Tuesday. My Office. Lunch Break. Staring absentmindedly at a computer screen displaying my Facebook feed, because what else am I supposed to do? Work? Fuck that noise. Like actually fuck that.
It’s the same mindless drivel: Here’s some sharebait bullshit with puppies doing something. Some dumbass meme. A godawful JayTas PGP article. Some asshole telling me that I’m an asshole for not voting for Bernie. Then I saw something that hit me like a 6 pound, 7 ounce, ton of bricks.
A baby. A newborn baby in a knit cap. Being held up by…ta-da…my ex-hookup from college. And I stared at it. For a while. A very long while. My office-mates asked me why I spent two hours and skipped a meeting to stare at a picture of a baby.
And I didn’t really have an answer. At all. I really didn’t know how to process it. I kinda still don’t. I just looked at this baby. The baby looked back at me, looking remarkably like the girl that I used to text to come over at 2 AM Junior Year. That’s a creepy thought. Get it out of your head. Now. Blech.
How is this happening? I saw this girl a year ago when I was back on campus for an alumni event. She was stumbling around drunk and pinned me against the wall to try and kiss me. Literally one year ago. In that timeframe, she went out, found a new boyfriend and got pregnant. Now there’s a baby staring at me via a computer screen.
This isn’t the first time this has happened. This is Ex-Girlfriend Baby #3 so far, with a fourth on the way. And the remarkable coincidence is that they’re all unmarried. Four out-of-wedlock babies. Now, granted, they’re all in long-term committed relationships, and once has since gotten married, I’m not saying anything disparaging about any of them. I honestly wish them all the best, and I’m lobbying #4 to name their baby after me. I’m mostly wondering what’s wrong with ME. (How narcissistic is THAT?)
I have a good job, but I’m still on the very low end of the career totem pole. I don’t own a place; I rent (which steals a solid chunk of my paycheck). I have a car that spends most of its time at my childhood home because parking is impossible near my place. I’m in a long-term relationship. But, shit, other than that last bit, what POSSIBLY qualifies me to take care of a baby?
But there’s my ex, my age, holding a baby. She and her new boyfriend have a house. Sure, they’re living in bum-fuck nowhere, but they have a house, presumably a car, a baby, a dog, a pension, and probably clock out and spend the rest of their night enjoying their lives. I work from dawn till dusk, and my phone never stops pushing work emails that will surely ruin my evening, until I eventually pass out in a drunken haze and do it all again the next morning. It’s probably not all fun and games, being responsible for another human being and making sure they don’t grow up to be a serial killer, but it fascinates me that they’re in a COMPLETELY different stage of life than I am, and I probably won’t be there for another several years at best.
So while we’re all quick to joke about people who get married and have babies really young, who’s really the asshole? Them, or me? The asshole sitting there trying to come up with jokes in his head to text their friends something witty after they text me “Bro, did you see that XXX has a kid?”, or the two people trying to live a happy life with their brand-new bundle of joy?
I’ll let you be the judge. Me, I gotta get back to work. .
Image via Shutterstock