So What’s A Convenient Girl Like You Doing In A Broken Life Like Mine

I think I’m dating someone. She’s been over pretty much every night this past week. Mostly we talk, then watch a movie, then talk a little more then she goes home. Which is in my basement. Weird. Weirder. Weirdest.

It’s weird for a lot of reasons, not just the basement thing. She also works the counter at the convenience store where I spend all of my money. Also, even if we’re not dating — and I kind of think we are, this is the most intimate I’ve been with another human being in a year.

We met before Christmas when she started working at the store. I’m in there at pretty much the same time every evening so after about a week she was giving me a wave, a big smile and saying hello.

Over the next few weeks we had what I can only describe as a convenience store flirtation period. Which, I think, is something that happens to everyone a few times in their life.

There just seems like there’s always a certain amount of flirtation involved when someone is serving someone else. I think it’d be weird for a woman working at a convenience store.

From my experience as a customer, women working a night shift always draw a crowd at convenience stores. It’s like they attract groupies… it’s very easy for dudes to talk to a captive audience, and it’s hard for the women to say “dude, fuck off, you’re creeping me out.”

At least that’s the way it works around here.

She was working on Valentine’s Day and told me she had no plans for after work, so I told her all I was doing was eating Chinese food and watching a movie… then I invited her over. Which is not something I normally do. And she accepted.

I’m trying to remember what we watched… “My Name Is Bruce”, because I wasn’t expecting company when I rented it. It stars Bruce Campbell (“Evil Dead”, “Bubba Ho-Tep”, “Army Of Darkness”) playing a parody of himself. I thought it was hilarious. She actually fell asleep on the couch… she’s an insomniac so she falls to sleep pretty much anywhere she can.

She hasn’t been able to get a decent nights sleep in almost a decade, so since Valentine’s Day we’ve talked about health issues surrounding bad sleeping patterns. It’s weird seeing her at the store everyday, I don’t want her to catch any flack from her boss so I try to keep our store conversations down to a minute or two. It’s incredible how you can have a conversation in one minute moments over a week.

I do know she’s attracted to me — her new roommate, in the basement apartment in my building, told me. And I do know when we’re sitting on the couch and we’re facing each other I do feel a connection… an electricity I haven’t felt with anyone in over a year. But there are issues…

She has a three-year old child, she’s separated from his father but hasn’t started the divorce process and she’s ten years younger than I am… which doesn’t feel like a problem, yet at the same time feels like it should be a problem.

It’s the kid thing that freaks me out. A few years ago I started to date a beautiful and interesting woman with a kid about the same age and got freaked out enough about the kid getting used to my presence that I pulled back from her.

Convenience Store Girl (CSG) was borne and raised here and married her possibly soon to be ex-husband right out of high school. She also believes in spirits and ghosts. Which is something common to this area — I don’t have a lot of experience with small mostly-English speaking towns, but in the French-speaking towns and villages I’ve lived in there’s a tendency to believe in the supernatural.

I dated someone from around here last year… ‘M2’, who also had children — tweens, but we broke up last February. She had a strong belief in the powers of Sylvia Browne, a TV psychic who used to appear on the Montel Williams Show. Otherwise M2 was one of the smartest and most grounded people I’ve ever known.

So a belief in spirits and witches isn’t entirely a deal breaker for me. ‘CSG’ has taken over the part of the couch I like to sit in, however, so far it’s been a little awkward… I don’t know where to put my right arm anymore, and when I put it over the back of the couch my shoulder gets sore.

But she was over Thursday night watching a bizarre movie called “Repo: The Genetic Opera” and I noticed her hand and my hand were very close together on the back of the couch and I could actually feel an electrical current in my brain and chest.

And it felt really good. I’m pretty confident she’s waiting for me to make some sort of decision or “move”, but getting into a relationship with someones mom is something which has always freaked me out. There’s also the thing about the relationships I had with JG and M2 ended because they weren’t willing to wait around anymore for my recovery to speed up.

Convenience Store Girl still doesn’t know anything about the manic depression.

To her, right now, I’m the sanest person she knows.

She has never travelled, but she loves to read. She’s been reading medical text books to her son at night… apparently he can already use medical terminology.

Her father taught her all about car engines, her mother taught her all about self-loathing. She’s a neat freak, and obsessive about keeping order in her cupboards. She’s taking a College level law course, and a first-year university English Lit. course at a local adult learning centre. She wants to move away from here.

…I just saw her at the store and she’s coming over in a few minutes.

I’m seeing a possibility where I might be using this series of events as a test in the same way I used going to my brother’s wedding as a test for where I am in my recovery. To find out if I’m able to carry conversations with people, to find out who I am in specific circumstances.

She’s a nice girl, a little prematurely burned out, but nice to have around — although she is eating into my writing time. And I think I am attracted to her… enough that I’m asking her to come back, and not rushing her to leave. But it has been a long time since I was attracted to a complete stranger.

