I’ve received another letter. This time, it’s not a love letter but rather an email from my younger brother who, for whatever reason, monitors our collective cell phone bills. “You may want to upgrade your text messaging plan,” it reads. “Because you’re 135 texts over your limit for this month.”
At first I’m pretty damn proud of myself. 135 texts? I haven’t sent 135 texts since I lived in London. Back then, I had a proper boyfriend and something vaguely resembling an actual social life but upon returning to Philly, my text messaging went the way of, “Hey Kat, I’m hung over. Can you cover my shift this morning?” Since leaving The Shop, I nearly stopped texting all together but then this minor miracle occurred: I started dating again. As for these 135 texts? Well, they’re statistical proof that I’m back on my feet!
But then I read the rest of my brother’s email. “You’re monthly plan doesn’t re-set until September 4th so between now and then, it’s gonna cost you ten cents a text. P.S. You’ve already earned yourself almost fifteen bucks in overage charges.”
Oops. That’s not quite so cool. Thus far, I’ve spent very little on my serial dating habits. Of course it helps that I’m the girl and custom dictates that they guy had to pay the first time (or the first several times as far as Date #4 is concerned). I’ve paid for the occasional late night cab, the occasional bag of SEPTA tokens and the occasional glass of wine or cup of coffee but so far, my match.com subscription remains the most expensive part of this endeavor.
Fifteen bucks in text messaging, or perhaps twenty by the time September 4th rolls around, isn’t too bad. I email my brother back to thank him for heads up saying, “Oops! That would be all of my online dating.”
A minute later he responds, “Lol! Is your online dating responsible for the fact that you’ve gone 191 minutes over on your calls as well?”
One hundred and ninety one minutes? I wrack my brains. Who have I spoken to for 191 minutes? That’s three hours! Sure, there’s been the occasional, “Hey, I’m running late, be there in a sec!” and the not so occasional, “Okay fine, we can reschedule” but for the most part I rarely talk to my dates on the phone.
Then it dawns on me: I don’t talk to my dates. I talk about my dates. And because I can’t be a normal person with girlfriends who actually live locally, I’m on the phone to L.A., Edinburgh and Lyon (actually, I haven’t called Lyon; not yet. I gchat Lyon and I only “call” Edinburgh when that particular friend is visiting family here in the US, but you get the point).
I think back over the past few weeks and realize that I’ve developed a habit of calling one of my grad school comrades in L.A. whenever I’m on my way home from a date, especially if said date’s gone badly.
This wouldn’t be such a problem if my “on my way home” hours coincided with my nights and weekend minutes. But in order for that to happen, I’d have to date normal people. And since I’m incapable of cultivating normal friendships that don’t require transcontinental (indeed, transatlantic) communications, I’m most certainly not capable of dating normal men.
By “normal,” I mean average men who work average 9 to 5 jobs (and therefore restrict their dating lives to “after work” hours. If I dated normal, average men and dated them during the customary “after work” hours, my post-date debriefings would indeed coincide with my nights and weekends plan. But I don’t).
I have dated (and I use this term rather loosely to include He-who-lives-across-the-state-but-called-me two weeks ago) a financial analyst, an architect-turned-actor, a doctor, a med student, an IT specialist, an artist, an engineer and a lawyer.
Being that I’m dating proper men these days (as opposed to boys who work at the coffee shop in the mall and finish their shift at 6:00 and hey, should we grab a drink after class?) some of my dates have taken place in broad daylight, squeezed into the middle of the afternoon between a working lunch and a board meeting. And given that I’m still freelancing full time until I start teaching again next week, I’m all but too happy to go skipping over Rittenhouse at noon for a quick cup of coffee when the opportunity presents itself.
How am I supposed to wait until my nights and weekend minutes kick in to talk about these dates? Clearly my brother doesn’t actually expect me to do this. Either way, I am trying to be a bit more judicious in my text messaging until the 4th (which shouldn’t be too hard because I’m headed to The-Middle-of-Nowhere for Labor Day and the cell phone coverage is sketchy at best).
Having inadvertently orchestrated not one but two break ups from The-Middle-of-Nowhere (one back in 2004 and another in 2008), I know from experience that calls made from Hoopers Island tend to drop just whenever you reach a crucial point in the conversation. This, by the way, only delays the break up process because then you have to wander around the back porch searching for a signal, only to call back and explain, “No, I didn’t hang up on you! And yes, I do still love you. But like I was saying…”
Needless to say, there won’t be any break ups this weekend. Nor any text messages. Nor any blogging, I’m afraid. But rest assured: I’ll be back in Philadelphia rearing to go on Tuesday. Happy Labor Day, folks!