When, the other day, my friend A asked if she was crazy for going after a guy she knew wasn’t interested, there was another question implicit.
It was this: why should she, a rational thirty-something with strong sense of self, a lithe torso and a respectable distance from her last serious relationship allow herself to get hung up on a prospect she knows is unrealistic?
On the phone, I dodged that one. But the answer became more clear in conversation with another friend earlier this week.
“Don’t you have a blind spot?” she asked, over beers at a local bar.
Out of context I would have had no clue what she was talking about. But, as it happened, she’d just finished telling an anecdote about kissing an otherwise involved former co-worker she felt inordinately attracted to while she herself was semi-seeing someone else–a minor betrayal that neither she nor I would ever predict.
“You know, don’t you have that someone who you would just be with, at the drop of a hat, no matter what, if they said the word?”
I started to nod.
“Yeah,” I said. “I guess I do.”
A couple of months ago I got a Facebook message from someone I once met when I lived in DC. We’d been introduced at a party, he’d insisted on walking me home, I may or may not have given him my number–though I’m fairly sure I knew right away I wasn’t interested. Once, a little while later I saw him on the metro–thought he was more attractive than I’d realized, particularly in a suit–and then promptly forgot the whole thing. All of this was at least three years ago, probably four.
I haven’t thought much, if at all, about the thing or the person ever since. Until I got his message.
The subject was: “Do you remember me?”
“I was just reading a review for a movie talking about how seemingly insignificant scenes turn out to foreshadow major moments down the line,” he wrote. “So I guess, other than the subject line question, I wanted to ask: How are you?”
I am rather horrified to admit that I didn’t respond. Well, maybe not horrified. Considering the fact that, while I do remember him, that’s about it–and I don’t consider the moment to have foreshadowed anything besides an awkward social networking interaction–it may have been the prudent course of action.
Regardless, I was, flattered. I don’t want to be presumptuous: perhaps this man makes a regular habit of sending similar Facebook messages to girls he met at Columbia Heights barbecues and then later spotted on the Yellow Line to Mt. Vernon Square. I have no idea.
But perhaps, for him, I qualify as a minor “blind spot”: someone he still thinks about despite all rational reason to the contrary.
There are varying degrees of these people in our lives: people who, despite our best efforts/better sense/otherwise evident grasp of reason, we simply can’t shake.
Maybe we met them once at a party. Maybe we went out with them once, twice or a dozen times before they (outrageously! infuriatingly!) broke it off. Maybe we dated them casually for a couple of months before distance took us apart. Maybe we spent all of college walking a bit too frequently past the guitar store on Snelling Avenue where they may or may not have still worked…
Sorry, I got carried away. You may have deduced that I’ve encountered more than one “blind spot” in my day.
And frankly I’m not sure that, as we get older and theoretically wiser, more selective, less naive, we get any less prone to them.
We just keep hoping that, eventually, we’ll fall into someone’s blind spot who also falls into ours.