Patrick has always been one of my special friends. He’s afraid of escalators. He refuses to drive 10 miles away from his house, and lately, he enjoys texting me that he’s going to kill himself on a weekly basis. “Well, sorry, but it’s the only way to get a response.” he argues. “Not that you care. You’re sooo busy with your rock-star life.”
The sad part is, he’s right. You see, lately, I’m trying to ignore him, refusing to feed his addiction of weekly drama, particularly around February, when he has a tendency to go completely out of whack. But hey, the anticipation of Valentine’s Day can get to the best of us, right?
“No! This year, I have it under control,” Patrick assures me. An advertising guru, he arrives to our downtown lunch in a black Hugo Boss slim-fit suit and red skinny tie. “I plan to send myself flowers to the office. I’m not 19 anymore. I know what I like. I know what sells.”
“Dear God, am I going to require a drink for the rest of this conversation?” I moan, as a waitress with an asymmetrical hairdo hands us paper menus.
“I’m serious,” he attests, surrounded by sushi scenesters under red lighting in a hip Asian bistro. “Listen, men want what they can’t have. You know that. You taught me the concept.” Gloating, he marks his sushi order with a pencil, his blue eyes sparkling with delight. “And this year, I want my co-worker Tim. Hence, the flowers. Twelve red roses. Perfect to make him jealous.”
“Tim?” I question, patiently. Though please know the grinding of my teeth is quite audible. “Ugh. Are we doing this again?”
“It’s all good,” he says. The perfect pitch-man, he attempts selling me his confidence with a grin. “What’s your problem with Tim?”
Well, for starters, Tim has a girlfriend, though that hasn’t stopped Patrick or Tim from flirting since they started meeting out for happy-hour drinks about a year ago. Still, not too big of a deal except for the small fact that Tim, the office intern, isn’t of legal drinking age. You see, Tim’s 19. Patrick’s 32.
“But he’s mature for his age,” Patrick says, defending the situation.
Yes, so mature that, last month, Tim “accidentally” sent Patrick a picture of his penis on his cell phone, a risky act which may have been deemed a legitimate accident if the accident hadn’t occurred, hm, 16 times. “Sorry bro! That was meant for my girlfriend,” Tim would usually remark as a follow-up. Then add, “So what do ya think?”
“I think…it’s a challenge,” Patrick declares as we wrap up lunch. “So today, I took him up on it.”
“I sent him an underwear shot. Not a big deal. You really have to strain to make out my hard-on. See?” he says. Displaying the photo on his cell, he lights up with excitement, sharing the image of his milky body in black briefs, spread on his bed, where he utilizes a red teddy bear as a pillow. “Oh God, I hope he doesn’t think I’m trying to cover up something. You know, like a small dick.”
“Well, I’d be more concerned about looking like a pedophile with the wittle, teddy wetty bear,” I cringe. “Are you insane? I mean, really. You don’t shit where you eat. Do you know what’s going to happen if this gets out to your boss?”
“Don’t worry. It’s all good,” he convinces himself. That is, until later that night when I receive two texts stating 1) he hates himself and 2) he’s the ugliest monster in the whole world, all because Tim blocked his number. “Well…actually his girlfriend blocked it,” Patrick admits when I call back. “She found my photo in his phone, and now she thinks I’m a weirdo. I want to die. I mean, seriously. Why should I live?”
A tad dramatic, yes, but don’t we all question our existence at one point or another?
The trouble with Patrick is he’s basing his life’s worth on a non-existent romance with some idiot “straight” guy who’s playing mind games with him at the office. But isn’t this common? We’re all so quick, so ready to jump into disastrous relationships around Valentine’s Day just so we can get a card. Then we’re ready for suicide when the writing hits the wall.
Yes, then we’re willing to end it all over someone who knows little more about us than what our genitalia looks like when it pops up on their cell phone. I’m confused. What happened to the building of a relationship, to butterflies in your stomach at the beginning of liking someone, to the rush of a brief hello and the possibility of meeting for dinner? Lately, it seems that with all our iPhone, iPods, iPads and iPenises, we no longer know how to say I-Like-You or I-Would-Like-To-Get-To-Know-You. We haven’t the patience. Everything has to be now, now, now! Even our friendships have been reduced to the speed of life, where we gladly accept a friend request on Facebook without the consideration of what a friend is. Last I checked, a friend is more than a number, and a lover is more than a name attached to a text. Sadly, it seems Patrick learned this all too late. “You know, I have 500 friends on Facebook,” he states, moments before hanging up. “But only three that returned my text tonight. You know what, if I died this Valentine’s, I bet not one of them would show up.”
“Yeah, you’re probably right,” I interrupt, in agreement. “But hey, at least, you know you’d be getting flowers.”