(School starts next week. For now, I'm just indulging some dead mental pets.)
During the brief denouement of my marriage, after the divorce papers were filed but before my ex-wife moved out of the house, I said the following to her:
"Don't worry about me. I already know how this story's going to end, I'd been thinking about it a few months ago when I knew damn well our marriage wasn't going to last. I'm going to meet a girl at school. She's going to share my geeked-out love of finance, the tax code, and all the other stuff that flies completely over your head whenever I try to talk about it with you. We're going to share ambitions, get along really well, and now that I don't have a marriage to complicate matters, that girl and I will be able to live happily ever after...you know, that happy state I thought I was going to get from you. To be quite honest, I'm kind of glad to have the freedom to pursue it. It would've been messy if I met a girl like that and realized I'd married the wrong woman. You know how moral and loyal I am. I either would've felt like the biggest piece of shit alive for going for it or I would've passed up on the chance at true happiness to stay with someone who we both know---obviously, considering the circumstances---wouldn't have made me anywhere near as content in life. And the girl and I are going to settle into a nice house in the suburbs, maybe even my old hometown, have swell kids, and live that life you seem so desperate to want to avoid. So by all means, run your ass back to Canada and your welfare mom and brain-dead sisters and have a nice life. At least our life together was fun while it lasted."
I've already made a couple of friends at school. Being the smart guy in the back of the room has been good to me. I sit in the back for two reasons: one, because that's where the electrical outlets are and I keep my laptop on unless the teacher explicitly tells me not to; two, because it lends itself perfectly to participation in class discussions. If I have to raise my voice so the teacher can hear me, that means everyone else in the room hears me as well. This approach tends to draw some attention, and it likewise tends toward people noticing that I've got something to say and asking me if either I'll study with/tutor them or if I just want to talk about whatever's on their mind.
There's only one semester left before I get my associate's degree. Starting in the fall of this year I'll be at UNR (University of Nevada, Reno---go Wolf Pack!) and taking classes specifically aimed at my dual-major of accounting and finance. This includes Accounting 401, 402, and 403, collectively known as "Intermediate Accounting", said by my CPA friends (of whom I've a few) to be a sorting algorithm all but guaranteed to break hearts and break brains. I fully intend to ace all three sections on the first try and will take it as a challenge to my intellect and work ethic to be the star student.
This is where my little story from the first section of this essay comes in. Already I've had young women (quite attractive ones, even!) come to me for study help in classes far easier than Intermediate Accounting looks to be. I know enough about body language (I have been around the block a time or two, y'know) to know that I could probably have dated at least one or two of them had I been in a position to ask. I likewise have ample reason to believe that this pattern will continue; besides joining some of the same students from fall in continuation classes in the spring, my schedule is liberally peppered with classes in which I should be able to flex my intellectual muscle in a way sufficiently public to continue to draw that kind of positive attention.
I'm not in the least bit concerned about "settling down" again. It's still too soon since the last time, after all; I quite enjoy my freedom and I'm in no mood to go through that before I'm completely done with school, which won't be until 2012 at the earliest. But I'm not an island, and I do thrive on companionship in appropriate measure, especially with interesting people, and double-especially with interesting people who happen to be attractive young women with goals and aspirations remarkably similar to mine.
I believe firmly that 2010 will make the shortlist of "best years of my life" along with 1999 and 2004. What did those two years have in common? My life was designed and built in each to be a situation where I could call my own shots, determine the pace and frequency at which I interacted with people apart from my basic responsibilities, and took life the way a hitter in a batting cage takes pitches. You'd think I'd have learned my lesson, but two ill-considered long-term relationships submarined my very sense of self-worth. One's a fluke. Two's a coincidence. Three? Three's a trend, and I've no plans to make a trend out of relationship-inflicted spinning of my own wheels. Monday's Opening Day. I've got my bat and glove. It's a great day for baseball. Let's play two.