Column: The ticking time bomb

Everyone from time to time feels like time is not on your side. Whether it is that fling from spring break or that fabulous person you met one week before school who lives nowhere near D.C. – welcome to the club of ticking time bombs, in which I have been a proud member for years. But lately, I had begun to believe that timing isn’t the answer or blame to relationships, it’s simply how your heart feels about someone. Apparently, I was wrong.

Just when I thought I was done being time warped, the bomb went off and sent me flying at warp speed into ex-boyfriend land. A wicked witch would have been more welcomed. I know you all have had something like this happen to you – just as you look toward your future, your past comes back to haunt you. For me, it came in the form of e-mail from my ex-boyfriend in California.

Jay and I dated over seven years ago when he was in Los Angeles and I was in school in New York. I thought we were one of those sickeningly adorable couples – we had our own song, “Romeo and Juliet” by Dire Straits, and we even wore each other’s rings. In my 18-year-old eyes, the yearning was romantic and the ability to stay together despite the distance proved our devotion. There I was, pining away, boring my roommate with pictures and asinine stories, and thinking that we were so evolved because we could be in a relationship based on verbal communication and lacking physical contact. In hindsight, it was ridiculous.

I was so completely faithful to Jay, I practically spent freshman and sophomore year living like a nun in a convent – and I’m Jewish. But to make a long story short, he dumped me my sophomore year for another girl, and we stopped talking altogether for the past six years – that is, until I checked my e-mail last week.

There they were, the words I longed to hear at 18, but instead was reading via the Internet at the age of 25. He told me he loved me and the problem in our relationship was not the other woman – it was simply that “our timing was wrong.”

Feeling nostalgic, I played our song and listened carefully for clues. Dire Straits sang about Romeo and Juliet and their deathless love for each other. But when you really listen, it is actually about love lost, love missed and the need to get that love back. In the song, Romeo asks Juliet, “When you gonna realize, it was just that the time was wrong?”

Was our time wrong? If you are a fatalist, you believe everything happens for a reason, and things happen when they are supposed to. If you are into astrology, you believe the exact time and location you are born help to determine who you will become. If you are in a Dire Straits song, you believe that the time you met your soul mate was wrong, but nonetheless, you are soul mates. Are these groups on to something?

I asked The Jack of 3B’s, Beautiful British Bartender, what he thought about timing and relationships. Jack said timing is everything. It’s everything when you meet the right person, and timing is everything when meeting the wrong one. Depending on who you are, and where you are in your life, you will attract certain types of people. If it’s that simple, then timing really is everything.

I needed another male voice. I asked my friend Mitch, a.k.a. Mr. Reasonable, his views about timing and relationships. Mitch told me that he recently had a romantic prospect this summer, but refused to let himself get attached because “the timing was wrong.” He essentially said that if the timing isn’t there, then you shouldn’t be there either. In the spirit of investigative journalism, I decided to give Jay a call and test this timing theory. I just had to remember he was three hours behind me, ironic when you think about it.

Jay immediately began with his pleas to become part of my life again. Over and over again he said “our timing was off” and that if I would give him another chance, he would prove his love. Though flattered, I felt I needed to be honest with him – our time was over.

“It’s nice you feel this way about me and are telling me how you feel,” I said. “But it would be wrong for me to give you rope to hang yourself with. Our time has past, we are past, and you have to let go to move on.” It occurred to me then that not only was our timing off back then, but he was wasting my time now.

Jay was right that our timing was off, I was open to him in the past, and now he is seven years late. My feelings for him are gone and buried somewhere in my storage box with old retainers and elementary class pictures.

From my conversations with Jay, Jack, Mitch and I would have to agree with them that timing matters. But it’s not everything. You are everything. If distance works for you, you’re a stronger person than I. Maybe you get something out of killing time until you see your somebody, but, as for me, I have no time to kill. If you think you can play the waiting game for someone to realize their feelings for you, please heed my advice. Time is constant, the clock is always ticking, and if you obsess about what happened five minutes ago, you will miss your future. Timing is what it is, and the only way it can be wrong is if you don’t enjoy it while it’s happening. So, if you are out there weeping over lost love and bad timing, take these words to heart: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.” Ferris Bueller knows best. n

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