I was sitting at home yesterday, minding my own business, trying to think happy thoughts, when the phone rang. It was a woman interested in renting a cottage that I own across the street from my home. She said that she was ending a relationship and needed a new place to live.
When she showed up a few minutes later, we both gasped in surprise. Turns out that we knew each other. She is an acquaintance, who we shall call Lady X, who I had met through close friends. I had just had dinner with her and her live-in girlfriend the night before. At dinner, they seemed rather chummy and the girlfriend gave no indication that their relationship was on the verge of imploding.
It was a rather awkward moment.
Earlier this year I moved to a small resort community populated by a large segment of the Chicago incestuous lesbian community. We all fled the city to get away from each other only to discover ourselves in even closer quarters. I can't go to the grocery store without having a clumsy encounter with women I vaguely remember from the bar scene a decade ago.
I have managed to keep myself out of much of the drama that takes place at an exhausting pace in this tight-knit, highly hysteric community. We're all in our 40s, so you'd think we would have grown out of the type of manic destructive impulses that fueled our social lives in our 20s. But not so. I get reports weekly about lesbians who have just adopted their third Chinese baby breaking up because one or both of them are sleeping with the nanny. Or couples that have been together for years splitting up because of some type of clandestine online dating fiasco.
My small clique of friends is rather happy and stable, so we merrily watch the romantic fireworks from the sidelines and tsk-tsk the antics of our more drama-prone sistahs.
But my own little group got sucked into the excitement yesterday after Lady X made a hurried inspection on my rental cottage and got the hell away from me before I could ask too many embarrassing questions about her crumbling relationship. I summoned my friends to my home to discuss the situation.
'What are you going to do about this?' demanded Greta.
'Do I have to do anything about it?' I asked. I thought my only obligation was to gossip about it. I didn't think I was obliged to take any action-like snitching to Lady X's girlfriend, who I barely know and who is kind of scary.
'Oh, but you must tell the girlfriend,' Stacy said. 'You can't let her be blindsided!'
We spent the next several hours having an extended version of the conversation detailed above. It didn't help that we had gotten into the cooking sherry, which only made us repeat ourselves and become increasingly righteous. By the end of the evening, we all agreed that it was my responsibility—No! My duty!—to tell Lady X's girlfriend that she was about to be dumped.
This morning I woke up with a wicked hangover and a better perspective. I realized that the only reason to get involved would be to inject some drama into my own boring, but happy life. I took a moment to review the soap opera that was my 20s and early 30s and decided that I had already exhausted my supply of romantic intrigue for a lifetime. Then I called Lady X and told her that I rented the cottage to someone else.
Hey! I wrote a book. It's a novel called Dateland. In the words of the great showman Mike Todd, 'It ain't Shakespeare, but it's Laffs.' You can buy it at Unabridged Books and on Amazon.