Every once and a while I go for breakfast with a woman who is constantly trying to decide between three or four men.
It makes it significantly tougher for all parties that one of those men is her long term boyfriend.
"Everything's kind of up in the air," she tells me.
I respond to this by nodding and making supportive noises in between bites of buttermilk pancakes. I don't tell her that she says this exact same sentence to me every time I see her, which has been once every two or three months for the last couple years. Save for the long term boyfriend, the men involved sometimes change, but the situation never does.
Everything is up in the air.
Not from my perspective.
Everything isn't up in the air. From her description of the situation, the only thing up in the air is her. She hovers there like a hot air balloon tethered to a circus fairground--not free enough to float away, not grounded enough to come down.
Everyone else is just standing around waiting to see if she's going to come down or not.
One guy is trying to coax her down.
A couple others are waiting for her, looking up with arms extended waiting for her to make a damn decision one way or another.
Another wanders in and out of the scene. He looks up, notices she's still up there, and walks away munching on an apple. Every now and then he ambles by to see if there's been any activity and if so, whether things are going to break his way, but he doesn't seem bothered much one way or the other.
Personally, he's my favorite. He's just going about his life, open to possibilities, but not worrying about things over which he has no control.
I try to follow his example.
Some days Up In The Air Girl seems torn. Other days, she tells me everything happens for a reason and she's just going to see what happens.
Which would be fine, I suppose, but while she is waiting to see what happens, time is passing.
Secretly, I believe the reason the situation has never really changed is because she LIKES it. I wonder if having three or four potential relationships makes her feel powerful.
Sadly, that kind of power is an illusion.
Having choice is power. But having choice and not making it is wasting it.
Having three or four POTENTIAL partners is the same thing as saying she has NO partners.
She has nothing. Worse, she doesn't seem to realize it.
And time is still passing.
It reminds me of a line in Nick Hornby's High Fidelity where the protagonist's girlfriend says something to him to the effect of "you spend so much time keeping your options open that pretty soon you aren't going to have any left."
It makes me sad.
She talks about not wanting to hurt people, but it seems like many of the people are involved are already hurting. She also doesn't seem to realize that the person who is most missing out is her.
One guy has made the choice to stay with her. Others have chosen to wait.A few others have walked away. Others see her as a potential opportunity, but not one worth investing undue effort in.
But all of them have made a choice. All of them have exerted their power. We can argue about the wisdom or rightness of their decisions, but they have made them.
What else can we ask from ourselves and others? We make commitments...to ourselves, to others, to our own values. We accept the consequences for how things turn out. We hope for the best, and learn from the worst.
In short, we keep our feet on the ground, pick a direction, and start walking.
But to remain Up In the Air forever?
Whether you're male or female, Don't Be That Girl.