Saturday, October 15, 2011

to relate or not to relate

About two months ago, I had a dream. I was in a public bus in Istanbul and a geeky-looking guy starts a conversation with me. He has his friends with him and we all get in a very lively chat. I get to learn that he owns an internet company (yes, even in dreams I attract geeks) and he's also very smart (an IQ score above 120 is the sexiest thing for me). I really like him. After maybe about half an hour, the bus reaches my stop and I get off. By the time I step out of the bus, I intuitively feel that he will be my boyfriend in the near future and suddenly that light and elevated feeling of meeting someone I really like, turns into a very heavy load in my chest. All sorts of worries start to fill my head and I wake up with that very heavy and dark feeling... Some degree of attraction is fine, yet when there's the slightest possibility that it would turn into a relationship I freak out – even in a dream.

About a week ago I was flying to Bali from Bangkok. It was a very early morning flight and by the time my bum touched the plane seat, I started to fall fast asleep. It was one of these uncomfortable flight-sleeps where my head kept rolling here and there. Unfortunately most of the time, it rolled towards the chest of the passenger sitting next to me. Each time I'd wake up in panic and mumble “sorry” to him and immediately fall back asleep, only to find my head hovering somewhere near his chest again in a few minutes.  A few times he said “don't worry” with a smile. Then I noticed him closing all window blinds so that when the sun rises up I won't be disturbed. Then he reclined my seat (why hadn't I thought of that???) with the slowest, smoothest movements possible and my head finally rested in the tiny groove created between the seat and the window. The rest was a very comfortable and uninterrupted sleep for more than 2 hours.

I noticed how kind he was only after we landed. The plane was only half-full, he could have changed seats. Not only did he stay next to me, but he also did everything possible to make sure I was comfortable. Who would do that to a complete stranger in a flight? I know I wouldn't. We barely spoke afterwards, but as soon as I arrived to Ubud, I told my friends about the unbelievable “guardian angel” of my sleep. All agreed that it was unusually kind and sweet.

Tonight I was having dinner with friends and my guardian angel appears in the street out of nowhere! What are the chances of coming face to face with your flight-neighbor in an island with 5 million people and hundreds of different tourist destinations? I have been feeling very thankful towards him, so I invite him for a cup of tea one of these days. He says he's free in fifteen minutes so we meet much sooner than I expected, so I didn't have time to put my usual guards up. He's French, traveling around, arrived to Ubud just hours ago. We talk about museums in Europe, the history of Egypt and the like... However the conversation turns to a direction that I don't like because I don't know how to handle it. I thank him many times for his kindness. He says he would remember my sweet face anywhere and would do the same thing again. And he wouldn't mind staying in Ubud longer if he knew he'd be seeing me again. Oops!

He's got just the right amount of French accent, the kindest eyes I've seen in a long time, is truly caring and is a traveler. He says he's divorced and didn't have a relationship since then. So very Eat, Pray Love-ishly attractive right?   Not for me... I tense up and drink my hot tea so fast that he has to tell me to slow down so that I don't burn myself. He doesn't know that a scalding tongue is a relief compared to how I'm feeling at that moment. Thanks to my friends who were waiting for me around the corner, I have a quick excuse to leave the table. He says he'll call me again tomorrow. So here I am wide-awake at midnight writing all this.

The dream of a relationship makes me wake up feeling very heavy. The real-life possibility of a relationship gives me a sleepless night... Something's definitely not right in this picture, is it?

I can give up all material possessions and live out of a luggage in a small room. I can leave my comfortable profession and move to an Indonesian village not knowing what to expect. I can turn my back to a 6-digit income and don't mind calculating cents for lunch money. I am scared of all that, yet I would do (and have already done) these things... However up until this moment, I've never realized how terrified I was of an actual relationship, that even the idea of it tenses me up to a point of complete paralysis.

All the things I've been scared of are happening to me one by one... They are like yearly final exams at university. Something tells me that “a man” would be my ultimate graduation thesis. And I don't feel ready to work on any kind of thesis now – or in the next three decades or so...

ps1: image copied from
ps2: After writing. I thought for two days whether I should post this or not. This subject seems to touch somewhere really deep. Hmm...

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