The Road Revisited

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

"What a Jerk-Face Susan!": The Saga of Josh (new pics below!)

Lala put the kids to bed, I spent about 45 minutes in the shower with a bottle of conditioner and a fine-tooth comb and, one-third of my hair in the drain later, we sat on the couch, watching figures move on the television but not really watching. "So did you talk to Josh today?"
"I called him before I went to Max and Willow's and he said he'd call me but he hasn't."
"Well... you might want to call him soon. Tonight at work he told me he's going out of town tomorrow for a week."
"Yeah, he said he's leaving town."

Okay, people, let's do the math. Josh called and invited me to Missoula for a week. I arrived on a Tuesday evening. This was Friday evening (also, in my last blog post I said the day I visited Max and Willow -- the same day I had this conversation with Lala -- was a Saturday, but it was actually Friday.) So Josh, unbeknownst to anyone, least of all me, decides to get the hell outta Dodge and leave me stranded with no place to stay after only 72 hours. And as if that weren't bad enough, I had dropped off film to be developed in a week's time, because I figured on being in Missoula for a week, so now I was stuck. I couldn't just up and leave.

Lucky for me, I have some gracious helpings of Lala and Megan and Adam in my life. They weren't about to let me leave, or search for a place to sleep or anything like that. "You can stay with us as long as you want," Lala assured me, which I was glad for because I certainly liked staying with them than with Josh's cranky ass. I did try to call him, though, because I was just in complete shock that he would pull a stunt like that. Voicemail. I left a message saying, "Um, hey, Josh, it's Jessica. Can you please call me when you get this because I heard you're going out of town and it would be nice if I could come over and pick up the stuff I left over at your place, since I thought I was going to be staying with you some more. Talk to you later."

"Are you sure he said tomorrow and not next Saturday?" I asked Lala.
"No, he definitely meant tomorrow."
"Son of a bitch!"

Did he have any idea how that made me feel? Did he care? Obviously not. But in what shallow defense he deserves, he probably had no idea how it is to live on the road, to become dependent on strangers for human contact, to latch on to anyone who treats you kindly and cannonize anyone who would go so far as to invite you into their home for a week. When people think of traveling or road trips, they usually think of a couple of buddies taking off for two weeks, floorboards littered with fast food styrofoam and 2 AM pictures taken in truck stop diners. But no one pictures the spectrum of emotions, the exacerbated highs and lows, and how low one can really feel when someone dangles friendship like a carrot and you follow it for seven hours on a rainy afternoon, only to have it pulled away again. And Josh had evidently not thought things through that far.

Adam heard me make the call and looked at my quizzically. "He's going out of town? What?"
Lala answered. "Yeah, Josh said he's going out of town for a week even though he said he'd take her hiking and stuff."
Adam, usually the tough guy, tried to lighten the situation -- and my facial expression -- by using a silly voice. "What a jerk-face Susan!" he cried.
I did laugh.

The next day I stopped by to collect my things. I called Josh's cell first and got no answer. When I got to the house I was thinking of just going in the back door, since I didn't think he'd be home, but figured I'd knock on the front one first. "Come in!" a deep voice yelled. I opened the door, face blank.
"Jessica! Hey!" He was playing a racing video game and barely looked up.
"Hey. Just wanted to come by and grab my stuff."
"Really? Oh, okay. Did you have fun yesterday?"
"Yeah, I had a great time. You?" I was making a pile on the counter -- blanket, pillow, camera case.
"Eh, I just worked. It was okay."
"Still, that's cool." I sat on the couch to re-case some of my CDs on the coffee table.
"So what are you doing tonight?"
"Lala and Megan and I are going out. Just barhopping."
"That's cool. I gotta work tonight."
"Yeah, I know. And I'd say meet up with us after you get out of work but I guess you're going out of town tonight, huh?" I didn't quite bother to hide my pissed-offedness.
He was excited. "Yeah, yeah! My boys and I, we do it every year. My buddy's got this cabin up in the mountains and we just go up there and hang out for a week or so. Sorry about the short notice, by the way."
I feigned a hint of surprise. "Oh, you are? Oh, well thank you." I gathered my things in my arms and balanced them on my knee to open the door.
"Are you okay?" he asked, following me.
My eyes both welled and rolled as I put my stuff on the counter and turned to face him. I gave him a hug, the last one I'd probably ever give him. Love thine enemy, the Bible says, so I gave him a hum-dinger of a hug. Then I pulled back, saying, "Yeah, I'm fine. Don't worry about me, I'll be fine. But I came here because you invited me. And you promised that we were going to do all these great things and now you're blowing me off. But I'll be fine. See ya."
I stepped out the door and slammed the screen in his face, the banging drowning out the confused, "Okay..." that trailed from his lips.

Later on, talking to Adam, he said, "I asked Josh why he was taking off on you like that and he said, 'Well, I shouldn't have to change around my whole schedule just for some weird girl I don't even know. Besides, it's weird to have someone stay in your house when you barely know them. It's not my fault!"
"He said that?"
"That's ridiculous. First of all, he invited me. Second, I never asked him to change his schedule, he offered to do it. Shoot, I'm pissed I had to change around my schedule for him. I could still be in Salt Lake City right now and then have come visit you guys after the fourth of July, y'know?"
"Yeah, I know."
"Dude, seriously. It just goes to show."

That is exactly what Josh was, he was a lesson. Just because someone is nice when you meet them and nice on the phone, doesn't make them a good friend. And yes, I was upset about leaving Utah, but overall if I hadn't left when I had, and left Missoula when I had, then I probably wouldn't have met all of the amazing people I've met since then, the ones I have yet to write about. And truly, all Josh did in that very moment and scenario was bring me closer to Lala, Megan and Adam. I am so blessed and grateful to have had them there, to hang out with, drink with, laugh with and dance with, the whole time I was in Montana that week.

And truth be told, I haven't discussed the three of them that much up to this point, because I've been concentrating on Josh because that whole situation was a point I'm trying to make, but to be honest, I really did have a good time in Missoula, all because of them. I owe them one, and if you ever make a trip to Missoula, be sure to stop by El Cazador and say hello. Just ask for Lala's section, not Josh's. Actually, don't even mention the name Josh, because they'll look at you funny. As is the case with most situations like this: NAMES HAVE BEEN CHANGED TO PROTECT THE IDIOTIC.


At 1:52 PM, Blogger fhqwhgads said...

What a chucklehead.

His loss.

At 10:59 PM, Blogger Amanda said...

What a freaking idiot. Who does that?

People suck sometimes.

When you're coming back to this time zone, I'll take you around to some more interesting places in Pittsburgh than my couch. :)


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