Tiny Bit of Crazy

A chronical of the laughter, revelations and transformations that are possible when you embrace the crazy

Another Date Fail, By Me October 18, 2011

Remember way back when I first started dating Chris, and I wrote that blog post about my first attempt at planning a date night, and I took us to the wrong theater?

Well my date planning skills haven’t gotten much better since then.

Back in April, barely 3 months after we started dating, a Living Social deal came up for a wine tasting and food pairing course at a vineyard I hadn’t heard of yet.

Which basically means it wasn’t called Boons Farm.

It was a really good deal, and I jumped on it, thinking it would make a nice date for me and Chris at some point.

Which sounds like a simple thing, but for me, at that time, was kind of a big thing. It meant that, at barely three months into this
relationship, I was willing to put down my hard earned money on a “future activity”. And not just any activity, but an activity that a majority of men would begrudgingly endure at best.

I was betting that Chris, despite not being a big wine enthusiast, was the kind of guy who was up to try new things, to learn new things, and at a minimum, graciously choose to enjoy something that I wanted to do.

But I’d been wrong before, which is what made it a leap of faith for me.

As I clicked the big “Buy Now” button I had images of us walking hand in hand through rolling hills of grape vines, sitting at a quaint
table for two on either a sun drenched patio, or rustically decorated tasting room, sipping wine the color of spun gold, while we mmmed, and ooohhed, and uh huh’d our way through a lesson about food and wine pairings, learning things we’d probably never remember from a gentile and mannered vintner.

So you know, a pretty low stakes venture.

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About two weeks ago, I realized that the Living Social deal was about to expire so we decided we’d go this past Sunday, the last day the deal was valid.

I looked up the website of the vineyard several times, and sent Chris the link at least once, and by all accounts it looked and sounded lovely. It had the normal pictures of rolling hills and climbing grape vines, it was barely an hour away, and generally seemed not all that different from the handful of other vineyards I’d visited on various outings with girlfriends over the years.

So, Sunday morning, thinking it might be busy on the last day of the deal, we got up kinda early (before 10am) ate a light breakfast and headed out west toward wine country. It was a beautiful day for a drive and in about 40 minutes we were at the exit. We saw signs for three vineyards, none of them being the vineyard we were going to.I was ignoring this fact, until Chris pointed that that seemed odd.

“They’ve only been open about six months,” I said, still confident in Living Social and in the vineyard’s website. However, as we veered
off the main road and turned in the opposite direction of all the other vineyard signs I started to get a little nervous.

The GPS kept guiding us further and further into the backwoods of Virginia, and I tried to distract us by saying things like “Well it sure
is beautiful!” and “Its a real adventure!” in a super cheerful voice.

When Chris announced “We’ve run out of paved road and we’re now on gravel,” I faltered a little, and finally voiced the thought that
had been plaguing me for the last 3 or 4 miles: “I hope they haven’t closed down already.” Chris didn’t really comment, I think because he was so focused on navigating this bumpy, gravely road that twisted and turned through the woods.

Then suddenly we were back on paved road, and we came around a corner and saw a huge red, white and blue OPEN flag.

“Well that’s a good sign,” I said, my eyes scanning the landscape for a vineyard as we came out of the woods into a clearing.

“3600. This is it.” Chris said as he slowed in front of a small house near the road side.

“No, it can’t…” I started to say, and then I saw the canvas sign hanging over the dark sloping porch. It looked like the type of
house we’d drive by and say “that would be cute with a lot of work.”

I swear to god, I suddenly heard dueling banjos playing and saw toothless yokels offering “wine” out of mason jars.

“I’M NOT GOING IN THERE!” I cried out before I could think about it, and Chris immediately pressed the accelerator as he started
laughing.

Once the building was behind us, I wondered if I’d over reacted. “Well, maybe its not that bad on the inside, maybe we should still
go…”

“Honey, they have port-a-potties,” Chris pointed out as we did a U-turn and were again facing the ramshackle building and barren field
full of saplings that they had the nerve to call a vineyard.

