Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Speak French to me my darling, Part 72

Yet another embarrassing post about Gomez and his controlling behavior and how I put up with it. Don't worry. The Gomez posts are almost over because in four days, I meet SH at our 20-year college reunion. I don't blog about it because I don't want my mom to know yet, but I do stop writing about Gomez because he is HISTORY.

posted Mon, 07 Nov 2005

I have gotten angry with Gomez only three times since I met him. (Of course, I haven’t known him that long…)

The first was on our first date when he assumed that just because I was American, I was going to put out. Or maybe just because of his many charms. Who knows why? Moroccan mamas throw their daughters at him all the time. He is considered quite the catch in Rabat circles. Women call him all the time and ask him how he’s doing, hinting around. I ask him how he handles that. “Oh, I pretend that I am stupid, that I do not know why they are calling me,” he said. Hmm. So they really do know why we call asking them silly things.

Second time I got upset was when he got all didactic and lecturey telling me how the US economic and social system worked and why on earth were those people in New Orleans so poor and how could this happen in the United States? The United States that thought it should be running everything else in the world and it couldn’t even fix its own problems? (We very carefully avoid discussing US foreign policy. That is what has kept the number of our disagreements low.)

I wanted to rebut what he was saying with the story of my uncle Hugh, who is married to my mother’s sister, Mary Ann. Hugh came to the US with less than nothing – he owed money for his plane ticket here – but has managed to build a ranch and a business and put four children through college and is doing just fine, thank you very much. If he can do this, he who at ten years old ran west over the Prussian hills away from the Russian Army, why can’t someone born in this country with all this country has to offer make it?

But I couldn’t because Gomez does get a bit lecturey, so I rolled my eyes until he finished and then told him that just because he had a PhD and had grown up with more advantages than I had did not make him any smarter than I and that I think I knew the system in my own country better than he and that I would thank him not to treat me as one of his students, thank you very much.

The third time was this weekend. He calls me at least once a day, but I had not heard from him since Wednesday. He didn’t call, he didn’t email. I didn’t know if he was alive or dead. I didn’t know if something had happened to his little boy or someone else in his family. I didn’t know what was going on.

By yesterday, I had gone from “he’s dead” to “he’s decided he doesn’t like me any more but instead of telling me, he’s just never going to call me anymore.”

By the time he finally called me this morning, I’d worked up a head of steam.

Put this in perspective. This is the guy who when I was five minutes late returning to the apartment in Paris (OK, ten) the two times we went our separate ways for the afternoon was absolutely beside himself.

“Where were you? I was so worried! I didn’t know where you were! How could I find you if you were lost? You don’t know Paris! In Rabat, if you were late, I knew you were with Megan and Steve, so I did not worry. But this is different! What if something had happened to you? You don’t have a cellphone. I don’t have a way to reach you. Oh, I have been so worried!”

I of course am thinking, 3:00, 3:10 – whatever. He’s from Africa, he must run on African time, which I think is like Southern time.

But no! He runs on Midwestern time – at least, he expects me to run on Midwestern time. And now that I think about it, for anything he has done with me, he has been on time or early.

So when he is asking me where I am, what if I get lost, telling me he has been so worried, I don’t think it’s a good idea to mention 1) I’ve been to Paris four times before, or 2) I managed to make it all the way from Chile to the United States by myself without getting lost. Besides, it’s kind of nice to have someone worry about me and think that maybe I am not so tough that I don’t need worrying about. It’s actually a novelty. I should have said these things. I should have said, "Oh for crying out loud. I speak French. I've been to Paris. I know my way around. Leave me alone." But I didn't. For dumb.

Back to this morning. He’d sent me an email telling me that his internet had been out and had finally been repaired. So I was waiting.

He calls.

He apologizes for not being able to call me the past few days and explains.

I tell him I have been worried sick. “You could have been dead! I didn’t know! Why didn’t you call me on the regular phone?”

“We have been on holiday – the end of Ramadan. I have been coming to the hotel every day to see if it is fixed just to call you. But then the time diff…”

“So call my work number and leave a voicemail! Or call Megan and ask her to send an email! I didn’t know if you were in the hospital or if something had happened to Rali.” I went on and on. Oh, I was so mad. I didn’t mention the part about his deciding he didn’t like me any more. No need to mention that little insecurity, n’est ce pas? (Is that how you write it? I know how to say it, but my written French, she is not so good.)

Once I got that off my chest (not that I have any to spare) and he agreed to my terms (“Yes, of course I will call you next time or I will have Megan send you an email. Mon amour, I miss you, I miss you terribly, I cannot tell you how much I miss you, it has been unbearable not to talk to you….”), I got over my mad. It really helps to have someone speak French to you when you’re angry, which must be why French used to be the language of diplomacy and why countries surrender in it.

He really is a nice guy. I got all mad at him and instead of getting mad back at me, he just – let me be mad. Hmm. I’m not used to that. I’m not used to being allowed to be mad. I like this guy.

Yes. I am mortified that I ever wrote this. Don't worry. It's over.

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