Pick Up

The apartment is trashed.

When I first moved in, I had been keeping the place somewhat tidy. Somehow, it seemed so easy to do, but maybe I was able to keep it so tidy because I didn’t have much in the apartment at the time.

At some point, it didn’t come as easily to keep the place clean. Maybe it was losing that extra day off, when my 10-hour days went back to 8-hour days at work, and I just needed a day to myself to do absolutely nothing. But then it was knowing that I still had things at J’s place, and just thinking about the effort it would take to pack things into my car and then bring them here and then climb the stairs to the second floor,… I’d be exhausted before even heading over.

I think part of it just came from the time I spent talking to that Filipino guy. It was a drug, being given massive amounts of praise that I barely felt I deserved, but then I’d have to wait a few days to receive more praise. Yeah, sure, it’s the highs and lows of infatuation or whatever, but I was losing myself in it. I was eating more after work, even getting fast food. I was trying to figure out if there was any way I could get him to write back to me sooner, or if delaying my replies would help keep me from hitting the lows. At the start of May, however, he was going back to his family and spend more time with his son, and I suspect there’s a significant other in there as well. Now without him for a month, I’m actually doing better.

I tried for a promotion at work. I had a feeling that it would cause me to lose my weekends, and I learned I was correct to think that once I found out what the intended schedule would be. Well, I had a limited selection of attire that could be remotely considered professional, and I knew I had a few things at J’s that I might also need, including my portfolio (basically a leather-like zippered binder that I use as a fancy résumé holder). Although I did move quite a few things during the weekend before I was invited to the interview. I assumed I would still have another weekend to prepare, which I did not. So while I did fairly well on the interview, I went in unprepared (by my standards, anyway), but did not get the position. I can’t even say I failed this, because the person who got the position was my trainer for the job. I’d feel worse, and definitely confused, if I knew I was chosen instead of her.

Following my attempt at a promotion, I spent the next two weekends getting my stuff out of J’s. All I lack are things that need special handling.

I have my television in the apartment, which I went without for over 4 months. I’m impressed by that, however I was substituting my computer in that time, using my phone as a hotspot so I could get on the internet and watch YouTube and Hulu, and using the disc drive to watch DVD movies. With the television back in my possession, and with the Playstation 4 hooked up once more, I’ve been filling my free time with video games and Blu-ray movies. Unable to get the PS4 to detect my phone as a hotspot, I’ve played through Kingdom Hearts 3 without the obligatory day-one update that all games have these days, though without that update, I’ve missed part of the ending of the game (it was announced that that update was needed because the ending had been expanded upon). Another thing to note is how annoying the PS4 is when it doesn’t have an internet connection; while I can play video games and such, I can’t turn the console on with the controllers, and I have dialog boxes that pop up to tell me it’s not connected to the internet when I just want to see the trophy I earned (the data of which would be saved offline regardless). I do feel somewhat happier now, though I’m not sure if the endorphins were fired off because I’ve made the effort of moving such things into the apartment, or if the little victories that come as you progress through a video game are the reason why I feel pretty good right now.

I mean, I’ve also lost floor space. Part of that is due to laziness, I’ll admit, as I haven’t actually done anything with some of the bags that I’ve carried in. But I have more of my stuff here! But… I’ve been living without it… And with most of the bags, I was sorting through things at J’s, with the intent of maybe throwing away things that I might not want anymore. At best, sorting through things allowed me to see what I had and where I had it, so when I was removing bags from the car, I could prioritize certain ones (especially since I didn’t want to leave candles in the car if an exceptionally warm day was approaching). Of course, to make more space in the car, I had to remove bags as I got them here, and not knowing what I really wanted to do with the contents, I would just set the bag on the floor with the intent of taking care of it “later.” So now I have a labyrinth, and a cat who’s bored because he can’t bat around his toys as well as he used to. Needless to say, I’m in the process of fixing that.

