Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Exchequer

I was reading a book a few months ago called 'Something Borrowed'. It is very funny and a great beach/bathtub read. Apparently this book pairs well with water. It also pairs well with effortless, mindless fun. This is not a book to base your thesis on or use in a bookclub. It just is in the way that lipgloss shopping just is. There isn't any reason to make it more than it should be, as it is a total gift sometimes to just be reading about someone else's crazy life.

In this book, the main character falls in love and consequently 'steals' (though not the book) her best friend's fiance. Now, let's not pass judgement. This is not what the blog is about. Somewhere in the middle of fooling her best friend and hating herself but loving this guy, the charcter.....oh, wait. I might have the wrong book. It might actually be 'Baby Proof", which is written by the same author. Regardless, one of the main characters of one of the books has an issue with checking up on her ex. With the help of her neurotic roommate, the lady in question checks on her exes by searching them on the internet with quotes, which is apparently the magic formula. For example: "Johnny Depp". She wants to find out who is getting married, what they have registered for, who has had a baby, who is now the spokesperson for PFLAG.

I felt a surge of hope when I read this. I was able to then admit to my friends that I too have had a 'problem' with checking up on my exes. (Of which there are pitifully few)
It started before I got married. I'm just going to admit that I checked someone's email a few times. It was not nice, and I realize that there was something sick and wrong about it. I quickly got over that, as there was no point and he was an incurable wanker and thus not worth my time or energy.

But the morbid curiosity crept back. I looked at Target's registry a few times, typing in names of other exes...looking on MySpace, hoping that they didn't have one of those counters that alerts them as to who(m?) is checking their page.

I have an old friend to whom I can tell anything without fear of her laughing at me. Actually, that isn't true. She does laugh at me. But not in a mean, judging way. We can appreciate one another's eccentricities because they now seem as old hat as life itself. We have been swapping stories and keeping each other from going crazy since we were three years old. Before I was able to 'come out of the closet' to my newer friends, I did tell Cat about the e-mail checking. Like a good friend, she assured me that I was totally normal. How else are you supposed to find out what your ex is up to?

But really, we both knew that my behavior couldn't continue. And it didn't. Except for that one time...

Does anyone else have/had this issue? I truly (honestly before God, my husband, and Tom on MySpace) haven't done anything like this in awhile. At LEAST a year for sure. But I do wonder from time to time what people are doing, if they ever think of me. Is that wrong?

I don't want to be with anyone else, as I have the most perfect model of Husband 2008 that money can buy. He is pretty, he is witty, and he knows all the words to the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme song.

I don't want to be with them...but I want to know what they are up to. Is that wrong?

I have had the strange experience of several of my ex-interests (they weren't ever real boyfriends/serious candidates...but high school interests that took me to Prom or flirted in English class) come out of the closet. The REAL closet. They are happy with their choices now, and I can't say it bothers me on a certain level. But on a very personal and selfish does make me wonder. I know I didn't make anybody gay. But what is the deal with people who used to like me? Why are they all deciding that they want to be with men now? Does that mean that I have mannish qualities? Is it my harsh, barking laugh? Could it be that I am too crass to be considered a normal female?

Austin, flawless person that he is, does not appear to have the 'ex-checking' issue. What is more, he doesn't understand it. AT ALL. He gets (understandably, ok) frustrated when I say something along the lines of..."I wonder if so-and-so's baby is cuter than mine...probably not...he had some wicked ugly shinbones".

To my knowledge, Austin has never looked online to see his ex-girlfriend. He hasn't scoured MySpace trying to find all those girls from all those parties at all those colleges he attended. (That sounds worse that it really is....don't forget that he is Apollo)

Until today, I thought that everything I struggled with in the 'ex checking' area was wrong, even if the character in some book did it too. Even if Cat did it...especially if Cat did it! I am a respectable woman! I don't need to know what old sparks (I won't say flames, that is just not accurate) are up to! Who cares? Maybe all the ones that are now gay just gravitated towards me because of my open, understanding personality! Ha! Am normal, sane, totally independent female who henceforth will NOT care about old boys. That is, boys that I used to know, not actually old boys. I don't worry about them. I wonder if anybody does, though? Is that geriatricpaterniaphobia?

