Thursday of the 8th week was my birthday and if it weren’t for Facebook, no one in the office would have known about it other than my friends who hangout together on non work events, and who I have a pact with to not express birthday wishes openly at work.
I was anticipating a nice quiet evening alone and just working on my pet projects, which is exactly what I did. It was awesome being productive in my own quiet space with no parties, and no one to entertain, or forced to drink wine, or what have you.
Don’t get me wrong. I throw a home party at least four times a year, attend several parties at other times of the year that I’m not hosting, and hang out with friends and coworkers at an occasional happy hour. I just don’t like the attention of a party specifically for and/or about me. That’s just the way I’m built.
Friday of the 8th week, I took off from my 9 to 5 day job because I had to prepare for a Texas style BBQ at S’s house which we planned many weeks prior. The plan was for me to bring down my Weber charcoal grill and we (and that translates to me) would be grilling some South Texas style fajitas (beef, chicken & shrimp) along with all the fixings, or as we say it in the South, “fixin’s”.
The argument that could not be avoided…
Friday afternoon (around 3pm), I texted S that I was on my way to her house. I had originally thought that I would be leaving earlier but that didn’t happen as I had to load my BBQ pit in the bed of my pickup truck, pack the food I had, and my grilling plates that make your food sizzle as you bring the food to the table (as she didn’t have these kitchen items). Of course in her head, I should have been there sooner but let’s don’t jump there just yet.
I received a text from her about 4pm asking if I were already at her house to which I informed her I wasn’t but that I was in the area. I also hadn’t eaten since earlier in the morning and was a bit hungry so I stopped off to get a small bite to tide me over until supper, which I had thought would be spent with her children as this was her weekend with her kids.
She replied back, “Okay. I’ll be leaving work soon and will meet you at the house and get changed for our evening event.”
“Hmmmm,” I thought to myself, “did I miss something?” I checked my handy planner calendar and nothing was written in the square for Friday. I checked my online calendar and nothing was on the online Friday calendar that I use and sync up with after work activities and other social events.
So I texted her back, “What event? I have nothing on my calendars.” Oh boy…that was enough kindling to light a fire.
I get a text, “Are you kidding?” And immediately after receiving that text my phone was buzzing with my caller ID showing it was S. I answered in my normal quirky greeting, “Weeellll heyllo”. Her typical response would match my quirkiness, but that didn’t happen.
Instead she questioned again, “Are you kidding with me?”
I of course truthfully answered, “No. What event were you referring to?” Silence then sniffling followed shortly afterwards.
S goes off on me, “Now we talked about this several weeks back and you said you were okay with it. How did you not remember?”
“Well,” I started in “like you said, it was several weeks ago and we’ve made several ‘what do we do on this weekend’ planning of which nothing resulted in those plans for me writing anything on my calendar for tonight. Can you remind me what we’re supposed to be doing tonight?”
Then the control thing went sideways and she continued her ranting and now crying as she continued to read me the riot act about whatever she thought in her head. After a few more minutes, I calmly stated, “I didn’t say I didn’t want to go. I just wanted you to remind me what it is we had planned that I neglected to write into my calendar.”
At this point she continued without telling me about the event and went into a different tangent about her being my secretary and yada, yada, yada. After another five minutes (or so) of her venting, crying, and becoming an emotional wreck, I again politely asked about tonight’s event. Finally she told me and I replied, “okay…that sounds like fun” and left it at that thinking her displaced anger would decrease and vanish. Nope. Of course not. It lasted another few minutes until she reached her house where I was already parked in her driveway and waiting for her to arrive.
Now S and I had talked about a soirée in a nearby local town with her coworkers and friends, which I helped purchased during a fund raiser event, and to which I didn’t put in my calendar for this Friday night before the Tex-Mex themed party.