I was running out of space in the closet as well, not for storing stuff, but just for hanging clothes. I didn’t mind, as I figured it might entice me to get rid of more clothes. I had intended to leave my closet rack thingy at J’s, the thingy that I got when I lived at Libra’s, but J wanted me to bring it to the apartment. And put it where? Widthwise, it goes from the closet doorway to the door of the refrigerator, so it actually fits without interfering too much. I put all my t-shirts on the rods, which leaves the actual closet for my dresses, skirts, and everything else that I don’t wear often. On the side shelves, I have the bins I’ve been using for my socks, underwear, and my pajamas, and everything feels a little more spread out, like there’s a little more room to breathe. Granted, the rack still takes up floor space, but it’s actually quite helpful to have it here… don’t tell J, because I was trying to leave it there to help him out, but his insistence on me keeping it has helped me out a bit.

This weekend, I attended the annual festival in my hometown on Saturday, then today I spent some time putting things away and reclaiming some of that floor space I’ve lost. I still have a lot to do around the apartment, like I’ve been neglecting to clean the stove, but I feel so much better now that it’s hard to explain. It’s like, yeah I have to clean the stove, but knowing I don’t have to get dressed and go to J’s to get more things, I won’t feel like I’m blowing him off if I decide to clean the stove instead, and I probably won’t shut down and do nothing at all because I won’t feel like I’m pulled in so many directions that require me to spend a lot of time and energy.

I have to say, if this much is the start of a new chapter, then so far it feels pretty decent. There may not be a new love on the horizon, or a new job, but there have been changes, and it feels like progress is being made. Let’s embrace this and hope for the best, shall we? life


The Japanese Mind – Haragei

I’ve been working on this blog, Ascension of Luna, for over two years and over 100 entries. Most of my entries exceed 1,000 words, which isn’t difficult to do when I’m really passionate or excited to talk about a subject or even to tell a story from my life. You could say I’m driven by emotion, that I pour out my heart into each entry.

However, the Japanese have a saying: “words are the root of all evil.” Yeah, I know, in the Bible, money is the root of all evil. But to the Japanese, it’s words and communication. I suppose the phrase isn’t wrong. How many times have people said, “I’m going to kill him,” when they’re angry and frustrated, though they have no actual intention of committing murder? Or my last entry, about uchi and soto, could be misinterpreted as me being against my country because I brought up some negative aspects about it (but let’s face it, you can change things any way you want, and someone would still want things to be different).

Maybe I should quit this entry while I’m ahead? After all, I’m just starting the third paragraph and I may have already bothered someone. But perhaps I should practice haragei instead.

Hara translates to “belly,” while gei means “art.” Hold on, that can’t be right. How would the words for “belly” and “art” refer to communication? Let me check the book… it literally means, “art of the stomach,” and it’s how the Japanese convey what they’re thinking or feeling without actually saying it.

“Hey, we do this too!” you say, enthusiastically. “Why, just the other day, I took my roommate’s clothes out of the washing machine and left them in a laundry basket, soaking wet, because I’ve been waiting 3 days to do my laundry and I needed to get my point across.” No, you’re confusing haragei for being passive-aggressive, and it’s completely different. Think of a group of people wanting to do something fun and adventurous, five of them want to do a haunted house attraction, but the sixth person wants to ride the roller coasters at an amusement park. The sixth person isn’t likely to give her suggestion, but she will probably hesitate and not be emphatic when she agrees to do what the rest of the group has decided.

“Why didn’t she just speak up? Maybe someone else in the group would think that going to the amusement park is just as good as going to the haunted house.” That’s the thing; if she spoke her mind, she would be outside the group, which would bring us back to uchi/soto. The idea is to keep the rest of the group satisfied, even if it means giving up what you want. Also, it’s possible that a differing opinion can be viewed as an attack on the person directly and not just their opinion, so in the end, it’s best to not “rock the boat” and cause a conflict.

It sounds like the perfect way of communicating, right? You can never say you opposed a plan or an idea, because you never said those words directly. You avoid countless arguments with friends and family this way as well. And yet, maybe you’re seeing some of the potential issues. After all, if you’re getting bored of Starbucks all the time, and your friends interpret your response to going as if something else is bothering you, then they’re not likely to change where they go to get a coffee. Or if that dress really does make your wife look fat, and she wears it anyway because you held your tongue and didn’t want to start an argument, it could backfire when she looks at any pictures taken of her when you both are out for the evening together.

