Monday, August 15, 2011

Remember the Good Times

Normally, I avoid the person sitting next to me on an airplane like the plague. I prefer to be left alone with my plastic cup of chardonnay and Us Weekly, but last week on a flight to LAX, I became besties with my seat mate. Her name was Ruby and let's just say we got pretty deep.

She was heading to LA from Seattle to visit her daughters and grand-daughter. She told me she lived in LA for over thirty years, but left a few years ago after a string of heart break.

The first and most devastating loss was the death of her twenty-four year old son who was murdered twelve years ago. A few years later her husband passed away and a few years after that, once she'd started dating, her boyfriend died of a heart attack. So, Ruby decided it was time for a change of scenery.

We talked a lot about dating and Ruby said that it's been tough at her age. She's fifty-seven (looks forty-five) and refuses to do the online thing. According to her, you just can't trust someone you meet over the internet. She said a lot of men her age prefer to date younger women (most of them don't want to date strong opinionated women). She found this to be especially true of African-American men in her age group. Ruby, who's also black, said most black men she's met in the past are looking to date women who are way less aggressive and way more passive. Fortunately, she's an equal opportunity employer when it comes to men, but admitted her opening line doesn't always go over so well:

"If you date me, you'll die."

This is where I got a little more info on the ex that died of a heart attack. One day Ruby was at his house and found a letter mailed to him from another woman. Inside the envelope were pictures of her boyfriend and the other woman kissing/hugging/etc. Ruby immediately called the other woman and informed her that she'd been hooking up with Ruby's bf. The other woman was totally blindsided and had no clue the new guy she was dating was already spoken for. It turned out she had met him online and he'd recently gone to visit her in New York (without mentioning it to Ruby, of course.) Ruby asked the other woman to do her a favor--- call the boyfriend and let him know that he'd been found out. Minutes later, the boyfriend called Ruby and begged for her forgiveness. She broke it off with him and told him he would live a miserable and lonely life. A few months later, he suffered a massive heart attack and died. Ruby, in all of her dead pan awesomeness: "I don't feel guilty. You cheat on me, you die."

She also told me about a man who had taken her out to dinner a couple times. The dates had gone well, but one day while they were talking on the phone...she asked him what he was doing that weekend. He accidentally blurted that he had a bunch of errands to run for his WIFE. Needless to say, she never went out with him again.

Ruby just seemed like the kind of woman that doesn't let men walk all over her or string her along. She's been through too much for that. Every day for a year, she sat in a court room, while her son's murderer was prosecuted. He got life in prison, but Ruby said the sentencing didn't do much to help her. Towards the end of our talk, she told me how much she hated it when people claimed they understood what she was going through after her son died. I asked her what words, if any, would have given her any comfort. She said quite simply--- "keep your head up" and "remember the good times." And that's what she said she tries to do every day. Talk about putting things in perspective. The woman was a total inspiration.

It's crazy to think I could have missed out on all that to read some bull shit story about Jennifer Aniston in Us Weekly.

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