Shattuck and Durant Avenues, Berkeley, California

Provencal breakfast place.  Urgent Thirtysomething Guy with longish dark hair, dark eyes, open-necked blue shirt, five o’clock shadow.  Light sheen of sweat on his face.  He leans in to the table as he talks to: Fortysomething Woman with bobbed curly hair, French sailor shirt, good posture, low voice.

Thirtysomething Guy: I’m trying to be alive to the idea that I can care about what I want.  Not that I don’t care about my partner, but that I can at least rise to the level of equal importance to her.  I was seeing this one woman who, she was trying to break up with me and her interest in me was rekindled when I got angry at her.  She was really turned on by it.  Maybe that was her psychosis, but who knew that women like a man who says, No, I disagree with that.  You can’t do that because this is what I want.  I’ve spent my whole life catering to what women want.

Fortysomething Woman: [inaudible]

Thirtysomething Guy: I know, I’m really looking forward to things being about me for a change.  It’s not even about dating and women and disclosure, it’s just about, I want to watch Smallville.  I don’t want to go to that gallery opening because I’m tired and I want to watch Smallville.  I can’t tell you how difficult that would have been for me six months ago.  It was immaterial to me, my own needs and desires and levels of fatigue.  Now I have all these tools to get over things like this.  I’m at an extreme edge, or I have been, and I don’t want to undo my personality, I’m a good fellow, but there’s got to be room for me to desire a little more out of the world.  It’s hard to live as a good guy all the time.  It’s exhausting.

Fortysomething Woman: [inaudible]

Thirtysomething Guy:  You know what I’ve discovered?  I’m not essential.  Well you are, you’re somebody’s wife and somebody’s mother.  But I’m not.  It’s nice to see you but if I didn’t see you for three months you’d be fine.  I’m tired of being the guest star in everybody’s lives.  It’s like you know what I realized, I really want to go to Europe this summer and travel with Mark.  There’s a lot of things I don’t know in the world, but I know that, so I should do it.

Fortysomething Woman: [inaudible]

Thirtysomething Guy: Where in Europe?  I’m gonna let him decide.  Wherever he wants to go.  He’s interested in Naples, I have no interest in Naples, but we can go to Naples.  He’s interested in Barcelona, I think it’ll be hot as hell there in July, but whatever he wants.  At first I thought to myself, Should I really be traveling the world with my single male friend?  Shouldn’t I be actively dating?  Shouldn’t I really be working on my card game?

Fortysomething Woman: Card game?

Thirtysomething Guy: I invented a card game.  There’s so much you don’t know.  Anyway it’s what I want to do, and if some delicious young creature wants to join me at some point–I hear they have girls in France.

Fortysomething Woman: [inaudible]

Thirtysomething Guy: No, that was the model from Seattle.  You know, I spent years with people telling me I’m the envy of all my friends: Look at you, you have such a beautiful life!  Sometimes when I talk to Tom Hanks it’s ridiculous.  He’s 56, I’m 39.  He’s got more money than God, universal adulation, back-to-back Oscars, a beautiful wife, and sometimes when he’s hearing about my hookups and my dating life he gets annoyed with me, he says Why don’t you appreciate that you’re single and unattached?  Sometimes I think he’s living vicariously through me.  So…I don’t have the answers, I’m just trying not to do myself in all the time which as I say is my hardest thing.

Fortysomething Woman: [inaudible]

Thirtysomething Guy: Part of it is there’s another human being in the mix.  But just this conversation we’re having is so unlike me, I had this whole gentlemen-don’t-kiss-and-tell thing.  It’s so difficult for me to share and be open about things I’m feeling.  But I’m not trying to manage to be with two women at once anymore.  I’m not trying to be in a committed relationship with one person.  I might meet someone tomorrow who makes me say, I want that with this person, but for now I just want to, you know, enjoy myself, see what’s out there.  I’m enjoying being here with you.  I’m not trying to be anyplace else or thinking Oh, oh, what else do I need right now?  Like I didn’t call the number that my cab driver’s wife gave me.  It’s been two weeks.  I’m not gonna get worked up about whether or not my cab driver’s wife feels bad about me not calling.  I’m only gonna call if I want to call, because it’s finally about me.

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Published in: on June 4, 2010 at 9:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

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