(Lost in Translation is our weekly column from a college guy’s perspective.)
You know what sucks? When your date thinks you have a dysfunctional family AND issues with drugs. Along with the tendency to be an emotional roller-coaster. Especially because you told her that. All within the first five minutes of dinner. Before you even have a glass of wine to wash down that nasty taste of self-deprecation. Hello foot. Welcome to my mouth.
Love blinds. Great saying, right? Nope. That is a big heaping pile of bullshit. Sure, when that initial infatuation is coursing through your veins, it isn’t all that strange to be slightly off kilter, typically seeing things in a different light, the dim light of a romantic French bistro in the West Village or the light that pours out of the apartments on Bleecker Street. And that seems great and all, and, you know, congratulations, but that is NEVER the way it is for yours truly.
I’m different. And this isn’t the “different” that makes me special (well, the special that my mama would softly whisper into my ear whenever I maybe cried at sleepovers and had Tyler’s mom call mine to have her come and pick me up with my TNMT sleeping back a jumbled mess in my scrawny arms). This is the “different” that Tyler and Mike were giggling about on their Power Rangers sleeping bags while playing Ken Griffey’s Slugfest on the television while I sat by myself. I’m the one who peed his pants. And I’m the one who spilled the bottle of Surge on my lap to cover it up, but the smell was already lingering in the room. There is just no turning back the clock on that different. Believe you me.
This is the same different that is messing me up right now. In the beginning of a promising relationship, when the girl is someone I am interested in having more than just sex with (not that those relationships are EVER bad), the blood never really rushes to my head, rarely compromises my ability to see the reality of a situation. I mean, I’m definitely more flush than usual, but my mom’s Japanese, which makes that moot. Occasionally, I’ll hum a few of those tunes that my dad always sings along to on the Golden Oldies station back home. But that euphoria is fleeting. If anything, I see it all too clearly, which is, more often than not, rather depressing. The light in which I see things is more like that lukewarm, fluorescent one you find in a subway bathroom. Flickering enough to make you nauseous along with that vitamin that you took on an empty stomach thinking it would miraculously cure your hangover. And in this sickening clarity lies the problem. Because it makes you do dumb things. Like take a vitamin on an empty stomach.
Again, not “cute” dumb like fumbling with her name ‘cause it just feels nice when you say it over and over again. “Dumb” dumb. “Really dumb” dumb. Like saying unnecessarily blunt things. Like maybe talking about your ex-girlfriend(s) on your first date, thinking that it will somehow impress her that you and a past flame shared substance abuse problems along with the everyday verbal spats. Or mumbling about something she won’t really understand in the hopes that she’ll feel bad for you. And then pleading to make her when she doesn’t get the hint. What? Am I in third grade?
What is lost in translation? I am. I have this uncanny ability to back myself into these corners, corners where the only door out of that room is on the far wall, and there is a pool of abasement that I have to wade through if I ever want out. Now, I’m a very perceptive person, but I just tend to think the melancholy is romantic. Yes, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is my favorite movie. And I kind of sort of want to live in a world like Synecdoche, NY. Depressing, I know. And what makes it worse is I think that this tumultuous dialogue is a good beginning for a healthy relationship.
Well, shit, she just stabbed the salad fork through her ear drums. Check, please.