I was reading CultureShock! Japan recently, which said that Japanese people often “ghost” not only the people they’re dating but also their friends. “Ghosting” is the term used to describe the act of ceasing all further contact with another person without telling the other person that you’re going to stop talking to them. Being someone from the West, where ghosting is also a common practice, it seems infuriating to be ghosted, as you want some kind of closure, you want an explanation of why the person isn’t talking to you anymore. But in Japan, it’s a matter of using as few words as possible to express what you want while trying to avoid conflict.

And then there’s me. I never feel as if I’ve expressed myself clearly, so I say more than I should at times. Or if someone stops talking to me, I send a message and ask if I said or did something wrong or if they’re dealing with something in their own life (usually I figure I did something wrong). I’m also someone who has been told that my mouth will get me in trouble; you would think I’ve learned something, but I guess I haven’t had the right lessons. Well, if I’m going to Japan, I suppose this should be my lesson, otherwise I’m not likely to make too many friends while I’m there.

Gotta Make That Bread…

Operational hours at work are being reduced soon. Voluntary overtime has been taken away, and the only ones who can add to their weekly hours are the ones who have less than 40 hours scheduled. This comes after an increase in the state’s minimum wage, which has caused our center to be the most expensive one on the books.

I’m all for increasing wages, but not for corporate greed.

Rumors are flying that our center will be closing soon. So much has changed in regards to staffing and payroll in just three months, it’s hard to say how long it would be before they do decide to close our center. Some say it’s really only our department facing so many changes, which means if they phase out our department, many of us will be forced into the other department or handed our walking papers.

Today my mindset was such that you’d think my last day was one month from now. I was updating my online resume, also looking to see what job openings there were. I tweaked my dating profile, because you never know, I could end up some billionaire’s Rubenesque mistress (fat chance of that), or maybe I could meet someone wiling to co-habitate who doesn’t have a pending court date and won’t be jailed in a few months. I even considered setting up a GoFundMe or something, because it seems easier to get 100 people to give you $1 than to get one person to give you $100.

I thought about rounding up things to sell. Mind you, I hardly have anything at the apartment yet. So I considered running to the storage unit to grab a few things that I know are there that I could start selling, and while I was there I could try to get a few more things I may need or want. But it was cold today, and the gusts of wind have been blowing with such force that it’s a wonder there’s still a roof over the apartment. I told myself to just look at what I did have, and consider each thing individually. I forced myself to choose one shirt that I couldn’t imagine wearing anymore. I took a reusable shopping bag, opened it up, and decided that that’s where I was going to start my collection of things to sell.

I was talking to J about it, and said that while I’m dying to play video games again, I was going to hold off on moving the TV into the apartment. He told me I should do it regardless, as it would be a good way to “de-stress.” I shot down that idea, as a good idea to de-stress is to make sure I have no reasons to stress in the first place. If I can either bring in enough money consistently, or have enough money put aside (again) to cover at least some of my expenses, IF I happen to lose my job, then I won’t have to worry about it. The TV would only distract me, and I’d end up procrastinating and not preparing myself.

I mean, I JUST got this apartment. I was able to get this apartment because I kept throwing money into my savings account, not that I anticipated that I’d be using it as a security deposit on my own place. But I did this, and the last thing I want is to lose it all as quickly as it came, and end up back where I started.

It’s sometimes said that the bad things that happen in life open the doors to the good things to come… and then there’s something about paths… I don’t know. I walked in to work, and I was thinking about how this could force me to get a remote job, which is ideally how I want my life to go when I seriously start planning to go to Japan. And who knows? Maybe this anxiety-driven mindset that’s making me prepare in advance will also help me over there as well.

I’m over here, trying to do as much as I can with as little help from others as possible. I may be succeeding, but we’re all a missed paycheck or two away from being homeless. I’m driven by a desire to not let that happen.

Being Without In The New Place

It’s now February, and I’ve been in the apartment for a whole month now. It’s been peaceful, quiet, busy, stressful, fun,… it all depends on the day.

I haven’t moved my TV in yet, which I’ve managed to do without. I’ve used my computer for watching DVDs, and my phone for streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. Now that I have Kingdom Hearts 3, and I have a desire to get back to playing the Yakuza games I was working on, I’m itching to get the TV moved in. And yet, since not having a TV has allowed me to focus on other things (like writing to people, getting back to Japanese lessons in Duolingo, working on that novel I swear I’m actually writing and will finish,…).

