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Once upon a time*, there was a young woman named Capricorn Cringe Tapioca Tinge who lived in a land far, far away. The town was small and modest, but produced a United States president – who was also small and modest. Cap Tap had always been a little unhappy but could never figure out what made her restless, irritable, and discontent. When Tap grew up, she moved to another smallish town that had not produced a president, but can now boast about an American Idol winner.

In this new town, Tap met some new friends who got together on a regular basis. There was a man in the new group that Tap thought was kind of cool. The man’s name was Ralph Malph. One time Malph said something to Tap but Tap didn’t hear him, so she said, “Are you talking to me?”
And he said, “Well, I ain’t talkin’ to your Uncle Bud.”
Tap was amazed. “Oh my God, you know my Uncle Bud?!?” **

Malph laughed and explained that it was just a saying. “You’re the only person I know who actually has an Uncle Bud.” After that, Tap and Malph became good friends.***

Eventually, Tap and Malph got married because Malph was madly in love with Tap and Tap thought that getting married would help her stop being miserable, because she really liked Malph a lot. Just not really in that way, though she told herself that she could like him that way if she just gave him a chance. She even conveniently forgot that he had been madly in love with a bunch of other women and had married them all … and divorced them all.

After they got married, Tap quit her job and stayed home to be a full-time writer. Only she found out that writing was really hard work and so she took a lot of breaks to play on something called the Internet. She had a new program called AOHell (ver. 1.1) that allowed her to talk to people all over the country. Wow.

Late one night Tap found a chat room called women4women and she went in. She only did it because it was really late and the other chat rooms were empty. It wasn’t because she was a lesbian or anything. Honest. As Tap talked to the women she began to realize why she had always been miserable. But she told herself she couldn’t be gay because she was married. And Malph was a really nice guy. And if she really was gay, how was she going to tell anyone? What if her mother found out? It was a terrible dilemma.

After a while, Tap began talking to one particular woman who lived in Connecticut. The woman was smart and funny and successful and she convinced Tap to come to Connecticut so they could meet. So Tap did. And they met. And Tap decided that the best way to make a clean break was to just make a clean break. The woman was going to break up with her lover and Tap was going to tell Malph that it was over. On the plane trip home, Tap sat in first class and got very very drunk. She had a layover in St. Louis and called the woman. The woman was not happy to hear from Tap, but Tap didn’t understand that she had just been given a very large clue. Tap got drunker and poured herself off the plane.

She told Malph. It was extremely difficult, but she did it and she felt better. Then she passed out. Sometime in the night, Tap woke up and heard a noise. She looked over and let her eyes adjust to the dark. Malph had his back to her and his shoulder was shaking. The noise she heard was Malph crying.

Moving day arrived and Tap packed up her half of the house and put it on a moving van and got on a plane. Connecticut met her at the airport but something just wasn’t right. They went to a friend of Connecticut’s because Connecticut hadn’t told her girlfriend yet. Tap began to get a little worried. Then Tap went to a friend’s house in Rhode Island (a real life friend who moved there, not an Internet buddy) to wait it out. Several days later, Connecticut showed up to take Tap to her new home that the now ex-girlfriend had just vacated.

The day after that, Connecticut went to work and left Tap in the house. At noon, Tap heard the door open and she turned around to face someone she had heard plenty about, but had never met. The ex. The ex said she just wanted to see what her replacement looked like and turned around and left. The day after that, Connecticut went to work and came home at noon to tell Tap that she had decided to go back to her girlfriend.

Oh.

So Tap went back to Rhode Island for a few days and then went to her sister’s house in Maryland but that didn’t seem right either. So Tap went home. To Malph. He let her come back because he loved her and she was hurting and confused and she had nowhere else to go. They tried half-heartedly to make it work but about six months later, Malph met someone else and left Tap. Today, Tap tells people only that part of the story – that Malph dumped her – because that doesn’t make her feel so bad. And it’s true, technically. Sort of.

Tap was pissed, though. How dare Malph find someone else? How could he leave Tap after all Tap had gone through? Didn’t he realize the sacrifice she had made to come back home?

Eventually, Tap moved on and found her next “true love” – the New York ex. The NYE still lived with her ex-girlfriend, even though they hadn’t been together for years. Yeah, weird. She refused to leave the ex and Tap refused to deal with that and basically they butted heads for two years.

And then Tap found Kendra. Kendra was it – she was The One. Only, it turned out that Kendra was still married. She did divorce her husband finally. She wanted to be friends with Tap but Tap was tapped out. Tap discovered that if she stopped hitting herself in the head with a hammer, her head stopped hurting. Amazing.

The moral of the story is: Everyone is a liar, whether they know it or not, even if they’re only lying to themselves. The Internet fosters tenuous connections that tend to snap when stretched.

I guess that’s two morals.

Which is two more than I had when I started.

*Wende probably thought of this phrase first

** true story

*** we are still good friends. He married the woman he dumped me for … and then divorced her. Imagine that.

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