The last two serious relationships I’ve been in were with people I had known way back in high school. M2 and I dated just before I moved away, and JG and I — who I dated five years ago — have known each other since grade school. The attraction I felt for them already had a foundation.

When it comes to meeting new people, and finding a spark with them, I’m as useless as a Mormon at a Slayer concert. So I’m not sure how to interpret the feelings I’m having.

…she just left. She spent the night on my couch. We talked, then watched Letterman and Craig Ferguson until she fell to sleep. I gave her a blanket and left her alone… when an insomniac finally passes out it’s best to just leave them alone.

I think she’s having the same problems trying to figure out what’s going on that I am. She wants a better life for herself and her son, and I’ve missed three recycling days in a row (again) and have a knee-high pile of plastic milk jugs next to my fridge.

I did invite her out for lunch this week though. So I think there’s no getting around that being an actual date.




About Gabriel...

...diagnosed with manic depression when I was nineteen, for the next 14-years I lived without treatment or a recovery plan. I've been homeless, one time I graduated college, I've won awards for reporting on Internet privacy issues, and a weekly humour column. In 2002 I finally hit bottom and found help. It's now 2022, and I have an 8-year old son, and a 12-year old son... I’m usually about six feet tall, and I'm pretty sure I screwed up my book deal. I mostly blog at
This entry was posted in Bipolar, Bipolar Disease, crazy people with no pants, CSG, Health, Living With Depression, Living With Manic Depression, Manic Depression. Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to So What’s A Convenient Girl Like You Doing In A Broken Life Like Mine

  1. nursemyra says:

    sounds promising Gabe. no need to rush anything though you might want to share with her a little of what you’ve told us….

  2. robin says:

    Yup, lunch, that’s a date. I really hope this works out for you. She sounds like a good one and you deserve it.

  3. thordora says:

    Dude, that’s awesome. 😀

  4. This is great news! I’m glad for you! Take it slow – as slow as you need to, and just let things happen organically. Good luck!

  5. exactscience says:

    That’s a date.
    Gently gently, my friend, gently genlty

  6. raino says:

    congrats to ya! sounds like a nice connection.

  7. zoom says:

    I hope it works out for you Gabriel. She sounds interesting and you sound almost ready.

    (But where is her child when she’s at your place watching movies every night?)

  8. Relationships! Intimacy! Kids! Oh my!

    Sounds interesting. Yeah, just take it slow and don’t freak out before anything happens (that’s usually what I do!)

    Haha, I just noticed your first sidebar photo. I was like, I have that EXACT same hat. AND coat. AND shoes.

  9. Gabriel... says:

    The general consensus is: good idea, proceed at slower pace. She didn’t come over last night (Saturday) because she actually managed to fall to sleep after finishing work. I bought her some melatonin supplements last week — they were banned here for awhile, but Health Canada let them back on the market after some testing was done. They’re still prescription only in the UK.

    Basically melatonin is a natural hormone which regulates sleep, which isn’t something she’s been able to do for the past ten years. According to James, someone who knows about this stuff, the pills can take effect almost right away. Since CSG started taking them she has had three nights of great sleep mixed with two or three of her normal, crap sleep.

    She is coming over after work tonight (Sunday) for a little while. I saw her at the store earlier and she’s wearing a fantastic pair of jeans… so… yeah. I don’t know exactly when it started but since I was a young lad I’ve had a thing for the ladies wearing pale-blue jeans.


    Sawubona Zoom: Last week CSG’s son spent the weekend and one weekday evening with his father, two nights with CSG’s parents, and the other evenings CSG came over (up) only after reading to him and putting him to bed. Her roommate was home the entire evening, and CSG left here to go back down there a couple of times after her roommate called to let her know her son had woken up.

    …I was a little bit… slighted / hurt that you’d ask about the kid like we were doing stuff while he was abandoned somewhere. But you’re a mom so I totally understand. So don’t worry, no children are being left alone to satisfy anyone’s movie addiction.

    Qhest “normal once”: ‘Oh my’ indeed. And yes, those are your shoes, coat and hat… I’m not sure about the purse though. I think that might have belonged to someone else. Admit it, you look great.

    It’s the steps / stages of dating that I’m worried about… I’ve never been good at recognizing what they are, let alone following them. I was in a bar once and spending a lot of time with someone of your gender when a friend corners me, asks me what I’m doing hitting on someone when I’m dating Other Girl. Turned out Other Girl and I had been dating for a month… but it wasn’t until that moment when it dawned on me. So the fact I’ve recognized CSG and I are possibly dating, or about to start dating, is a colossal step forward for me.

    Anyone: The next comment will be Number 3,000. I’m not sure what the prize is going to be…

  10. 3000 says:

    I had to be 3000!