I don’t have a toaster. I do have a toaster oven, but it’s in storage at this time. So far, I haven’t needed it, I’ve toasted bread on the cooktop stove. Oh yes, having a griddle built in to my stove has been wonderful, except when trying to make eggs, because the apartment has a weird slant, and my eggs run to the side.

I also don’t have a microwave. J spoke as if I didn’t have a microwave yet. “You can get one for, like, $50,” he said to me. I looked at the cheapest microwaves, and for $60, I can get one that will fit a coffee mug. Plus, a microwave is heavy, and I’d have to carry that to the second floor. Not only that, but I’d have to get something to put it on, since I have enough counter space for my knife block. I love leftovers as much as the next person, but I can use a saucepan on the stove just fine, or the oven, depending on what I’m reheating. Or I can take food to work for lunch, because there are microwaves there.

It’s amazing what you can do when you limit your options. In my case, I get creative.

So after everything that life has thrown at me, and even though the deposit on this place sapped me of my savings, I became more determined than ever to focus on Japan, to figuring how to get there and when, figuring out what I need to fix financially, all of that. I’ve been coming home from work, doing my daily lessons in Duolingo, then writing to my friend in Japan about whatever came to mind. We had been talking every day; I would write to him to close out my day, and then he would end his day by writing back to me, and I would wake up to his message and it started my day. A few days ago, he stopped writing to me. I figured he was upset at something I said, so I explained myself on a few statements I had made. I had no response. It doesn’t appear as if he has been online, so… I don’t know. I felt like I finally understood him, that I finally understood what I needed to be. I decided on him, I carved out part of my day to spend on him, I valued his opinion (but perhaps had too many of my own opinions that I shared). He had always mentioned wanting to have a child, and often looked for the motherly qualities in me, and while I don’t really want children, some part of me thought that maybe it would be all right if I were loved and revered for creating a new life with this person. So I guess that, now that I’m not living with J or Libra, the absence of my Japanese friend is hitting me harder because I don’t have my sights set on anyone else. All my hopes were on him, I was determined to right my wrongs and focus more seriously on what I wanted and needed to do.

I mean, there’s a new guy at work who is of Japanese descent, and knows Japanese, but he’s too young for me. His mom currently lives in Japan, but in Tokyo, and I want to get to Osaka. And still, when I look at him from the side, his hair falls the same as my friend in Japan.

Perhaps it was fate, albeit the cruel mistress thereof, when I had a Kansaijin write to me on OKCupid, when I was newly single and was aimlessly planning to go to Osaka with the money I no longer had. I made it this far out of that pit of despair, and the whole time, he was there, even if he was halfway around the world.

Ah, Valentine’s Day is almost here. Me being me, I imagine being surprised by him, showing up at my doorstep unexpectedly. In a week, I might have moved on, however. By Japanese traditions, it would be on me to give him chocolate, and if I don’t know he’s going to be here, I can’t prepare for that. Then again, if he’s going by American traditions, then I’d be receiving flowers… and Valentine’s flowers are a no-no for me because I don’t want anyone spending twice as much on the same flowers that can be purchased any time of the year. But let’s be real about this, I’m delusional if I think his absence is leading up to something.

But what am I worried about? I have my own place, now, I can date anyone… well, anyone who actually wants to go out on a date. Or I can take the time and money that I’m saving by not dating, and focus on the trip to Japan that I want to have. Actually, that’s the better option, because I’ll be damned if I’ll let someone in my life who wants to criticize my bagel and condiment choices. You don’t like Miracle Whip? Bye Felicia.

Yeah, this apartment is a reminder to me of how incredible I am, how far I’ve come and who I want to be. I made it through the first month on a tight budget, without asking for help from anyone. So I must press on; if I lose people, I know I can still carry on by myself.

After all, I’m pretty creative when I have to make up for the lack of something.

That, Too, Did Pass

“Tire is shot,” he told me. “Worn almost to the belt.”

Thankfully it wasn’t my car, and it wasn’t a mechanic telling me that. My car, which I’ve had nearly 9 years now, is running smoothly. I suppose an oil change will be needed soon, though.

