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Not the right one?

First of all, an aside to a wicked reader: This post isn’t to you or about you. I honor your judgment and love you as a friend.

I’m just a lonely cyclist looking for love. Funny the label I choose for myself. Cyclist. People I meet at parties or bars invariably ask, “So, what do you do?” And I’ll be in a quandary how best to reply. Galavant? Ne’er-do-well? Vagabond? I usually say “semi-retired,” which is in itself a grudging admission I won’t quite be able to bridge the gap to simply “retired.” At some point, I must re-enter the rat-race. Hopefully, on terms palatable to my delicate psyche. if I had my druthers, I’d answer “cyclist.” Because that’s who I am and what I do. I ride my bike. Problem is, that answer causes consternation and leads to more questions seeking an explanation, which I suppose isn’t a bad way to fuel conversation at a bar or party.

Truth be told, I don’t cycle enough. I let real life get in the way. Obligations. And TV. Stationary inertia. Errands. Driving. General time wasting. And kindness. i.e. I find myself so busy helping others, I don’t leave enough time for myself. No matter where I am, or who I am with, I need to be more selfish and carve out seat time. Invariably, riding leaves me feeling more invigorated and clear-headed. Yeah, I need to true to who I am, and ride more, even if it’s riding alone.

Looking for love led me back to California and an old friend this fall. I fell for her and spent a winter with her five years ago before becoming discouraged and returning to Minnesota. Occasional fruitless rendezvous over the years only perpetuated my discouragement. But did I give up too easily? In an apparent vacuum, she recently concluded she wanted me, and invited me back into her life. I get it that need isn’t necessarily love, and as before, chemistry is suspect. I wonder if I may not be the right one for her.

I came back to Minnesota for the holidays because my daughter who went to California with me got homesick and wanted to spend Christmas with her Mom. After the holidays, I intend to return to California and continue to help my friend who needs me. When I’m not riding my bike, I will simply love her unconditionally and strive to improve and become her “one.” If it doesn’t work out, I will chalk up the whole endeavor as helping a friend, which is always good karma.

Angel recently left a series of heart-wrenching voicemails on my phone begging for a get-together. Sex is always a strong temptation, but I finally took her call and turned her down for two reasons. Her being a train-wreck who is bad for me wasn’t one of them. But the fact she crossed the line when she went after my daughter can never be undone; I can forgive, but never forget. The other reason is loyalty to my California dream girl, despite no commitments being made.

Here is what I’m figuring out about dating: it’s like roulette strategy. One could hedge their bets by spreading their chips around, fostering this prospect or that. Hell, I admit being guilty of that kind of thinking even in some of my old blog posts, speculating aloud about various women in my life. My preferred strategy is to put all my chips on one square and commit 100% to that woman. California it is. No other prospects, no backup plan.

I sure hope my daughter elects to go back to California with me and go to beauty school there. She is old enough to stay in Minnesota and start life on her own. But I would miss her, and probably travel back and forth more frequently to help her.

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Real Men

If I have to ask what a “real man” is, I guess I’m not one.

Vegas was a bust. Pretty close to what I expected it to be, perhaps even a little less. Wasn’t even going to bother writing about it. Now, a week past freshness, I’ve already mentally erased most of the details.

Arrived before her, checked in, unpacked, answered the phone. “We” are here. She brought her little chaperone again. Sigh. After last time, I thought she said she wasn’t bringing him again. Kid doesn’t like the PBR (event), Vegas, or anything it seems beyond his video games. Never leaves the room unless he has to. Prefers room service over going to a restaurant. I would say he doesn’t like me, but how can I tell, he doesn’t seem to like anybody. Abject apathy. Hope he grows out of it.

So, separate sleeping arrangements, no public displays of affection, full decorum mode, as she tries to “protect his innocence” (her words) in a convoluted game of make-believe for the sake of a “happy” childhood. She has even moved the ex-husband back in her home, calls him “daddy,” boosts both their egos every chance she gets. Really no room for me in her life, in her head, in her heart.