“Oh my god, you’re right. Let’s go find one of those other vineyards we passed on our way out here.”

But first we stopped to take some pictures:

Its that little white building...Notice the lack of any grape vines...

I made Chris stop when we were in front of it so I could try to get a picture of that totally uninviting front porch, but we didn’t want to stay too long for fear of some greasy haired, suspender wearing guy running out and saying “Come on in y’all!” So this was the best I could do:

Notice how everything is bright and sunny, except the front porch...

As we made our way back down the gravel road and across the railroad tracks, I thought of what this Living Social coupon had meant when I’d bought it, and I had a sudden fear that this was a bad omen for the future of our relationship. But before I could get worked up about it (because I can get worked up about just about anything, no matter how ridiculous. Its like a special talent I have.) I turned my attention to salvaging the day.

Once we found our way back to the main road, we found our way to Three Fox Vineyard within a few minutes. It was one of the vineyard signs we’d turned away from on our way to the junkyard vineyard.

As we pulled into the driveway I immediately knew this was going to be much better.

This is also a picture of a small white building in the distance, and yet this has a completely different feel to it...

We walked up the path to a beautiful patio with benches and small tables, overlooking sweeping lawns dotted with benches, picnic tables and hammocks.

We walked around back and saw an outdoor tasting tent set up, more tables and chairs in the sun, a shaded patio with more tables and entrance to the building.

We both had to pee though, so our first mission was to find the bathrooms. We followed sign around the side of the building and found this:

apparently it was my destiny to use a port-a-pottie today...

BUT, they were, without question the nicest port-a-potties I’ve ever used.

They were clearly trying to disguise the fact that they were using portable bathroom facilities...

I totally give them points for their effort and intention. There were two oder control devices in there, and a sink that worked with a foot pedal. So I forgave them the lack of indoor plumbing and even used it twice, in violation of my general “only in an absolute fucking emergency and maybe not even then ” policy regarding port-a-potties.

Having availed ourselves of the facilities, we ventured inside and were immediately invited to a tasting, where we sampled several very good wines – I didn’t even hate all of the reds, and I pretty much always hate the reds.

And Chris and I hmmmed, and ahh ha’d a the tasting notes, even though we didn’t really understand or care about most of them.

After we’d sampled 6 or 7 wines Chris suggested we take a walk around the grounds to which I enthusiastically replied “I’m drunk!” as I stumbled into him and tried to sloppily kiss him in the middle of the tasting room.

“How are you drunk, that wasn’t even a full glass!”

Sometimes its like he doesn’t even know me at all…

After reminding him of my doctor confirmed missing liver enzyme that makes me a really cheap date, I suggested that buying some sausage and cheese and sitting the sun for a little while before our walk might be wise. Especially considering I could barely walk.

As we were waiting to pay for our snacks, my wine soaked brain remembered that this was supposed to be a day that I planned and that I paid for, for a change.

“Can I payeee for thish stufffff?” I asked

He looked at me like I’d grown a second head. I sighed heavily and tried to explain my request, but he rolled his eyes, kissed my forehead and turned his attention to looking for someone to ring us up.

I reminded myself again to never try to plan a date that’s any more complicated than suggesting our favorite restaurant for dinner.

Once outside in the sun, I started to really relax for the first time that day. There was hardly a cloud in the sky, and the temperature was perfect. We ate the sausage and cheese and people watched and entertained ourselves by inventing back stories for everyone as the vineyard steadily filled up.

this is taken for my mom who had called just as we were pulling into the vineyard and asked "isn't it early to be drinking wine?" :)

After we’d eaten, and I’d sobered up, we strolled leisurely around the grounds hand in hand, pausing for the occasional picture.

Now this is what a vineyard is supposed to look like!

We stopped to pick some grapes left over from the harvest.

So despite how the day started, it ended up being exactly what I’d envisioned. Mostly because Chris, above all else, is the type of guy who doesn’t hold me responsible for mistaking a bunch of stock photos on a website for reality.

Its not a "Mer and Chris" outing if it doesn't include a self-portrait

 

As Seen on TV…Inside My Head August 17, 2011

It’s been 6 months.

