Saturday, June 26, 2004

Age of Aquarius

Last Tuesday V came up to me and said "I will pay for everything you need except food, so long as you come to New Jersey with me this weekend."


V and I are Large Dorks (tm). There's a role-playing game down there that gets held about once a month. V played regularly while he lived in NJ; I've also played when I had occasion to find myself down there. It's a great experience, tons of fun, it's just in South Jersey and so it takes a long, long time to get there. I agreed partly because I love playing this fucking game, and partly because car trips with V are always entertaining. So Thursday afternoon after running some last-minute errands, we started our trek - we wanted to avoid Friday Shore traffic.

The drive down was uneventful, the game that weekend was fabulous. I've been a performer all my life, and now that I'm out of school, the chances for a good performance are few and far between. This is one of them, and I prefer to grab it with both hands. About the only thing I wish is that some people who also play would learn the difference between me and my character, and refrain from treating them as one and the same in the parking lot after the game is over.

The thing is, the game is draining. It's a lot of effort to keep up a character all weekend, and it's played by a lot of people. Lots of people, for more than a few hours at a time, makes for a very drained and cranky and unhappy and unsocial french. When I was younger, I didn't realize this, and there are many, many less-than-pretty incidents in my past when I was done being around people and didn't have the smarts to retreat. At least now I've learned where that limit is and can take appropriate action.

I was close to that limit on Sunday, after the game, but V's family was having a Father's Day barbecue over at one of his cousin's houses. Since I've met them before, I agreed - strangers are always more stressful; these people were on a level of "distant family", so I knew it would be fine if I showed up there, ate, chit-chatted politely but didn't stay overly long.

After the barbecue, I was done and pretty much wanted to go home. V, who is a far more social creature than I am, wanted to go out and see a movie with a bunch of his friends that he doesn't get to see anymore, living in Boston as he does. He was so excited about it, I couldn't turn him down, so I agreed.

Let's just clarify two things here: I was done being around people, and I didn't really have the $9 to spend on the movie ticket right then.

Had those two circumstances not existed, I might have actually enjoyed the movie as I was watching it. Instead, I sat through the movie, uncomfortable, and more bothered than amused by the gags in the film, listening to the crowd of people around me laughing hysterically. That doesn't really bother me too much. What bothers me is that I was so fucked after the movie that I nearly broke out in tears in the fucking lobby of the movie theater. For someone who prides herself on the fact that there's only two people on the planet who can make her cry, and even they can't do it regularly, that's pretty fucking pathetic.

V, bless his heart, managed to rein in the immediate response to get pissed at me for distancing myself from the group and being less than civil, and realized that something was very, very wrong and I needed to get out of there. He hustled me out to the car, where I immediately started shaking and crying my eyes out. I told him to just drive for a while, and then the only coherant thoughts I had after that were that I didn't know exactly what the fuck was going on, and I really wanted to call J.

After I'd calmed down enough to speak again, V and I opted to drive home instead of staying the night at his parents'. It was 11 at night, and we had at least a five hour drive ahead of us, after being up since 9 in the morning on about 7 hours of sleep. Brilliant fucking idea, if I do say so myself. But we really just needed to be home.

We made it home at about 4:30 in the morning, tired as fuck-all, but safe and sound and without incident. J was up, because his sleep schedule makes no sense to anyone including him, and that was good. I know I bitch a lot about the boy being blockheaded, but damn if he doesn't know when I need him. First thing he did when he saw me walk through the door was grab me and just hold me in his arms, as I felt all the tension and jangliness of my nerves from earlier just flow away. He made sure I got into bed, and then crawled in after me, just holding me and listening to me babble and get it all out - whatever it was, I think I was getting a bit delirious by then, because I don't remember a thing I told him. Regardless, I was calmed down enough to sleep, and sleep well. But I was drained enough that I slept for all of about five hours on Monday.

One of the reasons I love this boy, one of the reasons I want to stay with him approximately forever, is that he grounds me. Whenever I'm stressed, whenever I have too much extra nervous or angry or sad or otherwise negative energy pent up in my mind and body, one touch from J - zzzZAP! - is all it takes to eliminate it. He just such a calm, centered person, no matter how much I throw at him, that doesn't change. He's just there. He's there for me, when I really need him the most. I feel better just being around him. And despite all the other frustrations and imperfections, that's really the most important thing.

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