Thursday, October 13, 2016

My Toxic College Relationship, Part 3

Even though Babs was no longer dating Zak, she wanted to stay friends with the big doofus. This was much to the chagrin of her social circle as well as our mutual friends, who justifiably disdained the guy. Babs took it upon herself to organize Zak's birthday party; she corralled me, a friend visiting from home, and two friends that were local into taking Zak to the Bloomington Hooters. At his core, however Zak was a Christian and not a very worldly one; at the very last minute, he begged Babs to not at a risque restaurant that he knew next to nothing about. Our party ended up going to the Chuck E. Cheese's across the street. I was annoyed by the 11th hour change as everyone else, and implied to Babs that I never wanted to hang out with Zak again.

When I was dating Babs, we bonded over our mutual appreciation for the TV show "24." I had been watching almost from the beginning, but she jumped in at the start of Season/Day 4. We watched nearly all of Day 5 together, and didn't see any reason why not to do the same for Day 6. One night later in the season, we both had obligations on Monday and I agreed to record the show on my VCR. (It was 2007, and most college kids didn't have Tivo or a DVR.) To my chagrin, my roommate confused the VCR remote with the TV remote --he was trying to watch the Bulls game-- and it didn't record. I left the voice mail on Babs' phone, and ten minutes later she called back to tell me I was an idiot. Before I could defend myself, she hung up. Another ten minutes after that, she instant messaged me to apologize for overreacting. We watched "24" together a couple of times after that, but ended up watching the rest of the season separately.

In March 2007, I went on my first date since breaking up with Babs. I was training a new DJ at my college radio station, we struck up a conversation, and we agreed to meet for coffee. She wasn't interested in dating, but we ended up staying friends and we're still in touch. (I have a habit of staying friends with one-and-dones.) It was a dead end, but at least I was finally moving on. At that same time, to my secret relief Babs and I were finally starting to drift apart. She started dating another guy, and our schedules kept clashing. We both had summer jobs, and I had summer school as well, so we didn't see each other for several months. As summer transitioned into fall semester, we never hung out and our encounters grew more sporadic. Babs was dating yet another guy, and I felt no inclination to entertain her in my new dorm room. The temptation to tell her off was too much.

Even though Babs was fading from sight, what she left in her path still lingered around. One girl, a mutual friend that eventually got fed up with Babs, worked at the same college radio station that I did. I still ran into Lola and one of her other roommates on the quad. One day at the station, Zak called out of nowhere asking for help with a move. He wasn't the bullying Zak that I knew, but slightly defeated and still rather persistent. I said I would get back to him, and shortly afterwards I did something I should have a lot sooner: ask for the advice of my peers. I explained that he was the guy my ex dumped me for, and that he could be insufferable to be around, but seemed desperate to have someone help him move. The consensus of my co-workers was a resounding "hell no," and I left a voice mail telling him I was busy that Saturday.

The day before I graduated from ISU, I ran into Babs on the elevator at Watterson Towers. I was cleaning out my dorm room and carrying items down to my car, and she was going downstairs to get a snack. She informed me that she'd had a falling out with her latest roommate, a mutual friend of ours named Allison. For reasons unclear, Allison made Babs uncomfortable, so Babs decided to move into a single-bed room on the other side of campus. I blurted out "oh well, its not like you got along with any of your other roommates" (which was true), and when we got down to the lobby she bolted out of the elevator in a fury. A few minutes later, I was able to find to her in the lobby talking to some girl, but she was snappish and refused to accept my apology.

As of this writing, it was the last time I saw Babs in person.

(Part four next month.)


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