This is an official milestone.

I mean, we’ve had lots of smaller (sometimes made up) milestones like:

  • 1 month
  • 5 weeks
  • first time he met the friends
  • first time I met his daughters
  • first blog post about him
  • first melt down (by me, obviously)
  • first weeknight sleep over
  • first time eating Chipotle together…

I could go on and on. Mostly because I like milestones, I find them reassuring, and so tend to see them in everything.

But 6 months? That’s a for real one. That’s a milestone that everyone recognizes… From what I’ve heard. Because I don’t really know, this is the first time I’ve ever been in a relationship that’s lasted this long.

From what I can gather, it appears that 6 months is basically when shit starts to get real:

  • The fighting starts
  • You start to realize which weird/annoying/odd personality quirks or personal habits occur occasionally and which ones that occur all the time, and you have to decide what you can live with.
  • Any commitment phobias previously hidden will now show themselves.
  • Friends, family, casual Facebook acquaintances, and family members of friends will start asking awkward questions like “When are you moving in together?” or “Does he want kids?” “Do you think he’s the one?” Usually with your partner standing next to you, or on your wall with your partner tagged.
  • Sleep becomes prioritized over sex
  • He stops trying to impress you and romantic gestures get relegated only to birthdays, an annual anniversaries. If he even remembers those.

Yeah… So I’ve been freaking out a little bit.

Technically the 6 month mark was almost 2 weeks ago.

But I’ve waited until now to write this blog for 2 reasons. (Have I ever mentioned that when I’m anxious about something I make lists? Cause I do that.)

1. Even as I was freaking out about how apparently everything becomes different after 6 months, I was still excited to reach this milestone because I’m still really happy to be in this relationship. Which was why I couldn’t write this blog post.

When I’m really happy about something, or get something I’ve always wanted, I immediately start to worry about jinxing it. And writing a blog telling The Universe and all my friends and family how happy I am, is clearly a gigantic jinx.

My problem is that I have a writer’s brain.

See, all of the most moving and memorable story lines pivot on the moment when a character gets everything she’s always wanted, and its then either immediately threatened, complicated, or totally lost moments later. Think about it: Titanic. Dear John. Steal Magnolias. Twilight. I could go on, but I think you get my point.

Right when everything is perfect, and I’m really happy, I think “if this were a movie or book, this is when the plane would crash, or he’d turn out to be Dexter, or I’d be held hostage by one of my crazy ex-boyfriends and forced to make Chris think I’ve abandoned him…”

Its possible that sometimes, in some parts of my brain, that I sort of… lose track of what’s real and what’s a script for a Lifetime movie writing itself in my head.

It happens.

The good news is that, as I have more and more experience with being happy and getting what I want in life, and not having anything bad happen, my ability to tell the difference between real and made-for-TV gets stronger. Which is the good news.

But the other reason why I waited to write this blog post is that:

2. I’m not really very good, or comfortable with overt expression of sappy or emotional sentiments. And I know that some of my Facebook friends are crying “Foul!” right now, because Chris and I been accused of being totally sappy on Facebook on occasion. But here’s what I say to that:

On Facebook I just report what’s happening. I post a picture of us at the beach and I say “Me and Chris at the beach.” Or I say “Had a great weekend with Chris, he made me a great dinner.” Those statements are not sappy, they are fact. The people viewing the pictures and commenting are the ones who, in layering their own sappy sentimentality onto my posts, declare me to be sappy. Which is why the ones most likely to accuse me of crimes of sappyness, are my most sappy friends. (Cough *Susan*, Cough *Pam*).

HOWEVER, I will concede that since for most of my life I’ve been a cynic and a commitment-phobe, that my willingness to put a picture of us grinning like idiots on my Facebook wall probably could qualify as sappy for me.

(As an aside: I would like to take this moment to ask that, should the day ever come when I refer to Chris in a status update as “My honey”, “My sweetie” “My baby”, or anything similarly gag inducing, that someone immediately come over and slap me. Seriously. Or call the police because I’ve clearly been taken hostage and that’s my secret code to signal for help.)

