CALL OF THE DAY: choose your own adventure, goddammit!
He doesn’t let me into his life, not even in a bullshit, made-up sort of way. When I ask him what he’s been up to since we last talked, he always says, “nothing much, just working.” Which, fair enough. That’s what a lot of people do. But he knows that I travel—with only the vaguest sense of why—and so he asks me what I’ve been up to. This is a tricky question.
The answer either needs to involve young boys—I mean pre-teens—or young barely legal men, and stories like that are not the tricky part. I’ve done variations on both themes, but with this guy I never know which he really wants, and he’s not telling. THAT is the tricky part.
More often than not he will switch up on me, after I’ve been going along at a good clip along one track, getting deeper and deeper into the narrative, such as it is. We’ve really developed this scene for six or seven minutes, and then suddenly he’ll say, “So what else have you been up to?” And that’s my cue, that we are jumping tracks, which means that I now have two minutes to start from ground zero, develop the plot, and get him to come. It feels as though he’s trying to jam two full-length feature films into a sexy three-minute trailer.
I feel more than a bit manipulated. The part of me that wants to keep people happy, this is the part that will let him go on and on and over the time limit, because he hasn’t come yet. He knows this, and at least partly believes that it’s entirely my responsibility, because he often demands it of me, in a way that is no less urgent for being entirely irrational: “Make me come, make me come!” If we’ve had to interrupt the story and start from the beginning again, well that’s okay. People change their mind.
But that other part of me is keeping one eye cocked at the timer, and it’s clear very quickly that he’s going to go over. I have no problem giving him the two-minute warning, and then telling him I have to go once he hits the upper limit of his over time (1 minute over). But it’s always work I’d rather not do, that I shouldn’t have to do if he hadn’t dropped onto a different track when the original time package was almost up.
I want him to choose, because my choosing is so rarely right. I can’t tell if I’m actually making the wrong choice all the time, or if that’s just the way he likes to operate. Why shouldn’t he? I mean, he gets a nice long appetizer followed by a quick and dirty main course, and more of that than he actually paid for. Sounds like a deal to me!
I finally told him in our most recent call, told him to choose for himself. He responded by saying, “Which one turns you on the most?” (because lately he’s been getting into me coming, SIGH). I had to bite back a sharp retort—NEITHER ONE TURNS ME ON, YOU IDIOT—and instead said, no, sweetie, you choose, I like ‘em both, but it’s more important what you want. Also, I added, because I was really sick of going over time with him, we need to pick one and stick to it. I always end up going over time with you, and I can’t do that.
“Oh,” he said, as if that problem had genuinely never occurred to him.
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