I am selling my house, this house, where I am snug under the blankets of my big bed with my laptop on my lap and my dog by my side. This was my first big step into being an independent adult again, but like so many firsts, I’ve found that this just doesn’t fit me anymore.
Four years ago, I needed to find myself; I needed the solitude and the quiet I only find in the country-side. I moved here, beguiled by the jackrabbits and deer and wild turkeys flocking to my acres of green yard. But over time I’ve come to realize that I miss the city life–working late at Old Soul with good coffee at hand, poetry readings at Luna’s Cafe, museum spotlights at the Crocker, and satisfying late night cravings for Petra’s Greek food open until 3 a.m.
I was hurting when I moved here, but now I’ve healed. I’m ready to end my self-imposed isolation and return to the land of the living.
Scrubbing and packing and stripping my house down to bare essentials, I made a list of things beyond my fairly-handy skill set. One such item was replacing the vintage Brady Bunch-era fluorescent light bars in the kitchen with modern recessed lighting. I asked friends for a referral, found a general contractor, and hired him.
He arrived an hour late on Saturday, without notice. This made me uneasy almost immediately. Still, he was recommended by people I knew, and the bid he gave me for the job seemed fair. Over the next two days, some of which time he spent unfortunately shirtless, I heard every detail about Contractor Dude’s relationship with his “nagging and unfaithful” ex-wife; his political views (Trump, of course); and his unwavering dedication to Jesus Christ. The crowning moment for me was when in the same breath that he told me he had been to jail for violating his restraining order, he also asked me if I’d like to go out line dancing some time.
This experience made me remember all the men I don’t miss the most. And congratulations, Contractor Dude, you have now made this list!
#1. The Whiner: This man always complained that he coulda, shoulda, woulda been the best if only someone had given him a chance; let’s call him Shia LeBeouf. He was also the kind of guy who “forgot” his wallet after the first cheap date, but because he was so boyishly endearing, I agreed to one more tie-breaker event. That dinner was an interminable never-ending sob story about about how he could have been the king of Silicon Valley if only his parents had bought him a computer when he was 13. After that I conveniently “lost” his phone number.
#2. Mr. Anger Management: On one memorable first date, the salad I ordered arrived without the dressing on the side. Before my very eyes, polite Dr. Banner transformed into Mr. Green! He immediately berated the waiter, pointing his finger and slamming his open palm down on the table, causing the silverware to shiver and shake. The waiter apologized but this man simply would not shut up, continuing to grumble as if this entire episode was a personal affront. I excused myself to the restroom but instead exited through the kitchen side door and immediately blocked his number. Forever.
#3. The Ghost With the Most: He texted sweet mini videos every day for a month as he commuted to work; he loved to plan weekend getaways to Napa and San Francisco and Carmel. At home he was quick to cook up a meal with minimal fuss; at restaurants he always knew the best wine pairings. He spoke about our future together as a sure certainty, like destiny. Then, just when I actually believed in the fairy tale–poof! He was gone, the Keyser Soze of the dating world.
#4. The Talker: Some people talk when they’re nervous; some people just like to talk. Then there are the men who feel that I have somehow volunteered to be their personal sounding board. These are the men who bulldoze right over any opinion I may have, about anything. They simply want to talk, and they vomit up words without end as if the world was ending and they must, absolutely must, have their final say. I’ve met so many men like this that they’re all just like Jar Jar Binks to me.
Which brings me to my recent favorite:
#5. The Chauvinist: “Don’t you know, darlin’, that all women have their place?” my contractor said while stripped to his flabby waist standing on a ladder in the middle of my kitchen. “Now I don’t mean that like it’s a bad thing, you know, we all like to come home to a good meal. You can cook, can’t you?” he asked.
“Just mac n cheese,” I lied cheerfully. “You know, from a box?”
“I suppose that’s a start,” he muttered darkly, shaking his head. Like a bad first date, I began to actually count the minutes to when I would never have to see him again. When Contractor Man finally did leave, there was a mess the size of Texas both inside and outside my house. I guess he decided I needed some extra practice on how to clean up after a man.
These are the men I absolutely do not miss the very most. I am sure there are others out there, lurking in the dark corners of dating sites and dive bars everywhere. For now I’ll squeeze Lover a little closer and be extra thankful I found him.
**Photo Credit: http://goo.gl/t3DgyT**