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But here’s the good news about waiting to write this post: I’ve now seen the other side of that 6 month divide, and can see how it matches up to my research.

1. No fighting.

But I can see why fighting could be a thing at this point. I mean, the increased comfort level and sense of security would unsurprisingly lead to a lower likelihood of hiding cranky moods or swallowing small annoyances.

But I’ve also started to realize that it’s an easy mistake to use that increased comfort and security as an excuse to make your partner a receptacle of all your personal ills, irritants and annoyances, unrelated to him or her. And I sure don’t want to be that for him, and I’m positive he doesn’t want to be that for me. And in realizing that, I also suddenly understood something my mom said about the secret to a good relationship: “Be kind to each other.”

Its sort of brilliant in its simplicity I realize now. If, at the core of everything you do, this is your intention, to be kind to each other, everything else should fall into place, don’t you think?

2. No annoying habits to report (on my end. I guess I can’t speak for him…)

3. No evidence of commitment phobias from either of us. (so far)

4. No majorly embarrassing relationship status questions have been asked in front of him. (Yet. But I probably just jinxed myself).

5. I’m not going to comment on the sleep vs sex issue because my dad and brothers read this. You’re welcome Daddy.

6. The romance is still alive and well (so far). Aside from the surprise flowers, awesome card and dinner at the restaurant where we had our first date on our anniversary, we still have date nights, and he still puts effort into planning them. I still get a little tingle of excitement before he picks me up, or sometimes just when I glance over and see his profile next to me at the movies. Plus, we’re still discovering things about each other and we still have many milestones to pass. And as the saying goes: “where there’s a milestone, there’s romance.”

Or is that just what we say around the writer’s table in my head?

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At any rate, the bottom line is that its shockingly easy to be in a relationship with Chris. As I tell him often, he makes functional easy.

The TV people in my head occasionally remind me that functional is also often boring, but so far I think this story is still moving. BUT if it ever does get boring, I’m confident that my crazy will happily kick in and throw some twists into the plot line. Whether I want it or not.

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So, thanks for a wonderful 6 months sweetie. I’m looking forward to what comes next!

P.S. (No one gets to slap me for using “sweetie” here. That was a direction limited specifically to Facebook status updates. Plus, if I’m being held at gunpoint obviously I’ll be signalling for help via Facebook, not my blog. Like any normal person.)

6 month anniversary dinner at restaurant where we had our first date.

 

Keys to Sanity May 27, 2011

I moved about two months ago. I went from renting the second bedroom in a two bedroom, one level, condo with a female friend, to renting one of three bedrooms in a town house with a male stranger. It happens.

I like my new place a lot, the room gets lots of natural light, and I can open the windows for fresh air, and I have my own bathroom. The laundry room is right next to my room, so its super easy for me to do this unpleasant chore, but the room is totally insulated so I don’t hear anything when other people do laundry.

My roommate/landlord is pretty chill, although I think he’d like it if I were more social. But I pay my rent on time and leave a rather small footprint across the house, so I figure he’s got little to complain about.

As with any move, I had a lot of things to adjust to: new routines/schedules/habits…you know, the usual.  

For example, in my old place I hung my keys on a hook near the front door. It became a habit really quickly to leave the keys there when I came in, and grab them on my way out. Hardly had to give it any thought at all.

In my new place, I set the keys on top of my dresser in my bedroom. It’s a habit that developed in the early days when the room was a chaos of boxes and random pieces of electronics and I just didn’t want to lose them. Which is to say, it wasn’t a carefully thought out choice about where best to keep my keys when I’m not using them.

One routine that didn’t change was my date nights with Chris. On those nights, I generally go home after work and spend a couple of hours doing chores/getting ready, and then Chris comes to pick me up. Pretty much every time I’ve gone out with Chris, my roommate has been home, and often the front door has been open. In other words, on date nights, I’m neither driving nor locking any doors.

.

On at least four occasions (but possibly more because I’ve stopped counting) I’ve left the house without my keys.

