Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Normal Life


Friends always asked how I avoided any kind of long-term romantic entanglements in Russia.

"Willpower," was my witty reply. "Sheer willpower."

I never had girls calling me telling me to come home, or chasing me from bar to bar screaming.

I didn't do this through any kind of blatant cruelty, mind you. I simply refused to act like a boyfriend. I always acted like a drinking buddy.

Sometimes friends would bemoan their lot in life as they left the drinking session to go home to their wives or girlfriends.

"It's not complicated; it's simple mathematics," I would explain to them. "You met a girl who wanted to be your girlfriend more than you DIDN'T want her to be your girlfriend."

That never happened to me.

Until the week that I left Russia!

It's the damndest thing.

"But we're nothing alike!" I say to her. "You're kind, honest, hardworking, sensible and responsible! I'm none of those things!"

"You are," she says.

"I. . . don't . . . live in that kind of world!" I struggle to explain.

"Of course you do," she says.

And then I think, do I? Where did all the degeneracy disappear to?

I also used to say that people didn't chose the dissipated English Teacher lifestyle; it chose them.

Could the same be true of the normal-type life?

Then I think of the realties of English teaching -- the bizarre hours, the job insecurity, the moving from place to place -- I try to reconcile that with this terribly normal and shy little girl.

I'm going back to Saudi on September 2. In the meantime, I'm in Russia, playing normal guy in a normal relationship and going to bed early.

(2007 post on the subject of marriage.)

3 comments:

Majid Ali said...
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Eve said...

For Christ's sake, take the lifeboat that's being thrown in your direction!

WOW Gold said...
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