Sunday, March 06, 2011

The Boyfriend

AOG, Barcelona

I am not an expert on relationships, nor am I an expert on human relations. I know I will depart this planet having learned precious little about our species. With this in mind, I must bring up what just happened on the way to the Airport. 

I got on a bus from Plaça Catalunya, and headed out, hoping to make it on time (no, I don't know what it is about me which makes me always run late). 

About a minute after the bus departed, the man behind me got a phone call. 

I tried not to eavesdrop but it was hard since he was talking in a normal voice, and my ears were a few inches below his cell phone. 

His girlfriend/boyfriend had called and was saying good bye. She/he was mostly in tears, and was sad by this guy's departure. 

I never heard his/her voice, but I could hear full well how the man behind me spoke to his lover. 

I must say that I found it very hard to believe that this guy loved the other person. He was not rude, nor nasty, nor was off-putting (much). But his good-bye sounded like a continuous apology. 

"I'll be back soon"
"I'll call you from Madrid"
"I love you too"
"Don't cry darling"

Perhaps he too was in pain. I'd like to think he was if he really loved the person on the other side of the phone line. Perhaps I misjudged the entire episode.

But, for my money, he was not as sad as the other person. I am not entirely sure about why I think this, but there was just something in his tone of voice. 

A lack of interest, maybe fatigue? I also have no idea what it is he may have to face when he gets back home. Maybe that affected his mood. 

He would sprinkle his conversation with Italian words here and there, bacci, ti amo, things like that. But they were just not said in a true enough way for me. Was the other person Italian? I'll never know. 

He was from Argentina, so maybe that is just how he spoke to people. 

As you know, many Argentinians have Italian ancestry, so it is not unusual for them to use Italian words now and then.

Am I being misanthropic? Perhaps. 

Perhaps this guy is fantastic, but he came across as the flower, not the gardener. Is this necessarily bad? No.

It is a mutual dependency that between a flower and his gardener, but he just seemed like a slightly impertinent flower at times. 

Especially the second time the other person called back and, yes, unfortunately, he complained. 

In a low voice, almost apologetically, but complain he did. It was obvious that he did not want that second call. 

It was much less welcome than the first one. True, I have no clue what was going through his head at the time. Maybe he faces some horrid tribulation. I don't know.
What I do know, is that the tone of voice was, unfortunately (for me) much too familiar. It cut just a little bit close to the bone. 

I too have heard in the past that "I love you but I'm busy" tone of voice. 

"I love you but you are calling at the wrong time". 

"I love you but I already said good-bye at the station". 

"I love you but darling you are making me spend money every time it cuts off and I get your voicemail". (Actual part of the conversation)

All of those 'I love you's' that come with a caveat.

Fortunately for me, I learned very quickly that "ILYB" (I love you...but) really translates as "I love me, period", and that you are just a passing flight of fancy. 

Something to keep them entertained for now, but which costs them no great emotional investment. 

Perhaps I am being too cynical. But this guy just sounded a little bit bored, a little bit busy, a little bit insincere.

When the bus got to the airport, part of me did not really want to look at him. I thought the aural experience had been enough. But as I put my backpack over my shoulders I did look at him. And I was surprised by what I saw. 

His voice was that of a much younger man. But his age really threw me aback. Late 40s, maybe early 50s. His appearance was scruffy: jean jacket, jeans, unshaven, greasy hair across his forehead. In other words, an adult, middle-aged male who looked like a thin version of Burt Reynolds with lung cancer.

I was surprised because I usually think that by that age, men are pretty well sorted. 

And if not, woe be to him/her who falls for one of these sad Lotharios. I left the bus, and tried not to see anymore of him. 

I wasn't upset, but I was intrigued by his whole "performance" on the phone.

Why lie? Why go through all that trouble? Why not just be honest, especially to yourself? Would he be coming back from Buenos Aires to see his lover? Probably. 

He said he'd see the other person on the 31st. 

Of what? Of never?

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