June 18, 2006

You can be trouble, just not too much trouble.

It was a Sunday afternoon and I didn't know what to do. I decided to go out. I walked around for a while, but then I got hungry and thought: "I'll buy some marinated mushrooms." After that I felt that I had a purpose.

I walked for a while until I came to the market that sells prepared food. I'd bought marinated mushrooms from them before, but as I approached the section where the mushrooms were on display I could see that for some reason, this time, there were onions mixed in. When did that start? I moved in closer for a better look and just at that moment the man behind the deli counter leant over and whispered to his colleague: "She's trouble."
"What did you say?" I asked. The two of them stared at me, not responding. But I didn't back down. "I heard you tell him that I'm trouble," I stated. "Why would you say that?" The deli man smiled and shook his head. "No, I said, 'Don't give her trouble.'" So now he was lying. "That's not what you said: I heard you tell him I was trouble. Admit it." He stared at me. I stared at him. It was a standoff. Even worse, he had a smug look on his face because I'd just proved him right. Trouble.

What makes someone trouble anyway? Asking a question about onions? Or in my case, just looking like the type of person who would ask a question about onions. Making someone break their routine and go out of their way - that's trouble. But what is the alternative? Self-abnegation?

I should eat the onions and suffer the consequences of indigestion, heartburn and chronic bad breath just so I don't inconvenience the deli man? No, thank you.

I had an ex-boyfriend who, whenever I called, would answer the phone: "Hello, Trouble!" It was a term of endearment and my being trouble was cute; something he enjoyed. Then one day, the enjoyment wore off. All of a sudden, trouble wasn't cute any more. It was annoying. This led me to believe you can be trouble, just not too much trouble.

You have to know where the line is. It's the same with crazy. A male friend of mine has a new girlfriend and all he does is tell me how crazy she is. He also had a girlfriend before her who was "seriously nuts". I told him he always goes out with crazy girls and he said: "I know." When I probed him about why that is, he said it's because they're more exciting in bed - you never know what you're going to get, and there's a kind of "I hate you" that makes the sex better.

Really? I've had loads of men tell me they hate me, but it's never made the sex better. Maybe that's because I'm the wrong kind of crazy. Men never know what they're going to get with me - but not in the way they'd hoped. I'm unpredictable, but in the way that makes them afraid to answer the phone. I've always wanted to be the good crazy, but it hasn't panned out. The good crazy is ambivalent about plans and phone calls: she's too busy being off in her own crazy world to care. But my crazy is more of a challenge. It requires conversations about the relationship - how it's going, where it's going, and then when we discover it's going nowhere, what went wrong. I guess my kind of crazy is just too much trouble.