At this time, I can’t afford new tires for my car, nor can I afford new brakes and rotors, all of which seem to need to be replaced about every year and a half or so.

I have nothing in savings. I had money in savings, but it’s gone now.

I planned to get my passport this month. But when all is said and done, I’m going to have $60 left in the bank, and I still need to buy groceries. I don’t have money for fun things right now, not unless I want to eat instant noodles, or worse, starve.

I remember back in 2017, when I was buying candy from a local religious fundraiser outside of a grocery store where I bought food on food stamps. One of the ladies, noticing that I was paying with spare change from a coin bank, said she was going to mention this scene in the weekend’s sermon. It was something about me having kept the change until it was nearly all I had left, or not knowing when you might need it, or something.

I hit rock bottom. I was sleeping on a friend’s couch. I had food stamps. I was having issues finding work, to make money, to pay my bills, so I wouldn’t lose the phone I needed to get a job or all the possessions I had in storage.

Finally, I got a job that lasted longer than a month. And before she threw me out, I got off my friend’s couch and out of her life… I mean house, I got out of her house.

I moved in with J and paid rent. Half of one biweekly paycheck went to J, and half of the other paycheck went to the storage unit rent. I had my phone bill to pay, and car insurance as well.

I managed to scrape up $500 to replace my brakes and rotors in early 2018, only to find out that I needed to replace my tires as well. When I tried to take out the credit card at the shop, I was denied based on my credit report. I had to hold off on the tires until I had more money put aside.

Once my car issues were resolved, and my income taxes resulted in a refund, I splurged and got a newer phone.

Little by little, I managed to put more money into savings, taking out as needed. At one point, I had $1000 back in savings! But after moving two counties away and then moving back, some of my savings went into the cost of moving.

I’ve been living on J’s couch for two months now, paying the same amount for rent as before. Since I haven’t been able to have the cat here at this time, he’s been at a friend’s house, with a two-month limit for his stay.

I had to find a place that would be within my budget, or I had to hope things would change here. Well, I had to go outside of what I wanted to budget, but I found an apartment that met my needs!

And then… They asked for a security deposit. There went my savings, what was left of it anyway.

And I need a bed. It’s a long story that makes me bitter.

When I looked at all my bills, and did the math, I realized I could afford the bed, plus my bills, plus the first month’s rent, on the paycheck I just received.

And that’s why I have $60 to my name, and still need to buy groceries.

But holy mother of who-knows-what… I couldn’t get an apartment last year, and definitely not the year before, because I didn’t have the means to do so. Now I’m going to have my own place, and the cat.

And when I panicked about how much more I’m paying in rent, and wondered if I could afford it, I remembered that the difference in rent between staying at J’s and living in my new apartment is equal to the storage rent in New Jersey. Since I don’t have that storage unit anymore, I can easily afford the higher rent and all the perks of living alone… with the cat.

I’ve come a long way. To think back on it all and realize I’m in a better situation now, it feels amazing!

I mean, I’m back to being broke, which sucks, but it’s temporary.

And maybe I can still apply for my passport this month, with any luck. It puts me one step closer to Japan, otherwise it gives me an excuse to drive to Canada for lunch on a whim, if I have my passport.

I made it this far, so let’s keep going!

Self Evident

I have been staring at this screen for at least a half hour now. I know I want to talk about something, but I don’t know which direction to go. 

I do know these things to be true:

For 2019, I want to avoid f*ckboys. They gave me enough to deal with this year, but they are temporary creatures and I want to focus on permanent fixtures. If you’re not aware, I’m talking about any guy who keeps me around and uses me to feel less lonely for a little while. 

I don’t want to be here. I still want to be in Japan. I still want to buy a camper or recreational vehicle and travel the United States before I leave the country again, but that thought scares me a bit and makes me cry. Japan always makes me feel hopeful and excited, but I think it’s because I know I’d be in a better situation, and I’d try to make it my home. I don’t know where I want to be in the United States, but I don’t feel like I want to be here anymore. 

