Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wayback Wednesday: Impulsiveness

I have an impulsive personality. I wish I didn’t. Some people might describe me as *sometimes* doing rather crazy things without thinking of the consequences. I make decisions impulsively. (I like to think *now* that I make quick decisions, instead of impulsive ones. I’m always the first to know what I want to eat at a restaurant!) I shop impulsively. If I see something cute for the kids, then I will buy it without thinking about the costs. I am controlling this now, and I’m not buying clothes for them that they don’t need. I’ve had a problem with impulsiveness my whole life. I’ve never done anything dangerous, and I try not to put my needs ahead of others. Son #1 has impulsive/aggressive problems, and this is not me although I expect he receives his impulsiveness from me. I just sometimes go out on the lamb. I do something that no one thought I’d do. I act unexpectedly.

In the Spring of 2000, I did just that. I had an impulsive moment. I was in love with my best friend, only he lived far away at another school. My two good girlfriends, Angie, Tiff, and I had been up late talking. Angie and I had been drinking. We were giggly college girls:

We didn’t want to study for our exams. We were procrastinating: another one of my vices. We were talking to Wish-he-was-my-boyfriend on the phone, having a great time. It was late, probably two or three in the morning, and as I recall it was a school night. Our school, American didn’t normally have Wednesday classes so we were all free to enjoy ourselves the next day, but Wish-he-was-my-boyfriend had class the next day. He was studious, and he did not like missing classes. I’m not sure how fond he was of impulsiveness either. 
I said, “Wish-he-was-my-boyfriend, we’re just going to get in the car and come up and see you, because I miss you.” I’m sure it was sort of slurred and funny sounding. 

Wish-he-was-my-boyfriend said, “No, you’re not.”

Here’s where Lauren’s emotions and life rules out everyone else’s priorities. I should have listened to him, but I didn’t want to hear what he was saying. I think I did a lot of that in college.

So I said, “Yes, we’re going to come up to see you tonight!”  My friends were egging me on.  We all liked the idea of a spontaneous adventure!

He sort of laughed and said, “Yeah right. You’re not. I have a test tomorrow. I’ll see you in _____ number of weeks.”

We hung up, and I looked at my two girlfriends and I said, “Let’s go. Why not? It will be fun. He’ll want to see me when I get there.”

My friends and I set out for a road trip in my 2000 Toyota Camry (I still have this car, only Hubby drives it now!) at three o’clock in the morning. The trip up was fun. We stopped and bought Dr. Peppers and beef jerky, a staple from gallivanting around in the country during my high school days. We sang Christmas Carols, in April, all the way up there. We switched drivers after two hours, because Tiffany was tired. These are the things I remember from that trip: it was pitch black driving through those mountains at night, there were a lot of trucks on the highway, the lights in the tunnels were so bright that driving back out into the darkness was utterly shocking, and there was a TON of construction going on once we hit the Pennsylvania state line. 
We rolled into Pittsburgh around seven in the morning. We parked around the corner from Wish-he-was-my-boyfriend’s dorm/apartment. The three of us stumbled to the door, half asleep (but not in frog pajamas) and buzzed up to his apartment. The buzzer rang upstairs to his phone. He picked up, and it was obvious that he was still asleep.

Hello,” Wish-he-was-my-boyfriend said groggily.

Hey. We’re downstairs. We came to visit.” I said, the girls giggling in the background.

What? No you’re not.” I guess he thought it was just one of my morning wake-up calls.

Yes, we’re downstairs, buzz us up.”

He buzzed us up, and when we made it up the stairs he opened the door. He did not look happy to see me. He did not look pleased that I had, in all of my selflessness, driven four and half hours through mountains and tunnels in the dark just to come see him. I wonder to this day, what in the world was I thinking? Desperation, much?

I’ll go get you some blankets, and you can sleep here,” he said, pointing to the floor. Not exactly what I had in mind. “I have class at 10. You can come to breakfast with us at 9.” 
Man of few words. Man mad to be woken up by crazy girl who wishes to throw herself at him at 7 in the morning, after having talked on the phone with her until 3 in the morning!

At nine he woke me up.  We talked privately.  I told him I wanted to stay and hang out for the day.  He completely refused.  He wanted me to go home.  I was not part of his plans.  He had school, and he needed to study.  I remember feeling upset.  I remember thinking I’d be flattered if someone came to see me at 3:00 o’clock in the morning.  (Although, I know that’s not true because only a year before my “then boyfriend” had hopped a Greyhound bus from Michigan to come see me after I said I wanted space, and I was not amused!)  I expected Wish-he-was-my-boyfriend to drop everything to be with me at that moment, which was presumptuous and entirely unfair on my part.

We went to breakfast at one of the schools’ cafeterias. Wish-he-was-my-boyfriend’s friends WERE entirely amused that we had driven to see him in the middle of the night. THEY thought it was totally cool. We talked over breakfast. Wish-he-was-my-boyfriend hugged me, wished me adieu, and we left around 9:45, approximately two hours and forty-five minutes after arriving.

The problem stemming from this visit was that I only “wished he was my boyfriend,” he wasn’t actually my boyfriend. This whole act in itself was desperate and impulsive. Wish-he-was-my-boyfriend *really* didn’t want me to come, but in my head I thought he did. After this act of selfishness, I don’t blame him so much for trying to set me up with his best friend, even though he knew (or in my mind *must* have known I was desperately in love with him). Maybe this was his way of putting me down easily. Maybe he couldn’t own up to his own feelings about me, just because of the distance—I will never know. It’s a wonder that Wish-he-was-my-boyfriend and I stayed friends for another two years or so. We played games we each others’ heads for awhile, and eventually when I couldn’t get what I wanted I moved on. I will never know exactly what he thought about me that morning or how it made him feel. 
On the drive home, I couldn’t fathom why he didn’t want me there. It never occurred to me that I didn’t take his feelings into account. I didn’t listen when he told me he didn’t want me to come up. I just came, selfishly, to achieve my own selfish means. Impulsiveness is like that.

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