Luckily her mom was there to shield me from more tounge lashes. I had thought the time she spent upstairs getting ready were enough to dissipate her anger but it seemed to only fuel it more. I got another earful as we were driving to her friend’s house who we were collecting and taking with us to the first half of tonight’s event, and whose husband would be meeting us after he gets off from work. “Do you want me to prove it?” She asked. I said, “no need to prove it like you prove it to everyone else who fights with you.” And the microphone was metaphorically dropped from my hand and hit a metaphorical stage. It didn’t even slow her down.
Now in past fights, with my prior relationships, I learned if I took the blame, the heat of the argument would be lessened, but apparently not with an emotionally upset person with control issues. The opposite happens as they feed off of that submission. Truth be told I was only half listening by the time we were in the car and halfway towards her friend’s house, as my ears were tired of the assault. I had taken ownership of not remembering and that’s all I could do. And I asked her just that, “I’ve already apologized for not remembering, I’m taking the blame, I cannot go back in time. So what do you want me to do?”
“Don’t let it happen again,” was her response to which I said, “there’s no way I can make that promise as I’m sure I’ll forget something else in the future.”
She yells out, “MACARONI! MACARONI! MACARONI!”
Take the escape fool…
Now I should have stopped the car and turned back towards her house, got back into my truck, which was still to be unloaded, and headed back home to a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. After all, that was the safe word we established that either one of us could utter without defending our reasoning if deployed before 19 months from the time we entered our exclusive dating timeframe. But instead I looked into her face and read it as an insincere utterance of the established safe word.
So instead of stopping, I presumed the direction to her friend’s house and remained quiet. She also remained quiet other than the occasional turning directions, which I already knew since this wasn’t my first time to this particular friend’s house. I continued to remain quiet and stayed in my own world still deciding if I should walk away from this maddening one sided conversation and accept her raising of the “Macaroni” flag of freedom.
We reached her friend’s house and she got out to let her friend know we were there. I needed some air and walked half a block down the street in the direction from which we came and took some deep breaths.
I needed something to take me to a different place and luckily found a house for sale that had fliers with pictures of the inside of the house and other information about it. I wasn’t interested but I needed something else to read or put into my brain other than the ridiculous argument that just occurred. I guess you cannot call it an actual argument if I didn’t contribute to it. It was more of a hissy fit on her part and I was the unwilling recipient.
Pretend all was well…
I walked back to the direction of her friend’s house hoping that they would emerge from the front door and we could be on our way. But as luck would have it, they didn’t, so I walked to the door as if nothing had happened holding the flier I was fake reading when the door opened. I’ve been married before and have had previous relationships where you fake happiness so no one knows that there was a squabble.
“Hello there,” I greeted her friend’s young daughter as I entered through the doorway fake reading the flier I held out in front of me in an arms length away looking as if I were enthralled with whatever information was on the flier.
“How much is it?” Asked her friend to which I quickly responded with the price using an unemotional tone.” And it’s a little over 1400 square feet” I added. We talked more about other houses in the neighborhood for a few more minutes before heading to our first destination of the evening.
As usual I found my parking at the front of the establishment and we three walked into the place.
I knew the argument was put on hold until after the evening and we would be back in a domain that were more private. So for the time being, I enjoyed the non-argumentative surroundings and mingled with her other coworkers and their husbands and dates.
Now I’ve never been to a soirée where you sampled hard liquor like gin, rum, syrups, and bitters and how each is used in the making of various cocktail drinks. So this was new to me and apparently to S as well. The owner of the establishment was very informative about each of the drinks she made and how she came about creating each of the concoctions. She perfected her cocktails as I had with my food dishes which were via trial and error. She started her business with making jams and jellies but eventually evolved it into liquors and created a niche in the middle of wine country as being the only liquor tasting room. She’s been in this industry for almost two decades and she loves it. Something I want to aspire to – loving what I do for a living.
Two thirds of the way through the soirée, S whispered she was sorry. “Was she really sorry, or was it the booze talking?” I thought as she uttered words seldom, wait…never is a more appropriate word, have emerged out of her mouth since I’ve been dating her. “I’m sorry” is not a phrase that gets emitted from the lips of a control freak.
