I’m starting to feel like the guy I’m seeing is not really that into me anymore. The evidence for this conclusion is not my usual healthy combination of psychosis, prognostication and Jack Daniels. Cut me a little slack; I’m adult now. I recently finished reading (the back cover of) a self-help book called How to be an Adult. This time my feelings are based on actual fact. Your honor, I’d like to introduce into evidence exhibit A: he agreed to go see He’s Just That Into You with me. As I recall the exchange went something like this:
R. Eric: Do you want to go to see a movie?
Him: I’m just not that into you.
R. Eric: Oh, I’d like to see that, too! We’re so similar! Besties!
R. Eric: By the way it’s called He’s Just Not That Into You.
Him: What is?
R. Eric: Gosh, you’re funny. Anyway, we can go to the 8 o’clock show. Pick me up at 4.
Him: We’re going to a movie?
R. Eric: Sometimes I can’t understand a word you say. I love you! I mean, sorry, I… have the measles. Must take a Sudafed and lie down. Goodbye.
Exhibit B: The other night I had this nightmare that I was mad at him. My dreams are eerily prophetic. Sometimes. Once. Well, not that time, either. But I do have strange dreams sometimes. Like after my grandmother died in 9th grade I had a dream that she was talking to me on the stairs while I was holding a bunch of hats. Hats! I told Dr. T. about the dream at the time and she came up with a very lengthy explanation involving metaphors and juggling life and death and final goodbyes. It was very lovely at the time. I would probably tell Dr. T. about the dream I had where I was mad at this guy but I’m not really sure Dr. T. is interested in reassuring her first born son that a 6’2” white boy still thinks he’s cute and cuddly. Just a guess.
I should add that I am aware that the phrase “after my grandmother died in 9th grade I had a dream…” is grammatically (and grandma-tically) incorrect. Grammar is sort of ridiculous; it’s like physics. There’s unspoken (well, in the case of grammar, unspoken unless you’re reading aloud) rules about how these things like gravity and sentences work but you don’t really need to know them. Grammar is like an instinct and when you say something that’s not right you feel it even if you don’t know why. It’s a hunch. Not like my conviction that the guy I’m seeing is not into me anymore. That’s based on fact. It’s more like an aimless feeling of direction. Oh! It’s The Secret! I knew I’d figure it out. I always figure things out. Like the ends of movies. Seven Pounds starring Will Smith? Jellyfish suicide Duh. (Spoiler alert.)
Anyway, I can’t make heads or tails of grammar but I know enough to be sure the phrase I used was wrong and I’m all torn up about it. It implies that my grandmother died in 9th grade, which would have made the birth of my father, and therefore myself, impossible. Plus it’s a very sad thought. She was, in that sentence, the subject (I think) and so modifying the subject (subjunctive?) with the phrase (fraise?) “in the 9th grade” is not only misleading but tears the delicate fabric of time and space. It’s like in Back to the Future II when Future Biff finds the almanac that 1985 Marty McFly drops and somehow figures out how to use both a Delorean and a time machine (this, the man who ends up covered in manure in 3 separate motion pictures). Future Biff then goes back in time to 1955 and gives the future almanac to his younger self, thereby helping his younger self amass a colossal fortune and dooming the McFlys (and Hill Valley at large) to a grim, nearly apocalyptic version of 1985. Clearly my knowledge of the Back to the Future trilogy far exceeds my knowledge of how grammar works.
By the way, Back to the Future II takes place in 2015. That’s 6 years from now. Just saying. They have an 80s-themed diner where video projections of Ronald Regan, Michael Jackson and Max Headroom tell you the specials. I’m pretty sure no one will be that interested in those 3 particular icons in 6 years. I’m pretty sure no one is that interested in them now.
A Back to the Future-themed diner, however, is something that I can definitely get behind.
So, the dream clearly indicates something. I don’t know what. I didn’t say all the evidence was strong, just fact-based. Fact: I had a dream. I also had a dream that I left the doors at work unlocked and 200 college students came in and drank every bit of liquor in the bar in the middle of the night and I didn’t want to do anything about it while I watched on the security monitor because I didn’t want to seem like the bad guy. (Run-on sentence. Today I am teaching myself English!) When I told my boss (in the dream) he was surprisingly chill about it. When I apologized to my boss (in reality) he looked at me like I was insane.
Which brings me to Exhibit C: I am actually insane. (For proof see Exhibits A and B). Crazy. But in a cute way. Like a koala bear. An insane koala bear. Why would you ever want to get rid of your insane koala bear in favor of, like, a well-adjusted math teacher or 4th year medical student or a handsome local TV weatherman? That’s what’s insane, I tell you. Will a weatherman cling to you with his amazingly strong koala grip no matter how hard you try to push him away? No, he will not. He will tell you to pack an umbrella. “It’s going to be a wet one tomorrow!”
Weathermen are the worst.
Eventually this guy is going to find out who I really am (like, if I were to write out every obsessive thought that pops into my head and then post it on the internet like I was Rosie O’Donnell…) And if this guy, eventually, gets to know me (despite my best efforts), then I'm done for. Goose: cooked. Ticket: punched. If/then. One things follows another. It’s a rule of grammar (Google searched; proven’d): the conclusion is guaranteed by the premise. If is always followed by then, unless it’s not in which case “then” is implied. Example:
If I kidnap all the handsome weathermen in the tri-state area, then he will have no choice but to stay with me. [If and then are present.]
If I could figure out a way to go back in time, I could go to school for meteorology and become that weatherman (and perhaps save my grandmother from that tragedy at the prom in the spring of her 9th grade year.) [Then is implied.]
The thing about the if/then clause is that its initial premise relies on possibility or probability. Despite its implicit guarantees, it’s uncertainty personified. And I don’t do uncertainty. I like facts; I am a lawyer. Well, I’m not actually a lawyer. I once took the Bar Exam. I did not. I did however once visit a bar. And there I met a lawyer. (A plumber). If you go to a bar, then you will meet a lawyer. Anyway, your honor, the if/then clause relies too much on circumspect evidence and unstable premises. I much prefer the word therefore, which makes assumptions about both sides of the if/then clause. It takes possibilities and makes them certainties, which is a very useful tool in parsing the vagaries of dating and time travel. Example: There is no way he is unaware of how much of a basketcase I am; therefore he must not mind that much. Probably. Grammar proves it; grandma agrees. I rest my case.