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girl meets boy

what he gave me 
           

I've watched too many rom coms and can spin a romantic tale automatically in a matter of minutes.  I see almost every life event as a screenplay.  And as I mentioned in Homage To An Ex, I tend to get sucked into relationships just because the cute-meet or storyline is good.  For example I totally, unexpectedly, met a guy in Massachusetts last week and immediately in my head had us fated as a meant-to-be couple with me moving back east to live with him.  Poor guy - he had no idea that I had it all arranged.  Although maybe if I describe the scenario to you below, you will see that I'm not completely off base.  Here's what happened: 

We had parked on opposite sides of the street to go to an AA meeting but he crossed over and we ended up walking up the hill together to the parish house.  Knowing that we were both headed to the same place and had recovery in common, he struck up a conversation.  I couldn't see him very well because it was dark but he was big and tall and had nice wavy hair under his baseball cap.

He asked me how my day was and I said it was "good for a change" and he replied that he tries to make every day a good day.  That he tries to keep firm boundaries with the dysfunctional people in his life and has given up guilt-tripping himself about every little thing he'd done.  That may seem pretty intimate to be talking about after only two minutes in but that's how we roll in AA.  Anyway, he sounded awesome!  Much more positive than me certainly.

Once we got to the fully-lit meeting room he turned out to be roughly my age and kinda handsome to boot.  We were some of the first people there and along with his AA Big Book he had a little blank notebook with love, kindness, peace, joy etc. written in the front cover.  He said he brought the little book to the meeting not sure what he was going to do with it but he ended up giving it to me.  He probably was just being friendly but I chose to take it as a romantic gesture.  Of course.  We chatted more about our lives, he mentioned going on a men's AA retreat held at a Catholic center and although AA has no religious affiliation I was excited that he might be Catholic because of my wonderful experience here.  Then other people began drifting in and divided our attention with happy heartfelt greetings.  At that point I practically had us married.  And it may have worked out except for one fatal flaw;  I didn't pick up on what could have been a major hint he was giving.

He mentioned twice that he had several friends who lived in my area of California and that he would be coming out to visit them sometime.  I am so rusty at the whole 'girl meets a boy' thing that I didn't pick up on the opportunity to give him my phone number as a sober contact for when he is out here.  Duh!  It could be my imagination but his interest in me seemed to wane after those failed attempts.  Or maybe like I said before, he was just being friendly.  It is hard to know because it is far too easy to get hopeless crushes in AA.

In my early sobriety my friend Kelly and I were attached at the hip.  We went everywhere together:  meetings, wakes, weddings, sober dances, concerts, sober cruises etc.  She was what the young kids in AA today call my "road dog".  I love that term!  And for all I know it's not exclusively an AA saying.  But anyway, my road dog and I would go out to dinner a lot, often with other women in the program, and it was there that we coined the phrase "speaker crush", and realized that we all get them.  A speaker crush is when some guy (I say "guy" because at the time we were all heterosexual) is up at the podium sharing his experience, strength, and hope as we do, and he sounds outstanding like he's got it going on spiritually.  Also he would probably be charming and funny and "working a good program".  He would sound so inspirational he didn't even need to be cute, although honestly that helped.  Our imaginations automatically took us to dating him and eventually even having a healthy relationship with this man we admired.  It was years before I learned not to take a speaker crush seriously.  It turns out all of us, even the most eloquent, are flawed and while we can sound like we've got it all together, we are not necessarily experts at relationships.  We all have ISSUES.

Now I'm sounding negative.  Or is it only realistic?  What is the balance between insta-crushes and normal bonding?   Do you know?  Insta-crushes and speaker crushes are certainly romantic but how else are we supposed to start a relationship?  On an actual date and then take it (slowly) from there?  Bah!


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