She did drag her son out to one meet-and-greet, and took great pains to introduce him to each cowboy. No introductions for me, persona non gratis. It’s not like I’m jealous of a kid and whining about lack of attention, I’m only trying to illustrate how it was. As I usually do, I chose to make the best of a lousy situation, let it be all about her, and have fun playing personal assistant/staff photographer. Bobby Submissive.

Two of her PBR girlfriends (fellow fans) must’ve asked her about me being with her. I imagine she told them something dismissive, because one acted like she felt sorry for me, and the other seemed mocking.

Thank God I make my own friends and can fend for myself. I had fun with and without her. I really enjoyed the World Finals as J.B. Mauney went 6 for 6 and overtook the defending champ Silvano Alves in dramatic fashion and clinched the championship on the last day. The personal stuff didn’t live up to my daydreams, but what ever does?

I suffer from separation anxiety. Whenever parting from somebody I care about, especially with the possibility of never seeing them again, I feel like crying. And believe me, I’ve cried over CDG more than once. This time, no tears. I felt oddly buoyant.

Before parting, I did take the time to ask about “us.” Her response was rather noncommittal and impersonal, mostly about how complicated her life is.

We did follow up later with a few texts:
Me: For me, it was love at first sight. A love which grew during the winter I spent with you. But we didn’t quite click and went our separate ways. My California dreams faded over time, and now we are merely old friends who see each once or twice a year.
But every time I see you my heart aches all over again and I feel compelled to ask what yet may be possible. Trust me, I hear your discouragement and take it to heart.
I’ve led a good life with more than my share of big love. I am content, but It would’ve been nice to finish with a happily ever after.
Her: I see happily ever after in my/our future(s). I too trust our friendship and value it. I appreciate what you have to offer and look forward to seeing you out here soon. Someday, some man will take the time to prove himself to me. I don’t ask anything of friendships but definitely appreciate your offer of friendship and support.
Me: Thanks for including the “/our future” option. Maybe things aren’t quite as bleak as they seem. It’s the “prove himself to me” premise which trips me up. I still don’t grasp what this entails, nor do I believe I measure up.
Her: “Just do your part dude”

A real man would get what she expects, and just do it. I feel like I’m missing a secret decoder ring.

As I get back to my own life, I’m leaving hers in the rear view, this time for good. I swear.

And I am doing my part. But not for her. For me. My family. The future.

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If I Ever Love Again

Since people have switched to iPods and downloaded music, I’ve been buying up obsolete CDs at garage sales and “friends of the library” stores for as little as 10 cents each. Diedre and I have been listening through this large collection, deciding which ones to put in the car for driving music, to upload to our iPods, or set aside for art projects.

It’s an interesting exploration, to listen to different genres I wouldn’t normally choose, and artists I’ve never heard of. There have been some real gems hidden among the riff-raff. Even the less stellar albums have a catchy track or two.

Today, I played a Curtis Wright album from 1992. I don’t know much about country music, but I guess I’d describe it as having a “Nashville” sound. I would like to share some lyrics from “If I Ever Love Again,” (copyright Curtis Wright / Billy Spencer.)

“…But if I ever love again
I know one things for sure
If I ever love again
It won’t be like before
Cause losing you’s the price I’ve paid
To learn that love is only made to give
If I ever love again

When I think about the man I used to be
It’s no wonder that you just gave up on me
But standing here today
I just want to say
It’s my belief in what we had that finally set me free…

…If I ever love again, I tell you honestly
I’ll do my best to love her just the way that
you loved me…”

My life as a simple country song about loss and enlightenment! Not maudlin or pathetic. I’m simply in a good place, older and wiser.

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No Girl Trouble Oversight.

