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Ever have a flash of insight as to just how convoluted and complicated your life has become, to the point that you just shake your head and laugh?

Such a flash hit me this afternoon, thanks to my ex (for whom I have not yet determined an appropriate name in this blog, though currently Completely Clueless is one of the kinder, gentler front-runners.)

Long before I met Completely Clueless, I was involved in a short-lived romance with someone who I’ll call, appropriately, Old Flame. He happened to be in the home health care industry and worked next door, which is how we met. He and his group of friends were my first exposure to grown men being a part of something they lovingly refer to as their ‘posse’. When you have, or are a part of, a posse, you ‘ride together’, much like in the Old West, only these days in cars, not on horses.

Back then, they were all generally in their late twenties/early thirties, single or just acting like it, and they prided themselves on their time spent together drinking large quantities of alcohol, bar-hopping, womanizing, talking shit to each other and anyone who crossed their paths, and watching each other’s backs. Just like ‘what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas’, these guys had a similar ‘code’. When one of them ‘did dirt’, the others covered for him, knowing it would sooner than later be reciprocated. They had a definite code of ethics that never made much logical sense to onlookers, but made perfect sense to them.

I was revered by this group because they considered me unattainable by the likes of them. After all, unlike (sorry, ladies) the easy-prey bimbos they spent their time chasing, I had a good job, owned my own home and lived a responsible, single-mother life. And, I was just enough older than most of them that they (rightly so) concluded that I wouldn’t take any of them seriously. But I have a pool and combined with their cases of beer and hilarious shit-talking, the first summer I lived here was uproariously entertaining for all of us.

Old Flame and I remained friends long after our romance fizzled away, I think largely due to the fact that he liked portraying himself to the posse as being the one who ‘scored’ with the chick next door, and I thoroughly enjoyed the quizzical stares from the posse when we were all together and he and I still joked and laughed and talked shit to each other as before. And to be brutally honest, I liked the attention. What woman wouldn’t?

When summer became fall, and fall became winter, I had a ready crew willing to help shovel out my driveway. When winter became spring, they wore themselves out trying to one-up each other helping me dig flower beds and plant shrubs. Having grown up the oldest of four girls, I’d never had this much testosterone swirling around me and I belly laugh as I write this remembering how they cracked me up with their antics.

It was early that spring that I met Completely Clueless and Old Friend. I don’t know why I hadn’t met Old Friend the previous summer, because it was soon apparent that he and Old Flame were the core of this posse. Completely Clueless was quickly integrated, and once he snagged me, rose to core posse status and remained there for the duration of our almost 9 years together.

I know much of Completely Clueless’ identity in this posse revolved around him having been the one to inexplicably snag me. He reveled in being ‘the one she picked’ and his already overgrown ego became a formidable, overbearing force in all our lives.

Through the years, and still to this day, the posse’s most frequently asked question is, “Why him? What’d he do or say to get you?” The answer is fodder for another day’s post, but you need to know that also through the years, the posse (Old Flame and Old Friend, in particular) tried valiantly but unsuccessfully to encourage Completely Clueless to, in fact, catch a clue and see the value of what he had here. They were caught between their incredulousness at Completely Clueless’ cavalier attitude and their ‘code’ which dictated they cover for him. They’ve often remarked that if they were in Completely Clueless’ shoes, they’d have wised up early on and let go the posse and committed fully to the life they’d have had with me. They collectively envied Completely Clueless in the serious moments they shared discussing their lives.

When Completely Clueless and I split, amazingly, the posse rallied by my side. At first, they were convinced this was a temporary split because they’d seen me tolerate so much over the years, but as time wore on, they realized I truly was done. They spent last fall and winter coming by checking on me and the kids, letting me know that they had MY back should I need them.

All the while, Completely Clueless, now free of the ‘bondage’ of me, wants to resurrect the aging posse and their antics of old, but sadly, they have mellowed and are no longer interested. They still gather together each weekend, drink too much and talk shit, but the posse has aged and their priorities are changing. Unfortunately, Completely Clueless is just that: completely clueless.

Now you have a little more understanding as to why Old Friend and I are keeping our ‘whatever this is’ under wraps. We just don’t need or want the opinions, conclusions, or the potential drama right now. At least not until we figure out what this is.

Yesterday, Old Friend came out of his emotional man-cave asking if I would help him get his daughter back to college today. His car was not road-travel-worthy, and Old Flame, who would normally have saved the day, has only one vehicle at the moment and it was required here for kid transport. So they asked if I’d be interested in helping out by driving the three of them. Her college is about an hour away, and I am up for a road trip just about anytime, so I agreed.

Then, as luck would have it, Prima-Donna-Daughter mentions this plan to Completely Clueless when she called him last night finalizing plans to spend tonight with him, so this morning, bright and early, I get a phone call and an earful from him. He’s pissed because I’m ‘hanging out with his friends’. Coupled with their distinct lack of interest in hanging out with him, it is, of course, all my fault that he’s now on the posse periphery.

I had already started second-guessing whether I could withstand being at close range with Old Friend in front of others, particularly given there is a conversation I really want to have with him about his disappearing act of this past week, and this early morning character bashing did nothing but make it worse. So, me being the new me, I called him and asked direct questions. He assured me that he was not avoiding me, that he wasn’t holed up at home trying to figure out a graceful way out of this ‘whatever it is we have going’ and told me he really wanted me to go with today.

By the time we left, Completely Clueless had made his displeasure known to both Old Friend and Old Flame (though not nearly as colorfully as he did to me) and we discussed the idiocy of his attitude on the way back home. That was a tricky conversation for me, to be sure. When we got back here, they wished me well taking Prima-Donna-Daughter over there, for I was surely in for another earful or two.

However, Old Friend’s actions contradict him, as he called awhile ago and said he’d be coming over this evening, and not only is he not here, he’s now not answering his phone. Must be more inter-FEAR-ence…

It is times like this that I laugh at how complicated things can be, yet really, isn’t it the messiness of life that makes it so real?