One good thing which has come out of this blog for me is in listing some of my past experiences alongside my more current rants and feelings, I get the sense of things working in cycles. Some cause and effect. Much as in high school, I remain a third wheel in the romantic subplots of others, always on the outskirts but never in the middle.
Summer in New York is always a season where love, or lust, seems to be everywhere. The weather is warmer so people are wearing less. Trips to the beach or at least general outings for couples are more common. You can hardly take a bus or a train or even a walk anywhere without encountering a couple, often in mid-smooch. Like most people, I tend not to be fond of public displays of affection which don’t include me (same as many people dislike any wedding which isn’t their own). It naturally doesn’t help when it seems left and right, all of my friends one by one are either getting married or getting engaged or seeming to go steady with someone, almost all at once. Even co-workers at once seem to have been struck by Cupid’s arrow. To heck with Hallmark and February, I say summer is when most people get bitten by a love bug. Everyone but me, always a day late, a dollar short, and dressed in the exact wrong attire for the party.
In my second post (“I am tired of being Jacob Marley”), I mentioned my current job setting vaguely as well as the fact that I seem to have accidentally begun mentoring a younger coworker as an impromptu sidekick. This wasn’t deliberate, but as most people do at work, I’ve gotten chummy with some of my coworkers, especially since we all end up sharing the commute. Among the coworkers who have become part of our troupe are an older couple in their mid to late 60’s and a fellow I’ll dub Hal. He’s in his 40’s and is a hard worker, but also easily angered, long frustrated, and with a few screws loose. No matter what, he always seems to have this personal “musk” about him. He’s tall and I suppose his looks could be considered “rugged”. In terms of demeanor, it’s akin to taking the DNA from Edward Norton from “THE HONEYMOONERS” and Eeyore from “WINNIE THE POOH” and splicing them into some clone creation. I’ve long tried to encourage him to take things easy, to help him do a better job, but there’s no getting through to Hal.
At any rate, as it happens, a new employee has once again joined our ranks, a part time teacher in her 20’s. She began sharing the commute with us and for a night, I was beginning to wonder about how she felt about some of us. She smiled at me a few times, and I would try to smile back, and she would lower her head, as if embarrassed. We even talked a little! I am not a good student of body language, but is this attraction? She is my type, but I have long abandoned pursuing people of my type, as I assume I have no chance because they don’t notice me. But did she? I’m the reverse of most men in that while most men seem to assume any woman who looks at them is into them, I go out of my way to explain away any sort of hint at someone simply being friendly, or it being happenstance, or mistaken circumstances. In fact, this post may have been very different had I typed it sooner.
But at the end of today’s work shift, something changed. It was still the same stuff from this new lady with the group’s ride home on the trains. We even talked more. However, the older couple seemed to notice something I had not – it was Hal she was apparently making googly eyes at, not me. The fact that he was dating someone else – a woman in her 40’s or 50’s – didn’t seem to matter. Hal seemed to enjoy the choice of two women in his life. For the life of me I don’t see the attraction, but then again I am neither a woman or into men. Hal is tall, at least, although his body odor and temprement often make me seem together.
It was another instance where I was merely a background figure in the soap opera of someone else’s life, and why I should never even entertain certain possibilities. Even after so many adventures, so many failures, so many confirmations of my datelessness, for a moment I forgot I was the Dateless-Man, who nobody is attracted to, nobody is into and nobody loves romantically. Next to me, even someone as screwy as Hal is a stud in comparison. I should rent myself out as a wing man to malcontents – I’d make a killing.
The only saving grace is I didn’t make a move and embarrass myself, especially with a coworker in a small, gossipy office. I am at least used enough to my burden to avoid such mistakes.
And so another summer comes and goes, with the birds and the bees in the air for others, but not for me. My job is only to observe, and wonder how, and why, and what I don’t get.