Throwback Thursday: When I admit that I was an asshole
Not long ago, in detailing the roots of Inappropriate Church Tweets, I mentioned Rita. There have certainly been people in my past that I wish I had acted differently with, relationships that didn’t turn out the way that I would have liked. In almost every one of these memories, things didn’t turn out optimally because of the way I acted. Rita is far from the person who I’ve most-wronged, but this story is at least a little amusing.
So, let us rewind to my junior year of high school. I had a friend, K, who went to another school. K & I were very good friends, and while I knew that K had “something” for me, her feelings were not reciprocated from my side. I was honest – told her that I valued our friendship and that I couldn’t do anything to jeopardize it. K never “made a play” for me, but constantly introduced me to her friends. I realized what she was doing – K was hoping that I’d start dating one of them, break up with one of them, and then be there to “pick up the pieces.” I should have been able to stay away (K, and all of her friends, went to different schools, so staying away would have been quite easy to pull off), but K had some pretty hot friends.
I went out twice with Jamie, a cute redhead from a third school. I put on my best moves with her, and was a complete gentleman (I showed up with a single rose to our first date, kissed her hand goodnight at the end of it). However, Jamie wasn’t quite over her ex, and that became apparent when, for our second date, she brought a bunch of her friends with us & talked about her ex the whole time.
Ok, so Jamie wasn’t going to work, but she knew that she & I weren’t going to work out. So, because she felt that I was a “good guy,” she hatched a plan to set me up with a friend of hers (aren’t high school love lives great?). As I planned one “last front assault” on Jamie, we went to an art competition.
I don’t remember what these competitions were called, but they allowed writers, visual artists, and musicians to enter competitions. “Local experts” (community college professors) would grade the works, and the best ones moved onto the next level. This was the second-round, which meant a
day off of school day full of hands-on workshops to see how we can develop our works. I had entered a poem, or maybe a short-story of some sort, and my jazz quartet was playing. K was singing, and because we’d be at the same place at the same time, she actually learned & sang a song that I had written. Jamie was there, but I haven’t a clue why (maybe she had written a play?).
Because my lunch choices are the other three in my jazz quartet or a group of people with boobs, I ditched my schoolmates and had lunch with the fairer sex . . . where Jamie introduced me to Blondie (not her real name, much as K isn’t K’s real name . . . but, Blondie actually liked being called Blondie). I saw the set-up for what it was – Jamie wasn’t interested in me, and was hoping I’d turn my attentions to this new girl. Blondie
had boobs was cute, and sweet, and obviously had some degree of talent as she had some work in this competition (I’m certain that I knew what it was at the time, but the detail has been lost, though I want to guess short story).
We have lunch, Blondie & I exchange numbers. Jamie sighs a sigh of relief. K looks on. This was a Thursday.
That weekend was Annie at St. Elizabeth’s Academy. K, Jamie, and Blondie come to the Saturday performance. I hang out with them over intermission, but think Blondie maybe isn’t really into me (gut feeling at the time, but it turned out that my gut was wrong).
The show finishes. I go to the cast part, and the night with Rita is recapped here. Rita gave me her number, but somehow, I never gave her mine.
Well, I kissed Rita, and I didn’t think Blondie was really into me, so I was pretty sure what direction I’d be turning my attentions. Until Monday.
Monday comes, and the phone is ringing when I walk in from school (my school district was small enough that we didn’t have busses, so I walked to/from school most every day – if you’ve ever been tasked with “keeping up with me” as I walk, this walking, combined with trying to keep up with my grandfather are to blame for why I seem to always be speed-walking). It’s Blondie – her mother had to work late, and she was at school, and she missed the bus she normally took, and the next bus wasn’t going to leave for another hour, and Jamie was “sick” (playing hooky to spend the day with her ex), and could I borrow the car and take her home?
I did. She kissed me upon picking her up. Her mother wasn’t in the house when we got there. No shortage of kissing followed.
We started dating.
I had never even called Rita.
Now, the manly thing would have been to call Rita that night & explain everything, but I didn’t do that. I talked to Blondie all night on the phone that night, and the next night, and I have this truly horrible habit of forgetting about the thing that I don’t want to talk about if I can’t talk about it right away.
I never called Rita.
A few months pass, and Blondie & I call it quits.
I still don’t call Rita.
That weekend, I play in some festival at Rutgers. It’s a collection of high school students, and it’s, basically, a real fun time. I take home two numbers (I can’t remember the first girl’s, but the other was Iesha, which is easy enough to remember because she hated the Another Bad Creation song). I call both of these girls – and it’s obvious that nothing between the first girl (a high school senior & bassoon player) is going to work. Iesha (a sophomore music major at Rutgers) and I, though, become quite friendly.
Eventually, she gets the whole Rita story out of me. She berates me. “Guys always say they’ll call. Guys never call.”
“But, Iesha, it was 9 months ago!”
“It doesn’t matter – if you said you were going to call, you call!”
“Listen, I’m going to hang up, but you call Rita, you apologize, and then call me back when you’re done.”
So, I find the program from Annie . . . I look through the pages to find Rita’s note to me (along the way? I find another number, but the name didn’t ring a bell at all). I call the number she put at the end.
Her dad answered the phone.
“Hi, is Rita there?”
“Yes, just a minute – may I ask who is calling?”
[Pause, as he gets Rita]
“Hi, it’s John”
“I’m so sorry that I didn’t call until now.”
“So you’re admitting that you’re an asshole?”
“Yeah, I really was.”
Minutes later, I call Iesha back. She laughs her head off. “You realize we’re never getting together, right?”
“Yeah, I know.”
“Then why are you calling random girls that I tell you to?”
“Not calling Rita had been eating at me ever since the night after I met her.”
“What did you expect to happen? Her to say ‘I’m so happy that you finally called’?”
“I just wanted to explain what happened.”
“Honey, the time for that to happen was long overdue.”
“Yeah, I know…”
“So, if I give you the number of a guy that I just stopped seeing, do you think you can try to patch things up for me?” [Giggling]
“So I really shouldn’t have called.”
“No, I was serious when I said that you should call – but, moron. Oh, no, I’m sorry, it was being an asshole that you admitted to….you should have called months ago.”
She was right, I knew.