Lowering the Boom

Dearest Rachel –

Another day, another tranche of falsehoods to deal with and dismiss. I’ve already given up on the online dating scene, but I keep having to deal with the occasional zombie that crops up and refuses to go down. Fortunately, like with the walking dead themselves, they seem to be somewhat short on brains.

I’ve been telling you about my ‘latest contact’ in a couple of previous letters. Since she’s no longer my ‘latest’ contact at this point, I probably should give her a name to distinguish herself; let’s work with ‘Thorne.’ She’s the one who claimed to be using a friend’s account to log onto the site – although her ‘friend’ was in suburban Chicago while she admitted to being in suburban Washington DC. She’s also the one who asked me if I was ‘serious’ about finding love and romance online, to which I felt compelled to say I was and prove it by continuing to keep in touch with her, despite my growing misgivings.

I never did go with the whole politics route – when she tried to call me on Skype, her voice was thick with a Slavic accent that suggested she wasn’t likely to be particularly aware of the political situation within the country – but kept my interactions with her to a relative minimum, responding when contacted, maintaining the conversation when necessary, but that was about it. For all I know, my discussions with her might not have been able to pass a Turing test. And apparently, she could sense it; this morning, after bidding me a good morning, and having to wait ten whole minutes for me to be aware of her message and respond in kind, she let me have it:

“You don’t check on me! Are you really serious about our conversation and wants [sic] something good out?”

Now, it’s one thing to be asked if I’m serious about the concept of trying to find love and romance in a certain venue; it’s another thing entirely to be asked about a specific relationship, one that I had had doubts about from the first few lines. And as I had already been hoping for a chance to extricate myself from this one, this question was tailor-made.

Now, I tried to be diplomatic about it, telling her that if she wasn’t satisfied with the attention I had been giving her compared to the amount she evidently felt she deserved, there must be plenty of other men in her area that would be better able to provide it for her. It was, I confess, a response that Belle would have considered a ‘safe and terrible answer,’ I’m sure. Look, I don’t want any hard feelings as such, but I never thought this would work in the first place. When she complained that I should ‘at least put some interest for the person to know how serious you are, we are not just texting for fun sake but wanting something better out of the communication,’ I reminded her of the falsehood that started the whole communication in the first place, not to mention the fact that, unlike her insistence (and that of so many others I’ve met out here), I think that distance does matter.

I haven’t heard from her since lowering the boom on her like that. At the risk of sounding somewhat mean, I’m fine with that. Sometimes, you have to be firm, I guess.

***

And then, there’s a new contact that I’ll call…Lalla. Again, not her ‘real’ name, assuming I’ve actually been given it.

So… no, not her. Might be kind of nice, but no.

Now, her profile seemed promising (although admittedly, a Lutheran background is a bit of a stretch, but eh…), and her dialogue felt natural (although I’m not sure that you would have gotten along with someone who is so prone to praising the virtues of coffee to the heavens, when you couldn’t stand the stuff in parts-per-million dosages), so I figured I might as well continue the conversation outside of the app.

It’s a large part of why I wasn’t doing much on the Fourth itself – although there were other things going on, and they’ll factor into the story in due time – Lalla and I were texting back and forth quite a bit. She had quite a bit to say about herself, and quite a few questions about me as well. It felt rather like a friendly sort of job interview, which I’ve heard dates being compared to on more than one occasion. It actually felt like progress was being made, especially when she confirmed that she did indeed live in Woodridge (in the southeast corner of DuPage county – not the most convenient location, perhaps, but still part of Chicagoland) and actually expressed a sort of dismayed surprise at my stories of others who claimed to be from somewhere they weren’t. “Why would anyone do that?” Why, indeed, I thought, even as I silently noted her area code appeared to be from the Portland area. For now, I decided to assume it meant nothing, like with Erin’s cell number.

Admittedly, I didn’t try to contact her first thing the next morning, but I did send greetings before the day was out on Tuesday. Hey, getting back to work after a holiday weekend can be a real grind; sometimes, people don’t want to talk right away – especially if they haven’t had their coffee. Still, after another day of silence, I was prepared to write off Monday as an aberration, a one-off encounter that was amusing while it lasted; just another reminder that online dating just isn’t working for me.

And then, this morning, I heard from her. Just a little banter to begin the day, the sort that brightens up one’s morning. But that’s when it went off the rails. She apologized for her silence, and insisted on offering an explanation: she had been ‘in the incident that happened at the mall but I wasn’t harm[ed]’

What? What incident, and what mall?

Everything started to unravel from there. She mentioned ‘the [shooting] that happened in the mall,’ and having been ‘about 5 minutes away from the park,’ and I was getting more confused. It seemed that she didn’t realize that Highland Park is the name of the town, not the name of a park where the shooting took place. Moreover, she insisted that it had happened on Tuesday, and not Monday – despite the fact that the whole story was that it was at a Fourth of July parade, and there’s no mistaking when the Fourth was – even as I offered her the opportunity to claim it was a different incident she was talking about. No, she insisted it was the one that happened in Highland Park on Tuesday.

For the record, by Tuesday they had the kid in custody already.

I really hate to have to constantly fall back on a motto like ‘falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus,’ but that’s how things stand, honey. Suddenly, literally everything else Lalla has said to me comes into question. She can’t even get simple details of Monday’s incident (such as the fact that it happened on Monday) straight, and while I realize that, with over a hundred suburbs surrounding it, even a Chicago native can’t be expected to know them all, and where they are, confusing the village’s name with an actual park is just egregious. If this little thing is a lie, who’s to say anything else is true? She did have a florid way with words in some of her self-descriptions – but if I can’t believe any of it, what does any of it mean? It’s not even as if she had to bring the shooting into the conversation – even a day away from conversation hardly is grounds for an apology, let alone such an elaborate and provably false explanation – but she did, and it’s completely wrecked her credibility with me. You’d practically think it was deliberate.

So for now, I’ll wind up treating her like I originally treated Thorne; answering when spoken to, but little more than that. This can’t go any further if I can’t believe anything she says. Meanwhile, the days grind on to the point where my subscription expires; not that it’s really been even remotely productive. Maybe there’s another avenue, but this isn’t it.

So for now, honey, keep an eye out for me, and wish me luck. I’m going to need it.

Published by randy@letters-to-rachel.memorial

I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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