Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Lately a few of my friends have had trouble with their relationships. So they came to me for advice. This makes sense because I’m always lucky in love, not to mention the most even-keeled well-adjusted person on the planet.

But even Mega-Mellow Michael can use some outside perspective once in a while. Last fall I had gone out on several dates with this very sexy woman -- we were having lots of fun, but when things got a bit rocky, I consulted a friend on how to handle it. Of course, everyone’s got their own baggage they bring to a situation, and my friend’s suggestion was probably the result of exceeding the carry-on-and-on limit. So I don’t know why, but I took my pal’s advice. As a result, the woman flipped out on me.

I’m being vague for the sake of brevity -- not to cover for my lack of suavityosity. ‘Cause normally I’m a smooth smoothie. Just not that time.

It wasn’t my friend’s fault. I’d say I was fully to blame, but also, I had been misconstrued. The woman had taken what I had said completely the wrong way.

I kept trying to get her to hear me out. She kept trying to end things, saying “let’s just be friends” on the phone or in an e-mail. I kept thinking how I had plenty of long-distance friends, especially through blogging. What was our excuse? She lived less than 10 miles away.

I wasn't necessarily trying to patch up the relationship -- that would be a bonus -- I just wanted to straighten out the mess I had made from adhering to another's advice. No more conforming to conflicted counsel for me.

I finally convinced her to meet for dinner, I explained myself, and she completely understood. In fact, she said she felt stupid for flying off the handle. I felt stupid for letting my friend Cyrano de Bergerac the situation.

We planned to go out again. I called and left a message one night. Here’s what ensued when she called me back:

“Hi Mike... I’m so tired. I just worked a double shift at my job then ran errands up in the Valley, went to a spinning class, and I just walked in the door. I’m going to go to bed in a minute.”

“Oh, hey, that’s okay. I’m writing my TV stuff which is due in the morning, so I probably shouldn’t talk long anyway. But, I was hoping you were free tomorrow night so we could--”

“Y’know, Mike, you’re weird.”

“Uh, yeah, but what do you mean?”

“Why, when you have me on the phone, would you not wanna talk to me?”

“But -- didn’t you just say you were going to bed in a minute? And didn’t you hear me about to ask you out for tomorrow?" Did we need to meet in person so she understood that I wanted to get together with her in person?

I wound up having to talk her down from the ledge on this relationship -- again. Then I thought things were okay -- again.

The next day, I got another bail-out e-mail from her. That she felt embarrassed and uncomfortable that she’s always so touchy about everything with me and that she's sorry but we’re better off blah blah blah. She used to send me dirty little notes -- but they had gone from erotic to neurotic.

The same day I got a message from the producer at my TV gig, saying I was doing a great job, and it looked promising that we’d get picked up for another season and I could come on to work full-time.

That night I had a dream that I started at the network, but the producer was mad at me for something I had said. The tension in the office was unbearable, but I never learned what I had done wrong. I remember in the dream, I was trying to assure the producer that I would never ever say anything bad -- hell, I couldn’t even think of anything bad to say -- and even if I could, I wouldn’t say it.

When I woke up, I realized what had happened. The lack of rationality of the woman I had been dating was seeping into the parts of my life that were going well. My unconscious had told me: If I kept trying to work things out there, nothing would make sense nowhere. I had jettison the jabberwocky before it jeopardized the whole joint.

So what have I learned from all this? What wisdom can I impart to my troubled friends?

The best advice I can offer is don’t ask me. Don’t listen to anyone. As corny as it sounds… just follow your dreams.


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