01 May 2016

Paris, Suburbia, & A Great Big Mess

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Captain has turned on the seatbelt sign. Please return to your seats and strap the hell in because this story could pass itself off as the plot of a CW drama.

At some point I'm going to have to do a major backtrack to fill you in on some personal history, but for now let's just start with last Thursday. I was wallowing in my misery over Mr. Charming's drop off the face of the earth, sitting an airport standby shift for work. As you know, a Reserve day is when a flight attendant is on call. Airport standby is served at the airport being Johnny-on-the-spot for those last minute emergencies like a crew member getting in a car wreck coming into work or getting suddenly ill in the middle of the sequence. They need someone to send to the gate immediately to try to keep departure on time. Usually we get a standby shift once or twice a month when on Reserve. You following me so far?

So I'm at the airport, in uniform, reading my book and hoping I won't get sent anywhere and instead I'll get to go home after my six hours shift is up. I was still feeling pretty depressed and I wanted to go home and watch a sad movie and eat chocolate ice cream. But it was not meant to be. Instead, God and Crew Scheduling saw fit to send me to Paris.


I often emphasize to friends that my job is not nearly as glamorous as they think. But every once in a rare while, it actually is. This was one of those moments. If ever a woman needed to spend one precious afternoon in Paris to get over feeling unlucky in love, I was that woman. It was my first time going to Paris and it may be my new favorite place in the world. Just look at this.

Aphrodite at the Louvre

Notre Dame

Shakespeare & Co. Bookstore
I found it almost impossible to leave this place.

Meanwhile, my fellow flight attendant friend Mei was messaging me on Facebook about whether I would be willing to go out when I got home from the trip. Mei met me last September, shortly after Mr. Mess dumped me and when I was very much not ready to start dating again. Even so, she had been eager to introduce me to her boyfriend David's friend, who she thought would be great for me. Eventually I told her I would be willing to be set up on the condition that we made it a double date. Less awkward, less pressure. I figured I could handle a blind date under those terms.

This week, after many months, the double-date finally came to fruition. Saturday night when I arrived home from Paris, I would shower, I would nap, and then I would caffeinate in hopes of being alert enough to pass as charming on a date.

I was looking forward to meeting David's friend, although I had been told absolutely nothing about him except that he's a firefighter. I was worried, though, that perhaps this was too soon after Mr. Charming. I feared spending the night comparing the two men. As it turns out, Mr. Setup is a very different sort of man. Attractive in different ways. Funny in different ways. A bit shy. Sweet. And into me enough that he made sure at least three different times last night that he would be getting my number before we all turned in. I happily agreed. I also agreed to let him take me to my favorite restaurant sometime, and Mei and I declared that we should all get together again soon.

How soon any of that will happen, I can't be sure, as Mr. Setup has one major flaw. He lives in Wheaton.

Yeah. We may as well call Mr. Setup "Mr. Suburb." Shit.

And hold the phone friends. Life is not so simple as me debating the pros and cons of dating a man from the 'burbs. Because while Mr. Suburb was brushing his knee up against mine, apparently my phone was going off. Multiple times.

I pulled it out at some point to check the time and unleashed a slew of curses that would make any sailor proud.

>>>> Hey Rachel, it's [Mr. Mess]. I left a voicemail, and I know this is random, and understand if you don't want to talk to me at all, but there is something I really need to talk to you about. If you can call me back, please do so. It's important to me.

HOW DARE HE? The audacity! The arrogance! The outrageous nerve of it all!


I'm sorry. Let me stop hyperventilating over how infuriating I find this and try to fill you in.

Let's recap what you know about Mr. Mess and go from there. Mr. Mess was a summer fling that got out of hand. I rebounded with him after dating Mr. Manipulation, and we had a lot of fun. He treated me like a princess while we were seeing each other. He knew, however, that I was leaving Ft. Lauderdale to move back to Chicago and that all good things must end. But instead he convinced me that we should give long distance a try. In my heart of hearts I knew better, but I let myself be talked into it because I was beginning to care very deeply for him. 

Within a month of my move to Chicago, Mr. Mess's fear of failure caught up with him and he called me to end things. And break my heart. "You're so happy there and I don't ever want to take that away from you by asking you to go somewhere else." As if this was the first time it had occurred to him that I would not be coming back to South Florida. (Hint: I straight up told him every day all summer long that I was never coming back to Florida and that wild horses would have to drag me from Chicago. My greatest concern about attempting long distance was that he would not be able to leave Florida.)

A few days passed in which I woke up each day convinced that this was not right. Why break up with me for fear that things won't work out later? By that logic, no one should ever date! I asked him if we could talk things over, said that I felt as if we were making a mistake. I knew that he was scheduled to take the LSAT that coming weekend and that he was under a lot of stress, but I also needed closure. I gave him the choice to talk to me then or wait until after the test was over, if he preferred.

He asked to wait.

The test came and went. I attended a wedding alone and tried very hard not to sob openly. I waited until the following afternoon and finally called him.

You know how you can tell when you've been sent to voicemail? How the ring will get cut short and you instantly know what's happened? Yeah. That. I left him a voicemail explaining that I still wanted to talk, that I missed him, that I hoped the test had gone well.

And I never received so much as an acknowledgement that he had received the message. Not even the courtesy of a text saying "I've thought it over and I just don't think talking will help." With each hour that passed that day I felt a knife twisting deeper and deeper into my heart. He owed me the decency of acknowledgement. I deserved closure, and if he couldn't give me that, he should have at least had the stones to not lead me to believe we would talk and then hang up on me.

Literally this text message and voicemail is the first time I've heard from him since. So you will understand my outrage. The nerve to call me at 10:00 on a Saturday night! To interrupt my life—specifically a date!—with his vague, melodramatic plea for my attention. I listened to his voicemail, and he didn't even have the decency to say what it was about. He knows me. He knows I hate not knowing something and he thinks being all ambiguous and mysterious about it will reel me in.

What Mr. Mess doesn't know is that my give-a-damn has long since been busted when it comes to him.

So I find myself with a decision, staring at my phone. The way I see it my choices are as follows:

  1. Call him and be a far more decent human being than he deserves from me. I really, really don't want to choose this option. I can't decide if this qualifies as the "right" thing to do or not.
  2. Give him a taste of his own medicine and refuse to acknowledge him. This option is extremely tempting.
  3. Text him something along the lines of "Go shove it where the sun don't shine, you arrogant ass. You forfeit the right to speak to me a long time ago."
  4. Text him something along the lines of "There are plenty of people in your life who love and care about you for you to talk to. I am not on that list."

Haven't decided. But I plan to take my ever-loving time thinking it over. So much drama. I am honestly shaking with rage as I think about it.

But the good news is that I did give Mr. Suburb my number in the end.  He was very sweet and I can tell I would enjoy getting to know him better. Well done, Mei.

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