I always realize this oversight in the form of a lightning flash of memory of NOT putting the keys in my purse, just as Chris is turning into my neighborhood at the end of the night. In a panic I grab my purse from where it sits at my feet and shake it, and then start rummaging madly, and fruitlessly, through it.

The first two times this occurred, Chris asked what I was doing. When I said “I don’t have my keys”, he’d mirror my panicked look, and say something to effect of “What are you talking about? How can you not have your keys?! What the hell?”

By the third time, he didn’t ask what I was doing when I grabbed my purse but instead said “Are you kidding? Who leaves the house without keys?!”

Well, me. Clearly.

Duh.

In the grand scheme of things, this isn’t the end of the world. My roommate is always home. I could just bang on the door or call his cell to let me in. This isn’t a situation where I’m going to be sleeping on the sidewalk.

But I really, really don’t want to wake my roommate up to let me in. 

Each time I’ve forgotten my keys, we’ve turned into my street and to my enormous relief found the front door of the house open. 

But then as I’d sit in the car saying goodbye to Chris, I’d become obsessed with the idea that the door could close while we’re sitting there saying (kissing) goodbye.

Which, again, is not the end of the world. To a rational person.

But we’re talking about me here.

So I usually end up offering a rushed “Ihadagreattimetonightthankstalktoyoutomorrow”, going in for a kiss that barely makes contact and then jumping out of the car and speed walking to the front door, and only relaxing when I’m through the door and standing on the landing.

He deserves more than that. We both do.

The whole routine is so ridiculous and traumatic, that after the third time I was sure it would be enough to train me to double-check that I had my keys on future date nights.

And it did.

For about a week.

Last Sunday night we were coming home from my birthday party around 10pm. It had been a great night, at the end of a great week in which Chris had reached new levels of awesome. As we turned into my neighborhood, I immediately knew I didn’t have my keys. As the usual panicked routine set in, I also knew that now the end of the night was about to be ruined and so when Chris offered his usual line: “How can you not have your keys!?” Instead of my normal response of: “I don’t know!!” I started to cry.

There’s clearly way too much emotion involved in this one flakey behavior. I know this. It seems to be the result of a deep-set desire NOT to have to get my roommate to let me in. Which is weird. I know this too.

Maybe its because I don’t want to add another level to the humiliation I already feel at forgetting my keys. Its bad enough Chris has to know about this, I don’t need my roommate to know too.

Maybe my irrational and yet powerful fear that not having my keys means that I WILL be sleeping on the sidewalk, forever, is really just a manifestation of an untapped reservoir of emotion and feelings of insecurity that are a natural by-product of a major life change like a move.

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I’m pretty sure its the embarassed thing.

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This week’s date night was to go to Home Depot and get two copies of my house key made. One copy lives in Chris’s car. One key is hidden.

Problem solved.

To quote Chris as I was checking out: “Two copies of your key: $3.26. Peace of Mind: Priceless.”

Indeed.

 

It’s the Thought that Counts… March 29, 2011

The title of this post is a phrase that lets me sleep at night.  Most nights as a matter of fact.  Aside from the nights when the phrase “its not forever just for now” is the only thing that lets me sleep. But that’s another story.

I believe in, and respect this phrase, and I need to believe that everyone else also believes and respects this phrase as well.  

Or else I’m screwed.

If it isn’t really the thought that is important, then its just a matter of time until I have no friends, nieces and nephews who refuse to acknowledge I exist, and I find myself living alone in a small apartment filled with unsent gifts and other representations of great thoughts not followed through on.

But no cats, because when it comes to feeding a living thing, the thought alone definitely doesn’t count. Action is really, really, important.

RIP Vivienne…

But as far as intentions? As far as my ideas and thoughts about things to do for people (or fish), I think I rock.  I come up with all kinds of ideas about how to show people I care, how to celebrate birthdays and cheer up friends who are low.

Sometimes I even get part of the way through the execution of these ideas.

