Everybody wants a superpower, but nobody wants to pay those dry-cleaning bills.
Personally, I think most of them are overrated. Can you imagine the shit you’re going to be subjected to if your co-workers found out you have the ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound and you didn’t pick them up on the way to work?
So forget time traveling or possessing superhuman speed. Don’t give me telepathy, flight, shape shifting or even having Catwoman’s number on speed dial. Because while those superpowers are nice, they ain’t got a thing on mine.
I rarely run into an ex.
That’s it. That’s my superpower. And while it ain’t ever gonna put Iron Man out of business, it works for yours truly. And it’s my great good fortune to have it, seeing as how I’ve got plenty of Rico but precious little Suave for these situations.
This isn’t to say I haven’t experienced an awkward conversation in line at the grocery store. But more often than not, I’ve been able to avoid the calamitous “Oh heeeeyyyy!” . . which is the single dude preamble to that John Milton novel. Okay, all of ’em.
I found myself behind Red in a Starbucks drive through last week. There she was in her adorable little Fiat, fussing with her fiery red curls as I leaned down to search for something in my glove box in order to escape detection. Red was married, which is why we lasted as long as we did.
Rosemarie was my disco lemonade crush back in the ’80’s, and I really thought I was going to marry her someday, maybe. This was mostly due to the fact a Survivor love ballad always seemed to make the scene when we were skin deep in negotiations. I actually came across her a couple times over the last few years before I was certain it was her, seeing as how she chopped her mane and lost her infectious smile thanks to parenthood. And it’s even money she was thinking the same thing about me.
Ms. Borinquen gifted me an Ireland soccer t-shirt on St Patrick’s Day 2007 after we decided to double down on the merry making at her crib. I spotted her in a downtown cafe a few years back, looking as creamy as ever. After which I switched seats with my coffee pal, just in case the dude she was with happened to be her gun toting baby daddy.
I’m expert at spotting an ex before the ex spots me. As with Mel the poet at Hershey Park . . . Val the therapist at the mall . . . Diana the parole officer in a Jimmy John’s (after which I got Chinese takeout instead) . . . Lisa the perpetual saint of unemployment at a bar . . .
Which brings me to Miss What’s Her Name. She was a teacher who had worked with Red for a while, and we once ran into her at a pub near Red’s condo in town. She was several drinks south of the meridian line by that point in the evening, but she still remembered the chance acquaintance when speaking to Red a few days later. And it was somewhere inside their conversation that Miss What’s Her Name made a rather tawdry suggestion that maybe the three of us could, yanno, have a round table. Sans the table.
Discretion was the better part of Red’s game, so it never happened. And thank God for that, because this woman would end up in a 50 Shades-like scandal a few years later. Seems she had been playing bare naked Hades with several prominent names when a scorned spouse cried foul.
So of fucking course I ran into her. And it was the strangest thing, to run into someone I didn’t sleep with only because the woman I was sleeping with had more sense in her pinkie than I have in . . . umm, mine. Because you know what’s more awkward than running into someone you went Hello Dali with behind closed doors? Running into someone who suggested such an encounter to your married girlfriend.
She asked if I still talk to Red and I told her I didn’t. And then I asked her something to which I have no recollection, because I just wanted to extricate myself from the situation as quickly as possible. And I know she was thinking the same thing, because she was fidgeting like a pitcher with the bases loaded. Thing is, for someone who is locked and loaded when it comes time to find trouble, my arsenal is weaker than the french army when attempting to flee the scene.
Catwoman would have a field day with me.