Friday, March 12, 2010

I Tried It But Didn't Like It. Really!

I have a pretty crappy track record when it comes to choosing men. (First off, I have mostly let them choose me, and there’s an error in judgment right there.) I think I’m a decent life coach in a lot of ways, but if you bring your relationship questions to me, the best I can usually do is ask a few clarifying questions and then say, yeah, been there—sucks, doesn’t it? (I may be being a little too harsh on myself since I did manage to remain unwed until landing my TrophyHusband, but I suspect that was more good luck than good planning.)

So my college boyfriend. I didn’t love him, but he was fun. (And boy did he loooooove me … he must have, because why else would he get so jealous about me talking to other guys, or having had previous boyfriends, or wanting to spend time with my friends and family instead of him? And why else would he say he would kill himself if I ever left him? You can see where this is going, I’m sure, but I couldn’t.) And boy did he love his mind-altering substances. You name it, he’s smoke/sniff/swallow it. (No injecting up to that point, but that was probably mostly from lack of opportunity.) And whatever the substance du jour, he would do the mostest of anybody. I once counted 36 shots of tequila in one evening.

My college was not a party school. At my school, the girls were anorexic (no, not me!) and the boys were premed, and there was a paucity of peddlers of mind-altering wares. But my boyfriend came from the inner city, and he had connections. He had the connections and the appetite, but not the cash. Hence a brilliant plan to provide a much-needed service to his fellow students was hatched.

It started small—a little vial of white powder brought from home. Sold briskly, with enough left over for some nice parties. Another couple vials. Then another. Pretty soon there were nightly scratchings at the door from desperate souls looking for a little more, a little more, a little more … and yet there was less and less as more and more flew up my boyfriend’s nose. (I was lucky, myself. I found it to be about equivalent to very, very expensive coffee. I’m lacking some receptor, I suppose.) He pretty quickly tapped out his sources from home.

In the meantime, I apparently hadn’t read enough women’s magazines, because I missed the article on 20 Ways to Recognize a Potential Abuser, You Dumbass. I developed a headache that lasted for a solid month, yet somehow failed to connect this to any problems in my personal life. I told you, I’m not smart that way.

The light finally went on for me was the day I unlocked the door and walked in on him and a actual armed, dreadlocked gang member standing in front of an actual balancing scale with actual heaps of white stuff. My boyfriend said something to the effect of my being ok, and I smiled weakly and pretended to fetch something and got the hell out.

Did I do the brave thing? No, I just hightailed it out of there and then dropped out of school for a year (which turned out to be an awesome thing to do, and I had enough AP credits to graduate in three years anyway). My ex did not in fact commit suicide when I left, nor, thank goodness, come after me. He miraculously escaped arrest, but did not escape ten years spent crawling around abandoned houses and, I think someone told me, losing an eye to some “accident.” He called me from a rehab once saying he was supposed to do the step of apologizing to those he’d hurt, but what he said was, “I don’t really remember most of what happened when we were together,” so I didn’t expect that attempt to take. (But from what I’ve gathered, he is now sober,  has a job and a daughter and a wife, and things are good.)

Take-Home Lessons:
  1. Read that article about 20 Ways to Recognize a Potential Abuser, You Dumbass.
  2. Don’t rely on me for relationship advice.
  3. Don’t use your own product.


Anonymous said...

Wow. "36 shots of tequila in one evening"? Wouldn't you die of alcohol poisoning? Acute liver failure? Or aspirate your vomit in your sleep?

I self-sedated with wine in the evenings after work for some of my thirties, and I thought I was developing a tolerance for the stuff -- but man oh man, I could never have held a candle to your b.f. In fact, I have NEVER done a shot of tequila -- although I did sip some once.

But back to the life-coaching, please, Dr. Mama, you know it's what we love.

OMDG said...

Now THAT'S a story.

I dated a bunch of "winners" until I found my husband. Not the same kind of winners as you dated, but winners nonetheless. It makes me eternally grateful that I wasn't expected to get married at 22 or WORSE, 18.

Can you link the 20 ways to recognize a potential abuser article?

Unknown said...

"Always easier to see the straw in someone else's eye and not the log in your own."
Very loose translation of French have the same in English?
Always easier to perceive what's wrong in other people's lives and organize other people's lives than your own.
That's why I should come to you more often for advices :)

Anonymous said...

Obviously you've never seen The Wire, wherein the immortal Omar explains that one of the rules of dealing is "never get high on your own supply."

You know (or maybe you don't) how people in the SOuth are always asking you if you've heard The GOod News? And then wanting to introduce you to their firend Jesus?

that's how I feel about The WIre. Like I'm going through life holding a secret to joy that so many people, so sadly, do not share!

It's true, the first few episodes, you're like, "Huh?" Then you realize it's the most complex and rewarding narrative fiction you've encountered since you first read Tolstoy, or Henry James, as a teenager.

Now you can't say I never gave YOU any valuable advice! ;-)


From the lion's mouth said...

""Always easier to see the straw in someone else's eye and not the log in your own."
Very loose translation of French have the same in English?"

Yes, we have the Bible in English these days as well. Apparently they translated it from French back in about 1880.