I’m like a lost little puppy trying to find a comfortable spot to have a nap. Give me an endless set of options and I want to dabble in all of them before I make an informed decision. Corner of the mat up? Down? Maybe if I scratch it underneath the bed that will make for a good place to sleep.
I know it’s ridiculous. But every time a girl expresses remote interest in me I flash to marriage, kids, car, and life together. I imagine what things would be like. I imagine my free time slipping through my fingers. I really want to read that new Wheel of Time book, but no, we’re going hang out and have a Glee marathon instead. No, please, god no! I hate that program! Anything but Glee! Okay, then. How about a Katherine Heigl movie? No, god damn it, that’s even worse than Glee!
I freak, I get the hell out.
I pick up the new Wheel of Time book on the way home.
Ah, Mat, you terrible commitment-phobe, how I identify with you and enjoy reading about your exploits in the safety of my singlehood.
At least, I used to be like that. I’ve lightened up quite a bit. When I was younger I could practically smell the “Let’s fall in love, and spend every single moment together, then have babies and get married,” on desperate-to-fall-in-love women. I’m more chill now. There’s no point in freaking out over what might be. I need to go out there and experience dating a little bit more rather than the sparse spattering of first, and sometimes second dates that I’ve had over the years.
I need the Just fuck it. See where it goes, kind of mentality.
I’ve been selfish. I’ve been anxious. And I know I’m at my best when I’m selfless and embrace any anxieties, and own them.
If I continue the way I have been, constantly worrying about what might be, I will end up very much alone, trapped in a kind of stalemate between the ideal, perfect future I envision in my head and my reluctance to settle for a second best option today.
I don’t want to be alone. I can lie to myself all I want, but I don’t think anyone really wants to be alone. Yeah, it would be cool. I can do what I want when I want. If I save up I could probably retire at the ripe old age of 50.
And for what? Chase a birdie on the golf course and wait to die?
I’m at a party a few weeks ago. The night is winding down.
One of my friends asks, “Why don’t you go talk to that girl in the white dress?”
I’m zonked. I don’t think I can put together a proper conversation. I talked to her earlier. She was pretty cool.
“No,” I say. I’m not very trusting. Besides, it looks like she’s having a nice old chat to a few other guys. I don’t want to be pushed into talking to this girl. I’m like that. I don’t like strings pushing and pulling.
After my refusal, the conversation then turns to my lack of girlfriend and future prospects. The types of conversations I like to avoid, especially when drunk. Am I the only single person in that circle of friends? I think so.
A sober friend of mine makes an observation:
“You know Nicolas Cage in that movie? With the Ferrari?”
I search my brain. I basically have a biological IMDb imprint after compulsively visiting the site over the past few years. He means Nicolas Cage in “Family Man.” I saw the movie probably a decade ago now and I remember thoroughly enjoying the movie, and connecting with the themes.
Nicolas Cage is a hot shot, he has it all. The car, the house, the bachelor lifestyle. He’s chosen career over building relationships. When suddenly, due to some conceit he gets transplanted into an alternate universe where he has a wife and kids, and likely not a great job but I can’t remember. He definitely doesn’t have a Ferrari. He meets the family, thinks what the hell? Where’s my awesome car? He initially hates it of course. I don’t remember how the movie goes but there’s the question of will he have to return to the first universe? Is he stuck in the family universe? Which version of his life does he enjoy the most? Does he even want to go back to the first universe? And oh my god, this wife and kid deal is alright. Maybe he doesn’t want to go.
“Family Man?” I point out, going purely off keywords of “Nicolas Cage” and “Ferrari.” If I were Google, the search would have shown up in under a second.
“Yeah. That’s it! You’re going to be like Nicolas Cage in Family Man, in the half where he has the Ferrari.”
I’m toasted at this point in the evening. I’m seriously burning out after having a variety of straight spirits, cider and beer. I’m no longer drunk. I’m in the epilogue, after the high. I don’t have anything particular witty to say.
I wish he meant Nicolas Cage in Kick-Ass. I remember thinking that, but I hardly had the wits to place it into an intelligible sentence. Later, when I thought about the conversation, I realise that Nicolas Cage in Kick-Ass is a pretty tortured character, both emotionally and physically. In reality, it would suck to be him.
And wait a minute. Why Nicolas Cage? He always plays neurotic, eccentric characters. Lately he’s become a punch line because of his poor movie choices. I don’t want to be that guy. I don’t have the godly power of plot conceits to instantly transplant me to a richer life. I need to just dabble, like a puppy, but without worrying about what might or might not be, and hope I find a comfortable place to sleep at night.