Monthly Archives: November 2014

Sometimes ‘goodbye’ is all you need

“But the wild things cried, “Oh please don’t go – we’ll eat you up – we love you so!”
And Max said, “No!”
The wild things roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws but Max stepped into his private boat and waved goodbye.”

— Maurice Sendak, “Where the Wild Things Are”

* * * * *

BoatI said “goodbye” to someone today, and in a way I felt a lot like Max getting on that boat.

My “someone” wasn’t and isn’t a monster, but like Max and his Wild Things, he is someone I’d had great adventures with, laughs, funny moments, thoughtful moments. We shared our lives and our families for almost three years, and when it ended a few months ago, we talked about being friends. That’s really what we had been for most of the time we were together, we reasoned, so how hard could it be?

We never really got the chance to find out. Shortly after we broke up, my “someone” met a new someone. “It was a surprise, totally unexpected,” he told me.

I was – and am – happy for him. The more time that passes since we ended it, the more I’ve come to realize we were a good fit as friends, but not as romantic partners. As much as we were alike, we were also different, and in ways that would eventually have mattered.

We still talked about being friends, but I knew even as we talked it wouldn’t happen. He would mention getting together for dinner – and I reminded him that his new someone might not appreciate it. The fact that we’d been romantic partners, no matter how much we know now that it was more like a friendship, will always get in the way when either of us has a new “someone.” It would for me – if I had a new someone in my life, I doubt that he would understand my wanting to go to dinner with a recent ex-boyfriend, and I know I would not be at all understanding if he wanted to go to dinner with a recent ex-girlfriend.

And I began to see the signs, and the signs began to bother me. Where once, even after breaking up, we’d instant message or text each other occasionally, they just stopped. He stopped “liking” my posts and pictures on Facebook. Pictures of the two of us together started disappearing from online photo albums. There was just … nothing.

I began to feel bitter and resentful, and then reminded myself there was really no reason to feel that way. I, too, have moved on, in different ways. I, too, know that the end was a good thing.

Can we be friends? I don’t know. Maybe. He’ll always be important to me, and his family will always be in my heart. I’m sure if I were to run into him we would be civil – friendly, even. But for now, anyway, that’s all there is.

So today I said “goodbye” and wished him well.

And got into my private boat and sailed away, ready to face the next adventure.

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My car is out to get me

JalopyIt’s no secret women – particularly single women – have a love/hate relationship with their car. Oh, sure, it’s a grand mechanical masterpiece that gets us from here to there, carries our children and friends, totes all of the loads from shopping and moving and picnics and ball games.

But some devilish imp full of mischief lies underneath. It’s almost like the Bad Child, the one who seems nice and polite and sincere on the surface, but who spray paints graffiti on your garage when you’re not looking. It’s the part that makes the car put off a God-awful noise that persists until you take it to the mechanic, and suddenly it’s gone, or that makes it burn gas so incredibly fast – until you’re trying to empty the tank so you can use your Fuel Saver card to the get the maximum benefit.

I’ve had my car for a little more than two years and it’s served me well – a handful of trips to Chicago, one to Denver, several to Galena and Cuba City, and countless trips to Carroll and Altoona to visit family. It’s the first car I’ve had with remote start, which I have come to absolutely LOVE in the Iowa winter, and the remote lock and entry helps me find it when I can’t remember where I’ve parked.  There have been no major repair issues, and I’ve had it serviced regularly. It’s a good car.

A few weeks ago I was at a friend’s house later than I should have been on a “school night,” and I pressed the unlock button on the key fob as I walked to my car. When the car knows you’re coming (because the doors have been unlocked) the headlights and interior lights come on for safety – so you can see your way to the car and see inside. This time, though, the passenger headlight didn’t come on.

Great.

Normally I wouldn’t have worried too much about it – but I live in a smaller city, about 18,000 people, where the crime rate is low and the police force gets bored. I’ve lived here for four years and have had five run-ins with officers on patrol: twice when I was driving my son’s old car and got pulled over for the light over the rear license plate being out, once for driving a friend’s SUV in the middle of the day to pick up a piece of furniture and she had a headlight out, once for not using a turn signal and once when my now-ex-boyfriend and I were on the sidewalk next to my apartment with my dogs at midnight one night and he had a bottle of beer – and an officer pulled over and made him pour it out.

Needless to say, driving into my community with one headlight out at 11 p.m. made me just a little nervous. Fortunately, it wasn’t my turn to be pulled over.

The burned-out bulb bothered me, though. I live across the street from a mechanic’s garage and I know they’d replace the bulb – but I never seem to have enough time in the morning, and they’re closed by the time I get home after work. So last week I went to the store and bought a bulb ($22! Holy cats!) and planned to change it myself.

Except I don’t know how. And I couldn’t figure it out. And my car didn’t have the owner’s manual – which presumably would have told me how to do it – when I bought it. And I didn’t think about Google.

For 13 days that light has bothered me. Every time I unlock the car when it’s dark, the shadow of where it should be taunts me, like a classroom bully: “Nyah nyah nyah, you’re going to get pulled over!”

I hated that light.

Today my son’s car is having issues so I took a last-minute vacation day to help him take care of those. Since I was home, I took the car across the street to have them change the bulb. They were busy at the time and told me to come back in a half hour.

A few minutes after I got home, my phone rang. It was the mechanic – none of my lights were out. They all worked. They. ALL. Worked.

I told him it had been out for nearly two weeks, and how I’d come to discover it was out. They hadn’t tried the key fob yet, so he told me they’d try that and I could come get it in about 10 minutes. When I went over, the new bulb was still in the package, still in the bag.

And the old headlight was shining brightly at me.

Sometimes … I really hate that car.

 

 

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