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comment by b_b
b_b  ·  4 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: October 23, 2022

Had a mini Hubski meetup of sorts last week with a once-active member of this community. The meeting was impromptu, given that I had some meetings in her city that were canceled, and thus was left with a free afternoon. So I took a chance and texted her to see if she'd have lunch with me. To my great surprise, she agreed without hesitation.

She and I met here on the site, and for a short time almost a decade ago became very close. Then, for complex reasons--age difference, distance, fear probable even--our short but intense relationship fizzled. Seeing her for the first time in many years was incredibly gratifying however. In the interceding years each of us has gotten married and had kids, changed careers, and just generally grown up to a place where our lives resemble our old lives in very few ways. And yet it was as if we just picked up where we left off.

I made the mistake of watching Everything, Everywhere, All at Once on the flight home. It's a poignant movie about regretting and not regretting all of life's choices--the places they could have but didn't take you.

Anyway, let me preface this next bit by saying I have it all. I have a hot wife who is a successful artist. I make a shitload of money (relative to what I thought I ever would, say) at a job I like, doing what I believe is some small good in the world. I have two kids who are the light of my life and whom I wouldn't trade for the moon and stars. So like I said, I have no complaints in life, and I try to count my blessings daily.

And yet. It is impossible to not think about what could have been. When you have spark and chemistry with someone, it's an unreplicable feeling, a rare and beautiful connection that I hope everyone gets to enjoy at some point in their life.

I've been in full crisis mode for the last week, beating myself up for ancient history that I though I had left behind years ago (which is of course made worse by the fact that I can't talk about at home...hence the Hubski Confessional). Analyzing the situation as fairly as I can while being a conflicted party, I think what happened was that I had a life plan, and I made an incorrect assumption about what she probably wanted from life. And she, being young at the time, early 20s, was probably too unpracticed at life to state plainly how she felt. And thus we parted ways, each believing that the other had no interest beyond sex.

As I've aged I've gotten really good at going after what I want. I was not good at that a decade ago. Mostly all you have to do in life is ask.

Anyway, I'm sure this mental storm will pass shortly. In the end, no matter who you end up with you fight about the dishes, get bored watching TV, have the same conversations over and over. It's too easy to think that things could be different when you get a couple hour long view into what wasn't. As Charlie Kauffman once wrote: Everyone is disappointing, once you get to know them.

kleinbl00  ·  4 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I put a social worker through grad school. Her entire family were Freudian psychoanalysts. Every Friday we'd go over to their house and violate HIPAA as they shot the shit about patients, therapy, and how you mindfuck people for money. She was also an emotional sadist; her jollies came from tweaking you when you were up so you would be down, and tweaking you when you were down so you'd be despondent. Once despondent you were reliant and once reliant she could crush you some more. Four years of that and you learn some things about emotions and human nature.

I bring this up because "introspection" plus "training" leaves you with "holy shit I coulda dated so many more girls in high school."

You gotta let it go, man. Mathematically? You're with that girl somewhere in time. Enjoy the hypothetical and enjoy the reality.

Li'l story. I built a car from the framerails up. I drove it from New Mexico to Washington, on my own, tweaking it as I went, breaking in the engine, discovering the auxiliary tank leaked and that I'd probably blown a head gasket because my cooling setup was, not to put too fine a point on it, designed by a seventeen-year-old. And somewhere north of Salt Lake and south of Boise I ripped past a girl with her thumb up and didn't even slow down.

Because, you see, if I broke down where would she be?

It took about a year for me to realize that if I'd broken down she'd be on the side of the road, exactly where she was then. Over the course of that year she'd become The Most Beautiful Girl In The World and also My Soulmate. There she stood, thumb perpetually up, for a good ten years at least. She even made it into a screenplay (that was a finalist for a fellowship I might add).

About Year 11 I realized I was obsessed with a glimpse at 80mph of someone who was more likely than not a drug addict or runaway or otherwise damaged human (I had a real thing for damaged humans) and that whatever romanticism I assigned to the outcome had nothing to do with anyone but me. It was liberating.

But there's an alternate universe where I picked her up. There's an alternate universe where we're married, there's an alternate universe where she's a serial killer.

Charlie Kauffman is a loser. Anyone who can take a story like The Orchid Thief and make it about themselves is bereft of insight. Find something other than sour grapes to chew on. You'll thank me.

b_b  ·  4 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Always sage words, and always appreciated.

Quatrarius  ·  4 days ago  ·  link  ·  

i have a lot less life experience than either of you but i have a lot of this kind of experience specifically - wanting is something i can relate to. i wrote something the other day that i had been meaning to put on hubski so i'll put it here

    Go attic-kept, unventured, unopened, arranged -

    Patched up with perfume on cracked-lipped crevices

    That caught man sticking:



    I beat him brutal; he breathes out breasts,

    I clot him steady; I cut him again.

    I paint him sore; he takes it green -

    Would that he had been ready:

    the woman unwilling.

wanting the future is okay - it's okay to want to lose weight in the new year or want to buy a sports car. it would even be okay to have thoughts of "what if i left my wife to marry this lady i love" - i mean okay in terms of it not being inherently bad for you. but wanting the past is always going to be harmful to you because there's no way to change it. it might be fortune-cookie obvious to say it, but it's obvious because it's important. potential reality is addictive and indulging in it can only ever be hurtful

i don't know anything, all i know is that i know what you mean by mental storm

Foveaux  ·  4 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Mental storm indeed. I used to spend a lot of time pondering the what-ifs, but a lot of the therapy into my anxiety was focused on that pondering. While normal me would think about the potential universe where this or that happened; the anxiety me would fixate on the chance that I inhabited the universe where a specific awful thing was 100%, without a doubt, going to happen.

As a result of the therapy, I don't ponder what-ifs much, these days. I'm thankful for it. I've had those mental storms, some anxiety induced, others echoing b_b's situation almost entirely.

I'm still young, but I feel like I have too few mornings remaining. Not enough sunrises. It's fuel though - these mornings are precious, and the time spent with the people I've wound up with, even more so. I agree, wanting the future is okay, and shit even wanting a future that didn't come to pass is something everyone entertains. Just don't let it stack up to the potential of this future.

kleinbl00  ·  4 days ago  ·  link  ·  
This comment has been deleted.
b_b  ·  4 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Thanks. Just getting my thoughts on paper and having you all confirm how ridiculous these thoughts are is making me feel better.

kleinbl00  ·  4 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Thing is? they're not ridiculous. They're stuff that happens to everyone and everyone has to work through it.

My present is pretty great but my past futures are amazing because the annoying shit that trips us up in real life never hits our potentials.