It’s what I do when I’m bored. I find myself googling a past– past friend, boyfriend, neighbor, life–for no reason at all, other than offering up the obligatory, "Because I can." Yeah, well that’s also why a dog licks his bits. Technology allows us so many advantages, and while it can lead to great blessings in our lives, too many of us use it to our own detriment. Drunk emails. Flirty IMs. Chat rooms. Medical or mommy message boards. Wire transfers.
That ability to access or indulge in all that delights or tempts us should be used judiciously, and at all costs, ignored when we’re bored. "Boredom" is the kissing-cousin of "trouble." Devil’s handmaiden, all that. The sad fact is, I broke down and Googled him. And even more than I hate that "Google" is a verb, I hate that I went there. That I wasted a good hour of my life combing through other people’s photos, thinking they might be his photos. They weren’t. And when I say his, I most certainly do not mean the wasband. Searching up a past–your own, or the names of your own man’s exes–is a lot like shopping when you’re depressed. Nothing looks all that good, and you find yourself mindlessly sorting without a purpose. Soon, you find you’re punching in your credit card numbers and ordering things you don’t need. That is to say, you’re mentally allowing yourself to go to a place you cannot afford.
A good 30 sites were linked to his name. I didn’t know if he was the student, the politician, the bass fisher, or the Bass drinker. Maybe he was the Star Wars nut. The only way to tell was to click. The trouble is sometimes a harmless click-through leads to a drive-by flickr mess, followed promptly with an innocent email. Before you know it, you’re there, back living the way you had when you were an us. It’s a love-hate I’ve got for this internet. The ability to pick up so easily after so much time has gone by.
People always mention that like it’s a good thing. "Like not a single day had gone by." That ability to pick back up without the awkward silences, just back into your sentences, not his and yours, but yours, the way you don’t even really have to… well, you know. But really, having that ability to go back, that quickly, just as you were, even though, really you can’t be, makes me feel kind of empty. Like what we had wasn’t all that real. But I wonder if that’s the way we feel about all the things that don’t end up working out. That they were just steps bringing us closer to where we’d end up. It cheapens it when we’re able to go back like that. Because as soon as the emails become back and forth, when we’re in the living of how we used to live, I get angry again, wondering why things ended, despite adoring the end of my days in my house with my sweet little happy endings. Because emotions, certainly mine, are messed up little bastards.
I suspect this is why online dating sites thrive, even after the relationship is thriving, itself. The both of you sign in after an incredible date/ night/ weekend together, just to see. Maybe, you’re determined, and you sign in only to cancel your membership, but then you see that he’s signed on as well. It throws everything into doubt, and you become so angry for ever believing, for moving so quickly, for allowing yourself to get excited. Then you try to talk yourself down. Well, you reason, maybe he’s on just to cancel, too. But this doesn’t happen. And when he calls again, you know you’re acting short, that you’re doing it so he asks what’s wrong. But when he does ask, you act as if there’s nothing at all wrong, "Why? What’s up?"
We know we’d be so much better off, mentally anyway, not even going there. Leaving it alone, letting things evolve in time. And we tell ourselves this. "I’m not going to do that again." I won’t sort through a past, through his profile, through google results about his ex. And it’s just like dieting. Sometimes we say we’re going to start fresh, on Monday. A new start, we’re sure of it. But eventually, we forget, or we don’t care, and we go indulge in all that delights and tempts us… the forbidden fruit. Maybe it really is all about the apple.