Wednesday, September 19, 2012

ISO: Keymaster

I am currently hiring out for the position of Keymaster.

Last night I gathered my ipod, my water bottle, my phone, and a bag of trash to take out on my way to the gym.  I pulled the door closed behind me and I keys were inside.

This is the third time I've done this since living in this apartment. The first time was an easy fix.  I had a friend, J, who lived nearby.  I'd given him a key because he'd done some petsitting for me, and I wisely told him to keep it just in case.  The first time I got locked out, he was over in 15 minutes to let me in.

The second time I was on my way out to a date, and I locked myself out.  I had to call my apartment people because J had since moved away, and his key was in my couchside table drawer, homeless.  Luckily, they arrived within about 15 minutes, and I killed time with my friendly neighbors outside while I waited.  I was still on time for my date, too.

This time, the apartment people took 45 minutes to show.  I split my time between shifting about restlessly outside of my apartment building and sitting like a weird lurker on the steps inside. 

Here is where the worst part begins:

I texted Artboy.  I don't even know why.  I just joked that he should come save me since I was locked out.  He very logically responded that he didn't have a key.  I told him I was obviously joking and was just bored, and that this incident was indicative of how my afternoon had gone in general.  That was the end of that conversation.

I was locked out of my apartment.  I was bored.  He lives MAYBE 10 minutes away.  Not only did he fail to offer to come over and keep me company, but he didn't even try to engage me in conversation to distract me while I waited.  It's good to know where I stand.  Again.  Still.  Always. 

I wish I had locked my phone in my apartment. 

Then I IMed SC.  This was 40 minutes into my waiting and I told him so.  He immediately asked why I hadn't called him for a rescue, and told me he would have picked me up to grab a drink or something while I waited.

By the time apartment maintenance arrived and let me inside, I was fuming.  I was so angry with myself.  How long have I been doing this to myself?  How long am I going to *keep* doing it?  He didn't give a damn that I was locked out.  It  didn't even register on his radar.  He carried on playing video games or watching TV or drinking or whatever it was he was doing, and the thought of helping me out in any fashion didn't occur to him.

How many times has he texted me that he's out of power, he's sick, he's too drunk to drive and is thusly walking?  How many times have I then offered my apartment for A/C and power, offered to stop by if he needs meds or food or anything when sick, offered a ride from the Metro.  Too many to count.  This doesn't even factor in the times when I've listened to him vent when he is angry or stressed, the times I've offered to do things with him when he's seemed down, the ways I've tried to cheer him up or make him laugh.

What the hell does he do for me?  I see him every couple of weeks, or every couple of months.  He smiles at me, says something nice to me, confides something in me, and pretends to give a shit, and I fall all over myself buying the nonsense he's selling.  I rationalize it.  I place an inane value on the most minimalist effort that he puts in, and I tell myself that it proves he cares.

The closest he's ever been to being there for me has been half-hearted.  But it always circles back to what I can do for him.  What I can be for him.  How I can make him happy.  A big part of that is my fault.

He isn't happy.  I can't fix that.  He is strange and emo and depressed half the time, and he is emotionally 14 years old and stuck.  He functions as an adult professionally and is brilliant at it, especially in terms of his job, and it's deceiving.  It's misleading because inside he remains a lost, lonely, awkward, button pushing, non-compromising 14 year old.

I am 34 years old.  I am tired of this bullshit.  I am not asking the world of him.  I'm not asking for him to save me, or to court me with huge romantic gestures, or to sit down and listen to me talk for hours.  I would have been happy if he'd ever offered to come rub my head when I had a migraine.  If he ever asked me over to just watch a movie we both enjoyed.  If he made plans and followed through on them.  If he ever called or texted just to see how I was doing.  If, when I got locked out, he offered to swing by with food or just company, or if he even just sat there and talked with me via text while I waited out maintenance.

I don't get any of that.  I get late night calls on his terms.  I get dismissed when he's not in the mood for banter.  Sometimes I just get ignored.  I get a manipulative hour or three or ten with him, and then usually I pay for those "good" times by him being a more refined asshole for the following days.

