So on Saturday I went to the convention center after dropping off my bags, then got all turned around, found Liza, doled out cupcakes, then went to get some lunch. While in the café getting a napkin and fork, this guy started talking to me and asked me out, to go to Alamo Drafthouse, which I’d heard about. I think I was so bowled over by getting asked out, which basically never happens to me, let alone within minutes of being at SXSW, that I got a little too excited. What follows is our almost date plans via text message. Ultimately, Monday night, I was more than happy to hang with my fellow panelists, eat barbecue, go to a movie, then engage in some fabulous girl talk with two awesome chicas. It’s funny, what I typed up below, but I also am glad I didn’t push myself to go. I’m not really interested in random hookups and I was getting the feeling he was much younger than I am. But more than that, I’m working on being content on my own, not so flattered if someone takes a liking to me. I get in big trouble that way, and on vacation is one thing, but back home, if 2007 has taught me anything, it’s that sex is certainly not a cure-all. In fact, super hot sex with someone that only happens once in many ways is worse to me than mediocre sex that only happens once. Seeing what might have been if only circumstances were different…well, sometimes that’s the way things need to be, but I feel like I’m trying to get back to where I was last summer.
I was doing so well and if I think hard, I can remember a time before that fateful Heeb party. Maybe I fell for my ex's charms because I just wanted someone to like me. I know I wasn’t wowed by the trophies, because I actually was repelled by that part. The whole showy nature of that, the way people want to introduce themselves with fancy titles and career achievements and blah blah blah makes me want to run away from them. I want to talk to people, not resumes. I didn’t, and I don’t regret it, but I want to be smarter in the future. I don’t want to be cynical or suspicious or bitter, and beneath all of that around him, I’m sad. I think we could’ve been a great couple, I think there was a lot there that was good and as much as I’ve told myself over the past few months that I made really stupid decisions around him, I didn’t know. Maybe I wanted to believe certain things but I can’t regret that. I have to laugh at how giddy I was in LA, though, how I thought I’d won some brilliant prize when I found out that instead of the way things normally go down, I was the one beating out the other woman. The one who’s probably more brilliant than all of us. I thought that made me so special, I thought if I just did all these things, acted a certain way, tried to be knowledgeable and of his world and immersed in that that he’d appreciate me. And, ha ha, the joke’s on me because now whose world is it? I don’t know anymore and it’s still really, really hard to not be reminded of him by anyone he introduced me to. I hear him talking in my head about this great artist and that great writer and something just doesn't compute. People with souls and people without being bffs, it really is like a brain teaser and I go over and over and over it and it still never makes sense. Maybe it's not supposed to. Or if it is, it's not for me to figure out. I know that, and yet I can't help returning to it again and again, wishing I could go back in time and...what? The worst thoughts I have are about going back in time and just letting everything slide, pretending I didn't see what I saw. I know I couldn't have lived with myself, but still, there is a tiny part of me that wants to erase everything after that and go back and see what might have happened.
And then I come to my senses and see that's just me being lonely and needy and wondering what all the working girls have that I don't. I want to know so maybe I can fix myself, fashion myself into someone better, brighter, whatever. And realizing that it’s not about him per se, but me letting myself into those kinds of situations, not for going there but for opening myself up that much, for seeing things that weren’t there in any way. I think sometimes I want to see the best in people; actually, I always do. I own up to the fact that the values and qualities I admire and try to emulate are ones maybe I go overboard in seeing in other people. And working on myself, working on filling my own voids and not thinking someone else will save me, is much harder work than whatever pseudo girlfriend thing I was trying to be to him. When people say it's good fodder for the novel, yes, in its way, it is. I can't not write about it. But that doesn't make it better, or okay. It's not the same as closure. But it is something. Ah, fiction, I love you too.
All this to say, while I was really flattered, I just wanted to be around real people on my short trip. People who I would bet money on have good hearts. Not perfect ones, but good ones, ones I can learn from. And I did, and I wouldn’t trade that for the momentary high of a date with someone I’ll never see again and can barely understand for anything.
Him: I like ur stalkings, 2:36 pm
Me: tx, who is this? 2:39 pm
Him: Its __ __ tha taller white dude with curly hair u met a few hrs ago, 2:42 pm
Me: cool, thank you. I had to go outside cause the weather’s so beautiful, 2:45 pm
Him: Me 2 im ontha roof, 2:54 pm
Me: which roof? I’m in the smoking area. I can give you a cupcake, 3:02 pm
Him: Is that what u call it in NY HEHE JK im bak workn now what floor u on, 3:04 pm
Me: no really. I know a baker here and she dropped off cupcakes to my hotel, 3:06 pm
Him: Okay ima call around 8 after I go home n shower, r they special cupcakes? ϑ 4:01 pm
Me: cool. The last cupcake may be gone but I’ll be around. Am going to a movie now. Later, Rachel, 4:36 pm
Him: Heard 300 suckd, 4:38 pm
Him: What kinda liquor do u drink?, 7:07 pm
Me: diet coke – I don’t really drink. Am at a mexican restaurant now, waiting to get in, 7:10 pm
Him: Kool I just found out I gota get up real early 2marow, but I wna chill with u b4 u leave Austin maybe even end up in ur blog if you play ur cards right :) 8:47 pm
Me: ha. I’m here til Tuesday afternoon, 9:00 pm
Him: Awesome ima send u a txt msg 2marow sweetheart 9:45 pm
Him: Hey ther gorgeous, 2:02 pm
Me: hey you – am having a great time. Going to a movie and party later. How’s yr day going?
Him: Ima bout 2 b off ina bit what kinda party, 7:19 pm
Him: Theres a tornado coming better b careful kido, 8:43 pm
Him: We should hang out 2marow nyte cuz I don’t have 2 be at work till 11 on Tuesday, 9:22 pm
Me: ok there’s a party tmro at 7:30 I will get details, 9:30 pm
Him: Hey ther sexy woman, 4:54 pm
Me: I’m on a panel now, 4:56 pm
Him: Koo call me when u wana chill ima b downtown later, 5:03 pm
Him: 2 bad it would have been a great blog, 12:32 pm