On Sunday afternoon, I was taking a break from a story I was working on when I downed a couple shots of expresso and started dancing like Billy Idol to whatever DJ Anne Litt was playing on KCRW (my favorite station). Later that night, I was planning to meet up with some friends for a low-key Sunday dinner at a new groovy BYOB place ... which was not very far from where Jonas Singer, my ex-something-or-other, lives. So he was on my mind. And after I finished boogeying-down, I got the uncontrollable urge to call him ...
(Yes, yes, I KNOW. If you think it's annoying to YOU that I still think about him sometimes, just think about how annoying it must be for ME! By way of trying to explain myself, I offer you a story--one that I may need to repeat in the future, when similar situations arise:
When I was three years old, my cat, Hobo, ran away. A former stray, the domestic life had gotten to him; Hobo was itching to return to prowling around on the feline streets, where he could be a free man, unencumbered by the demands of convention. He wanted to escape the burden of living with a little woman as possessive as I was: I always wanted to hug him and stroke him, even if he wasn't in the mood, and always wanted to talk, too--even when he wasn't in the mood for conversation. So Hobo tied all his belongings back up into his bandana and attached it to his stick and off he went ... My mother wrote in my baby book that two years later, I was still praying to God that Hobo would come back, as I knelt by the side of my bed. Perhaps one of the reasons I'm not religious any more is because he never returned! )
What I'm trying to say is I don't get un-attached very easily. Hence, I remain somewhat hung-up on Jonas Singer. (Also, I just can't shake the idea that he actually kind of loves me, stupid as that is.) And despite knowing I shouldn't, I was DYING to find out how he was doing. So I picked up my cell and pulled up his number on my screen ... and the only way I prevented myself from pushing the "SEND" button was by taking a number of precautions.
Luckily, my harrowing experience taught me a few good pointers which I will now pass on to you.
IF YOU ARE TRYING TO AVOID CALLING YOUR EX-WHATCHAMACALLIT:
-Remind yourself of how crazy he used to make you with the annoying things he used to do--like, for instance, showing up at least 15 minutes late every time you had a plan to hang out. Or somehow always managing to get bike grease on his leg and therefore on your sheets.
-Remind yourself of how terrible he made you feel when you broke up. (For instance, maybe he said he didn't respect you for making yourself so available to him. Just a guess?)
-Think about all the quadrillion better ways you could spend your time: You could finally start reading War and Peace (or just, I don't know, Twilight); you could catch up on all the episodes of The Daily Show that you TIVO-ed; you could watch that NetFlix movie that's been sitting around since the days of the George W. Bush administration. Or--hey!--here's a wild idea! You could read all the blog posts of mine that you've never gotten around to checking out before! And comment on them all!
You could also just cut your toenails.
-Take your vibrator for a ride. Get rid of that pent-up sexual tension before it does you harm!
-Do not, whatever you do, drink a glass of wine or a cup of coffee. You'll either lose your inhibitions or get all revved up and excited. Either way, you might suddenly find yourself saying, "Oh, come on, what's the harm of this?" The harm is that you could end up feeling pretty crappy.
-Think about how bad you're going to feel if he doesn't pick up ... and how much worse if he never responds to the message you leave.
-Ask yourself: What is it I really want from my ex-whatchamacallit? And is there any way that randomly calling him is going to bring me closer to my goal of achieving it? Regardless of what the answer to the first question might be, I can almost guarantee that the answer to the second question is a big fat NO.
-Listen to "I Will Survive" and cat-walk around your apartment to it. (I prefer the Cake version, but if you like the original, that's just fine.)
-Go put your cell phone in the mailbox for a few hours.
-If you can't manage that, call someone else and talk to him or her till you run out of time to make any other calls. Maybe it's your best friend, that old college buddy you haven't seen in years, or your grandma. Think of how happy old Nana Poo-poo would be to hear from you! You would make her day! And isn't that better than giving Ex-thingamajiggle the satisfaction of knowing you still think about him? Yes it is.
Also, dear commenters, Edwinna, Lady Rae et al.: I am still thinking about to handle my novelist crush. Will keep you updated on any progress I make, of course!