I think I found love. I thought I figured out what I wanted when I wrote it all down on paper and compiled a three-page list, but the puckish forces in the universe found a bunch of loopholes and turned my list into a joke. After they wadded up my list and threw it towards the trash bin, they asked, “no, really, what is it that you want? You know what it is, just say it.” And I thought about it. I want time, I want to take a while and get to know a person, and allow them to get to know me through life’s ups and downs. I don’t just want to write quick messages, I want to write paragraphs, and I want to actually speak on the phone. I remarked to myself that I never end up with anyone who’s introduced me to music I’ve taken an interest in, and then I realized that I haven’t cut ties with everyone that applies to. And then, if I asked the universe to send me some signs, it would probably be because I was ignoring the things that I already see as signs, because I would think that I was over-thinking something. Nevertheless, I have a blue dragon Beanie Baby watching my keystrokes right now, and he just happens to share a birthday with my friend in Japan, who spent three hours on the phone with me Friday night, with the only awkward silence being at the beginning of the call because neither of us could think of how to start the conversation. Two years later, and we actually seem to be on the same wavelength, at least more so than when we first started talking. 

I have too much stuff. If I had to sit in an empty room and recall the things I have, and I could only save whatever came to mind, I’d have a very simple list. I’d keep my books, video games, CDs and my DVDs. Doesn’t matter if a book or a game or a CD or a movie is part of a collectors edition, because if I mention that I want to keep it, the included goodies come along with. I want to keep most of my kitchen stuff, but I want fewer plates and bowls, and to be honest I’d like a different design for my dishes. I have too many clothes, and even though I want to ditch my t-shirts and dress a little more stylishly, I have t-shirts I don’t want to part with just yet; plus I might have moments when I need to really dress down and will want a shirt that I can get dirty or ruined. I want to keep consumables, like candles and incense, mainly because I can still consume them. Aside from that, there are a few items that I can recall that don’t fall under any of those categories, but I’d still want to keep them. That leaves a lot of things that, unless I see them and hold them, I would neither be able to account for them once gone, nor would I need them even if I could remember their existence. And I should keep that in mind, as I go through the things I’m still keeping. Not to mention, if I manage to permanently relocate to Japan, how much of what I have will I be willing to move halfway across the world? 

I do not have the financial means to go to Japan. However, my credit score has improved quite a bit, so if I line up some ducks, I might be able to take out a loan for some continuing education overseas. That’s grammatically correct, as far as I can tell, as I was referring to the concept of “continuing education” but doing so overseas. Then again, I get bothered when people talk about, for example, a rock band or music group, then use plural pronouns to further discuss that music group, when in my mind they are discussing one entity, the group as a whole. I’m also bothered by people who seem to use “whom” more often than necessary. English grammar is hard, and I want to learn Japanese? Well, I suppose questionable sanity is more socially acceptable than questionable morals, after all. 

Costume cat ears are a great way to express how little I care of what anyone thinks of me while at work, and I would gladly be remembered for my eccentricity. I mean, what else is there to say about me? I made a few bad decisions this year? I still have a job, a car, and a place to sleep, I haven’t lost too much, so I’d say I’m doing well. But yeah, I’ve realized how much gossiping is done at work, and how much I put myself on the wrong side of things because of it. But no one knows how much I do pay attention to everyone else around me, and I don’t even need to listen to gossip to know what’s going on. 

All of that being said, I can tell what I need to change, and what I want to change, for this coming year. I hoped that 2018 was going to be my year, and maybe it was in its own way, because I learned a lot about myself and have reached certain limits of what I can tolerate. As long as I put the effort in, I feel like I can have the 2019 that I want. 

Here’s hoping. 

Going The Ex-tra Mile

“So she was calling herself your ex,” I told the guy from work. “I knew you two were dating; I just didn’t know you two were an item.” 

“Yeah, you can tell her that’s not true anytime you want,” he responded. “More of a stupid mistake.”

It wasn’t the first of the workplace banter, nor did I tell him all of what was said this time. It was stupid and immature, and the person saying it was slowly losing my respect. Not that it mattered to me anyway, because it was nothing I had to personally deal with. 

A few days later, I was visiting my cat, since the current living situation doesn’t allow me to have my cat living with me. Since he’s being kept with people I know, there’s always the chance of seeing other people again when they visit, and this weekend had one such person that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. 

At one point in conversation, it was suggested that J probably has the most exes under his roof right now than any time before. And since I happen to be staying with J temporarily right now, I knew I was being referenced. 