For example, I recently bought all of the elements for an out of the blue “I’m thinking of you” care package for a friend whose been having a rough go of it lately. I carefully and lovingly picked each item, composing the words I’d write to explain why I chose each item in the card that I also carefully selected for its perfect meaning and application for our relationship. The whole idea was perfect really.

She would have been THRILLED, I’m sure.

That was…umm, maybe a month ago? Everything is still sitting in the bag on a chair in my room. I got hung up on the execution. On the “find a box and pack it and take it to the post office” part. In other words, the less fun part.

I could offer a bunch of excuses about weird social anxieties and limited windows of time for going to the post office…but the bottom line is the more obstacles to accomplishing the task, the less likely I am to do it. If it was a care package for someone I was going to see face to face, I would have totally followed through on delivering it.

Most likely.

Now I feel guilty every time I look at that bag of her favorite things. Which is why I have to lull myself to sleep with the phrase “its the thought that counts” a lot these days.

I also feel really guilty every time I eat one of the jelly belly’s from that bag. So guilty I almost can’t enjoy the fruity goodness until the 4th or 5th one.

So you see? Its not like I benefit from my failure to execute.

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Sometimes though, my problem is more a lack of planning than too many obstacles to overcome.

Like last Christmas. I gave a friend a gift of a picture frame tree ornament. I knew exactly the picture of us I wanted to use. But then couldn’t figure out how to print it out from Facebook so it didn’t look like crap. And suddenly it was the last day of work before I went out of town, and I had to decide between giving her an empty frame or giving her nothing. To be clear, the frame was a simple ornament. I would have spent more money had I bought ingredients to make her cookies. This really was ALL about the thought.

I went with the empty frame.

And followed up with a text message telling her which picture I had intended to put in it.

Because it was a really good thought, and I wanted to get credit for it.  I mean, if I’d pulled it off, it would have been a great gift.  And I wanted her to know that.

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I’m constantly optimistic that I’m going to change. That I’m going to follow through on a thought and pull off that great gift, or care package, or birthday party, or date.

Lately I’ve been mostly focused on pulling off the date thing.

My record isn’t great. If we aren’t at the wrong movie theater, we’re parking on the wrong side of the mall…

We were having date night at the mall because that’s where the Apple Store lives, and I’d just bought an iPhone and wanted to look at accessories, and he wanted to play with the new iPad. During the day we decided where we’d eat in the mall, and various ideas for dessert were thrown around, including Cheesecake Factory, Caribou Coffee, or Cake Love.

I went on the mall website and looked up where the Apple Store was in relation to the restaurant. They were both near JC Penny’s. I noted that Caribou was in the same area as well.

He mentioned buying me a hot chocolate as a dessert. It was in the context of a joke, but at the same time, a very real possibility for dessert. 

It was a cold and rainy night, and I thought we should park by JC Penny’s so that we would be right where everything we needed was.

In retrospect, I’m not sure why I thought it mattered, its not a very big mall. Maybe I was trying to show I put some thought into an otherwise pretty straight forward date? Maybe it was my mostly conquered inner control freak coming out?  I don’t know. But as we pulled into the mall, I definitely directed him to park by JC Penny’s.

We ate, we shopped, it was all lovely and fun and without incident. Then he steered me toward Cheesecake Factory for dessert, which was not in the JC Penny’s part of the mall, but I didn’t think twice about it. We had a cozy table in the corner, and I watched a massive storm rage outside while we ate cheesecake and had a very nice conversation, and so we lingered.  

We lingered until after the mall had closed. But, having done my homework, I was able to proudly and confidently announce that there was a mall entrance near JC Penny, so we were fine.

Except we couldn’t find that door.

Finely we decided we’d just go out by Cheesecake Factory and walk around the outside. It wasn’t that far, only about a quarter of the way around the mall, not like the opposite side or anything…

Fortunately it had stopped raining and we set out along the sidewalk hand in hand.

We laughed when we realized we’d run out of sidewalk and would have to go over an embankment separating two levels of parking lot…

We crossed the parking lot assuming we’d round the next corner and see the car.  Instead we saw a loading dock and then a parking garage.

