Yes, I know that Groundhog Day was last week. But truth be told, on the actual day, I almost forgot that it was Groundhog Day. Until Black, on our morning phone call (we talk almost every morning – sometimes specific Red & Black items, sometimes current events, sometimes just "life") wishes me, "Happy Groundhog Day." Well, these days, every day feels like Groundhog Day, so I thought she was just being sarcastic, which wouldn't be unusual. When I started to reply with something like "yeah, same ole, same ole", I paused, because I realized, it really was Groundhog Day.
But even if Black hadn't brought it to my attention, there was still no escaping Groundhog Day, as beside it being mentioned on the morning shows, I noticed that one of the movie channels had the movie "Groundhog Day" on all day. Literally all day, as in on a loop (which seemed appropriate). It was ok with me, as it's one of my all-time favorite movies.
For me, the movie has everything. A great cast (Bill Murray was true perfection and I hope they never, ever do a remake because no one can top him), a great script that somehow made a very simple storyline come alive, and subtle messaging. Yes, each day is the same. Sounds boring. But no, because even with the same day every day there are nuances of humor, of sadness, of happiness, of goodness, of badness. And decisions to be made, or not made. Do you do the right thing, the easy thing, the unexpected thing? Do you think about yourself or others?
Yes, I know, my theater degree is showing. (Something Black claims I rarely use, except when I'm being, well, theatrical.) But it's an accurate analysis, and when I watched "Groundhog Day" for the umpteenth time this Groundhog Day, it was through the lens of the last year and the coronavirus. When I thought every day was the same. But watching the movie, again, made me realize it really isn't. Because each day gives us new opportunities to make decisions, both big and small. Each day, in its own way, is a gift. And although almost every day this last year has felt like we're living our own personal "Groundhog Day", at the same time it has taught us so much.
And this time, even though I've seen the ending countless times, it really made me stop and think …
That if we're lucky, maybe, like Bill Murray's character, who ultimately found patience and then happiness in appreciating what was there, not tomorrow, but today … that we find happiness today but also see that our "Groundhog Days" will one day be over. And that all our "todays" are making opportunities for tomorrow's new beginnings.
Everyone laughs and wants to hear the story when I mention that I was recently "ghosted" by someone I had dated. What I find interesting is that ghosting has become so prevalent in today's society (and is not restricted to dating) that there is a term to describe the sudden "disappearance" of someone who wants to avoid all future contact with you.
Going back decades, I know there have been first dates that, at the time, I thought went well. But, after getting the "I'll call you" line … I never did. As a teenager, I can remember anxiously waiting for the phone (a landline tethered to the wall – and yes, I am that old) to ring, not wanting to go out and possibly miss the call. And, being very disappointed by the silence. Now, I cannot even remember who they were.
Over time, especially once women's lib made it more acceptable for women to take the initiative when dating, I came to appreciate that it was easier not to call than to tell someone face-to-face that you did not want another date. But, it did not change the inevitable, and ghosting can be more painful than politely telling the truth. Meanwhile, given how outspoken and opinionated I was (I still am), I think they could always sense where they stood and whether our personalities were compatible.
I never intentionally misled anyone, as that is not my style. Plus, it is inefficient as it creates more work down the road to try and reverse the situation. Of course, when you get past the initial dates and learn more about each other, you may realize that you are not compatible. Then, you want to cut your losses and move on, so would break up. It did not require long conversations or detailed relationship analysis. Merely, the common courtesy to be honest.
I know that Red would try and make me understand that "mere mortals" (as she refers to herself and most people, accusing me of being a Vulcan) prefer to avoid these situations – finding them not only uncomfortable and difficult, but thinking they require full explanations. However, I am not questioning "why" people ghost.
Yes, there can be legitimate reasons for ghosting someone, although often there are not. The specific details of my situation are not relevant, but the fact we went on six or seven dates, and he made it very clear that he thought our relationship could be a long-term one (I thought it had potential but was concerned about emotional compatibility) made being ghosted very unexpected. And disappointing. Not to mention,
Ghosting is flat-out rude and shows a lack of manners. If you no longer want to date someone, tell them. Plus, it is an excellent way to practice having difficult conversations, especially as there is no downside risk. But, there can be upside potential … Besides improving your communication skills, you may realize that your decision to stop seeing them is based on a misunderstanding or extenuating circumstances.