I answered the door recently to find Paul, a friend from the UK (Liverpool) - "Hi Katie, saw your car and thought you might make me a coffee and a sandwhich.
In passing, I should point out that Paul is very intelligent, but being intelligent doesn't mean you're not stupid. One thing I've learnt early on is - never, never ask Paul a question - of any sort. You could go out for a full-course Chinese banquet, come back and he'd not only still be thinking about it, he wouldn't have noticed that you'd left.
He lost his home. He lost his first wife. She kept finding him though, but he kept losing her again, despite the squads of detectives and bloodhounds she employed. Finally, cunningly, she tracked him down.
In the Divorce Court she accused him of being sexually odd when he asked whether she’d mind if he thought about someone else while they were making love. Under cross-examination she said she didn’t actually mind, since at least it made a change from him thinking about himself. The judge then woke up.
Paul said that the court papers had listed her occupation as ‘housekeeper’. As he said, a startlingly accurate description as she intended keeping the house no matter what.
Anyway, he said that straight after the divorce there were a shamefully high number of squalid and meaningless encounters with women. But there were bad times too! He said that after a few months, not to mention vodkas, one supermodel looks much the same as the next. It was often a case of bed and bored.
Most romantic relationships begin with a drink, perhaps, and a nice chat about the price of eggs, followed by kissing, canoodling and heavy petting, eventually building up to frantic, uninhibited bonking in assorted gymnastic positions. His liaisons went the other way around. His idea of safe sex was getting out the next morning without leaving his phone number behind. He’s now learning to take it one lay at a time!
Ok, now the conversation we had went something like this - It all began 5 years ago, when he moved out of his marriage, out of his house and into a 'bachelor pad'. Temporarily. Or so he said.
The place was pretty run-down when he moved in, temporarily, 5 years ago. He says he's waiting for the future to clarify itself enough so that he can either fix it up or move somewhere better, or maybe, move back home with his wife which is a real laugh because she divorced him, remarried, sold the house and moved to Tasmania. There is some real lunatic optimism loose in Paul's head, because he still doesn't believe it's all over. Pity.
Anyway, this conversation took about 4 hours. He was going to go out that morning to buy 2 cans of yellow paint to do the living room. Good, that would be a start. But, see if he painted the walls, the furniture wouldn't look good in there and he'd have to buy new furniture, however if he is going to buy new furniture, he might as well move to a better place. But, the kind of place he he'd like is expensive and he'd have to sign a lease and change his phone number and his business cards would have to be re-printed, and if he's going to all that trouble, he might as well buy a house, because real estate is going up and why wait until he can't afford it -
STILL WITH ME????
- But buying takes so much time and he'd have to go through banks and credit checks. And what happens if he falls in love in the meantime and she doesn't like the house, or maybe she would want kids, and the house would be in a neighbourhood with bad schools which means the expense of private schools, or, who knows, his wife might realise she'd made a mistake and come back and he’d have a house she didn't want and he'd still be paying private school tuition for the other woman's kids. He'd need a therapist before long and we all know how expensive they can be.
SO, Paul figures that a couple of tins of yellow paint could cost him roughly one million dollars - and who needs that.
"Paul" says I "you should turn yourself into the Humane Society, and if no-body claims you in a couple of weeks, they'll gently put you to sleep."
Think I'll go buy this damn paint for him.