Totally forgot to mention the woman who stole my dog. Few years ago we had dated for a few months. Wasn’t much of a courtship, more like she met me and decided right off the bat she had to have me and like a force of nature wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. She eventually grew tired of me, and just as suddenly it was over. We remained friends, and when I had my second go-around with Angel, she agreed to watch my dog Cuba for me. Fell in love with him and refused to give him back. I was upset, but my philosophy is one doesn’t “own” a pet so much he or she is blessed with the animal’s company for however long God grants. Cuba had made a huge difference in my life by helping me overcome serious depression, but I figured it must be his turn to help someone who now needed him more than I did.

My friendship with Sheila went through several rough patches when she became verbally and physically abusive towards me. When she struck me for the second time, I severed all ties with her for over a year. I am particularly adverse to physical violence due to some trouble during childhood and being the victim of assault as an adult. Truth be told, I am a coward. Once again, not a real man.

I occasionally ran into her on club rides, and learned she was struggling with life more than ever, in financial distress and facing foreclosure, depressed with suicidal thoughts, and having lost most her friends, had nobody to talk to. I accepted her olive branch with conditions and started taking her calls again. After my dismal failure making a difference with Angel, I no longer fool myself into thinking I can “save” anyone. All I do is listen to Sheila’s troubles, “talk her down” when necessary, gently steer her towards professional help, and nag her about taking her meds. She is slowly turning the corner, but I take none of the credit, she gets all the credit. The nature of these things is 99% bootstraps, 1% encouragement. I am not a saint here. I get bored, annoyed, and resentful of the tedium. Official Status: Just Friends.

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No Girl Trouble Here

My ex-gf had been calling me. Flirting too. Been tempted. I’m only human, single, lonely. But my new-found paranoia of drama kicked in and limited my involvement to the occasional lunch and listening to her troubles. The other day she called in a panic after having been evicted from her new bf’s apartment for not being on the lease. (With her criminal record it’s pointless for her to even be on any lease application.) There’s obviously got to be more to the story; either her confrontational manner got her in trouble, or someone has it in for her and ratted her out. Perhaps the bf’s ex who is another whack job or Angel’s on-again/off-again loose-cannon bestie from the methadone clinic. It’s sad to witness Angel’s downfall from the peak of her profession, saving lives, making a difference, to drug addict and homeless. My biggest failure, I never made a difference. Everyone warned me she was bad news, but I imagined myself to be a troubled-woman-whisperer, but learned the hard way I’m not. Can’t save someone so hell-bent on self destruction. Thought about her homelessness for a day and decided to maintain the boundaries, couldn’t take her in even temporarily out of respect for my daughter (Angel went after her on “haywire day.”) Couldn’t give her any more “loans” other than some gas money, would only be throwing good money after bad. Official Status: Just Friends.

A blue-eyed blond hottie (like my former wife) in the cycling club started flirting with me and I flirted back. Turns out I was getting played. Clueless me the only person in the world who didn’t know she was dating a friend of mine in the group on the down-low, things were rocky between them and she was only trying to get him jealous. Sigh. Another friend clued me in, and I flat out told her she was off-limits to me. Funny thing, communication continued, and I’ve inexplicably become her confidant, usually about her troubles with my friend. A weird game, as I have no insight for her, and refuse to get in the middle. I don’t know what her deal is. Attractive, successful, wealthy, she is used to getting any man she wants, and can’t comprehend his foot-dragging and the possibility he doesn’t want her. At the heart of the matter I believe is deep-seated insecurity from an abusive husband putting her down for over 20 years. She craves being the center of attention, and needs being wanted to validate her. Official Status: Just Friends.

