Just one of those things

“If we thought a bit/about the end of it/when we started painting the town/we’d have been aware/that our love affair was too hot/not to cool down.”-Cole Porter, Just One of Those Things

I said goodbye to the sex educator this afternoon.* Well, rather, she said goodbye to me.

It began with what i thought would be an innocent enough bike trip to Commercial Drive for a cup of coffee. Commercial Drive is sort of the Haight-Ashbury of Vancouver, except maybe it’s even more Haight-Ashbury than Haight-Ashbury is these days. The sun was out and it was one of the first real days of spring following a long grey wet winter, and I knew the sidewalks, cafes and organic food stores would be abuzz with hippies, crackheads and, more importantly, single moms. On the way however I decided to do something practical. Since the book I’d brought with me to look hip and occupied kept falling out of the pouch of my black hoodie as I rode, I figured this would be as good a time as any to purchase a rack and bag for my bike. But my plan hit a snag at Drive Bikes, where I was told it would be a couple of hours before they could attach the rack. Worse, the new employee I was dealing with demurred when I asked if I could leave my helmet in the store while I went for a stroll and waited for my bike. To keep a long story long, and perhaps more poignant if I get the details right, I left in a huff, rolling my bike by the handlebars in one hand and carrying my newly purchased rack and bag in the other, with no idea of what I would do next.

Murphy’s Law of Dating decrees that, whenever you stroll down the street with a bike rack in one hand and a bike in the other, and a confused look on your face, you’re going to run into someone you know. Sure enough, I was barely 10 feet out of the store when I came face to face with a young lady of my acquaintance. Yes, she’s someone I’m attracted to and hence, among the last people I wanted to run into with my hands full and my mind befuddled.

After navigating this social interaction with a maximum of embarassment and a minimum of grace, I came to the realization that I would either have to ride home one-handed, weighted down with the bag and rack in the other, or attach the rack myself. Well, I’d put together IKEA furniture before, I reasoned.

Cut to: 30 minutes later, in a lot behind a coffee shop, nuts, bolts and assorted metal pieces spread out on the concrete between me and the bike. I’m puzzling over which way the rack should face when my cell rings. The sex educator.

Now, a little background is in order. I met the sex educator oh, about two months ago now. Things were pretty hot from the get-go, but we quickly came to the realization that we’re at different places in our lives–she’s ready for a relationship and I, well, I still think I’ve got some work to do (cf., the bike rack). Still, we’d kept in touch, amused by and attracted to each other, though our relationship had devolved into coffee once a week and veiled allusions to other people we were dating.

Anyway, after I’d solved the problem with the rack–that is, after I’d ridden back to the store and left my bike there with instructions to put the rack on after all–I met her at a homely little corner cafe to catch up on each other’s lives. When we’d just about run out of things to say she came out with, “I think I’m going to be off the chopping block pretty soon.”

“Is this my five-minute warning?”

She smiled. “I guess.”

She’s interested in someone, she said. She’s been on a few dates with him and he’s ready, he wants to be in a relationship. “You’re scared to love,” she told me. “And I don’t want to wait.”

The words echoed in my skull. Was it true? Possibly. Was what had happened in so many of my previous relationships happening again? Was I repeating a pattern? I mentally checked by datebook for my next therapy appointment–Thursday, thank God.

At her car, as we embraced and kissed, and what had been a tenuous, ill-defined link seemed to be coming to an end. Maybe for good. Sure, we’d see each other around–we both live near to Commercial Drive, go to the same gym, attend the same Xstatic Dance classes to heal our chakras (kidding about the last one)–but we wouldn’t be each other’s back-up plan any longer. We wouldn’t be getting together ostensibly for coffee but really to bask in the sexual tension and wonder if we should act on it.

We embraced, and told each other those things you say at times like this, and I was surprised at how much I’d come to care about, and maybe even love, her. But not enough to stop her. She has a life, after all. And me, well, I’ve got a blog to write.

*The first draft was written Monday afternoon, directly after the events described, and edited later for clarity, more if not better self-deprecating jokes, and speling.




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