Crazy Town

Ok, so I was going to let my weekend description stand with Friday, but my recent visit to crazy town needs a bit of background…

Most of Saturday I spent in bed with my cat Hoover sleeping off the goodly quantity of booze that hit me so hard the night before. Once nightfall finally rolled around though I was at about 90% and the 15 or so hours of sleep I’d gotten kept me from just calling it a night. So instead I headed back to the Salamander for a bit of Salsa dancing. To be honest this wouldn’t have been my first choice given my lack of coordination, but I figured I’d give it a shot.

Before heading out, a volunteer wanted drop by my place and borrow some clothes from M. My history with this particular girl has been furtive flirtation from time to time and I’d talked with M about how exactly one can distinguish the difference between someone just being flirty and someone being actually interested. Well, as I was to learn later in the evening, M decided to help me out and ask straight out if she was interested in me.

I didn’t find this out until later in the evening though. We went out and danced a bit. Salsa can be an absolutely beautiful dance when performed properly. I found that I liked the music, but I was not good enough at coordinating my movements with another person to really enjoy it. A couple dances I got out and just grooved on my own and that was fun. At the end of the evening they put on some hip-hop and techno, and I got in some dancing more akin to what I generally enjoy.

Things wrapped up around 2 and M and I headed home. It was along the walk that she revealed her earlier discussion and the fact that this other volunteer wasn’t interested in me. I was nonplussed in general. I think she’s cute, but we deal with our emotional lives in very different ways. I was pretty sure that she’d find my as frivolous as I found her evasive, so this was no great shock. It did however bring up the subject of romance and got me started on the subject of Leah and my frustrations from the past weekend.

It was nothing terribly specific, just a general lament on emotionality and romance and all that jazz. As much as anything it was a commentary on the role of emotional intimacy in a relationship and whether it was possible to do something that was both temporary but which still has a meaningful emotional connection. Largely I was just rambling and wishing for a relatively emotionally stable girl to have fun with.

Fast forward to the next evening. After a really irritating day dealing with the University administration, I go out to see Annika off. It is a sad evening, both because Annika is cool and because I’m with her sitemates, Molly and Caleb, and they’re both really upset. I show up back at the house around 1:30 in a somber mood to find the entire place lit by candles.

M meets me in the hallway dressed in a lowcut black evening gown. She asks me about my evening and I tell her that I’ve just seen Annika off and that I’m feeling a bit blue. I emphasize my depressed emotional state a bit more than I would have otherwise since there’s a certain mood in the air and I want to break it.

Don’t get me wrong, M is an attractive girl. She’s incredibly nice as well; often to the point of letting people take advantage of her. Her priorities in life just aren’t such that I’d be interested in seriously dating her. The role that I can tell emotion plays in her sexuality means that us hooking up would very likely be bad news for both of us. All of this stuff combines for me enjoying being friends with her, but having no real desire for anything else.

As round the corner to my room, my sense of mood is confirmed. All about the room there are candles adorning every available flat surface. Their flicking glow illuminated a red satin scarf that is lain across the bed with rose petals scattered on it. The headboard is decorated with a garland of white roses. In the background there is soft jazz playing.

It was very well done. Had I been teetering, she would have gotten to my romantic side and I would have likely succumbed. I even had a moment when I considered giving in. I really do have sympathy for the romance in M as well as deep respect for anyone willing to put themselves out there and make a move on someone. Unfortunately, sympathy and respect are not attraction and it still would have been a bad idea.

This however left me in a position of “yeah, I said I was lonely and horny and I just struck out with the only girl I’ve had anything to do with in the last six months, but we’re still not going to do this.” How does one communicate this to someone without being hurtful? Me? I played dumb. ☺

I told her truthfully that she’d done a beautiful job of decorating the house and that everything looked wonderful. I completely ignored the general romantic connotations of soft jazz and strewing rose petals. I figured this was a way to say, “I see what you’ve done and I respect it, but I don’t think this is a good idea.” She could just play it off and let it slide. I understand that she and I are good friends and I respect her wanting to change things, I just don’t feel it. She and I just stood around talking. She wasn’t making a move physically, but she wasn’t heading to bed either.

After a bit Hoover came in to sleep with me and curled up in the middle of the scarf. I went over and started to play with her and rolled her up in the scarf efficiently removing it from the bed. Next I sat down on one side of the bed and mentioned being really tired and a bit drunk from the shots of whiskey I’d had at Annika’s farewell. In retrospect the drunk bit should probably have best been kept to myself as M then came and sat down on the other side from me. We continued to talk about this and that for a bit, but as time progressed we went from a conversation to M monologuing and me interjecting with “yeah” and “uh-huh” from time to time. Eventually I was lulled to sleep by the sound of her talking and awoke to find the candles blown out and myself with a general sense that perhaps I could have done something more.

