Addicted to Heroines?

Can a guy have a knight in shining armor? I think I’ve had two.

I sat in the car, waiting for everyone else to show up and unlock the door to the law firm office. On the radio, Colin Powell was making the case for WMDs to a UN committee, pointing to photos that reminded my mind’s eye of the visual displays of Dr. Strangelove. There was a battle of a different kind brewing this morning: I was about to be deposed pursuant to a lawsuit.

When the summons came in the mail a few months prior, it was this bulky stack of double-space type. In my ignorance, I reacted like it was an invoice for a million dollars. I freaked out.

Five years before that, I caused a car accident that supposedly injured the driver of the other car. He didn’t seem injured to me that day.

Eventually, there were four of us: the complainant, his lawyer, me, and the lawyer sent to defend both me and GEICO. Mostly my lawyer told me to use few words, and not get conversational. Still, she had to step in more than once to get me to shut up. At the end, it was determined that too many of the medical conditions were pre-existing, and there was no legal way to parse what was before and after. So the suit was dropped, right then and there.

I was free to go. My lawyer saved the day. And probably my life. The emotional shock of being that vulnerable came to a head at that moment. It was then that I noticed, my lawyer was this beautiful young woman. And sure enough, a little piece of the back of my brain fell deeply in love with her.

Mind you, the front of my brain knew exactly what was happening. And was surprised that the knight-in-shining-armor effect didn’t discriminate on the basis of gender.

I did nothing about this emotion I was feeling. (I was and still am happily married.) I kept it professional. We shook hands, I showed just the right degree of relief, made the proper amount of eye contact. She drove off, and I never saw her again. This talented woman who saved my neck. My heroine.

Fast forward to the autumn of 2007. Depression and loneliness were creeping in, for reasons I’ve covered before. I was lonely. I followed my nose online, and discovered Twitter. I read of people raving about it, and took their word for it, but I couldn’t find the front door.

I signed on to follow a woman whom most of you know, especially if you’re on Twitter. There were a few exchanges, I said something kind of petulent about the service, and instead of taking it personally, or retorting in a way that I’d take personally, she just sent me a link to a marketing site’s then-recent blog post about Twitter’s uses in the office and at home.

And I got the idea. Not just of Twitter, but of the whole concept of connecting with other human beings online. Something many of you got much earlier, and take much more for granted. I now have a social life online.

This woman had for some time posted all kinds of things about her personal and professional life, to a degree that at the time I found uncomfortable, in all media. Tweets too, of course. I saw her, heard her, got to know her. Admired her poise and determination through her life’s junk. (Detail here would give her away.)

And sure enough, it happened again.

On the plus side, experience made this time even more familiar. Again, an emotionally vulnerable time. Another saving of the day, one I’m sure she still doesn’t realize she did. On the minus side, since we now travel in some of the same circles on- and off-line, there’s no riding off into the sunset.

Again, I’m sworn to do nothing about it. But already I’ve seen her at a function we both attended, and I was a little more distant than I usually am. Sorry for that.

It’s wearing off. But not fast enough.

So, dear reader, something I should do more often: ask for your reaction. Have you ever had this experience? Were you at liberty to do something about it? Did you? How’d it go? Any guys able to sympathize with me, or am I showing too much of a feminine side?

No guessing who. I have the moderator’s prerogative.

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