I received a message via LinkedIn at 0853 today saying, “Give me a call.” But why? My exact reply was, “Why would I do that?” You guys, I’ve seen this movie and I know how it ends.
I met a guy I’ll call Houdini on Match in mid-2012. He was in the military, was a very involved father to his two children, and seemed to be a (mostly) mature and responsible adult. We had similar interests and values. We lived in the same general neighborhood. I got along great with his kids and dogs. He was a great cook.
We ran into a problem when one of the features turned out to also be a bug. He coached his son’s football and baseball teams and was *extremely* committed. I totally did not fault him for that and I still don’t. My issue was with him hiding behind his commitments. He then started coaching his son in wrestling. He would make plans and then suddenly remember he had <insert sports thing here>.
I would think we had plans and then he would go radio silent. By that I mean he would completely disappear off the face of the planet. I would go a week or two without hearing from him and then he’d pop back up when it was convenient for him like nothing ever happened and expect me to jump. Then it was all about how “perfect” I am. This jackwagon actually used the term “plug and play” because I didn’t have any family commitments. He was just looking to fill an open position and I met the requirements.
I was born at night but it wasn’t *last* night. And he really didn’t seem to like me at all. He seemed to be really into the idea of me but the reality of me didn’t fit his carefully crafted narrative. I’m not the type of person to just wait around and I strictly adhere to the Three-Text Rule. If you don’t reply to my first two texts, there will not be a third. This was clearly going nowhere.
This went on (and off) for a year and some change and I would only spend time with him and his family when it was convenient for me. I really started feeling guilty about the example I was setting for his teenage daughter, though. I wouldn’t talk to her dad for months and then all of a sudden she would come home from the mall and I would be sitting in the kitchen drinking a beer. She and I would stay up until all hours of the night talking about the most random things and I felt she needed more consistency. It was great that I was around to bake her birthday cake from scratch and help host a sleepover but she never knew when she would see me again.
I finally had enough and stopped replying to texts. I bought a house at the opposite end of the county, which meant a hour long one-way drive if I caved. Spoiler alert: I didn’t.
Houdini reached out in September of 2016 and tried to make dinner plans for a Wednesday night. I laughed and agreed because I knew it wouldn’t happen. I suggested a place halfway between our towns to discourage any after dinner plans. Two days later, he texted me to reschedule because he forgot about a football dinner. It was all going exactly as I predicted so I agreed when he suggested we meet Friday. Ah, but then he asked where. I was on to his scam so I told him the same place. He was thinking I would be all about an overnight stay since it was the weekend but I wasn’t having it. Thursday morning he texted saying he had to fly Friday night or he wouldn’t be current on night vision goggles. I didn’t even give him shit about it. He said he would make it up and I didn’t reply.
The next day, he texted about how he really wanted to see me and he woke up thinking about me. I replied that things could have gone differently but that was three years ago. It went downhill from there. The conversation ended with him saying maybe we could hang out once in a while and my reply was “maybe.” That was October 1, 2016.
On September 24, 2018, I accepted a LinkedIn invitation from Houdini. I figured enough time had passed so it wouldn’t be weird. I was wrong. Within minutes, I received a message on LinkedIn that said, “Finally. I lost my phone after the last time we talked.” I asked when he sent the invite and he said it was probably in December of 2016. OMFG, y’all. I accidentally ignored his invite for nearly two years! He replied with his phone number and I failed to reply. He may have lost my number but I certainly did not lose his.
So fast forward to this morning. He said he was hoping I would want to call him. Oh, honey…no.