Ok kids, this is bound to be a doozy, since it was a helluva week…two weeks….month……..etc
So, let’s start with some background.
Denver, eh? Yes, actually I was headed out there specifically to meet a fella.
Meet a fella?!? ‘Geez,’ you’ll think – ‘she doesn’t even leave the house to hang out in her home town!’
True, true, but connections for me are few and far between. This gent (who shall henceforth be known as “Tim”) is one of few people I’d even considered meeting in person in the 2+ years I’ve been on the prowl…er…. in the dating scene.
Well, this story actually starts about two years ago.
Tim had contacted me shortly after I’d joined the fishie site. We had wonderfully twisted and witty back & forth emails. Unfortunately, we lived several states apart, and (semi-unfortunately) we both ended up meeting someone closer to home. So, like most people in my sphere, he dropped out of existence. But, for a time, we each had involvement, so I wasn’t stuck mooning over someone I may never meet anyway.
Fast forward 2 years. I was (slowlyyyyy) getting over my quick-burnout courtship. Facebook, that wonderful, yet creepy stalking ground was continually suggesting “friends” to connect with. They look at your email history, and I believe your IM contacts tied to that address, too. (I TOLD you it was creepy).
Anywho, Mr. Tim was indeed listed in their suggestion pile. So, remembering the conversations I’d looked forward to, I swallowed my pride, hesitation, and general anxiety of begging someone to be my friend. So, I hit “Send Request” and let the fates do what they will.
OH THE AGONY!!!! The non-rejection!!! (It was about this time I discovered the ‘not now’ option for friend requests. Yes, this is serious – like maybe if I do 100 push-ups, get breast-enhancement surgery, or chug some brew, you’ll consider me cool enough to ‘friend’… but, as of right now… it’s a pass).
The SHAME! The self-esteem vacuum! The urge to curl up with some liqueur-filled truffles & watch John Cusak movies!
Haha, ok, it wasn’t that bad (though the truffle movie-fest really does sound pretty good right now).
I had FB friends! Sort of… Some of whom I’d actually met in real life (and, of course, an ever-growing population of family friend requests). And I had a job, my camera… and other things to keep me busy. Like the lady in the Valtrex commercial, “I HAD a life” (but, thankfully, not the herp)…
Ok, not a full-on social life, but again, I wasn’t holding my breath or in fetal-position mode.
Time passed. In my world, that means most things stay the same. Work, eat, sleep, internet surf, hope for something better…
Suddenly one day, logging onto my FB, I saw my friend request was accepted.
Oh rapture, oh Joy!!! I am SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE!! The “I must, I must, I must increase my bust” exercises must have paid off!!
He had just recently moved to Denver from his Ohio home, and was finally getting over his last relationship. It was the right time for both of us to reconnect.
So began again the witty back-and-forths, sharp observations, and borderline scarring…. yeah, you know that’s my doing. I actually gave out my # for texting – and we KNOW how rare that is!!! Plus, we added back regular emailing – so it was super funness on 3 fronts! (I have to work up to actual voice convos, but, hell, that’s still a lot of communication).
VD came & went (Valentine’s Day for those of you who actually HAVE a significant other). Solo, of course. But, I get a text asking if the chubby one targeted me. Nope – I’m wily, no arrow wounds for me. At that I got a disappointed text that I had alluded the love-inducing imp. AND a later text admitting that Mr. Tim liked me, and another asking my side. OF COURSE, I can’t come right out and say whether I do. That’s too neked! But, I did admit I hadn’t run away yet (Laura code for – there is interest)…but begging not to be put on that spot. It’s too open & bound to come back and bite me in the ass (of course, I’m super open about my trust difficulties, hermitism, social discomfort and other issuess-ss-sss.) But, it was out there – there was some degree of mutual interest. Again, for me – a rarity.
Then, during one mutual drinking day, he brought up the idea of one of us visiting the other. (It’s not under the ‘alcoholism awareness alert’ if you’re drinking with someone….who happens to be over 1500 miles away, right?)
The timing couldn’t have been better – I was having major stresses & changes to deal with at work & was FAR overdue for a vacation. After feeling (re)connected, and SORELY needing some time away, I decided to combine a meeting and holiday. Plus, my quest to see any and every part of the world was certainly satisfied with the proposal. So, HELL YEAH!!! Someone I like, feel compatible with, mutually attracted – who actually WANTS me to visit?!? TRIPLE WORD SCORE!
So far, so good – we were both game and I had more than 6 weeks’ worth of time I could take.
And… a deep breath. I made the decision – it was GOING TO HAPPEN!!!!!
Now for the fun (aka: Super Stressful Planning Stage). Once everything is sketched out & I have my transport & lodging booked, I’m fine – until then, my mind is a spastic starving, testy TAZ on a cranial rampage. Seriously it’s not pretty.
So, I asked if he’d help scout hotels and things to do there, which was happily agreed to. In the meantime, I work, internet surf in my spare time, check out some possibilities, and wait for the help that’s been promised…
…and I wait…
The few messagess I get are vague, and give me half-answers…with no followup when I ask.
