July marks the 4th anniversary of this blog. Both I and this space have gone through a lot. I began this journey needing a place to vent a lot of my frustrations, memories, and theories about the opposite sex. It took a while to burn through my history of major interactions with women — not all interactions, but most of the critical ones. A part of me is amazed it took as long as it did, considering I’d only been on three dates in my life and still am flying Virgin Airlines. June went by without a post, because I’ve been busy with life.
Unfortunately, not much of it have been good. I am still working at my new city job, having just passed the 8th month threshold. Only four left until I make it past probation, and therefore my job becomes harder to lose. They already feel like a century, although back in the spring I would have been psyched to make it this far. I hate twisting in the wind, where every mistake or misstep seems like an unforgivable offense. But the worst part of it is that my elderly, disabled mother (and I) are facing eviction from our slumlord. Our tenement apartment building gained a new management company in December 2017, and they officially assumed command in January. This was the 4th management company overseeing the building since 2009 (when the original landlord was murdered). The building is a den of disrepair and health code violations, and has been run by varying batches of mobsters, retired mobsters, and white collar criminals since as far back as I could remember. Such is the state of real estate in New York. Because my mother and I have been in one apartment since 1983 — and won a lawsuit which froze the rent a while — we likely pay among the lowest rent in the building. Furthermore, we’re also the 2nd longest serving tenants there; half the building has barely been there 2 years, by design. So the cross-hairs are on us, and we’re going thru the merry go ’round of housing court and various agencies which never help. Even my union lawyer does slightly more than nothing. Despite never missing rent, and despite living in a hovel which has black mold and where the pipes don’t work, and half the ceilings are cracked or look like they’re about to collapse, the odds of me being homeless around Labor Day, or at best Halloween, is even.
I was technically homeless within the first year of my life; thankfully I don’t recall it. The notion of becoming homeless for the second time in less than 40 years is not only scary, but is pathetic for someone who lives in “the richest nation in the world.” Suffice it to say, my fretting or philosophizing about being a single virgin took lower priority. Not to say that the oncoming catastrophe has made me never think about it at all; it’s simply become “one more thing.” Something to cast aside until times improve, if ever. Yet my enemy remains time itself.
And that got me thinking. There isn’t much to do when you await a meteor to hit me, at least economically. I think to the previous tragedies in my life, or my mother’s life, which resulted in having to cope, or recover, or adapt to a new change, which pushed my love life to the curb. In summer 2016, for example, a knee injury was an obvious example. But that was barely a drop in the bucket. So for my sake and your reading pleasure, I’ll list a few by year. The challenge will be doing so without revealing my age.
1994-1996: My mother’s health was waning, I was taking more responsibility, and her own failing health and sanity led Grandma to spend more time with us. I literally shared a room with her 75% of the time by this stage.
1999: My mother officially and legally becomes handicapped and can no longer work. Money becomes tighter. I have to grow up faster.
2000-2005: My mother becomes a basket case for a bit over some of her own relationships that end badly. I wonder if this effected me? Some of these years include my peak depression years in college.
2005-2008: Grandma’s health declines and America’s botched health care system begins ruining her. Home care attendants don’t cut it anymore, and tending to her becomes my mother’s full time job, and my part time job.
2009-2011: I am unemployed for 2.5 years (and unemployment insurance barely lasted for two). I have been devoting 1-2 days a week of full time duty tending to Grandma (and my own declining mother) from 2008-2010. Grandma dies in the beginning of 2010. Our building has been sold from its original owner (who was murdered) and the shenanigans begin in earnest.
2012: Finally working full time again, yet still broke a lot. Apartment construction took a lot of time. Around this time, mother and I never leave the apartment unoccupied.
2013-2014ish: For an 8 month period, the door breaks and literally won’t lock.
2016: Injure my knee briefly. Work drastically changes, am unsure if I will cut it and plan month to month.
2017: I cut it, but the company folds. Immediately found new company with co-workers and management, yet still unsure how long it will last. I learned that in the industry I was in, a company can go from “normal week, full payroll,” to “everyone’s fired” within a weekend.
2018: Facing eviction. Likely the end of the economic road.
Some of the years are fudgy but you get the point. After all, I don’t review what year the bullying happened. For a large chunk of my life, especially post-puberty, I was reeling from one thing or another. And amid all this I was still trying to have a life, hang with friends, date, do hobbies, etc. But for large chunks of time it took a back seat. It seems unfair to date, for instance, when I am broke. Or spending most of my time on relatives. Or morbidly depressed. Or worried I am about to lose my job any week. Or, in 2018, expecting to be on the street sometime after August.
Now, these sorts of woes are nothing compared to what most people have faced (although in my defense, this list is the Cliff’s Notes of Cliff’s Notes). And there are plenty of people who have dated thru tragedies. War, death, hell, sometimes tragedy is the motivation for a pointless rebound fling. Lord have I considered quitting my job, cashing in unused sick/vacation days, going to Vegas, and becoming a man (and going on a drinking binge) for a week or so. But ultimately that’s only a distraction and won’t solve anything. But I never felt comfortable dating when the background radiation of my life was hardship. And the shame of it is that hardship is all I have ever known. It’s relative, of course. I have never been raped, or suffered a stint in a hospital. I don’t live in a third world country. I imagine most kids in Iraq would consider my life paradise. But that doesn’t negate the fact that for me, it has always felt like my dating woes were more than just my inner lameness, or lack of charisma, or even poor luck. That life itself was organizing against me. That any time I took a step forward, I was knocked five back. I have adapted to more in my time than most of my male friends will ever know, or comprehend. It would have killed them in a week. But there are times I wonder if not all of me made it, if a part of my soul hasn’t come out whole since childhood.
And I wonder if my desire to write is born out of nothing more than an attempt to be remembered when life finally knocks me back hard enough that I fail to get up. So that whatever wisp of a life I had or didn’t have didn’t just vanish altogether. So, to quote the best line from Blade Runner,
“all those moments won’t be lost in time. Like tears in rain.”
I was the Dateless-Man, and I was here. Hardly anyone noticed, but I was here. And for now, I am still here.
The annoying thing is, before this eviction mess began, I actually had some interesting anecdotes to add to the blog! I ran into an old friend, however briefly, who invites a topic about dating mothers. And I have a development relating to the fetish I reveal exists but never talk about! And that long awaited lecture about a film which meant a lot to me at a terrible time of my life. I hope to share all of these with everyone reading the blog soon.
Assuming I am not writing it from under an overpass.