I got the feeling B wanted to keep watching. Maybe he thought I wanted to keep watching. Ah, communication. Anyway, I can’t really explain how we ended up watching the Spanish PBS station. B is much better at making up funny dialogue for the characters than I am. =) Then this German crime show with a priest came on, and B and I marveled that Spanish speakers were watching German television, but that a version dubbed in English didn’t exist on regular PBS. Both of us know only a few words of Spanish, so we definitely had trouble figuring out what was going on. =)
At midnight I finally turned off the tv. B stood and thanked me for entertaining him for ten hours, and I agreed that it was a very nice 4th. I opened the door for him. He doesn’t ever really pause on the doorstep, but goes down the two steps before turning to say good night. This time he said, “I don’t know what to say as a good night.” So I said, “Well, good night, then.” As in, the standard phrase works just fine. And that was it. This time we didn’t make plans to meet again, and I wonder if he feels like I shut him down or something. He is the one who initiates the plans, so maybe he’s not sure that I want to keep making plans, since I don’t bring it up.
It’s been something I’m struggling with as an introvert. There’s that saying that introverts “recharge their batteries” by being alone. That’s absolutely true for me. When the weekend comes, I relish 48 hours to myself. Even if someone stops by for half an hour, it’s like the quiet is broken and that day doesn’t count as a “recharge” day. I want to keep getting to know and spending time with B, and I also need to have extended stretches of alone-ness. It’s literally not personal. “I need to be alone” doesn’t equal “I don’t want to see you.” B is an introvert too, so maybe he really does understand. Maybe he isn’t wondering why we haven’t communicated since Wednesday. That would be nice.
Perhaps, however much I may like someone, I just can’t feel that “want to be with you all the time” feeling. That feeling never lasts anyway, right? So maybe introverts are just better prepared for the long term. It’s an odd contradiction to be living, knowing that I enjoy spending time with him, but also feeling such relief and release to be alone in my own space.