Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Red Flags Never to Ignore

Or, How to Ruin a Perfectly Innocent Kitchen Utensil for Someone Forever

Okay, folks. Part of this one is kinda gross. If you're easily offended you might want to skip it.

This will be a cautionary tale. Kinda like, "Never, ever do the stupid thing I did."

So this is about five years ago. I'm dropping off Zachary to skateboard at a friend's house and go in to say hi to the friend's mom. There's a guy there. He's a teacher. We hit it off famously and exchange phone numbers. We go out on a couple of dates, where he tells me that he has three kids and has been celibate for the past three years waiting for the right person to come along. Wow! This could be pretty cool!

Things move very quickly. He lives in Taylor, which is about a 45 minute drive from Austin, and soon we decide that we need to be closer together. He will move in with me. I have a great house in Hyde Park, 1700 square feet, and a king size bed. Let's go!

The first red flag shows itself as we are meeting his elderly landlord the day we are to begin moving his things out and over to my place. He introduces me as, "Holly, one of my fellow teachers." Now, he hasn't cleared this with me in advance so my eyes widen. I am not a teacher. But I play along with him. Maybe he has a plan.

The second red flag occurs the next day when we are an hour late to meet the landlord to pick up more of his things. My thought was we would simply tell her that we had been unavoidably running late and apologize for the inconvenience. He, however, came up with a better story. "There is an 18-wheeler turned over on I-35 and the traffic is backed up for miles and miles in both directions. We barely made it." My eyes widen again. This one could easily be exposed as the blatant lie that it is.

So, to recap: I'm about to share my home with a pathological liar.

The third red flag occurs when we are moving his bed out of his apartment. We get the mattress downstairs and come back to lift up the box spring, and I spy on the floor underneath a kitchen whisk with globs of vaseline clinging between the spokes. "What the hell?," I say. He does not answer. I quickly pick up a box and take it downstairs. When I come back the whisk is gone.

Now a normal intelligent person such as myself would immediately end any association with this obviously bad bad man. Right? Wrong.

In the course of the next few weeks, there are more flags. We plan to go visit some friends of his in Dallas, and he instructs me beforehand that I am not to ask them any questions about him. He tells me that he has, during a period of unemployment, filed lawsuits as a creative way to generate income.

But for reasons I won't go into here, I stick it out with him. I will end up losing two jobs, two cars, my good credit and my house.

Still, I can say that I have learned many valuable lessons from this episode in my life and I'm all the better for having endured it.

From time to time when we are cooking dinner together, one of the kids will say, "Mom!" And I'll look over and they'll be holding up a whisk with an impish grin on their face. This makes me laugh.

Oh - his name is Francis McCauley.


At 11:12 AM, Blogger gnightgirl said...

Gak! I'll never look at my wire whisk the same again.

I don't know why, but I looked him up; there are a lot of people with that name! I have too much time on my hands.

I dated a guy once that had a friend who was a pathological liar, only he never showed up to any function. I decided it was my date that was the liar, and his pathological liar friend was imaginary.

At 3:13 PM, Blogger Momo said...

Why don't we ever listen to those red flags?? Especially in the beginning - exactly when we should see these things.

Also - those types of liars. So weird! I've met a few of them and they're just astonishing! It's hard to know how to respond to them. I don't usually ever try to bust 'em out. I just let them think I believe their BS...

At 4:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you were to catch your former boyfriend actually holding the petroleum-jelly-laden kitchen utensil, you might ask, 'Hi, hon. Whatcha makin'?" Ick. I feel the need to wash.
"Whisk it! Whisk it good!" - DEVO

At 11:12 PM, Blogger gnightgirl said...

Damn. I wish I'd thought of "Whisk it good." Good one, anon.

At 3:50 PM, Blogger Spider Girl said...

That was a good cautionary tale...

I myself like to believe the best about people and have once or twice ignored some red flags myself. Sigh, it's just not a good thing to do.

My hope is that karma will eventually sneak up and bite people like Francis back.

I have to say that "lawsuits for creative income" made my eyebrows shoot up. Gah! What an awful thing to do.

I'm glad, by the way, that you can look back on this life episode philosophically and even laugh a little.


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