pit stop, / noun:
(1) : a stop (as during a trip) for fuel, food, or rest or for use of a restroom
(2) : a temporary deviation from a direct or usual course
Love is often compared to a journey much like the long distances of a road trip; there are many stops along the way, pit stops to be exact, and these rest periods often delay our travels. These trips involve a mapped out course to a specific location and in the language of love this would translate to goals such as being married by a certain age, having three kids with your spouse or living in cohabitation bliss à la Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. No matter how much we may plan, nothing is certain until we reach our intended destination.
I was driving back home with my boyfriend at the time and we were talking about our past relationships. Nothing major, we were simply exchanging funny stories and events that had occurred. We were laughing about the ridiculousness of it all when he suddenly became quiet.
“What’s going on in that head of yours?”
“Nothing. I guess I’m just reminiscing.”
“This girl. We dated, but I didn’t realize how much I cared about her until things ended.”
At that moment, I knew that he was losing his mind. This conversation was going nowhere good fast.
“She was only in Canada temporarily and I could have persuaded her to stay, but I wasn’t ready to commit to her at the time.”
“Her last day here, I dropped her off at the airport and that’s when I realized that I couldn’t let her leave. I asked her to stay, but it was too late, I had lost her.”
“Did you keep in touch?”
“Yes, on and off. Have you heard of the saying ‘the one that got away’?”
If I had raised my eyebrow any higher, it would have been permanently stuck that way.
“Yeah I have.”
“I feel like that was her. She was the one. And ever since she left, I haven’t felt that way about anyone else. I’m still searching for that girl.”
Uhm what?! Ladies and gentlemen, how my mug shot was not on the front page of the next day’s paper is beyond me. It took every inch of strength I had to refrain from steering the car into the nearest pole. Please keep in mind, that I was his GIRLFRIEND! Not a friend, not a booty call, but a legitimate girlfriend who had been with this moron for the past couple of months. I liked the sound of my name with his last name, I had chosen names for our children, I knew how they would look like and what universities they would attend. We were supposed to live happily ever after in a house behind a white picket fence. It was allll planned. Oh yeah, the works! I was damn near pissed. I looked over his way to see if I could catch a hint of remorse in his eyes, but there was nothing there. Nada! So I asked him: “You do know that I am sitting right next to you right?” and he responded, “Yeah, what’s the problem?”
The problem was that he was about to be very single.
As soon as I arrived home, I called a guy friend (as you can tell by now this is routine) to recount the horror that I had just experienced:
“Elle, he was just on cruise control mode with you, he knew it wasn’t going anywhere.”
“That doesn’t make sense!” I insisted: “We’re together all the time. He has shared parts of his life with me that I am sure he could not have possibly shared with anyone else. We have a con-nec-tion!”
“You’re just a pit stop. It happens all the time.”
A PIT STOP??!! I sat on the floor of my room staring at the ceiling while contemplating whether my purpose on earth was to be an eternal pit stop. I did not want to be that girl, you know like the perennial bridesmaid in the movie 27 dresses. I was curious to know if these pit stops were common amongst my group of male friends and so one by one they each received a call.
Once polled, the findings showed that the future was bleak for any women entertaining a guy friend of mine. Most had one pit stop girl in their roster and they each provided two very similar responses for this necessity:
1. “I don’t want to lose the sexual benefits so I keep her around but not too close. It’s just an extended pit stop, you know like an extended stay hotel.” No, actually, I do not know.
2. “Elle, it’s called pimpin’. You give her the run around, create false hope and now you have an asset to fall back on.” I swear he used those exact words.
The following is the definition of a roster; it should put things into perspective:
roster, / noun
(1) a list of persons or group […] with their turns or periods of duty.
After that conversation I had with my boyfriend, we lasted another 2.5 seconds. It was time for both of us to get back on the road and continue our individual journeys. Of course the situation annoyed me, but I was not angry. I’ve come to realize that there is something to be learnt from every relationship whether it be good or bad. I learnt that I was exhausted of running around and that it may have been time to home in on what exactly I was looking for in a man. I was not referring to frivolous qualities like being an Idris Elba doppelganger and extremely tall (although it would be a plus), rather I was referring to the characteristics and the type of personality that would allow for growth within a relationship. I was haphazardly choosing the people in my life instead of making a conscious choice of whom was in and who needed to be filtered out. So, of course it felt like one pit stop after another because I was hitchhiking with no particular destination in sight. If you find yourself at a pit stop or at a standstill, evaluate what it is that you really want and whether your actions are in line with that goal. Dating a guy who was obviously still in love with his ex was no longer part of my journey.