Aziz Ansari is my dating twin (?!?)

So I went out with this guy a while back. Nice guy, I really liked him. But after our one date, he never texted me again. I tried texting him a few weeks later, like “Hey, how’s it going?” His response was tepid. So I was like, okay, guess it just didn’t work for you. Ouch, but fair enough. Never heard from him again. Until….

Flash forward another six weeks — eight weeks after our one-and-only date — and out of the blue he texts me: How’s it going? Uh, fine, how’s it going with you? Fine. Like that wasn’t weird at all. He kept texting, about nothing specific, and I kept responding politely, but the whole time I was like, What’s going on, here?

The next day, he texted me again. Same story — nothing specific to say, just wanted to shoot the breeze. The day after, same thing again.

So after three days of this how’s-the-weather business, I decide to cut to the chase. I texted him: Look, dude. I really, really liked you, but you kind of dropped me like a hot potato after that one date we went on, so I kind of don’t understand why you’re texting me now.

There was a pause. And then:

Oh, wow, I’m really sorry about the hot-potato thing. But I just really like talking to you. Is it okay if I still text you?

Huh?

Okay, I guess.

So he did. A lot. He texted me almost every single day for about the next six weeks, in a quantity of texting that I’ve never had except with guys who were interested in dating me. I was kind of okay with this, because I was still kind of into him. But it was confusing, too, because he wasn’t even close to asking me out. In fact, I could never get the conversation to go anywhere. For instance, one Saturday night I made it clear that I had no plans, and I was going to “snuggle in and watch a movie.” He wanted to know what movie. I said I didn’t know, had to check out what was on PPV, and he texted his opinions on movies I’d list. Finally, I settled on “The Martian,” and he said, Oh, that sounds good! I want to see that! So I took a chance and responded: LOL – you could just come over and watch it with me! He didn’t answer. Until the next day, when he said, Sorry I didn’t respond last night. I fell asleep.

Okay, whatever. I’d sent that text at 8:17 pm….

Another time there was a really great band I was going to see at a local venue, and he texted to ask what I was up to. So I told him and asked what he was doing. He said he was just hanging out, visiting at his parents’ house. I said he should leave and come see the band. He declined. So I all-but-begged (Come on! It’ll be fun! Besides, I need someone to rescue me from all the guys hitting on me. Just kidding – it’s not Walmart! 😉 ), and he never responded. Gee….

I figured he was lonely, or going through some sort of midlife-crisis, so I tried the raw-and-real approach to get him to open up, as a friend. Look, it’s obvious you’re going through something right now. But I’ve been through a few things, myself, and I’ve seen how dark the shadows can be, too. If you ever want to talk — really talk — I’m right here. He never responded to those texts, either.

I couldn’t figure this guy out, one way or another. I began dubbing him Ft. Knox in my head. I asked my male teammates at work what they thought of Ft. Knox’s behavior, and they were just like, “Huh? He’s texting you that much and doesn’t even ask you out? That guy makes no sense.” I asked my girlfriends; they didn’t understand it either.

Finally, one guy, who’s like a brother to me (and isn’t afraid to let me know what he’s really thinking), said, “I know what’s going on! You’re his Available-To-Text person, who makes him look good in front of other people!”

Whaaa…?

“And that’s all he wants you for! Look,” my friend said. “This:”

I watched the clip, and realized: Crap. My friend is right. I’m Available-To-Text Chick. I’m Aziz Ansarietta!

Crap!

Well, at least I’m in good company.

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The Rules: #5 – How vs What, in texting

The Rules #5 - How vs What in texting

There are a number of people who have done/do this to me, when texting. I’m sure they don’t mean any harm by it — in fact, I’m pretty sure they all think they’re demonstrating interest in my life. But it always has the same, opposite impact on me. In addition to the curl-in-a-ball response this type of question elicits (fear – Why do I have to answer to you?), I also get angry (Why do I have to answer to you?), and eventually, if they keep it up, I shut down and don’t want anything else to do with the person. Okay, yes, I have PTSD, and these are all PTSD responses. I do much better with people who tell me about themselves, and then let me open up and share what I want, when I want, in my own, good time. But aside from my personal issues, it also strikes me that it’s just bad manners to ask someone what they’re doing – especially if you don’t have an implicit right to know. Does anyone else think so, too?

Writing, and other forms of communication

Crickets since last week with the agent. 😦

I haven’t done too well with my writing either. 😦 😦  That’s not to say I haven’t been working with words, although perhaps not in the way that would seem obvious for a writer.

One of my personal goals for 2013 is to learn a new language. It was my Christmas present to myself: the Rosetta Stone set – the big one, all five levels, with speech, reading, writing, the whole shebang. Because being able to communicate in two languages is akin to having both a FB page and a Twitter account. Speech is the original social media.

I wrestled over which language I actually wanted to take. There were two. Spanish was a heavyweight contender. After all, I live in a state with a strong Hispanic presence, and I adore the cultural vibe of the American southwest – everything from rustico furniture to Latin jazz to the colors of the painted desert. Plus, I minored in French back in college. Not that I’m exceedingly fluent in it today, but I could probably hack my way around Paris in Franglais. (Okay, maybe Montreal.) I figured the French background would be a decent segue into a sister-language. (Spanglish?)

But in the end, me being me, the other language won. I’m taking Mandarin.

You can’t get much different from Western-culture speaking and writing than a Far-East language that has it’s own syntax and writing system. I’m becoming acutely-more aware of this as the lessons progress and I’m still lost. The way Rosetta Stone works, you get a happy-sound when you answer correctly, and a disappointed-sound when you guess wrong. It really is an actual disappointed-sound, like the program is tsk-tsking you. (No! I didn’t mean to guess wrong! I didn’t mean to let you down, Rosetta Stone!) If you don’t do well enough on a section, you have the option to do it over to improve. I like the do-over feature. We’re friends now.

I think if I’d realized how different Mandarin was from English I might have been too intimidated to try. But I’ve already started. (And I’m getting addicted to the happy-sound.) It fits me, though. I’ve had a fascination with the Chinese culture for years. One of my series — the one I’m pitching — spends its first half in the wilds of northwestern Yunnan. This is a province on the edge of the Himalayas that contains the Three Rivers Parallel Region, where the Yangtze, Lancang, and Nujiang (three of the world’s largest rivers) flow very close to each other. It is one of the most bio-diverse regions of the world. Researching it made me want to visit. I would love to tour the temples and historic districts of Lijiang and Dali before heading off to photograph the mystical landscape that was the basis for James Hilton’s Shangri-La. (Of course, I didn’t plan for the story to be set in China; it’s just how it came out of me. You know how the muse works! 😉 )

The other thing that tipped the scales for me is that I recently discovered that I have a local venue in which to practice Mandarin.

I’ve started treating myself to monthly massage sessions at the nearby mall. However, in addition to the masseurs’ magical knowledge of acupressure, these guys are all Chinese! It was like a sign: my fascination combined with a real-world place to practice my skills. I’m about a week into the lessons. I’m pretty bad at it so far. I mean, I can usually score in the upper-90s on the quiz-type sections, but I have no idea how to really say anything. The guys at the mall wouldn’t understand me. Yet. And my vocabulary is super-limited. I could maybe say “The little boys are drinking juice.” (And then they’d know I was certifiable.)

Anyway, at the rate I’m going I should finish in about six months. We’ll see. Zài jiàn! 🙂