Tuesday, September 21, 2004


(In)Appropriate Timing?

I've been thinking a bit about this issue of timing. We invest the timing of things with so much significance.

For example, let's consider the question of what it "means" when a person calls us at a particular time of day. If Freud calls me at midnight or later, does that mean that he is "using" me as a "bootie call," for example? Is it disrespectful? I suspect all dating manuals would call it disrespectful and would paint me as some kind of low-self-esteem-having victim, but if I'm not bothered by it, then why does this tiny, tiny thing somehow become just one more strike against Freud that marks him as an asshole? (I'm not saying he's not an asshole, I'm just saying that I don't think the time of day that he chooses to call makes him one. Similarly, I don't think that if he called at what my mother would deem a "reasonable time" that it would make him less of an asshole.) And what about if I call him at unreasonable times, which I have done. Am I an asshole? Or is this just a thing that we're both ok with?

And time of day isn't the only thing that we need to consider when we think about the importance of timing. There is also the ever-important question of how many days a person waits to call another person. After I first hooked up with Freud, he waited a full week to call me. Many guys follow some kind of 2-3 day rule. Then there are the guys who will call immediately, the next day after getting one's number, whom I find creepy. Of course, guys aren't the only ones to whom the rules of timing apply. For example: I never call Freud right after having seen him (whether we've fucked or not). If I haven't heard from him within like four days, I might call him, but generally I call when I think he won't answer so that I can leave a message and the calling ball will be in his court. Does this make me an asshole who is trying to play hard to get? Does it make me a bitch who doesn't care about his potentially sensitive feelings? Or does it make me smart, because if I called more regularly he would think that I was trying to boyfriend him? Or am I just doing what comes naturally with him, because I don't really want to talk to him most of the time? (I think it's the last, but who knows.)

And then there's the timing of when you meet a person, the timing of when you get back into touch with an old flame, the timing of when you first make out with a person. There are all of these times when timing is everything. But, when you try to break it down, it's impossible to figure out the rules of timing in such a way as to use them to clarify one's situation in life. For example, why do I love getting any sort of phone call or communication from a present or past beau in the middle of the night when he has clearly been drinking for many hours? Why does that please me and make me feel happy in a way that no afternoon, sober phonecall would? If the rules of timing were clearly spelled out, then one would understand my affinity for being the object of drunk dialing (and emailing). As it is, my affinity for this goes against everything self-respecting women are supposed to put up with. I don't know. I'm rambling because I've done about 20 conferences in the past two days. All I'm saying is that clearly we invest timing with a lot of significance, but I'm not convinced that the fact that we do so reflects anything other than a desire to make sense of things that ultimately are nonsensical. Maybe we focus on the auspiciousness or inauspiciousness of timing so that we won't need to focus on the real things that make a person or a decision or anything right or wrong for us. Timing may not be everything. It may just be a distraction.

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