AUBURN, CA—After four months of romantic involvement, Wells Fargo mortgage lending assistant Heidi Bird, 27, said Monday that she is beginning to regret getting into a relationship with the carefree Jason Maddox.
"Jason was everything I wanted in a boyfriend as recently as three months ago," Bird said. "I used to dream of meeting someone who knew how to have fun and didn't let himself get weighed down by formalities and obligations. But my dreams never had the part where that person doesn't call for a week, then drops by at 3 a.m. with a broken mannequin torso under his arm."
Bird said she was swept off her feet by the handsome
30-year-old in August, when she met him at a local park. A part-time bicycle-shop employee and occasional street musician, Maddox "was straight out of a romantic Hollywood movie," according to Bird.
"I was walking my dog Shadow when I heard someone call out to me from above," Bird said. "I looked up and saw Jason sitting on a tree branch. He told me he once had a dog like Shadow. Then he asked me to come on up and see the view. I don't usually do stuff like that, but he was so cute and intriguing that I tied Shadow to a bench and joined him up on the branch. We sat up there for two hours eating golden raisins and reading jokes from this kids' joke book he fished from the trash. It seemed magical—at the time."
Although she gave him her phone number, Bird didn't hear from Maddox until two weeks later, when he showed up at her office, thrust a bouquet of daisies into her hands, and began to serenade her on his ukulele.
"Jason showed up right in the middle of my busiest day of the week, and all of my coworkers were staring at him like he was nuts," Bird said. "But no one had ever done something like that for me before, and I just melted. It was such a wonderful resolution to the anxiety I'd been feeling because he hadn't called."
When she showed Maddox out of her building, the two kissed during the elevator ride to the lobby, commencing what Bird described as "a whirlwind love affair, complete with romance, laughter, and amazing sex."
In spite of the good times she has shared with him, Bird said Maddox's self-centered approach to romance has "gotten a little old."
"Last week, Jason showed up at my office, called me out of a staff meeting, and said we were going roller-skating," Bird said. "When I told him I couldn't, he was like, 'Well, what am I supposed to do with these roller skates I bought you for our 13-week anniversary?'"
"He lacks a sense of timing—or time, really," Bird added. "When I got mad at him last month for not calling me for six days, he said he was sorry and explained that he'd been 'totally getting into Russia,' whatever that means."
Bird said that, during the initial weeks of her relationship with Maddox, she had hoped to one day accompany him on one of his spur-of-the-moment car trips. After getting lost on the way to Mono Lake with Maddox in November, however, Bird said she resolved "never to travel with Jason again."
"It was sweet that he wanted to sit by the lake holding me in his arms," Bird said. "But he could've had some idea of how to get there. Maybe he didn't mind sleeping in the car at a rest stop, but my shoulder blade still aches from where the seat spring dug into it all night."
Although Maddox frequently demonstrates his affection for Bird, she said his gestures no longer move her.
"Oh, yeah, Jason gave me that," said Bird, waving toward a 6-foot-tall plush bunny in the corner of her office. "There was a time I would've been really into it, but now I'm just wondering how much it cost and if I'll need to buy us both dinner next Tuesday."
Bird added: "I should really get that thing out of here before my supervisor sees it."
Therapist and author Sue Merrill said people often don't foresee the pitfalls of dating a spontaneous person.
"In order to have a viable relationship, you must either match his erratic behavior point-for-point, or maintain an almost bulletproof independence," Merrill said. "Vulnerability is fatal. Ask yourself this, 'Do I have the stamina to water my plants one moment, float in a hot-air balloon an hour later, spend eight days alone, then stand in line at a bail-bonds office until 1 a.m. on a Tuesday?'"
While Bird has no immediate plans to break up with Maddox, she said she"sometimes fantasize[s] about what it would be like to date someone less whimsical."
"I still like Jason a lot," Bird said. "But I swear: The next time he starts to juggle, it's over."
Bird's ex-boyfriend Steve Dandridge, whom she left last May after telling him he was "too boring," said his mellow, undemanding personality might offer Bird a refreshing change.
"I hear that guy she's going out with is running her ragged," Dandridge said. "I guess I could feel happy that I got my revenge, but the truth is, I still miss her. Heidi, if you want me back in your life, gimme a call. I usually go get dinner at 6:45 or 7:00, but I'm always back before CSI starts at 8:00."
Maddox was unavailable for comment, as he was assembling a Cupid costume out of a bed sheet and applying to film school in Poland.