I’ll never forget the first time I saw him. He was tall, impeccably groomed, unusually handsome, and cracker jack smart with a voice like deep velvet.
I was hooked.
It wasn’t his sex appeal that made me love him. It was his street fighter, take-no-prisoners, full-on engagement of people who, until I met Keith, I had never seen seriously challenged. I sat in front of the television agog as he stared directly into the camera and spoke with conviction and barely contained rage about the rationalization of torture, the deceit and conceit of elected officials, and abuse of public trust.
And he was just warming up.
I had to see him again. I found out where he hung out, and with whom, and started scheduling my day around making myself available to connect with him. I tried to be casual about it, but I think my friends could see I was becoming obsessed. “Did you hear Keith last night?” I’d ask anyone who would listen. I’d print transcripts of his tirades and re-read them just for the buzz.
They say addiction is characterized by compulsive behavior one cannot control, even when that behavior is creating disintegration in and negative consequences to the individual. I realized I had to deliver an intervention to myself. I was in an unhealthy relationship.
I had stopped listening to anyone but Keith. I acted like if a person weren’t delivering a 12 minute monologue they didn’t have anything important to say. When I took a step back from the opium den that was my TV room, I realized his confidence was not that simple. It started to seem arrogant. I told him I needed a break.
After a few weeks we reconnected, but the arrogance seemed worse. He didn’t listen to me at all, he just wanted to talk about himself. I asked him why he was never happy and always so angry, and he went off on me for over ten minutes. He accused me of disloyalty, wondering where I’d been. I told him I just needed “me” time, but he waved me off in disgust.
I still think about him from time to time. Sometimes mutual friends will send me some of his work, but I can’t get very far. The man broke my heart, but I have only myself to blame. My advice? Never trust a man whose favorite sound is the sound of his own voice, even when that voice is a really, really nice one.