Friday, February 27, 2015

(part 286) You Better Be Careful Bob

                                   by paulo-zerbato

Sometimes the obvious is not so obvious, until you're standing in the wake of it's destruction. For me, it was another one of the mistakes I hadn't seen coming until it was too late.

It was sometime in 2010, I think, when problems began to erupt between Sharon and Paula on facebook. I was constantly fighting headaches, working on this blog, and repairing the roof at home. I had a full plate, and needed the mess between the two of them like I needed a gunshot wound. It was bad timing, but this kind of trouble always is. I got a message from Paula that said she could not stand anymore of Sharon's overt love comments on my page, that her fawning all over me made Paula extremely uncomfortable. She said she had no intentions of publicly competing with Sharon on facebook, because it embarrassed her. I asked her what I was supposed to do about it, because Sharon was an old friend of mine too. She had no answer, but made it clear that this was an ultimatum. All of a sudden I was caught in the middle of a feud between two women I had known in the 60's, who had both shown up on the internet and become online friends. I wasn't left with any wiggle room at all, and it felt as if I'd been hit in the face with a problem I had foolishly not thought about at all. It was exactly the kind of bullshit I didn't need. It pissed me off, because both of them had agreed in the beginning not to let this happen. I did not want to be in a fight with old girlfriends, I wanted to work. It's why I came to the internet in the first place. I felt as though my need to accomplish something important to me had been pushed aside, and replaced, by a bullshit battle between them. My initial response to Paula was, "Well fuck this shit, I know how to handle this, I'll just get rid of both of you," and that's exactly what I did.

After it happened I didn't hear anything except how unfair it was of me to delete them from fb. I responded by saying I didn't want to get stuck in a pool of quicksand. I told both of them I had better things to do with my time, and that they'd put me in a no-win situation with their bullshit. I stood my ground for awhile, but after a week or two I began noticing I really missed talking with Paula on the phone and in messages on fb. I'd grown accustomed to meeting her every night, online, and enjoyed the back and forth between us....It had been fun, but more importantly it had meant something to me. Meant something to my heart, and to my sense of connection, something I had lost long ago. I thought seriously about it, and decided I'd been forced into the position of having to make a choice between the two. Not anything I wanted or expected, but a choice nonetheless.

I reached out to Paula and told her I really missed her, and that she had nothing to fear from Sharon, because I didn't feel the same about Sharon as I did about her. Paula basically didn't believe me and was reluctant to hear anything I said. I told her I would keep Sharon off facebook and she wouldn't have to deal with her anymore. It took a lot of work to get her to believe me, but in the end she did, or so she said. But in doing this I put my foot in it again. Without meaning to, I gave Paula a shit load of power over me. I'd unwittingly put her in a position of control. She had complained and I had capitulated. From then on my emotional state was highly dependent on making sure she was satisfied, and for a long time it seemed to work. We continued, and even expanded, our nightly meetings on fb. I became far more open about my feelings for her and did not hold back in expressing them. I told her I loved her and that she had become the most important person in my life. I said these things, and meant them when I said them. She was the first woman in my life who I ever told over and over, "I love you!" But thinking back to that time, I can still recall that little voice in the back of my head saying to me, "You better be careful Bob, because you are getting in deeper and deeper," a voice that I pushed aside as nonsense, and an old familiar fear of commitment.