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Team Everybody Loses, Including Me!

February 3, 2013

I haven’t had any particular reason to watch the Super Bowl in fourteen years, which dates back to the last time the Broncos were in one. I kinda sorta watched in 2006, when the Bears, my mother’s team, were contenders, even though they did what Chicago teams do best and lost.

For the most part, watching the NFL’s Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny in the past few years has been more about watching a particular team lose, usually whichever one humiliated the Broncos most. It’s why I cheered for the Giants’ victory over the Patriots, a.k.a. the Massholes of Football last year, and it should be why this year’s match-up of Ravens vs. 49ers should be a no-brainer for me, given that the Ravens have been causing my boys grief every time they looked like they had a real winning streak going.

But I just can’t root for the 49ers. Oh, I know, they haven’t even been to a Super Bowl in years, so they really deserve it, and since they’re NFC and therefore have very little impact on the Broncos in the vast majority the season, I should be sporting red and gold today. But I can’t, because I know my ex is doing exactly that.

Yes, I fully acknowledge that rooting against a team just because your ex grew up dreaming of their Super Bowl win isn’t what most experts would call mature. And there might be a few of you furrowing your brows and remembering conversations with me or, hell, one of my first posts here, in which I earnestly declared my desire to remain friends with my ex-boyfriend. It would be a real change of pace for me, but considering we parted ways on fairly amicable terms and still liked each other as people, it seemed like a doable goal.

We even had a phone conversation shortly before New Year’s. I was in the mountains working, so it made for a welcome respite from a drowsy night of shoveling down ramen and watching Family Guy in preparation for another onslaught of private lessons to come in the next few days.  I love my job, but being on your feet for six hours and not being able to get a beer with your coworkers due to living forty-five minutes away can take its toll, so I was sincerely glad for the phone call.

After we shot the shit for a while, he revealed the main purpose to his call: he wanted to know if he and his father could come up that weekend, while I would be at work in the mountains, and move his stuff out of the apartment. It was the only weekend in the foreseeable future they could make the trip.

I said I was not okay with that, as I was uncomfortable with his father being in my apartment while I wasn’t around. He said that would make things difficult, but he acquiesced to my concerns and said they’d find some other time, although he warned me it might not be for a month or so, which I said was fine.

So you can imagine my shock and horror to return home New Year’s Eve, after a long week of six-hour private lessons and another two days of them to come, to find my bookshelves emptied, my floors tracked with gravel and dirty footprints, and a note reiterating what he’d said over the phone about not having another weekend in the foreseeable future to get his things, as if I’d somehow forgotten that part of the conversation. “I hope we can still be friends,” his note ended.

I sent off a nasty text message and haven’t heard from him since. When I told my father about the violation of our agreement, he asked, “Was anything missing?”

“Eh, a few books and the wrist braces I bought in the hopes of trying snowboarding again.”

My dad was silent for a few seconds. “If all you lost in the process was a few books and some braces,” he said cheerfully, “you got off pretty light.”

And so I learned that a divorced guy will always be able to one-up you on break-up tales, making him not exactly the most sympathetic ear in the world. But I also learned that there are always contingencies and unexpected turns in ending a relationship, and while it’s probably impossible to plan for all of them, there are a few simple common-sense moves that I could’ve taken, like making sure I got my ex’s keys back from him before he left once it was clear that I would be staying in the apartment.

But let this also be a lesson to both parties in a break-up: maybe the truism about it being better to ask for forgiveness than permission applies in some cases. But if you ask for permission, are denied it, and then ask forgiveness for the act you were denied permission for, do not expect to receive it. It could be the one act in seven years of good relations that turns your now-ex from a friend to someone who can’t be happy when she knows her ex is.

I’m hoping the rage I still feel when I think of my unhappy New Year’s Eve homecoming subsides after a while. I’d still like to be friends with him on some level, since I still have yet to find someone in my immediate circle to share my Star Trek jokes with. But even after a month, I still stare at my empty bookshelves and scuffed floors with helpless disgust.

So no matter who wins the Super Bowl today, I’ll have to take it all in with a nice glass of bitters to accompany the sour grapes. It’ll probably be a while before I can fathom being on the winning team.


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