R’uh r’oh. This does NOT bode well.
One night I was checking out Southwest’s site to see where the rates were on the “Arm & a Leg” scale. And shocker! There must be a glitch on these internet prices!!! I actually went downstairs to have my mom confirm on her computer that the Providence-Denver one-way $99 rate wasn’t some weird hallucination. $99 EACH WAY!!! Holy shite! That’s like hitting the aero-lotto! I immediately text Tim & give him 2 sets of possible dates for me to fly out. No answer. Ok, I wait another hour or so (exhibiting major self control, I might add)…before sending the followup “WHERE ARE YOU?!? THIS IS TIME SENSITIVE!!” plea.
Well, I book anyway. Look, there are some opportunities blatantly obvious enough for ME to know the necessity of pouncing. D. U. N. Done! I later get a text that he was in the middle of a photo session w/a large family. Dammit (I do NOT want to be the naggy-interrupting-work chick!!!) But, the dates are workable, and all is good – so I chose wisely.
Great start to this venture with uber-cheap flights. But, as we all know, I somehow ALWAYS manage to veer from the yellow brick avenue that is Easy Street.
So terribly, terribly far off.
Time slips on, running away from me much like the friends I wish I’d had. I continue to try to solicit help, and get messages few and far between. Eventually, almost solely on my own, I have the beginning of a tentative itinerary in place.
I find ONE specific place & ONE specific event I want to go to during my trip. A friend of mine recommended staying a night or 2 at Glenwood Springs – a 3 hour drive from Denver. There are natural hot springs to enjoy, as well as a theme park with cave tours. And, while I’m in CO, one of my favorite singers was scheduled to play at the Aspen Songwriter’s Festival. To my delight, Tim said he’d work on getting press passes for the show, thanks to his photography connections. That would be awesome! [And it actually takes a day to dawn on me that would mean not having to pay for the show(s)]. So, I hold off buying the tickets, and the hotel rooms for whatever night(s), we’d be in Glenwood Springs.
And, I continue to hold off….EVERYTHING. Some cryptic and vague messages come in, but no definitive advice or plans.
Facing many WTF moments, I seethe, fume, hope, wish, check for word, sulk, worry, and keep trying to make contact.
Finally, one day a media message comes through my phone. Damn, this is going to take extra minutes to open. Frickin’ tracfone. I’m in the office at work, on lunch, when the text comes in. My friends and coworkers are there to hear me gasp and sigh when the picture downloads.
What is it – a beefcake image? Cheezeburgerz kitty forward? Picture of an African prince who needs a little donation to liberate his country?
Nope, unfortunately it’s a pic of my friend plugged into monitors in a hospital room. (I mean, !!!!!!!!!!)
Fuck, I’m an asshole. Evil thoughts, insecurity, frustration and stewing abound from a lack of responses to my increasingly-irritated messaging/e-mailing frenzy. And, here he’s been, in obvious medical distress.
Yep, turns out SOMEONE was busy dealing with memory issues, pain, disorientation, and blood in his urine. (I later find out he had really bad e coli poisoning).
Way to go, Pepto. You really are a piece of work, Jerk.
So, some questions answered at least. I know why I hadn’t heard from him, and the lack of detail in his messages was definitely answered by his stint in the hospital. And the fact he’d basically been in a fog for the past week or so due to the toxins effecting his body & brain, as well as the opiates he is currently on for pain. And bonus: Mystery solved without invoking the spirit of those meddling kids!
But, hot damn, do I feel like an impatient tool!
The pic was sent from his parents on his phone. I text back asking to know if he’s ok, what hospital he’s at, etc. Anyone who knows me is aware of the obnoxious & very involved presents I come up with. At the very least, I was hoping to send him a ginormous balloon! And, of course at least have the peace of mind he was ok…someplace.
Alas, I didn’t receive a response to my query. Though I was checking my phone every 15 minutes or so, no messages came back. So, I went back to waiting, hoping for messages/word (and trying to concentrate on making my plans).
Finally, some days later, he sends word he’s out of the hospital, still kinda wonky, and on pain meds. They’d tried every test possible to diagnose some of his symptoms – and the ever-dreaded SPINAL TAP among them!! Yecchhh! Kids, I’ve had a bone marrow test, where they dig into your hip bone to extract some gooey goodness. It is probably in the top 5 of most painful tests of modern medicine. The ginormous needle sucking up spinal fluid… #1 !!!
And STILL some symptoms remained a mystery. Again, I can empathize – having many teeters with ‘we’re not sure what’s wrong with you…or how you got it’ before earning a new Disease of the Decade!
But, he is a trooper (and on pharmaceuticals), and when asked, is still willing to help. Unfortunately, the follow-through still isn’t there – much to my chagrin.
