“Everything is fine,” I wrote. “I realized I could get by without it and stopped craving it altogether.”
I started seeing other people. Michele Bachmann was fetching and seemed game for adventures. Donald Trump jazzed things up for a week or two. I exchanged promising texts with Mitch Daniels, but then things fizzled.
Now here I am a few weeks later, pawing through Palin’s e-mails like some sort of stalker. “Did she mention me?” I exclaim, foaming at the mouth. ”She must have mentioned me.”
I look back in horror at my output for the week — four pieces on Palin, one a poem.
This is not the sign of someone who is “totally over it,” as I keep insisting I am in my outgoing voicemail message. “Don’t try crawling back to me begging for a nomination, Sarah!” I yell. “You and I are through!”
That’s the worst part of it: We are through.
It hasn’t been working for a while. The ignoring, the complaining about not getting enough attention, the pretending not to care. And I know it’s not working. I know that she is no good for me, that I am only postponing the inevitable. Eventually, I want to fix the budget, and she just wants to sit around and spew confusing yet folksy narratives that say what people are thinking in a visceral way.
But she’s proving as hard to put out of her misery as that one elk she spent so long trying to hit.
I wake up in the middle of the night and start whimpering in terror. ”What if I never find someone else like you, Sarah?” I murmur, gazing at all the taxidermied animal heads. “You were so magical. You made me believe that politics could produce a bona fide celebrity. That there would be one subject we would never tire of Googling, one name we could mention once and launch a thousand hits.” I relive those memories. That first speech. The red suit. The “SNL” parodies. Those magical honeymoon days, when we thought we would be together for life.
Now we know better.
Most of America, frankly speaking, is no longer even pretending to like Palin. She has an approval rating comparable to chopped liver. The kids are growing up. Bristol’s out of the house.
I know all of this. We all do.
But we just don’t know how to quit her.
We were doing so well. We threw away our copies of “Nailin’ Palin.” We gave “Going Rogue” a Viking funeral. We actually managed to cough up some commentary about Tim Pawlenty’s economic plan.
Then she showed some leg, wheeling out in a campaign bus and making the same sort of rambling statements that used to set our hearts on fire. And for a second we thought we had made a horrible mistake, that we were meant to be together.
That is why we are spending our Friday foaming over these e-mails. So far, the biggest headline to emerge is that “Sarah Palin really seemed to care how she was portrayed in the media.” Ya think? Our hearts sink. Where are the revelations? Where are the secret aerial-wolf-hunting orgies that could have kept the flame alive? Why isn’t she mentioning us more?
We stare forlornly at our Match.com profiles. Ron Paul has poked us. It is not helping.
“Sarah!” we scream. “Sarah!” We are getting a little overwrought, and we know how this must look overseas. The Guardian is even offering a Palin-free edition of its Web site.
“Please stop talking about her,” our friends say, whenever we come over. “You need to get out of the house more, meet new people, see what the world has to offer. You can do better. You deserve better. Mitt might be fun if you get to know him.”
Sure, sure, we’ve heard it all before. We know it’s true.
But we don’t quite believe it yet.
Pass the tissues and let me see those e-mails again.