Nick ≠ Nicholas, aka an IMperfectly normal Liz

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2007/10/07 10:46 -04:00, original URI:

On Friday night, I was on the phone most of the night.

I went out on Saturday night but nothing interesting enough for a blog post happened so until I relocate to LiveJournal I'll just stick to the parts of my life that seem interesting to me!

Anyway, old friend Liz called, the namesake of normaliz.dll. :-)

Her opening words were quite direct: "I have an important question for you. Michael."

"Ok, shoot."

"I was wondering," she asks, "have you ever been in love?"

I stop for a second to try and ponder where this could possibly be going and why that could be an important question, for me in particular.

"Well, yes," I answer. "I have. Why do you ask, hun?"

She presses on without answering my question. "Recently?"

"No, not recently. It is kind of contraindicated by my worldview. Not a blocking issue but it does add to the challenge."

Now she is curious. "What is this mystical worldview, exactly?"

"Nothing earth shattering," I respond. "I am just a cynic. I tend to define falling in love to generally be the triumph of imagination over experience. As one gets older, it becomes harder and harder to ignore the experiences and embrace the imagination. I might get hints now and again but it is kind of a low-level hum that I don't pay much attention to. There are better uses for imagination."

"Boy, that is cynical, Michael," she replies.

Then after a pause she adds softly "I think I'm in love with someone."

"That's great!" I exclaim. Then I pause. Isn't it? Hmmm. "Why do you say you think you're in love?"

"Well, we just met and there is a lot of heat and passion and interest. He hasn't said it but I wonder if he is just waiting for me to or something."

I caution her "That's not really love, Liz. That is more of a precursor to it. It's as good thing to have, sure. But love is the slow burn that is still there even after the initial bonfire chemistry brings has run its course."

"So you don't think I should say it?" she asks.

I feel a strong sense of deja vu, since I swear we had an almost identical conversation from her 'I think I'm in love with someone' on like a decade ago.

"In my opinion, no," I offer. "There is nothing worse than saying it if you don't actually mean it. And there is nothing worse for a relationship than you saying it if he isn't ready to. You remember what happened with Nicholas?" I remind her.

"You've made it a long time without reminding me of that one," she points out.

"Well," I respond, "it has been a long time since you have asked me for that kind of advice. You don't have to believe me, it's not like I am tracking dozens of successful relationships; by even the most charitable metric I am running zero for some depressingly uncountable set."

"I disagree, Michael. You can have relationships that last a while and that eventually end which others would not call unsuccessful. For you anything less than forever is a failure. If you applied a saner metric, then many of them have been successful, and certainly the most charitable metric has to be a saner one."

"I meant by the most charitable metric that I have in stock. The rest of you are way too sentimental."

"Oh, I get it. You are the one who is so sure that true love is eternal and that anything that doesn't go the distance should be chalked up in the LOSE column. But it is everyone else who is too sentimental."

I can hear her smiling as she says this.

"You make a good point," I grudgingly allow. "I have quite the idealistic view of how wonderful these things ought to be, but a very cynical edge that knows how unlikely it actually is in practice."

"I think I'm going to tell him," she decides.

"Just like with Nicholas," I remind her.

"This situation is completely different!" she exclaims.

I shake my head. "What's his name."

"That's not important."

I persist, though. "C'mon, what's his name?"

"Nick." The word comes out of her almost reluctantly.

I laugh out loud. "You're right, Liz. That is totally and completely different."

"Shut up! Nick is a totally different person, I tell you."

The conversation unravels at this point, as she explains (point by point) how Nick ≠Nicholas and proves that she has somehow morphed into INL (Imperfectly Normal Liz) somehow when I was napping.

Or maybe she really is in love, or will be.

I'd like to believe it, for her sake at least. And maybe mine too.

We hang up the phone by 6am. I also had a brunch to go to in a few hours, so I catch a few winks to try to be human for that.

Contrasting Friday night and Saturday night, what does it mean if your long phone conversations seem more important/meaningful/interesting than your actual social encounters? :-)


This post brought to you by (U+225d, a.k.a. EQUAL TO BY DEFINITION, since at some level it is obvious that Nick ≈ Nicholas!)

# Zooba on 7 Oct 2007 5:35 PM:

Hi Michael,

Just popping up to say feel free to keep personal stuff like this on your blog. It's not as irrelevant as you may think, and you do seem to have quite an interesting life.

It's not really as voyeuristic as similar posts from other bloggers that I've seen, and it definitely gives you character, so your technical posts become less of simply text on a page.

If you're worried that people don't like these posts, keep the disclaimer up top. I personally quite enjoy the feeling of getting to know someone without actually meeting them (does that make me strange? stranger? strangest?)



# Michael S. Kaplan on 7 Oct 2007 6:11 PM:

Liz emailed me moments ago, telling me:

as i told you on the phone, nick is not nicholas. they are like day and night they are so different. (: 

i should be greatful [grateful? MK] for what you chose to focus on from a six hour conversation. it is weird to be yoyeur [voyeur? MK] of my own life. But fun, i think.

Maybe it is just me and the memory of a whole Russ/Ross storyline on Friends, but the difference between Nick ane Nicholas seems less like "day and night" and more like "day and later that day". But admittedly I have never met the man (and according to Liz he hates computers so he is unlikely to stumble in here).

Though to give Liz some hope, in a "only on the DVD" scene, Ross's girkfriend Julie who he broke up with try to be with Rachel met Russ in Central Perk and they got to live happily ever after. So even the doubles get the chance to be happy, it would seem.

I can't believe I fidn't think of it when we were talking but in my defense it was quite late and I was very sleep deprived!

# Michael S. Kaplan on 7 Oct 2007 6:47 PM:

Hi Zooba,

Thanks for the kind words. :-)

Not sure it makes you any stranger than anyone else who reads here, so I wouldn't worry too much.

Not sure how interesting my life is, but I'll tell you what I told a both a friend and a colleague the other day, both within a few hours -- my life, it reads better than it lives....

# Zooba on 8 Oct 2007 4:08 AM:

Of course it reads better, if you wrote down your entire life it'd take 24 hours a day to read (not to mention getting incredibly recursive when you got up to the bit about writing a blog post).

That, I believe, was one of the attractions (gimmicks?) of 24. I don't think anyone has a life that interesting...

# Gene on 8 Oct 2007 5:02 PM:

So... a long phone call (especially one like this) isn't an actual social encounter?

# Michael S. Kaplan on 8 Oct 2007 5:34 PM:

Another good point -- I suppose it is. It just feels barely a step above an IM conversation -- neither one involves real physical contact.

Of course I guess either of can end up seeming more significant depending on the subject matter, which ought to count for something.

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