CALL OF THE DAY: choose your own adventure, goddammit!
He doesnâ€™t let me into his life, not even in a bullshit, made-up sort of way. When I ask him what heâ€™s been up to since we last talked, he always says, â€œnothing much, just working.â€ Which, fair enough. Thatâ€™s what a lot of people do. But he knows that I travelâ€”with only the vaguest sense of whyâ€”and so he asks me what Iâ€™ve been up to. This is a tricky question.
The answer either needs to involve young boysâ€”I mean pre-teensâ€”or young barely legal men, and stories like that are not the tricky part. Iâ€™ve done variations on both themes, but with this guy I never know which he really wants, and heâ€™s not telling. THAT is the tricky part.
More often than not he will switch up on me, after Iâ€™ve been going along at a good clip along one track, getting deeper and deeper into the narrative, such as it is. Weâ€™ve really developed this scene for six or seven minutes, and then suddenly heâ€™ll say, â€œSo what else have you been up to?â€ And thatâ€™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 heâ€™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 hasnâ€™t come yet. He knows this, and at least partly believes that itâ€™s entirely my responsibility, because he often demands it of me, in a way that is no less urgent for being entirely irrational: â€œMake me come, make me come!â€ If weâ€™ve had to interrupt the story and start from the beginning again, well thatâ€™s okay. People change their mind.
But that other part of me is keeping one eye cocked at the timer, and itâ€™s clear very quickly that heâ€™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 itâ€™s always work Iâ€™d rather not do, that I shouldnâ€™t have to do if he hadnâ€™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 canâ€™t tell if Iâ€™m actually making the wrong choice all the time, or if thatâ€™s just the way he likes to operate. Why shouldnâ€™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, â€œWhich one turns you on the most?â€ (because lately heâ€™s been getting into me coming, SIGH). I had to bite back a sharp retortâ€”NEITHER ONE TURNS ME ON, YOU IDIOTâ€”and instead said, no, sweetie, you choose, I like â€˜em both, but itâ€™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 canâ€™t do that.
â€œOh,â€ he said, as if that problem had genuinely never occurred to him.
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