Wednesday, December 9, 2009

All my exes

You know how all the movies composed of nothing but Oscar clips are crammed in at the end of the year, and how "Best of the X" lists are heavily biased toward recent stuff? We are goldfish, culturally speaking, and we don't remember what we liked back in February, or how much we liked it at the time, or we've had the chance to get sick of it, or we misremember it as coming out the year before.

I'm worried that a similar thing is happening with my last relationship. We were together for more than five years (from 19 to 25, for me) and I know that I was happy for the vast majority of that time. But my memory now is weighted toward the last year, especially the last six months, when we were slowly breaking up, and it was probably the worst I've ever felt. ("Death is the opposite of dying slowly." A line from a poem I heard Julia Cohen read recently.) So when I dip into a memory of those years I keep hitting upon fights, or times he hung back while I went to a party or home for Christmas, or just the general feeling that he was irritated with me about something. It's like trying to pick your Scrabble tiles and all the shitty ones the last guy rejected are on top.

I heard big news this week about both my exes, if you don't count people I only casually dated, and if you count high school. One was direct from the source: He's getting married. He wants to have kids (or "spawn" as he put it), now's the time, etc. Now that I'm 30 I don't want to get married, but when we were together I did, at least in an unexamined and misled way -- I looked at marriage as the ultimate form of relationship security; I think a lot of people do. So it's not that I'm jealous (I try to be honest about when I am jealous, which is not unfrequently), but I'm a little hurt on behalf of my younger self. If he'd gotten engaged in the year after we broke up, I would have been devastated. My reaction now is tainted by my being able to imagine it. Fun fact!: Sadness is easier to remember than physical pain.

The other news I got from Twitter and Wired: imeem, the company my high school ex founded and ran, got shut down and folded into MySpace Music. It's pretty well-known but if you've never heard of it, imeem was a streaming music and social networking service. I can't remember how or when I first heard about it -- I may have been doing some routine Googling of people from my past. (I do remember snorting about the name; back in the late '90s he was really into the word "meme." Meme this, meme that.) I think it was when I was looking for my first job after grad school, maybe; I think it was extra-annoying to me that he was, like, being named to lists of hot entrepreneurs under 30, and I was begging to get hired for a 30K-a-year copy editing job.

And I think this is the past self that I heard this news on behalf of, because an unadulterated wave of pure schadenfreude passed over me. How much of a dick am I? Now I feel kind of bad. I mean, for all I know he's getting millions out of the deal, but it's gotta suck to have your company fail. It had a lot of devoted users but they were getting reamed on licensing costs and then got hit with a lawsuit; they didn't have the cash to fight it and renew their deals. So that's that. I wonder how he's doing. It's hard not to think of him as older than me now that he's created and pulled the plug on a company.

Meanwhile, I'm still poor. We're going to see the Nutcracker tomorrow. There was a half-price sale on tickets on Cyber Monday. Ha! "Cyber"...

1 comment:

  1. You're not a dick.

    That fun fact is one of my favorites. My mom once told me that the only reason women can stand having another baby after the first one, is because there's no accurate way to remember the physical agony of childbirth.

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