cracked mirrors

We sit there exchanging histories, tales of places we’ve visited and things we’ve seen.  I experience a panging consciousness about how I’m presenting myself.  Where her commentary is embroidered with other people, “the boyfriend I was with at the time,” friends or family, mine are invariably people-less.  Through the course of an evening’s generally smooth-flowing chatter, I infer being alone at a certain time or in a certain place – whether I say it explicitly or not.  Each time the searing self awareness kicks in.  What’s wrong with him then?  She must be thinking.  Questions I ask myself much of the time. 

Maybe I should just lay it on the line, tell her yes, I am those things, I have done and do do many things alone, although I don’t feel especially freakish as a result.  I feel like fabricating people into my stories: friends, an ex girlfriend who died in a tragic accident, like that would acceptably explain it all. 

Perhaps I’m oversensitive about this anyway, it’s not really all that marked or profound at all, unlike her quite incessant tales of teacherdom and children.  I find myself feeling obliged to be inquisitive about the parents of children in the class that she teaches, and what they do for a living.  You like your job, clearly, and that’s fine, great.  But could you shut up about it for a bit?  She appears to want to be defined by her work, and isn’t impressed when I shrug in response to the “do you like what you do?” question.  “Find something you do like then, life’s too short” is her reasonable enough response, but jobs can be just jobs which shouldn’t necessarily define a whole person, especially today in recessionary times.  They’re not always ideal.  I confirmed with mates afterwards that female teachers do seem to talk a disproportionate amount about their work, although you could argue men think women speak too much about everything.

On the way there I received a text message, responding to my own earlier message and voicemail sent to the small attractive American girl.  We had chatted briefly on the telephone during the week, when she’d cancelled a potential meeting once again due to illness.  She said she had been feeling terrible and being sick.  “Not pregnant are you?” I quipped, after initially making appropriately sympathetic noises, my tongue very deliberately placed in cheek.  Or so I thought.  A horrendous pause, into which she finally emitted a distinctly miffed sounding, breathy, “oooohk”. 

HOW could this have possibly been construed as a serious enquiry?  Surely she would realise I had intended humour, even if I had failed.  We had gone on to agree to meeting up at the weekend, and I would call to arrange it towards the end of the week.  The text message I had now received was a response.  In it she said she was still ill, but had thought my comment about her being pregnant was offensive and uncalled for – or words to this effect.  I splurted a giggle at her absurd interpretation.  Despite her good looks, I had been conscious of a potential humourlessness – a total lack of smiles, or willingness to joke; but originally dismissed it, accusing myself of over hasty judgement.  The conversation in the week supported this, and she subsequently dwindled in my affections, doubtless aided by my fading memory of her looks.  Perhaps half of me even expected a stuffy message of this kind.  I considered sending a reply of some kind – that’s fine, don’t worry, better not to pursue anything, get well soon.  In the end I just pressed delete.


2 Responses to cracked mirrors

  1. Blonde says:

    Ah, sense of humour failure. Deletion is the only way forward.

  2. Pingback: Vocation, ambition and selling vacuum cleaners « Swashbuckled

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