5′ 6″, Brown Eyes, Unemployed

I drag my king size mattress to the curb. Depressing. I drag the remnants of my disassembled king size bed frame to the curb. More Depressing! Each piece of bed is a sad reminder that I sleep alone.

I don’t always sleep alone. Sometimes one of my 9 year old sons wanders into my room in the middle of the night and crawls into my bed. The bed is so big that I don’t know he is there until I am awakened by his 75 pound body sleeping so close to me he is nearly pushing me off the side of the bed. Using all the energy I have, I push his dead weight across to the other side of the bed. Then I discover why he is nearly sleeping on top of me in the king size bed. The huge wet circle in the middle of the bed serves as another reminder that I sleep alone.  Depressing! I position my son on one side of the wet circle and myself on the other. I wake two hours later to discover my left pajama leg is wet. I get up. I change. I go into my son’s room and crawl under the cold blanket in his twin bed. I sleep alone.

I am reluctant. Keep the bed. Get rid of the bed. Keep the bed. It is only while removing the wet sheet from the night before that I notice the series of dry circles that cover the mattress. Each circle represents one of the many bed wetting late night visits from my son.  Who would want to share this bed with me? Staring at the pee stained mattress, I can think of no one. I get rid of the king size bed.

I pushed my new full size bed against the wall of my new bedroom. Without a big bed to fill up the big room, I switch bedrooms with my kids. Depressing! I try to position my little bed in the middle of the room like a grownup bed but it looks crowded and I don’t even have enough room for my dressers.

The bed is too small for my kids to come in and cuddle in the morning. It is too small for my bed wetter to sneak in unnoticed. I sleep alone. At night I lie awake wondering what it would be like to share my bed with someone, someone special. Would it be awkward to crawl over a new special someone to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night? I hate sleeping against the wall. Would I slither down to the end of the mattress to get out?  It wouldn’t be right to crawl over this new special someone. How long will I sleep alone in the little bed?

I have been alone in two different beds for almost 4 years. One more bed and I will turn into Goldie locks.  I sleep alone. I don’t like it.

An old friend calls, would I like to be her lover?  An old lover calls, would I like to be her lover again?  I want a new lover.

Someone sends me an email with a link to a personals ad. “She would be perfect for you,” writes my friend. I read the favorite quote this perfect person for me has chosen to let the rest of us know who she really is. I read her height. I read her eye color. I read her religion. She has a dog. She posts several photos, one photo of her and three photos of her dog.

She works full time as an academic researcher. For the first time I am struck by my new social status on “The Stimulus Package”. What do I do? I collect unemployment. It’s a full time job. As I read “Perfect for Me’s” profile, I realize how undesirable I now am in the dating world. I am now in the same category as “Lives with dog in parents’ basement.”

The computer prompts me to complete my own profile for others to view. A lengthy questionnaire appears on the screen. I check off all that apply. Brown hair, brown eyes, height. There is no room to interpret these questions. Then things get more complicated. Body type. We who sleep alone know how important our answer is to this question. There is the unflattering large, followed by thick. I can’t bear to characterize myself this way. I am left with “a few extra pounds” which is kind of subjective, and “voluptuous.”  I could also check athletic but I worry that I am creating an expectation that I can never meet. I like to float in the pool in the summer and read my book. Is that athletic? Who is to say what a few extra pounds really means and voluptuous is more “lover” than even I am interested in. 

Do I drink? Do I smoke? Do I go to church? Then there is that employment question. There is an option I can check called “at home” but it makes me sound more like I chose to stay at home and then I would have to explain why I would choose to stay home all day while my kids are at school. I decide on Full Time. I reason that in an ideal world I would be a full time employee. Next question, Income.  There is an option I can check called “I’ll explain later.”  When I read this in other’s profiles, it sounds like a story that ends with them having to pack up their dog and move back into their parents’ basement. I leave it blank and tell no one in particular that my income is personal and I think it’s inappropriate to share at a dating web site.

Several times while filling out the questionnaire, I feel so unworthy of another’s affections that I close my laptop and walk away. Even after I walk away from the computer I consider the possibilities of starting a new relationship with no one in particular and lie about my life on the stimulus package.  Could I actually start a new relationship and tell my imaginary girlfriend a giant lie? How sad that we had to break up all because I wasn’t honest. I could claim I am just another victim of this bad economy except that I lost my job months before the economy took a nose dive. Now I am even more depressed. I am unemployed and already broken up with someone I never met all because I don’t have a job. I don’t blame them. I wouldn’t date me either.

I once knew someone who didn’t want her new boyfriend to know she had a male room-mate so she lied and said she was living with her brother. When asked why her brother wasn’t in any of the family photos, she told her boyfriend that her brother was taking all the pictures. Worse still she was living in a studio apartment with one pull out bed. That meant that she and her adult brother were sharing a bed.  Still she kept her little secret for many months and ended up marrying the guy. Still the marriage ended up being a disaster. Still, he never seemed angry that she lied. Still, he now shares a room with his teenage son in a bunk bed while his daughter and wife sleep in his bedroom across the hall. He lost his job. My friend has been supporting her family by herself for years.

I revisit my profile several times and consider amending it. Again I consider the option under employment titled “I‘ll explain later.” I feel it is the most fitting category but when I consider the times I’ve heard “I’ll explain later,” “My ex got in an accident with my car,” “The babysitter fell asleep while my kids played with matches,” “My friend was caught having an affair.” It’s a thinly disguised delay to put off telling really bad news. In just 4 words it tells everything you don’t want to communicate. It is a long story, complicated, lots of drama, too many details to be told up front, not easily determined who is actually at fault, I ruined something you lent me.

I realize that in my haste to find a girlfriend, I forgot to find a job. It occurs to me that if I had a job I wouldn’t have the time to be looking for a girlfriend.

I go back to Career Builder. Here, I am among friends.

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