I didn’t say anything but returned a smile, more like a smirky smile as I wasn’t sure how much of the apology was real. I’ll find out later of course.
After the last cocktail, I had gathered some of the jellies created by the owner and paid for my selection. S picked out some samples as well that were already included in the package that came with the event.
The group walked across the street to a French inspired restaurant where we partook in a three course meal and continued visiting with her colleagues. By the time we were done with dinner, it was late (about 10pm) and I was ready to go to bed with the assumption that our plans for tomorrow were intact. If so, I had a Texas party to cook for on the next day.
Just let it go…
On the way to S’s house, S was normal and even commented on the fun she had. Then she did her normal critiquing of the food dishes. I had to admit I also had to critique my meal as I wasn’t inspired to return to the restaurant as my meal wasn’t as tasty as I would have imagined a French inspired restaurant would be. I was a bit disappointed with the main course.
About 15 minutes later, we were at her house and I decided to see the rest of the weekend through and not throw in the towel as of yet. I probably should as when we were laying in bed, she started in again and began explaining her rationale about her feelings. She said she felt like she was my secretary that she has to remind me of our plans constantly.
I had a fleeting thought that if she were my secretary, I would have been better prepared for the evening events but I wasn’t. So check she wasn’t my secretary and if she were she wasn’t really good at it.
“I again apologized that I didn’t write the plan in my calendars.” I repeated. “And you’re not a secretary,” I added. It’s a good thing I was coherent enough to not insert the adjective “good” before secretary.
She drifted off to sleep as I laid awake several hours thinking about the afternoon and contemplating if the relationship would actually last. I finally fell asleep.
I’m too busy…
The next morning, I woke up early as it was a full day of preparing the meat that would have otherwise been completed the night before had we not had plans that were not on my calendar. By the time S arose from her slumber and ventured into the kitchen in search of coffee, I had completed removing the unwanted fat from a couple of skirt steaks and were processing the next skirt steak. I told her to just rest and I’ll take care of everything for the party. She was also still recovering from a cold and since she didn’t want to cancel tonight’s party, she needed her rest.
She watched TV as I continued my prep work on the main protein for tonight’s party. I was done by about 10:30am. I knew she would be hungry but I still had to go to the store and pick up other ingredients. We settled on a hamburger from a local hole in the wall but good tasting burger joint not too far from her house. On my way back from the grocery store, I stopped off and picked up or lunches. One of her children were home but she didn’t order his lunch. Sad but I was too busy to run back out to get him something. He declined my offer of half my burger so I guess he wasn’t hungry yet.
The guests were scheduled to arrive between 6 and 6:30 with dinner at 7. I had everything ready by 7 and we all sat down to eat. Folks loved the spiciness of the steak, chicken, and shrimp fajitas as well as my Spanish rice and frioles a la charra (bean soup). I also made the traditional Tex-Mex spicy cheese dip, pico de gallo, and spicy guacamole for them to snack on while waiting for the dinner. Her friend brought pico also which I liked better than mine.
All her guests were done and out of the house a little before midnight. The ladies loaded the dishwasher before leaving and I decided to leave the remainder of the dishes alone and to tackle them in the morning as I would be awake before everyone would be anyways. It’ll be my alone time to enjoy the peace and quiet of a Sunday morning.
Not withstanding S’s utterance of the safe word, I had definite opportunities to walk away from this relationship at the ending of the 9th week as the fighting lasted far too long and was enough to say “I’m done” with no regrets and no looking in the rear view mirror. But I know deep down S isn’t a bad person, she just has control issues that cloud her judgment and makes her world tumultuous when it doesn’t have to be. If things continue down this path, it’s only a matter of time before I’m going to weary and be completely disengaged at which time I’ll have to leave so as to remain true to myself.
Until my next update, stay safe online as well as offline…
#life #lifeasiknowit #lifeasithappens