It was two months ago that I met No Longer New Guy (NLNG). Lately, I have been thinking this all has a familiar ring to it.
I moved here in 1996 not long after I graduated from college. I didn't know anyone other than the sorority sister's family I was staying with and I didn't really know them that well either. I was working for a small glass company and I thought our Culligan water guy was cute so when he needed a 4th for his bowling team, I decided I would join. I suck at bowling but I thought it would be a good way to meet people (what was I thinking?!) and I would get to see Culligan Guy on a weekly basis-which would have happened had he not hurt his back a few weeks into it and quit.
I ended up bowling a second year on the league with one of my teammates from the first year but we had a hard time keeping a full team for the season and decided to play a third season by ear. There was a girl on another team who was in a similar boat-her teammates didn't want to play anymore and we tossed out the idea of forming a new team. We didn't know each other that well and she invited me to go out one night right after league ended to hang out. She suggested the New Copper Penny as she liked going there and there was a guy who tended to come in with his roommate who had a thing for her.
When the night came, I didn't want to go. But at the time I did want to bowl again and was looking at not having a team or knowing anyone who would be willing to commit to a league. So I went. And the guy and his roommate came in. And I thought the roommate was cute. His name was the same as NLNG's. By the end of the night, he had my number and we had plans to go out the next day. (This was 1998. I don't think the "rules" were written yet). Our first date lasted about 8 hours.
We dated for a confusing month in which I spent more time wondering if he was going to call than actually talking to and seeing him. It was during the second month his sister finally outright told me he just wasn't that into me. I'm sure I knew that; I just didn't want to be alone anymore. Ultimately, he told me he wanted to try to reconcile with his ex because he missed being a stepdad to her kids. It didn't phase him that she had moved in with her new boyfriend. He felt he could win her back. The last time I saw him was when he helped me move, which was nice of him since we were no longer dating at that point. I want to say that was September of 1998. He was the only person I had dated since moving here two years prior and really the only person I dated since my high school boyfriend in 1992. It was over a year after this that I would meet James.
And now I have gone and done it again. I have gone out to a bar on a night I didn't want to go and met a guy with the same name as Mr. 1998 who after a month decided he just isn't that into me after all. Only this time, though I don't want to accept or believe it, I recognize it for what it is. (No more dating guys named New Guy I meet in a bar!). Things are different this time in that with as much as technology has advanced since 1998, it is harder to not know what NLNG is up to.
Last weekend, I was at the coast and decided I just needed to stop guessing and hoping and just move on. This was Sunday. Monday, I saw he was on the Meetup group site. I felt like I'd been kicked in the stomach and I did have a brief moment of wanting to remove him from the group (since as an assistant organizer I can do that-I didn't). I figured he wouldn't go to any events I am planning to attend. Tuesday night, I went on a night walk with the group. As we were finishing up, I resolved to delete him from my phone before upgrading it over the weekend so his contact info wouldn't be transferred over. An hour later, I heard the text alert. I had been texting back and forth with a friend; I figured it was her. My feet told me in no uncertain terms were they going to take another trip downstairs so I left it until Wednesday morning. I was surprised to see it was from him (after almost a month of him not taking any initiative to contact me) asking how the walk was and that he thought about going but couldn't get out of work. Thursday, I told my friends I was through. I had had enough and was finally just done trying to figure it out. I was scrolling through my Facebook wall and an update appeared from him. He must have his settings set to everyone instead of friends only because he never accepted (or ignored for that matter) my friend request. It is hard to move away from someone who pops up every time I resolve to do just that. (I really want to text him right now and tell him I got a new phone that has an awesome GPS-he learned quickly I am hopeless with navigating downtown Portland). I'm convinced at this point the universe is just messing with my head for shits and giggles.
But I can't help but wonder: does this mean the next one I meet will be my second James (please don't let his name be James!) and does this mean I have another year to go before that happens? And if history is repeating itself, does that mean I will only get 8 years with him too? That's a scary thought! Starting over at 36 sucks enough-I don't want to be sitting here writing an updated version of this when I am 46!
I really hate not knowing what life is going to bring my way. Just get on with it already, will you?