Monday, March 19, 2007

And You Can Act Real Rude and Totally Removed

Here is the picture from my first college ID at the University of Northern Iowa in 1983. I must have thought it was worth ripping out of the laminate and saving, if only for the light pink OP shirt and giddy expression I was wearing.

In 1983 I graduated from high school and went to college in Cedar Falls, Iowa. I chose to go there because,out of the three state universities, it was the furthest away from Ottumwa, it had the cheapest tuition and I thought it was my best shot of walking on for track and earning myself a scholarship. I got injured my senior year, and the only school that offered me money to run, was a small christian school in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. With my big mouth, love for loud music and white girl angst, I didn't think I'd last long there. So, I chose UNI and learned a lot of things.

In high school I wasn't allowed to go out very much and never dated. I had spent the last eight years, cooking cleaning, being told I was shit and thinking that's what I deserved. During my first few months of freedom, I was sure I was going to get hit by a train or come down with a terminal disease. I couldn't imagine how to live a life like other people. It actually took me several years to get rid of all the crap leftover from my aunt and uncle, and quit fucking myself over. Out of all the mistakes I made that year, I'm going to relate to you the one that always made me feel the worst:

Because I was a runner and goofy/spazzy and probably the Lucille Ball of my high school, I had tons of male friends, but never dated. It didn't occur to me that a boy would like me as anything other than a friend. The first date I had in college, was a set-up by one of the girls who lived on my floor. The guy was very nice and cute, but very normal. He was an accounting major, and played rugby and thought Cedar Falls was a big city. (he was wrong) After a group date where we drank beer and watched The Exorcist, (about the least sexy movie you can imagine) he asked me to come watch him play rugby. I told him I would, but then never showed.

I was scared and thought that everyone else in the world had dated in high school and already knew some set of rules, that I had never learned and I wouldn't know what to do. I didn't think I'd see him again, but it turned out he was in a huge lecture of mine. (that I obviously didn't go to very often) At the final, he tapped my desk with a pencil and said, hi. He asked what happened to me that day, but not in the vindictive tone he should have used with me. I lied and told him that I had to do something with my roommate at the last minute, and couldn't make it. I'm sure I wasn't the least bit believable. He said that was too bad and really meant it and then went to find his seat.

Back then, I had no idea that I could hurt someone's feelings. When I realized I had, I didn't know how to fix it. I didn't even apologize. At this point, I think my relationship karma has kicked my ass about a hundred times over, but I still feel bad for my lame-ass behavior with that first guy.

15 comments:

Mr Atrocity said...

Everyone has done something dumb with a date that they regret and everyone has had something dumb done unto them. I reckon there's some enormous cosmic, karmic cycle of dumbness happening, we just obsess more when we're the dumber rather than the dumbee.

Matt said...

It's not your fault that you were thrown into life with no life skills that would help you navigate the pretty complex social structure of college. You were taught relationship skills that are built on domination and not cooperation and compromise.

Your native intelligence got you through all that and you've constantly evolved and learned.

You're a hero for making it this far and are still sane.

Lynnster said...

Ahhh, I recognized that OP shirt right off! I knew this blonde surfer-looking dude (in Tennessee no less, but he looked like he could be a surfer) who owned that exact same shirt. I think my last surviving one finally fell to pieces to rags around 1996 or 1997.

You know what though, I still have two Coca-Cola shirts. Only because they've been stored though. Ha!

As for the nice guy - I am right there with ya, I think. I broke this really nice sweet guy's heart and hurt his feelings at 14, and often wonder if I've been paying ever since for karmic moments like that and a couple of others. It would explain a lot.

booda baby said...

This was an amazing post.

Those 'rules' we think everyone else knows will fuck us up every time. Every single time. Even as grown up people. There's always someone acting as the guardian or Maker Up of the Rules and frankly, they're often more fucked up than anyone else.

Besides, once you give 'Following the Rules' a shot, you realize that they're soooo easy, soooo repetitive and predictable and mind-numbingly unimaginative, you're condemning yourself to a lifetime of anxiety for NOTHING.

Yep. That's what I think.

dmarks said...

"After a group date where we drank beer and watched The Exorcist, (about the least sexy movie you can imagine) "

Some of us find Tubular Bells to be so romantic.

Rachel said...

Damn. What the hell did I do to not have a relationship for over 8 years?
Whoever I totally F-d up I am SO sorry!

fringes said...

Soooo well written, Churlita. I'm getting all emotional over here. Think of it this way: you taught that guy a lesson. Sometimes, people don't show up when they say they will. That's life in the big city of Cedar Rapids. Sooner learned, the better.

TLB said...

I'm willing to bet that at some point that kid made plans with people that he didn't show for. No one has a 100 percent batting record in that department.

a said...

ohhh you are sooo mean - such a bad mean girl - Really how can you live with yourself?? I really like Booda Baby's comment about rules - comments on comments thats me.

Churlita said...

Mr Atrocity,

I think you're right and I apparently like to beat myself up emotionally, so I stress about that shit more than normal people.

matt,

Thank you. That's such a nice thing to say. I'm not sure how far I'd go with the sanity thing, but at least I'm not totally psycho...much.

Lynnster,

I can't honestly remember whatever happened to my OP shirt. I think I traded it in for German army fatigues, ripped-up t-shirts and too much black eyeliner a year later.

Booda Baby,

I think you're right. I'm never going to understand anyone else's rules, no matter how bad someone else tries to make me feel about it. It's more fun making up my own and pissing them off anyway.

DMArks,

Tubular Bells scared the shit out of me when I was a kid. I was terrified of the part where there was a werewolf or something.

Rachel,

How funny. I think I need to find someone to start apologizing too right now, before it's too late.

Fringes,

You're probably right. That could be my super hero quest. Churlita: Teacher of Abandonment Issue Lessons.

TLB,

I don't know. If anyone was going to have a perfect record, it would be that kid. He was really nice and conscientious - which is why it would have never worked between us back then.

A.,

It was probably the worst thing I did to a guy who didn't deserve it. I may have been worse to other guys, but they were big a-holes, so I couldn't feel to bad about it.

dmarks said...

"Tubular Bells scared the shit out of me when I was a kid. I was terrified of the part where there was a werewolf or something."

That's the section where the singer imbibed a large quantity of whiskey, which did something to his voice (an inhibitions) and he roars and snarls in a most inhuman way.

The entire album got overhauled in 2003 and this section has become a sort of stately Klingon opera. No more werewolf.

Churlita said...

Dmarks,

I might like it better with klingons instead of werewolves. They are so much hotter.

Sarah said...

You look so YOUNG in that picture!!! OMG I can't believe it is from college.

Wow.

dmarks said...

Churlita: Should the matter be settled with a Werewolves vs Klingons post?

Churlita said...

Sarah,

I know. I looked like I was 12 when I went to college. And the reason I wasn't smiling? I had braces and a rubberband that stretched from one side of my mouth to the other. Hotttt.

DMarks,

I don't know. That might be a little too sci fi for me.