But as I write, I sometimes process. My brain thinks through writing, rather than through...thinking. Or talking, for that matter. Almost everything that comes out of my mouth is spur of the moment gobbledygook. You will be delighted to know, gentle reader, that I have some ideas!

Perhaps men and women do equally care about those former loves, those that are now left behind. (Not in the crazy, stupid book raptured way)

Perhaps, just as in every area of life, we just all respond differently. I don't know why it took me so long to happen upon this elementary notion.

I am just naturally obsessive. I worry about everything, disect everything (mentally, verbally, emotionally though never physically since the cat in high school). If I am thinking about someone I used to care about, why wouldn't I want to know what they are doing, thinking, going for their honeymoon? I wonder those things about most people! I am nosy! Really, I am. Not in a mean way, I'm just really really curious about everybody. I might be one of those old church ladies with the weird hats who talks about who slept with who and which girl is getting too fat for her own good and why on earth is the minister wearing that tie?

Austin is naturally subdued. At least about emotional things. He isn't emotionally dead; he is just...nearly dead. Bwahaha! Just kidding....
No, like many men, he chooses to dwell in the absolute immediate moment, not worrying about the past or thinking further ahead lady running on the side of the road.....she looks like Catherine Zeta-Jones....What? Why are you looking at me like that? Honey? Did I say something? Gahhh! Sorry, sir. Didn't mean to rear end your car.

Austin once told me that he really liked a girl whose name I won't put on here in case by some wicked twist of fate she reads my blog. We'll call her Prunella, because I am the author and I deem it to be so. Well, he and Prunella had many lovely long talks and she was beautiful and she was artsy and....oh, Prunella. Of course he wasn't pining for her, he was just telling me about her. They never really dated, but he did like her quite a bit. Imagine my surprise when we were looking for a name for our baby girl and he suggested Prunella. He didn't check her e-mail account that I'm aware, but he did suggest naming his first born child after her!

I think that we might care just as much about those upon whom we formerly lavished time, attention, and...let's face it: love.

We could debate until Jesus returns (and NO, it is NOT a Biblical fact that we will be sucked out of our clothes) about what love is, the nature of love, the different types of love. But we would tie ourselves into and out of the same arguement that has been around for as long as love has been around. Let's not get hung up there, shall we?

Whatever you want to call it, however you want to disect it (not like that poor cat) I did love those people that are in my ex category. Maybe not in the way that I love my Austin, because that love has been around longer now than any other ex. But in a small way, in a 15 year old way, a freshman at college kind of way, a summertime kind of way, a passing notes in Bible class kind of way, I did love them. I think that this is the hardest part for me.

I think that the tendency is to move on to someome else and declare, "I have NEVER known love like this before! What I thought was love was really lust/childish feelings/puppy love."

But I don't think we need to damn our former attachments into the box of broken things. Even if they are indeed broken, that does not mean that they never did work. I did love other people, though it didn't work out. Those boys (for they were not men) were not what I needed, or even eventually what I wanted. But they were there for a time, and I can honor them for that. If I have moved on and found love and life within someone else, which I have, I can just be content to know that they have as well. It doesn't matter anymore if I was mannish. (Though I hope, sincerely hope, that it is not so)

And it doesn't matter if Austin suggested that Moira be named Prunella. Because he doesn't love her in the way he loves me. I think that after almost six years of marriage I am now able to let him love those former exes in the way that I love mine. In the past, where they belong.

I haven't been tempted to check the Target registry in quite some time. I'm sure that my old sparks are having kids, getting promotions, and perhaps still more will come out of the closet. Life goes on, as does love. In whatever way we choose to let it. My 'ex checking' days are, I hope, over. At least the creepy, strange, need to go to a 12-step kind of checking. I wouldn't mind hearing from most of my former 'loves'. They were all good friends in their own rite, and I miss some of them. Some.

However, Prunella is NOT allowed to contact Austin. If she does, she will have a date with the Warrior Queen, who is NOT afraid to fight dirty.

Oh my. I feel the need to check her e-mail.

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