I wasn't going to write about Joe16. I hadn't even considered him Joe16. But when he asked me today during lunch if I was going to write the story, he became Joe 16. I'm pretty sure he doesn't even know about this blog (he will). Not because I was hiding it but because I was so over it. However, even though it turned out to be a fail, it's a good story that should be told.
We met in a way that is how people should meet. In other words, it wasn't some lame online dating site. My most excellent friend FINALLY got a motorcycle after going through the training and getting her endorsement a year or two before. Yay! She wanted to ride her Buell Firebolt to church, but she has three kids, and she didn't feel confident taking one on her bike. I don't blame her. Her husband was taking the little one, I got the middle child, and they called another guy in for child #3 (or #1 really - he's the oldest).
I had recently published my book (Shovelhead Redemption), and the guy and I talked a bit about it, mostly about the fact that we both have a couple of decades of sobriety. We went to church, and while the guys were sitting along the wall, my girlfriend and I sat at a nearby table. At one point she leans over and says, "Ya know, Joe's a really nice guy."
"Just sayin?" I ask.
A smile. So the gears start turning. I hadn't considered going out with the guy up to that point, but there was no good reason not to consider the possibility. The day went on, a couple of weeks went by, and eventually we ran into each other at church again. This time we exchanged phone numbers, and I texted him the next day to see if he wanted to go for a ride.
Things took off pretty quickly. Too quickly. He said that his life was in a strange place and he wasn't going to be in top form for a relationship. I felt that was Ok. I wasn't going anywhere. He could take his time and get into whatever place he needed to be when he got there. So we continued on. He brought up his hesitation once again, and I asked why he considered me to be a roadblock to where his life was going rather than a positive force to help him get there. He didn't deny it, but I could tell he wasn't buying it either.
We were seeing a lot of each other, and he was being far more thoughtful than just about any guy I'd ever dated, been engaged to, or married. Then almost overnight, everything changed. He came in and made a statement that hurt me. Logically I felt like it shouldn't have hurt me, but the way it came out didn't sit well with me. Long story short, it ended with him telling me that he didn't like me as much as I liked him and me telling him to make sure the door didn't hit him in the ass on the way out - or something like that. I was really hurt. Yes, he'd said he was in a bad place, but he hadn't said he just wasn't into me. He didn't act like he wasn't into me. I was angry. He wanted to be friends. I wanted him to suffer. There was no way I was going to let him off that easily and be friends. That may have worked for every other woman he dated or married, but it wasn't going to fly with me.
While we had been dating, Joe16 had spoken many times about wanting to get a commercial drivers license (CDL) and get a job with an energy company. He'd picked up the book to study for the permit, and I'd downloaded another copy of the book onto his computer. After we split up, I started thinking that maybe a CDL would be a good thing for me since I'm really sick of being totally broke every winter. I don't want to go back into an office, so getting a CDL seemed like a great idea. When Monday rolled around, I talked to some folks, got a book, went to the DMV, studied while I waited in line, and took and passed the test. The next day I went for my physical and got my permit. I couldn't wait to rub his nose in my good fortune. Take that jackass!
Within a week, an incident with a different friend of mine got me very upset. Joe16 was the best person to talk to about what had happened, and I broke down and spoke with him. I hadn't planned on discussing my latest career move, but I had to say how funny it was that I had thought I was put in his life to help him, when it was actually the other way around. How ironic.
I went to the school to find out when I could start the CDL training, and I was told we needed another student. I thought I was getting in on the training grant because I am a woman, but it was actually for anyone who wasn't working. I immediately called Joe16 and told him to haul his butt down to the urgent care for his physical and over to DMV to test for his permit. In addition to the CDL training, they also put us in backhoe training, which is where we were today when he asked if I had written about this.
So I thought I was put in his life to help him, then realized he was there to help me, and then I ended up helping him. I've enjoyed spending time with him today at training. I like him. He's a good man. I'm OK that we aren't in love. It's a little bittersweet, but it's OK. Tomorrow we actually get to dig up some dirt with the backhoe. Wicked cool!