    I just wanted to say that I also struggled with pretty terrible insomnia when I went to nursing school… I find 5-htp is more effective than melatonin for helping with stress induced insomnia. Melatonin does put you to sleep but 5-htp is more specific to stress-related insomnia, which most insomnia happens to be. I also find 5-htp is less imbalance-causing than melatonin, but this may be related to my own mood problems (I get agitated dysphoric episodes a day or two after melatonin, whereas 5-htp never causes them probably because it does not upset the balance of serotonin and melatonin as much as pure melatonin pills). The only problem I have noticed with 5-htp is the tendency to cause a “winter” like effect after a few days of consecutive use (less alert, hungry, tired, kinda dysthmic/down in the dumps, lethargic).
    BTW, 5-htp is the precursor to serotonin which is the precursor to melatonin, just so you understand why I am recommending it over straight melatonin. The enzymes in our brain and body will prevent imbalances more easily if we take precursors than if we take the straight melatonin.

    Although fair word of caution, every brain is different and some people do NOT get sleepy after 5-htp (they get wired/anxious) but most people do.

    If she is going to take a preparation with melatonin in it, sleep MD is the best brand hands down because it has other relaxing stuff in it.

    Plain old benadryl also really works well for stress induced insomnia, because stress-mediated excess histamine is the mechanism by which we typically maintain abnormal alertness. Benadryl worked amazingly well on my insomnia, it felt like “the cure” in a strange way.

    It is my understanding you guys live in canada, which makes me wonder why she doesn’t go to a doctor if the insomnia is that severe? The best meds are doctor meds. The only reason I didn’t go to the doctor when I had severe insomnia is because I am american. I had my father lie to his physician so I could get ambien (my father has insurance, I don’t).
    Low dose lithium works well as a sleep aid, as does low dose trazodone, and a million other drugs… it’s just pointless to have insomnia that bad and not get help when its affordable to do so?

  11. Gabriel... says:

    Congratulations on being Number 3000… uhm… “3000”. It’s a good thing, with a name like that, you came around when you did.

    The first problem with treating a sleeping disorder is recognizing it’s actually a disorder which can be treated. CSG brought it up with her family doctor a couple of years ago, but the doctor offered an anti-depressant because she (doctor) thought the bad sleep was depression related.

    The Ativan made CSG’s insomnia worse so she stopped taking it and decided to just live with the bad sleep.

    …I think the insomnia is probably depression related, but sometimes treating the symptoms — especially when it comes to getting decent sleep — allows people to work on the causes with a clearer mind..

    Since we’ve been talking about insomnia, and how it can be treated, CSG has made an appointment with her family doctor to discuss alternatives but, there being an acute shortage of family doctor’s in Canada (there are about 12,000 Canadian doctors working in your country), it’s not for another three months.

    When we first started talking about this stuff she was shocked… at the same time because she was sure everyone went through something similar, but also because I could list exactly the reasons why she couldn’t sleep well and yet I had found something which allowed me to get some decent sleep.

    I think she was relieved to find out there were treatments and she wasn’t alone.

  12. auralay says:

    I recently started dating as well, and while I can’t say that my experiences are mirroring yours, I can relate on a certain level.
    I still find myself uncertain as to whether or not I’m “okay enough” to venture out into the world of dating- am I’m healthy enough to enter into a potential relationship? Am I strong enough to trust myself to not let this become a crutch in my healing process/search for wellness? Is this something I can -really- handle right now? And, possibly more importantly, am I in a state of mind, wellness and emotional stability that a potential partner can work with? Or at least be comfortable with?
    There’s all sorts of buts and what ifs and am I’s, but in the end it all boils down to a simple gut feeling that really isn’t all so simple when all is said and done.

    That said, I hope things go well with you and her, even if you are having apprehensions. I encourage you to listen to yourself (though I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that), but at the same time at least pursue a social relationship with her, if not a dating one.

    All the best.

  13. Woodsy says:

    What a sweet post…

  14. robomiso says:

    any girl that will watch a bruce campbell film is worth investing some energy into! …even if she did fall asleep.

  15. Gabriel... says:

    I think, Auralay, we’re going through the same thing. I’m not asking all of those same questions — this time, but I was asking them not too long ago. I still have the same concerns, but maybe a little more confidence in my recovery this time. I hope things go well with your dating relationship…

    Thanks Woodsy… and I agree robomiso. She is a Bruce fan, thank God. She actually rented “My Name Is Bruce” the next day and watched the parts she missed. I also know she’s a fan of “Evil Dead” and “Army of Darkness”, and later this week we’ll be watching “Bubba Ho-Tep… I think her reaction could make or break this relationship.

    We watched “Transporter 3” last night — not great, kind of like a low budget aping of an American genre by Euro’s who’ve only read about action movies — and I had an epiphany… CSG started dating her soon-to-be-ex-husband in high school… CSG doesn’t have a clue about the rules of dating either.

  16. Pingback: Update On My Increasingly Weird Relationship With CSG « …salted lithium.

  17. btu says:

    G, this is so sweet. It’s really fantastic to read about how well things are going for you. You go boy! Or as we chain smokers say — you’ve come a long way baby.

    Best wishes always.
    and a tune to boot, of course.

  18. Pingback: Flowers Make CSG Cry And Other Things I Learned On Our First Date « …salted lithium.

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