After crossing through the parking garage, we had to walk along the road. Uphill.

Did I mention it freezing out?

There may have been a small, good natured argument about the reasoning behind parking at JC Penny’s, which began when he said, in a less than flattering version of my voice ,”Park by JC Penny’s. It’s where I always park.”

Which wasn’t at all true. I’d simply said, “we should park by JC Penny’s, it near everything we want.”

Which makes sense. Making it a good thought. 

On the surface.

Somewhere around mile 27 of our journey around the mall perimeter, I started to wonder why he’d even listened to me in the first place.

I mean, he really should know better at this point.

I believe this failure to execute falls on him.

 

The Devil Is In The Details March 10, 2011

 Last night I had a date with the new guy, who we’re gonna call “C”. It was, in fact, a perfect example of the kind of date I described in my last post, except I was organizing it. We sort of take turns planning the dates, but not in a cutesy “Oh, honey, let ME plan this one! (giggle)” sort of way. Its more of  an “Ok, you plan this one because I planned the last one” sort of way. 

So last night was my turn. And I had a plan. I had bought a Groupon for movie tickets, so I proposed we go to the movies – an activity I love (mostly because of the popcorn) and rarely do. C agreed and then told me to surprise him with what movie because he said “I like surprises!”

Well, I aim to please.

The tickets were through Fandango. You had to go on the Fandango site, click on the tab for theaters that accept Fandango, then enter your zip code. No problem.

A list of theaters came up and the first was the Regal Cinema in Fairfax and it had a few movies I wanted to see at convenient times. I was about to order the tickets when I thought to double check with him regarding exactly what time he could pick me up.

Because I’m all about the details.

With the pick up time confirmed, I selected the movie and purchased the tickets. I very carefully read through all of the instructions regarding redeeming the tickets because I’ve never used Fandango before. I had the option to write down a confirmation code and redeem the tickets at the theater, OR print out the tickets and just walk in with them. I decided to print them out because that seemed the more reliable option, and I didn’t want to take any chances on my date night.

I double checked that I had the tickets twice before I left work.

About 10 minutes before he was supposed to pick me up, I decided to switch purses, and very carefully made sure I transferred the tickets into the new purse. Because forgetting to do that is totally something I would do. But not this time. This was my night, and I. was. on it.

He picks me up exactly on time (actually a few minutes early) because that’s how he rolls. For the first time, I was ready to walk out the door as soon as he knocked. Because we had a schedule tonight, and I was not going to make us late for the movie.

We park with 15 minutes to spare before the movie starts, plenty of time to load up on the popcorn and candy we’d already discussed purchasing.

As we approach the theater, I start to wonder exactly how the ticket thing works. What I printed out looks a lot like an actual ticket and I’m assuming we just give that to the high school kid who rips the tickets… I start to get a little anxious at this unknown element in my date plan, but since there hadn’t been time for a dry run, I have no choice but to assume it will be fine.

The theater is basically empty, and we head for the little opening in the ropes that separate the lobby from the concession and the theaters and…there’s no one there. We stand there for a minute and look around, printed out tickets in my hand ready to present, and no one comes over. So we walk through and go to the concession stand and order our large popcorn with butter and Goobers (which I’ve never actually ordered at a movie before, but completely agree with C that “it’s just fun to say”.)

As we stand at the concession stand I look at the lists of movies playing down each hallway, looking for our theater…and I don’t see our movie listed. I think this is the real benefit of the kid who rips the tickets – directing us toward the appropriate theater. We get our popcorn and soda and Goobers, and C starts to walk in the direction I’m looking. I’m feeling a vague sense of anxiety starting to build, although I’m ignoring it.

“I don’t see the movie listed…” I say to C as we start to walk down one hallway.

“OK,” he says “Maybe its just not listed.” And he keeps walking. I start scanning based on movie times, thinking maybe they are displaying an abbreviated version of the title that I don’t recognize. But nothing lines up.