One last Vegas rendezvous scheduled with California Dream Girl. I say “last,” because I’m done chasing what I can’t have. How (and why) does this slacker keep getting involved with women so far out of his league? We’ve never had sex, she’s obviously not attracted to me, and there’s the long-distance thing. I couldn’t even begin to describe our “relationship.” I’ve had gfs here and she has her life there. Ex-husband has moved back in, old best-friend-(with-benefits) is still around, she’s still on the dating sites, and was reportedly engaged for a short time to some billionaire summer before last. No explanations, no apologies, none of it is any of my business, unless I’d care to ask, and I don’t. Live and let live. Point is there is no room for me in her current life. Only possibility would’ve been to buy a place on the coast and see if she’d come to me, but I’ve invested my limited resources locally for now, and there’s no Plan B. I hinted to bail on Vegas, but it’s still on, and I keep my promises. I could upgrade to the topless beach and admire her breasts, but I think I’ll bring my bike and go for a ride. Official Status: Just Friends

Meanwhile, the woman I should be with still isn’t ready for me, probably won’t ever be. I might’ve had a chance with her once, but the moment went south. I sometimes have the nagging sensation I’m supposed to chase her and not take “no” for an answer, but the problem with that idea is I DO take “no” at face value. Official Status: Just Friends

So there you have it, no girl trouble for me.

I’m sick and tired of still being so naive and immature at this age. I can’t seem to grow up, so my only recourse is to play mature and hope some of the acting sticks.

I am also embarrassed to feel like such a horn dog, too often looking at women in a sexual subtext. I understand objectification of women is wrong, but I often can’t seem to help myself. I like sex and want sex. I’ve been spoiled by a long marriage of awesome sex with a beautiful woman, and some rewarding relationships since then. Here is how I should look at it: I’ve had my time in the sun and more than my share. Now is the time to embrace being a gentleman bachelor. Be a friend to women. Stop acting horny and desperate.

Women want a “real man.” I hear this in media and song. If I knew what a real man was, maybe I could try to be one. I think it’s supposed to someone who is confident and takes charge. Except sometimes today’s take-charge man is tomorrow’s control freak. Who wants that?

I’ll settle for being a good man. A quiet confidence would be nice. Sensitive and caring. Yeah, that would be good enough for me.

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Misplaced

I am without my iPad. Very difficult to write on my piece-of-shit phone.

I misplaced it in Wisconsin along with my keys and checkbook. Pit-of-the-stomach dread until I was able to get home, access my daughters Mac, figure out my iCloud username and password, and use Apple’s awesome “find my device” feature to trace it. You can only imagine my sense of relief to see that blinking blue dot appear in friendly territory. Everything is being shipped back to me as we speak.

Until that minor bit of drama due to my own carelessness, it was an awesome weekend. Went to the Door County century ride with my friend Marco, and stayed at his dad’s house on Lake Michigan. Jogging on the beach, exploring the area, dining out, and making friends.

I’ve had a lot of nice rides this year, but I think this one was the best. Not only was the weather ideal for riding, the scenery was spectacular, and for once, I was able to do a 100-miler with a group. Usually, I’m living up to my “lone wolf” nickname by ending up solo on longer rides…

[got my iPad back, should finish this week-old post, but no longer fresh in my mind, just gonna wrap it up.]

Lone wolf due to my own fault, nobody else to blame. Higher priority on finishing due to botched 1st century helping others. Higher priority on my time due to fitness tracking. Impatience with long rest stops concerned with stiffening up.

This time different. Very equally matched riding partners. Marco slower and me faster? Marco’s friend Mike did the 70 route instead of the 100, but his girlfriend Robin rode with us, and she was strong and tough. I was able to prod Marco into shorter stops and on my end was more patient. Balance and compromise goes a long way to producing a great ride.

Post-ride dinner and beers and watching Packers game on big screen in cavernous hall. Good times. Fell asleep after getting back to house and missed goodbyes with Mike & Robin. Next morning leaving, realized probably never see her again.

How do I explain this?…I liked her a lot. As a person and as a riding partner, and a potential friend. She is attractive, intelligent, and personable, and would be the ideal girlfriend, but unlike my typical horn dog self, this is not my primary interest. There are boundaries in life, and due to my friendship with Marco and now Mike, she is 100% off-limits. It’s a given. But still a rueful sigh.

When I returned home there was email waiting from her. All very innocent group mail addressed to all of us, including her boyfriend: “Marko, thanks so much for letting us stay at your Dad’s. Please pass along our thanks. It was a beautiful day for a ride. Bobby, I really enjoyed meeting you and the ride together. Hopefully we can bike together again sometime soon.”