Ok, forward once more, this time two days. I get up and head to the University to work a bit. Round about 17h I get a call from someone saying that there’s some Gambian volunteers in town and can I put them up? I say sure and as I’m going to meet them I send a message to M just to tell her I may be having guests and does she mind? To my surprise, I arrive at home to find the house empty. M has an amazing collection of trinketry from all over Africa and Europe. It is all gone as are the twenty or so shelves of books and CDs that are normally in the living room. I was shocked and befuddled. If nothing else than just by the fact that someone had managed to move an amazing amount of crap in the five hours since I’d gone to work.

Sensing that something was amiss, I started hunting for another place to stick the Gambians. While doing this I got a message from M in response to my request to have guests:

U told me in the nick o’ time cuz the furniture as about to exit the house. FYI, I’ve had more than enuff + i understand that your finances don’t permit u 2 find some place cheaper. U & Richie the socko can stay 4 the 2 mnths left in the contract. I’m not responsible 4 u guys after that. However I’m moving out NOW. So u do whatever u want cuz it’s already more your place than mine.

Then:

Oh and one more thing… the signs will be OBVIOUS when you walk in but in case of doubt, you are warned in writing: THE countdown is on…

Ooookaay. You’d think that based on this message she’d maybe mentioned me moving at some point in the past. You’d think that perhaps we’d not been friendly and talking and spending a lot of time together. I’d known she was pissed at Richard and rightly so since he’s an asshole. I think the quote that best characterized him is when he said to her, “It’s been a long time since I’ve been with a woman and I’m getting to the point I’m so horny that I’d do you even though you’re so fat and dark.” (M is Mauritian and so looks Indian (dot not feather).)

So, to deal with houseguests that she was no longer interested in having, she didn’t tell them that she wanted them to move and instead simply moves out herself. There is a certain logic there if you were passive-aggressive to the border of insanity.

Things are getting too weird even for me. So I start lining up places to stick my stuff and start trying to find a place to live. (Within a day someone I hadn’t talked to in a couple months calls me up and asks me if I’ve got furniture to sell. I ask why and he says he’s getting married in December and he’s trying to furnish an apartment his family gave him. He says I can stay there for free if I teach computer lessons to his boss’s son. How convenient.)

That night after going to talk to come people in the 5éme about a place out there I get home and finally get to talk to M face to face. I ask her if she’s moving and she says, “kinda.” I ask her why and she says, “I want to.” After a couple more similarly noninformational responses I give up on her actually saying anything useful. I tell her that I’m sorry for having imposed her and that I was really unaware that she wanted me to move. I tell her I thought that she and I were cool and that it was never my intention to make her uncomfortable. I sort of left it open for her to apologize for never saying anything at all about wanting me to leave and then acting nuts and moving all of her stuff out without any notice, but all I got was an “I accept your apology.”

So, I let it go and continue getting ready to move. The next day I go to work again and this time when I come back there’s a letter posted on the Frenchman’s door. I only read the first couple lines which were something along the lines of “you’ve got to move because you are a intolerable repugnant racist bastard asshole…” and the list just kept going. I just can’t let this pass and want to get pictures of the washing machine manifesto and basket’o’porn, so I head to Carl’s to borrow his camera.

When I come back some decoration has reentered the house. There’s now a large Moroccan knife unsheathed on the kitchen table in front of a Halloween candle in the form of a bloody severed hand. By where I hang my keys there’s a sign that says, “Qu’attendez-vous? Votre temps est compte non en jours mais en heures…” (“What are you waiting for? Your time is measured not hours, not days…”)

To date I’d been debating as to whether what was going on was a clumsy, but effective assertion of M’s boundaries and thereby her sanity. Or if she was simply going nuts. This was a big vote for looney tunes.

Her sense of humor has always been a bit morbid. On one of her trips to Dakar she bought a bunch of dried lizard and bat heads and dessicated moneys’ paws. I thought they were odd, but didn’t really care. She would also occasionally crack a joke about coming into my room at night and thinking about cuttng my throat. It was odd and a bit creepy, but I just chalked it up to a warped sense of humor. Recently developments were making it quite a bit more disturbing.

Last night I went home and the candles were out again, but this time for a big French fellow she was entertaining. I decided to leave them to their own devices and crashed at a hotel with another volunteer. I’m getting my stuff moved out today.

What’s odd is that in the five minutes between when I came into the house and when I was ready to go again my keys disappeared. I would swear I’d left them on the kitchen table when I walked in, but when I was ready to go they weren’t there. Normally I’d think I was being paranoid, but I seriously wonder if M took them. The fact that I’m really not sure just shows how bad I need to get out of there. My office keys are on that key ring though. I need to get them one way or another, so the drama isn’t done just yet.

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