Finally, we have a phone convo (well, a yahoo convo – hooray for NOT having to use my tracfone’s minutes!)… I had asked him to open a yahoo messenger account – with the devious plan of the reward of an actual voice-to-voice chat. It goes ok – a few laughs, a few ‘what’ as we talk over each other, but very few pauses. So, that’s a winner in my book. Finally sinking in how much time’s been wasted, and how close the trip is, he eventually suggests we take an upcoming afternoon together online to try to think of possible events around Denver to check out. I am skeptical as to its fruition as I feel a bit blown off by his lack of finalizing anything. But, I cut a lot of slack because of his recent medical drama. There were a few occasions he was asking advice on places/events from his friends…but didn’t give me any definitive info. However, he later admitted to drinking with the peeps, and the concepts just becoming super ridiculous. Ok, fine, I’ll wait (SOME MORE), as we inch closer to the actual flight!
Yeah, I’m starting to really dislike the situation (can’t blame the person, but can definitely loathe the soul-sucking black hole of dangling doom). I HATE waiting for people because, as much as I love you all – EVERYONE lets me down, drops the ball, stumbles into some all-consuming scenario, or irritates me with a general lack of commitment to the task at hand. Seriously, again – once I have an idea of what’s in store, I’m FINE! Everything left up in the air….well, I know it’s eventually succumbing to gravity. Hey, that’s not my control-freakishness, kids – that’s PHYSICS!!!
So, I resign myself to wait some more. Finally, the appointed afternoon comes. It’s off to a decent start – he sends me a webpage of Denver events to check out, while he looks into things on his end. I check it out – all 75 pages! And choose a few potential outtings. I’m also psyched he mentioned a real speakeasy in the city we’ll visit. And, of course, my palate will most enjoyably partake in Rocky Mountain Oysters! It’d be something new for both of us to try & that’s an AWESOME choice!
I still feel kinda alone in this research, though he gives some input on a few finds I direct his way.
At one point, he says he has to leave – he’s spilt beer on the keyboard & has to go buy a new one. DAMMIT! More waiting!!! I strongly disapprove (but what can I do?) So, off he goes. I keep checking in, he says he’ll be back soon. Meanwhile, I’ve exhausted the events pages, and still don’t know where I’m staying most of my trip. OF COURSE I’m a stressball by now.
Another hour or so later, I text again. He’s decided to buy a new computer. WHAT?!? I reply “just let the damned thing air dry!!” or something similar (meaning don’t buy a new computer if it’s your keyboard). The reply of “Wow. Ok. Leaving soon” seemed a bit put off, but at this point I didn’t care. This was supposed to be MY afternoon, DAMMIT & my trip was less than a week away! And, still I wait. I check in again – seriously, it’s probably been a couple of hours at that point. Finally he admits he’s not the one driving.
So, I’m hanging my sanity on someone else’s whims. That flippin’ figures! Snazzin-frazzin-frickin-frackin suck sandwich!!! (Yes, the most serious irk factor brings out Yosemite Sam swearing!)
Things still in the air: Whether I need to rent transportation (he hasn’t gotten his car yet and no confirmation if he can borrow one for our road trips), where we’re visiting & when, where I’m staying. You know…minor things really.
Is it a WONDER I’m near my limits? And, let’s not forget – this is amidst work stress & EXTRA work stress as no one’s trained to do my job & I’m due back to work the day before physical inventory. This all is just the icing on the crap cake.
Again we go back to the game. A few messages, confirmation of a couple of possible places to stay. I book & send a tentative schedule. As he continually asserts, he’s down for anything. So, ok, it’s booked & I’m getting ready to go.
IT’S BOOKED AND READY TO GO!!!
With whole DAYS to spare!
Ok, I can start to breathe again. This IS going to happen. I’ve booked the concert (actually bought 2 day passes for 3 shows), hotels, etc. I know when I’ll be in each city, and bought some last minute items. I have a plan in place. Tim sends a text that he’s excited about my visit, and, in spurts, I’m getting excited about it, too. All is bueno, and we are back on track, baby!!!
FINALLY, it’s Monday – the day before I leave. I’ve packed (well, ok, OVERpacked), and after an agonizing count-down, my work shift is finally OVER. I am officially ON VACATION!!!! HOORAY!!!!!!!! Hello again, Easy Street – I look forward to following your pleasant scenic route!
Angels sing, willows weep, and stars buck into frothy caffeinated caramel goodness. All is good with the world.
…and then I get the text:
“Going to e.r. I can’t remember shit. Having trouble”
As I go downstairs to tell my mom this latest development, I miss his followup phone call. Listening to the voicemail, it is obvious he is very upset, at least little scared, and frustrated at his situation. He had a doctor’s appointment that afternoon he completely forgot about, and from the sounds of it, he was also having problems remembering my impending arrival!
I leave a message – tell him not to worry, do what he needs. I’ll rent a car, to preempt him sending someone or trying to get to the airport to pick me up. He says he’ll contact me after he talks to the doctor. A little while later, I get another mass-texted picture. You guessed it – he’s back in the hospital, and they still have no idea what’s wrong with him. I can only hope he’ll be ok and able to join me for at least part of my trip. I’m hopeful, but well aware of my old friend Murphy lurking close by, ready to lay down his law.
Goodbye yellow brick road……..
Stay tuned for the next (hopefully riveting) episode of LAURA’S DENVER TRIP!
Coming up: Denver arrival, a missing friend, sanity survival. How will it end?