I didn’t know what to think. On the surface, it was all very above-board and innocent. Which is how I am going to officially regard it. On the other hand, a small part of me thought she likes me back, and was being rather clever in how she’s trying to keep the connection open.

Awkward ditz I am couldn’t decide whether to respond via group mail or just to her, much less what to say. And now the moment has passed. Sometimes being socially inept is geeky cool, other times it just plain sucks.

So, forget it. Life is easier and safer sticking with my existing one-sided unrequited deal. Why create more messes?

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Cursed

Yesterday went to hell, and I’m heading out of town for the weekend, so once again, no work on my story.

But I did google in quotes “did we do it” and multiple variations thereof. Most hits were proceeded by why or how, which were of no interest to me, but wading down I found some interesting results. Some troublesome, some amusing. This is my favorite: Someone Else – a short story by Karen D Fishler – Infinity Plus
http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/stories/someoneelse.htm
Why did you violate me and duplicate me, you monster, except to make a substitute — “. And suddenly she had flown at him and was hitting him and screaming at …

What is my fascination with no-sex-sleeping-together, i.e. cuddle buddies? I figured it out, and I think it goes way back to when former-wife (FW) and I met. She asked for a sleepover, just to cuddle. I’m pretty shy and non-aggressive and eventually fell asleep after finding limits, hand on boob ok, hand anywhere else not ok, and deciding it was just a snuggle event. But I awoke in the middle of the night to find her naked, all over me, and horny as hell. How we got our start. She later admitted this was her m.o. with guys who moved too slow, weren’t forward enough. A female passive-aggressive date rape wannabe. If a guy was like this, he would be regarded as a creep. On a sexy blue-eyed blond hottie, it’s a charming double standard.

I have since had a few other snuggle sleepovers, on camping trips and elsewhere, but none of them have materialized into anything more. But there’s always hope, and my fascination persists.

I took the Miata down to Montgomery to pick up the rig so Diedre and I could start moving our stuff over to the new house. I had made some measurements, and thought I could squeeze the Miata in and save a trip. Hours spent rearranging, hampered by dead electrics for the hoist and winch, I couldn’t make the Miata fit and had to leave it there.

I don’t believe in any of that paranormal crap. But every time I made a sloppy or grinding shift (driving a 10-speed Eaton is tricky because you don’t use the clutch and have to match revs) it’s almost like I could sense, not hear, my dead old man grumbling behind me. And the curtain to the back billowing in the wind behind me compounded the sensation someone was there.

On the drive up to St Cloud the exhaust broke. Truck was obnoxiously loud, but I decided to finish the trip and fix it in St Cloud. Less than 5 miles later the air brakes failed and the truck skidded to a stop on the shoulder. Air brake default is brakes locked up, which is why you see so many semi truck skid marks to freeway shoulders.

Stranded again. A month or so back, it stuck me on a lonely dirt road with fuel starvation during a storm. Next morning, I found myself changing fuel filters, crawling in mud underneath the truck to get to one, but avoiding an expensive tow. It might not be haunted by the ghost of my father, who was killed by the tailgate falling on him, but I’m thinking it’s at least cursed by his shoddy maintenance.

I know, I know, don’t speak ill of the dead.

Had to inconvenience family to get a ride to Montgomery to get the Miata. Lot of phone work to find towing capable of moving rig. I did learn a lot about procedures for releasing locked up air brakes. Education value alone made $300 towing charge slightly more palatable. Found a local truck shop I had passing knowledge of to have rig dropped at. Simple repairs, so I’m hoping they don’t gouge me too much.

Didn’t get home until 2:00am. But I’m headed to Wisconsin with friends this weekend for Door County century. Host is right on Lake Michigan, which will be nice. Having fun adventures like this makes up for a lot life”s daily struggles. Only drawback is their insistence I wear cheesehead wedge for Packers game. Good luck with that.

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