I always say that I will try anything once – fly fishing, sweetbreads, men with kids – but I draw the line at sleeping in a car. I am not homeless, I am not destitute, they have come up with a crazy invention called a bed…nope, I don’t need to sleep in a vehicle. I know that technically camping is sleeping in the dirt, more or less, but that is more about roasting marshmallows and drinking around a campfire. I knew that Rob and I were probably not going to be soul mates when he suggested, almost insisted, that we ‘save money’ and sleep in his car on a future trip. For multiple nights. It took a lot of self-control to not yell, “NEXT!” when he threw out that idea. But, before that, we did have some good times.
Rob called me up again when he decided that he and Crystal were just not going to work out. She was fine, he said, but he kept thinking of me and wanting to give it a go. I was flattered and decided to give Rob a whirl. Almost immediately he was ‘in it to win it’. Rob obviously didn’t have a very demanding job because he would write me these incredibly long, long, long, long emails every day, multiple in number, about his workout, what he ate for breakfast, what trips he wanted to take, helping me lose my kayak virginity and on and on. I like to write but, man, I need to do my job every now and again and I couldn’t keep up in correspondence with him. I could tell that he got irritated, slightly, but I couldn’t help that. I started to notice that Rob really hated his accounting-type job and was not at all concerned that he might lose it if he went on his adventure race or wrote me the equivalent of several novels every day. When I asked what he would do instead, he replied, “Oh, I don’t know. I think I would be a good firefighter or cop.” I am sorry? You are in your late 30’s, dude. You had better have a better plan than that. I was just not that impressed with his future planning. His current planning was beyond reproach, though, and I did learn to kayak, tolerate jogging and start a fire. I could compete with a Boy Scout any day of the week.
I will say that Rob was one of the more thoughtful guys that I have ever dated. He was constantly getting me little gifts or just doing things that showed he was paying attention. He knew that I spoke a lot of Spanish so he translated a whole poem by a Mexican poet for Valentine’s Day after making my favorite dinner. He constantly brought me flowers, left me notes or pretended to like what I baked. I took a trip to Kauai and, when I arrived back home, he had somehow gotten into my apartment and left me a card and flowers. Incredibly thoughtful? Yes. Borderline stalker behavior? Hell yes.
Rob was really, really intense and extremely earnest. It was not coincidental that he looked like a very cute Ron Howard. Golly, gee, he really did mean well about everything. One night we were watching a documentary about the Iron Man race and I noticed that Rob kept sniffing and sniffing. I thought he might be getting a cold, but no, he was practically sobbing that ‘these really decent people had reached their dream’. I am not a total heartless wretch but sometimes corny is just corny and saccharin is just saccharin and Rob didn’t ‘get’ that. Half the stuff that came out of his mouth sounded like a bad Hallmark card and it was never meant as a joke. When I travelled to Kauai with a friend, I went with the knowledge that Rob was just a little too intense and not nearly sarcastic enough for me. I did call and/or email him almost every day but, apparently, that was not sufficient. I remember standing in a bikini on a beautiful beach while he told me over the phone that, wow, he really thought I would miss him more and, geez, I didn’t sound like I wanted to talk to him and, boy, he was hurt I didn’t want to discuss his 30 mile run in minute detail. Back off, Rob, back off, back off. It wasn’t like I went 9 days and just dropped off the face of the earth but that is what he was acting like and I do not like that game. I spent the whole flight back thinking how I was going to end things and, wham-o!, there was a note and a vase of flowers waiting on my counter. Shit.
I knew I didn’t want to see Rob again so I called him the next day and told him that I didn’t think it was going to work out and I was really sorry. And I was sorry. He was a decent guy, he had met my parents and he would be able to help me survive in the woods in the event of a natural disaster but that didn’t make him the right guy for this girl. That was one of the most awful phone calls I have ever made. He cried, he pleaded, he wanted an explanation and he simply did not accept my decision. Wow. Uh, ok. I wasn’t sure how to ‘make’ him accept my decision and by the end of the conversation I was literally holding the phone away from my ear while he talked and pleaded and tried to cajole. Any conflict I had about the breakup disappeared up in smoke. Hasta la vista, Rob. I heard from him a couple of times after that call but he seemed to not be able to handle being friends. I can only hope he has found a real nice gal with whom he can revel in nature’s playground.