Tuesday, September 2, 2014

On crashing and burning upon reentry into the real world

They tell me that landing on a pitching and bucking aircraft carrier is an art, not a science - you have to have a feel for the deck and your plane. And the worst thing you can do is to come in too hot. Many an aspiring fighter jockey have had their hopes, dreams and bodies scraped off of the flight deck of one of our giant aircraft carriers that way.

Which is not unlike my experience reentering meaningful interactions with the opposite sex after 20 or so years floating embryonic in the weightless environment of marriage. I talked to lots of women in those days but it was just married talk - you know, like doing the tightrope two inches off the ground. Then my wife divorced me and turned off the life support, so I was forced to reenter life's atmosphere.

Author's note: OK, I'll admit that my metaphors are hopelessly mixed here but so was I so I think that my mixed metaphors are in fact a metaphor for my mixed up state of mind. And if you don't like that rationalization I've got some others we can try.

Ouch, baby, very ouch.

So I started talking - accidentally it turns out, I thought she was someone else - to this interesting, witty attractive person. It was going pretty well (was it?, well I thought so but what do I know) when some short person butted in and for one reason or another I never circled back round to continue the conversation before she left. And that upset me. Because I liked her and after several years living in a hermit's cave making rude noises any time a woman came near, I had decided that gosh darn it I liked women after all. So instead of playing it like all the manuals say - perhaps dropping a line a few days later saying hey it was good to meet you so on and so forth I, in my alcohol 'enhanced' state went in way too hot for an immediate email on my phone that....well, lets just say that it probably would have made the Pope paranoid.

Imagine the scene: it was late at night (of course) and I'd been drinking (of course) and as I furiously fingered my smartphone the airspeed warning lights began blinking and then the claxons started going eee-eee-eee. The guys in the control tower shouted "you're coming in too hot, abort! abort! oh for fuck's sake, you idiot." And then there was a ghastly silence as I hit send and then a ghastly noise as I crashed and burned and then an even ghastlier silence as I realized what I'd done. They're still scraping bits of me off of the tarmac, with a lot of tarmac mixed in.

It must have been so much easier (from a male's perspective, of course) when we were still living in trees and the alpha male just killed or drove off the betas before going off with whomever he liked. Except I suppose I would have been one of the betas. And there's really nothing worse than hanging around a bunch of losers talking to each other rather than talking to all the women around them. That's actually how I met my former-wife. I was stuck somewhere with a bunch of losers and for reasons still unclear to me I decided I was sick of it so I strode up to the most beautiful woman not being actively guarded by some baboon and started talking. Perhaps it was alcohol or a surge of testosterone or just the accumulated irritation of years of wasting my time thinking about women rather than being with them but it worked! And long story made short, she ended up marrying me despite me not noticing that she was taller than me - with heels, quite a bit taller.

But I dealt with that (and the envious, resentful stares of other men) by celebrating her statuesque presence rather than worrying about it. And while in the end we divorced, we managed the incredible feat of having a son and a daughter that are so beautiful and promising and embarrassed when I talk about them in such terms that I can hardly bear it. So I'll always be grateful that she married me in spite of her initial reaction which she admits was: "Nope, too short".

So once in a while coming in too hot pays off. Now if I could just get all of this tarmac out of my skin....

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