What’s the pirate’s favorite state? Arrrrrrizona, of course! Fine, it might also be Arrrrrkansas, but seriously, I think peg-legs and parrots might be more comfortable in the more arid (arrrrrrid) climate of Arizona.
A morning run through Moab proved fruitful in securing the idea that Moab is just plain radtacular, no two ways about it. While jogging about, I came across a path that switchbacked across a creek a few times, and landed me in a park where musical instruments (marimbas! chimes! drums!) had been devised from roots, trees, glass and metal. Little stops me from my running as I’m of the ilk that once I stop moving, I’m done exercising – but this natural orchestra beckoned, and I tried every single piece while praying the cacophony wouldn’t cause neighbors to stick their heads out the window and scream that clearly, I had no talent. Oddly I was not concerned that the community might still be asleep at 7am, which leads me to think my self esteem occasionally does take priority of my desire to be considerate of everyone. After the jaunt, we spent the night near Zion before moving on to the illuminatingly stunning Grand Canyon.
Just a note on the Canyon: it is ridiculously large. Incomprehensibly so. I’d never been or seen many photos (if any…do I even live in the real world?), and in my head I had assumed what I’d see was a the ground flatly dropping off to a canyon and then the obvious wall of the other side. Basically, I was picturing the area where Niagara Falls lays, but without water. However, the actual Grand Canyon – not that now insane-sounding image in my head – is more like the universe. You can see it, and thus you somewhat grasp it, but you don’t actually understand it. Vast, seemingly endless, shades of color and mystery. I stared with my jaw dropped for what may have been hours. As we drove around to different vantage points, I couldn’t keep my eyes off of it.
The date situation was a bit weird. The men and women of the GC area don’t seem to be hitting the online dating market with ease, so when a potentially nice guy wound up turning me down, I agreed to let him set me up with his roommate, Tim. Set ups from strangers? Bring it on, Batman!
Tim worked at one of the motels at the Grand Canyon, and suggested that provided we were bundled up, we watch the sunset from one of the more remote spots accessible by transit. Watching the sun dip below a parfait of stones and probably highlight even more yellows, pinks, and deep purples sound both romantic but also like a nice backdrop for conversation. We met at the bus stop, Tim handed me “Cactus Candy” (yes, candy apparently made from cacti) and we prattled on making small talk until arriving at the lookout.
We settled upon a stone wall to chat until Mr. Sun got closer to the horizon. Tim was funny, and we spun off one another’s comments with ease. Often our conversation launched into the abstract, the bizarre, and we played with ideas and words in rapid fire. So engrossed, we almost missed the day’s last sun-filled rays. By all accounts, I was a little surprised by the fact this date was going so well. Though we were the same age, I wasn’t sure what else Tim and I would have in common.
On the bus ride back, I exchanged a knowing look with Megan, then asked him if there was somewhere we could grab a cup of coffee or an adult beverage once back at the more populated area of the Grand Canyon. We went to the closest lodge and ordered Irish coffees and French fries (a match not made in heaven but as a vegetarian I was limited on shareable appetizers). Megan set the cameras, then left to grab something from the car.
And here is where things took a turn so sharply downward I was worried perhaps my drink had been roofied and I’d fallen into a surreal hallucination. Any moment our waitress was going to become an upright walking jackalope with a monocle, right?
We were on the topic of dating when Tim mentioned aggressively that he didn’t like commitment. I cocked my head and paused, wondering what I should respond with. I queried how he’d come to such a bold statement, but my hesitation made me too late. “F commitment” topic was the topic du jour. He went on to boisterously and boldly state that he was often rude to girls he had dated in the past when they were interested in forming some kind of committed relationship with him (whether these would be monogamous or not was unclear). Tim proudly noted that when girls had these feelings and expressed them, he would simply go radio-silent on them, not returning phone calls or texts or emails, ignoring them if he ran into them.
It’s hard for me not to instantly feel compassion for those girls. I have been in their shoes more times than I care to remember. In fact, I often ask guys I’m dating how they handled breakups large and small because I care about how things go down and because I’m nosy and because I want to know what might be in store for me. I remember once, long ago, the fiance of an ex of mine told me about how one thing she had never liked about my ex was how he had handled his ending of our relationship – a story she must have heard through him as I’d never spoken to the woman until that moment. At that time it felt like an odd statement, but it makes so much more sense now: I assume she was feeling that same compassion.
Anyway, Tim went on to drive the conversation home, stating very clearly (as in, these are his exact words): “I’m not ready for a girlfriend.” Fair enough. But honestly, not what I was looking for. It had been two hours, and I was ready to call it a night. The fries were almost gone, and while I thought I could desperately use another drink to wash away the empathetic feelings, I wasn’t keen to spend much more time with Tim. We’d likely be able to be friends, and while I felt some comfort in that, I also just felt tired of searching for something I wasn’t able to find.
Tim asked if I wanted to hop over to the restaurant and get dinner. I declined, and while Megan began the task of getting us ready to get out of the bar, Tim began querying me as to why. It was a moment of truth I had just sort of faulted him for: not openly telling his dates he wasn’t interested in them, but it felt ridiculous on date one to say “I’ve judged you and don’t feel comfortable with you in a romantic fashion and think we should just be friends.” So I said I was tired, that we had a long day ahead of us the next day, shook his hand and encouragingly smiled as he walked away, all the while feeling horrifically guilty that I hadn’t cleared up his confusion as to why I didn’t want to share a meal.