The odometer rolled over one more time. I turned 37 last week. My birthday’s aren’t typically pleasant. Not that they’re bad, they’re just not particularly good. So many people have parties or family dinners, where as mine are usually just a day. I may go to eat, or take a day off to just veg, but otherwise, I don’t do much. Anyways, last week was a mix of good and bad.
First off all, I got half of the week off. With my current job, my birthday just happens to align with spring break. I don’t automatically get the week off. Instead, I can only take the week off if I have 40 hours of accumulated leave time, which I didn’t. I did have enough time to take Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday off, so I got most of the week to myself. Even going into my office on Monday & Tuesday wasn’t so bad. No classes were in session, so I had two days to prepare lessons and grade assignments, all without interruption.
On Wednesday, I kicked the day off by going to the dentist. While I’ve never had a cavity, I had to have some fillings around my gum line. Since late last year, my teeth gums have kind of hurt. I thought it may be my periodontal disease worsening, but when I went to the dentist late last year, they didn’t find anything. Even now, they experience a pain that comes and goes; I’m never sure if it’s actually indicative of a problem or if I’m just being hyper-aware of every little sensation I experience in my mouth. In either case, the roots of sum of my teeth are exposed on the interior of my lower left gum line, so the dentist put in fillings to protect them. Now, I’m paranoid about ever needing an MRI scan. Oh, I’m also paranoid about losing my teeth one day, but that’s been a nagging insecurity for years now.
I’m also more than a little pissed at my previous dentist not suggesting I use a water flosser. I started using one several years ago after randomly finding out what they are on Amazon. I immediately bought one out of desperation to try anything that would bring me a positive experience at the dentist and it actually worked. Could they not have suggested I by one several years prior? They were willing to sell me an $80 dollar electric toothbrush that broke after a few months. All that’s in the past, so getting angry won’t solve anything. Maybe 20 years from now medical science will be able to rebuild bone loss in the jaw or dental implants won’t cost 10s of thousands of dollars.
I also passed a very particular milestone on my very birthday as I did something I’ve never did before. I bought a lawn mower and actually mowed my grass. How can a man turn 37 without ever having mowed a lawn, you may wonder? My parents wouldn’t allow it. We didn’t have a huge yard when I was a child, but it was decently sized. My dad had an old riding lawnmower I remember him working on whenever it broke. At some point it stopped being fixable, and my parents decided they’d rather outsource to a professional service. I wanted to mow the lawn, hopefully as a chore for which they might be willing to pay me. Also, when you’re a child, there’s an appeal of being able to drive anything motorized. I think my parents just didn’t want to buy a new mower, and my mom harbored some fear that I would flip it over then stick my hand in the spinning blades for some reason. No, I’m not making that up. I distinctly remember Dad working on his lawnmower one weekend, and he had turned it on its side for some reason, when my mom graciously instructed me, “Rob, you never, ever stick your hands underneath the lawn mower.” Um… thanks, Mom. I wouldn’t have known not to do so had you not said anything.
So, I spent (a portion of) my birthday mowing my lawn. That’s another $400 on the credit card bill. I don’t make as much at my current job as at my previous one, but the lower cost of living was supposed bring even lower expenses, which would net to more savings. Every damn month I’ve been here, I have some ridiculous expense come up. January, I was paying off my travel expenditures for the holidays along with Erika’s Christmas present. In February, the most aggravating thing ever happened. I was trying to print out an assignment for one of my classes, and the printer in my office jams if I give it a sideways glance, so I took my flash drive to the copy room to print it out. I plug my flash drive in to the computer, proceed to print, and nothing happens. I roll the chair over to the printer to see if its jammed or needs paper, roll back to the computer to check if the print job is queued, roll back over to the printer, and smash! The leg of the chair smashes the still plugged in flash drive so that the connector is severed from the circuit board. I have all the lessons I’ve updated for the semester on that drive, so I’m understandably panicking. I take it to every electronics shop in town from GeekSquad a the local Best Buy several locally owned repair stores. What I thought would be a simple task of resoldering a connection point was one no one was equipped and/or willing to do. I had to sent it away to a specialized data recovery company, and just like that, I became $900 poorer. I had to have those lectures though, especially those for my tax class. Recreating them from scratch after all that work would have driven me bonkers.
That was last month, and of course this month, I had to buy my lawnmower. I also filed my income taxes, and the investments I sold last year to purchase my house necessitated some capital gains taxes, so in addition to the $400 for my lawnmower, I also had to shell out a total of $5,000 to Uncle Sam and Aunt Georgia. Hopefully after this month, I won’t have any more surprise expenses, and I can start banking some savings. Furthermore, I’ll save $100 a month by not outsourcing my lawn maintenance, so the mower will have paid for itself by the middle of summer.
I also almost went out on another date, but she then changed her mind because I’m a virgin who can’t dance. Last weekend, an attractive woman named Andrea liked my online profile. I don’t feel like I’m over Erika, but I so seldom find a woman to whom I think I could be attracted, that when Andrea initiated contact, I felt obliged to reach out to her. After all, a date is just a date, right? Besides, I need to be more social. We exchanged a few pleasant emails and had a nice enough phone call on Saturday morning. The interaction wasn’t as potent as my first phone call with Erika, but the conversation was endearing enough. She was having dinner with a friend that evening, but we made plans to go out for dinner on Sunday. We spent the rest of the day texting each other, and that’s when things went south.
She wasted no time stating that she was a very sexual person and asking me about my sexual desires, while volunteering hers. Needless to say, she was flummoxed when I explained to her I had never been physically intimate with anyone. She asked me several times how such was possible, and it was a long story to text, but I conveyed it accurately and succinctly. She said she’d be through with her evening out by 10:00pm, and asked me if I’d like to hang out at her place to which I agreed. She said she’d call when she was finished to give me her address. Looking back, I wonder if she was planning to offer to make love with me. Not that it matters now. The last text she sent me on Saturday was one asking me if I liked to dance. She didn’t seem put off when I told her I had never danced in a manner that wasn’t cringe inducing, but she didn’t text or call as she said she would that night.
I sent her a good morning text on Sunday, and she pretty quickly stated that our date that night wasn’t going to happen because she feels we’re very different people and a relationship between the two of us would never work out. I told her that I was sorry that she felt that way, but I would never expect her to ignore her intuition. I wished her good luck in finding the kind of man for which she’s looking, and that was that. I think I’ve passed the age where a man being a virgin is a sign of security. Now it just suggests that something is wrong with me. Maybe I should have been more forthcoming about my physical desires, but I didn’t feel comfortable divulging those fantasies to someone with whom I had only had a single phone conversation. Even if I had gone over to her place Saturday night and she had offered to have sex, I’m not sure I could have accepted it. I mean, we had just met and barely know each other. What if I get her pregnant? What if she has an STD? How does she know I don’t have an STD or that I’m secretly married or a number of other things of which one should be certain before climbing into bed with someone else.
Just as well, I miss Erika, and I’m probably not ready to date again. I checked her Facebook recently, and she’s no longer listed as single. She’s not listed as anything. Does that mean she’s moved on and I should do the same? Would my moving on before her be hurtful to her. I seriously wonder if dating is worth this emotional hassle.
Last updated March 27, 2019