Monday, January 20, 2014

Garden State

Nine years ago I watched Garden State at a really vulnerable point in my life. It was the first major rough patch with my ex-wife. The first time I was sure we were breaking up. The time I moved into a studio apartment after sleeping out on the back porch for three months.

So I was in my studio apartment and had somehow managed to be in a situation where I was dating someone. It kind of surprised me. But I know I'm smart and I suppose I'm attractive, so, at a thing at a bar with work people she was there with her work people and she let me know in no uncertain terms that I should ask for her phone number.

This is pretty much the only way I can manage dating someone. They have to let me know in no uncertain terms that they would like to date me.

So, we hung out a bunch for about a month. I was honest with her about where I was in life. Mostly I was in a fog. Emotionally I was numb to everything. I didn't know what I wanted, but here was a woman who expressed interest in me and was nice to me. She kept calling back, and I kept hanging around.

We watched a few movies together. One of them was Garden State.

It was a bit strange, as a person named Andrew who was numb about everything and feeling lost, to watch a movie with a main character named Andrew who was numb about everything and feeling lost.

I liked the movie. There was a lot I cpuld relate to. But one part really troubled me. I honestly couldn't figure out why Sam, the love interest, liked Andrew so much.

I just didn't understand it. 

Tonight I watched Garden State again. In the last nine years life has circled back round to a similar place. This time I'm thoroughly divorced. This time I knew that a certain amount of emotional numbness is how I deal with pain and loss.

This time I paid more attention to the other characters in the movie. It suddenly made sense that, in a lot of ways Andrew had more going on than the developmentally arrested members of his peer group.

This time I realized that my real problem wasn't that I couldn't understand why Sam would so quickly fall in love with movie Andrew. My problem was that I couldn't understand why my date was so interested in real Andrew.

There were reasons why that relationship was only a short term thing. The biggest was that my overall emotional numbness was not a place from which I could build anything meaningful. I didn't know who I was. I didn't know if I had anything going for me. Also, my marriage had a bit further to go in its journey. Seven more years, more or less.

Now I'm here. I learned from that earlier stint that I am not the guy who does rebound relationships. And I can watch Garden State and appreciate that Sam sees in Andrew someone who is trying tp get beyond that which has held him back all his life.

It would be pretty neat if there were someone out there like that for me. But I'm not going to rush into anything.

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