“I’m not his ex,” I stated. “We never dated.” 

I don’t remember the phrasing at that time, but when I got back to the house, I talked to J about it. 

“I said that I had tried to date you,” he told me casually. 

The more I’ve dwelled on the thought, the more it has bothered me. I mean, this isn’t like the situation with the guy from work. He can at least say he dated the girl. 

But what about me? 

Once, J said he “considered” dating me. That’s nice. It sounds like I’m on an episode of The Bachelor, or one of those other “reality” shows, doesn’t it? Like, if I make a good impression, I’ll get to stay in the game. Needless to say, I hadn’t made a good impression, and he decided not to date me. Well, I guess, thank you for your consideration. 

But now he’s saying he “tried” to date me? No, I won’t accept that as an answer.

If his idea of a date is me hanging out on the couch while we watch movies and TV shows and such, then he’s dating me again, and he dated me when I last lived here. But that also means that anyone else who watches movies and TV shows with him while on his couch is also dating him, which means they’re no more special than I am. And when I mentioned how I had considered taking a potential date to an archery range one time, he said that’s something he’d do with friends, but I told him how I differentiate between it being a friends’ outing and a date, and that’s how I’d pay attention to what the other person finds interesting. To me, it’s a date if you actually go out of the house, if you actually do something more than just hang out. 

Trying to date someone, to me, means you actually asked them if they would like to go out on a date, or even if your date idea was a night in, you would at least say, “hey, how about a date night where we stay in and watch that new Marvel movie, and we order Chinese takeout?” If our busy schedules didn’t line up, or I rejected you, then you could say you tried dating me. You tried; I was just too busy. Or maybe you tried; I had already seen the movie you wanted to watch, and you waited for me to decide on an alternate movie to watch, but either we could never agree on something or I was just too indecisive and never got back to you. You tried; I was already seeing someone else and you weren’t aware at the time. You tried; you made the effort, you did everything in your power to go out on a date with me, but I never even met you halfway and I had nothing but reasons and excuses. At that point, you could say you tried. 

But if we never dated, I can’t be considered an ex. I don’t agree with that at all. If I did, I would have a lot more exes. By what unit are we measuring? If we went out for drinks and it was just one night, is that an ex? If we went to dinner, or we played miniature golf, or did both (and I’ve now dated two guys and had dinner and mini golf dates with both guys), does that mean they’re an ex? If it was just a hookup, are they also an ex? I need answers! The only people I consider to be my exes are the ones who actually had a relationship title, they were my boyfriends or they were my fiancé. 

So what does that mean for J? I’ve thought so much about this, and I feel like it’s a vanity thing. I mean, I could understand if someone said to him, “hey, you two get along so well together. Why don’t you ask her out?” If that happened, then I wouldn’t be bothered if he said, “well, I considered dating her, but decided not to.” It still makes me sound like I’m not amazing enough for someone to see if I have any further potential as a lifetime partner, but I would accept it over “I tried to date her.” Trying to date me does sound like I put up some resistance, but in this case I just see J as someone who didn’t try, that using my name is scoring him points. 

No, we’re friends. 

At least this time around, he has a slightly warmer tone when it comes to the guy from work. I suppose that since he’s still around after a year, I can’t call him New Guy. I guess he deserves a nickname as well, and I had been hard-pressed to think of something, but since he and I are watching a cartoon to point out his similarities to its title character, I might as well refer to the guy from work as Bojack. 

Not that Bojack and I are an item, or dating, or any of that. As much as I want to, part of me doesn’t want to lose him as a friend, though part of me wouldn’t mind waking up next to him in the morning. A month ago, I was wishing for his happiness, even if I wasn’t the one that made him happy. Then when things drastically changed for him at work, it had the opposite effect that first day, and in his misery he messaged me, when I was walking on eggshells after some things I had said and thought I had ruined things between us. But I didn’t think of any of that, as I dropped what I was packing to move out and rushed to aid him. As the dust settled, and he thought of all the positive things about the changes at work, his overall mood changed as well. But with it, I found we agree on one thing: 

It’s a bad idea to date coworkers. 

Not that it matters. My wish came true. It’s actually enough for me to be happy, because even though it’s Bojack’s happiness, it’s something I wanted. And something about that feels really good to me right now.