The balance is not just off, it's immeasurably screwed.  I'm really, really tired of being locked out, and I don't just mean from my apartment.  I'm tired of selling myself so short and trying to explain it away. 

Also?  I really wish I didn't feel quite so on my own.  I don't know who to put for a local emergency contact anymore, and I don't know who I can trust to have a key. 

Chances are, it's going to a neighbor.  Chances are, that will have to be enough for now.


  1. Artboy needs to go. Seems like more often than not, you end up upset after speaking with him. That, and you deserve better.

    I totally get where you're coming from though. I live in the city alone. My parents are just over 1 hour away so although they are a possibility, I've never given them a key. Thankfully my superintendent lives in the building so I just buzz her because God knows I've locked myself out of the building getting the mail. Giving it to a neighbor would work, presuming you're comfortable enough to do that and you think they would be a reliable contact. If it weren't for my super, I'd be in the same boat so it makes me think.

    1. @Ash: It hadn't been that way for awhile, but lately the attitude is just wearing on me. He is just so damn certain I'll be there no matter how he treats me, whenever he wants me, and just put up with being ignored/discarded/whatever in the meantime. Working on changing that, one way or another.

      RE: the key, I'm going to go with one of my neighbors, I think. Either that or I'm burying a key outside my building in the bushes, LOL.

    2. He's taking advantage. And it seems like you always HAVE been there whenever he wanted you so what incentive does he have to change? Say no a few times, blow him off and see if that changes his behavior.

    3. @Ash: True. 9 times out of 10 I've said yes to him, and I know I have myself to blame for a good portion of how this dynamic has evolved. I made everything so easy for him, I didn't require effort or follow through. I may have verbally demanded it, but I always gave in. There are some changes coming his way, I assure you of that. We'll see how he likes being treated like he treats me.

    4. WOO HOO. Do it. People like that need to realize how badly they treat people. They think because they aren't actively being cruel that it doesn't hurt. But it does. Neglect and indifference is just a different type of cruelty.

  2. It's so easy for people (like me :)) to just say to cut him out but until you feel it yourself, what anyone else says really doesn't matter much because you have to feel it. Things like this will hopefully push you in the direction of locking HIM out for good. When someone isn't there for you when you really need them but is more than willing to be there on their terms, eff them.

    I feel the same way. I don't have family here and very few geographically close friends. I'm going to just start leaving a key in my office so if I get desperate, I can always come back into the city.

    I'm so sorry he didn't come by but I'm so happy SC seems like a stand-up guy and he gets one more smiley face in my book!!!

    1. @Ames: It is definitely easier said than done, but I'm trying to remind myself of the accumulated list of all of these kinds of behaviors. I make no guarantees, and I've never been good at cold turkey breaks, but we'll see how it goes. At the bare minimum, I need to work on laying down a line and demanding respect...and if I don't get it, I don't engage.

      Feeling sketchy about SC because of the scheduling issues this week, but I'm not totally ruling him out yet.

  3. I don't have family here, well, they live like 20 minutes from me. I should give her a key... Anyway, my best friend just moved, so there's that. I have no one I could trust to give a key to. What I'm going to do is keep a copy in my desk at work, JIC, since I trust the guys I work with.

    As for Artboy, you are nothing to him, he is taking advantage of you, he knows you will let him, so he keeps doing it. I hate to say it, but the more you realize it yourself, the sooner you can cut him out of your life. A friendship is a 2 way street, and he doesn't seem interested in really being your friend. Do yourself a favor and don't initiate texts with him, then watch his behavior for yourself. Notice when he texts you and want he asks for or wants when he does.

    As for SC, perfect response, very nice. I know the whole availability thing might be a turn off, but as long as its not "I have no life besides you!!" style, I think this guy is a good find.

  4. @Danielle: Everything you said about Artboy is probably true. I won't lie, it hurts to believe that, but if I look at things objectively...there's not much choice.

    I am going to do as you suggested and back off, and see what happens. Like I told Ames above, I'm not good at cold turkey quitting, so I'm going to see if I can just alter my reaction to him, because he WILL contact me again.