We get to the end of the hallway and C, still totally unconcerned because he still has a basic and reasonable level of trust in me, says “huh. Well, maybe its in the other hallway.” But I’m suddenly overcome with a panic, because I know me, and I do not have a basic or reasonable level of trust in me. My brain starts spitting out every detail related to this event, highlighting the ones I didn’t double check. They all lay in a jumble on the floor of my brain like tiles spilled from a Yahtzee cup.

C starts to walk back down the hallway, idly munching popcorn as I sift through the pieces and suddenly hit on the glowing neon yellow piece…

The name and address of the theater.

“Hang on!” I say to C as I stop dead in my tracks. “Hold this” I shove the popcorn at him as I reach into my purse. I pull the tickets out of my purse and start to look at them, and he says “it’s not going to say the theater”, meaning the actual theater within the building. Because he can’t contemplate the very real possibility that…

Wait, it’s not just a possibility.

“I think we’re in the wrong theater” I say finally, staring at the name and address of the theater, still not sure of the exact name/address of the building in which we are standing, and yet fairly positive it is not what is on the paper.

Because this is my life.

C says something like “well, we’ll just go to the other hallway – ” because he still doesn’t get it.

“NO.” I say, showing him the paper. “We’re like, AT the wrong theater.”

He looks down, and reads off the address, looks up at me with a confused look on his face, as he clearly tries to work out which theater we are in, and which theater the tickets might be for.

Suddenly I know. “Is this,” I say pointing to the paper “the theater down the road? Over where TJ Max is?”

Realization dawns on his face. I want the floor to swallow me up.

“We’re in the wrong theater?!” He says with a loud laugh, half question, half statement.

I look at our large bucket of popcorn, soda, and Goobers, and I know without looking at the clock that we don’t have time to go to the other theater.

“We’re staying here. We’re just going to see another movie,” I announce, and as I do when I’m embarrassed, I start moving fast in an attempt to get past this moment in my life and perhaps convince myself it never happened.

C is laughing as he walks beside me, but I can tell he’s laughing with me, not at me. Even though he’d have every right to laugh at me.  Loudly. I giggle a little bit at the ridiculousness that is my life, as I try to focus on the names of the other movies starting soon.

“How about this one?” He says, and I look at the title unable to recall what it’s about. He starts to summarize the plot and I immediately agree realizing there was no chance on earth I’d challenge any suggestion he made at that moment.

As we walk into the theater C is still chuckling and says “OK, note to self, always verify all details.”  There is a part of me that wants to protest that this is not the norm… but who am I kidding? This is absolutely the norm.  I tell myself it’s better that he sees this now while it’s still early, because even though he’s heard most of my stories, and read this blog in its entirety, nothing could really prepare him for the reality of my inability to properly navigating the world. He starts to laugh again, shakes his head and says “And you even planned this in advance!”

“I know!” I say, laughing despite myself, because its pretty much the only thing to do at this point.

As we settle into our seats, he starts to laugh again and says almost to himself “The wrong theater! Oh my god,” and I look over to see if this is an indication that, as the reality sinks in, he’s becoming less amused, perhaps envisioning a future filled with wrong theaters, wrong restaurants, missed planes, and driving miles in the wrong direction because I said I had it under control.

All very realistic scenarios.

But he’s looking back at me with a wide grin and he says “You are so cute,” and leans in to drop a quick kiss on me.

.

So, at least I’ve got that going for me.

 

Just Crazy Enough to Work March 8, 2011

Filed under: Dating — Meredith @ 5:32 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I’m dating a new guy.

And by “new” I don’t mean “new to my life”.  Wait, actually I do mean that. But that’s not the interesting part.

I mean “new” as in “a new type”.

He’s…different than any other guy I’ve dated (or whatever you call what I was doing in my 20’s). And NOT different as in  “thinks dreads on a white guy are cool” , or “thinks beer is a food group” or “owns several costumes for Live Action Role Play” kind of way.

I mean his approach to dating, and his approach to me,  is completely new.

He’s direct about his interest in me. (Without being creepy).

He’s charming and funny and interested in my life. (Without being stalker-y)…(ok, he’s a little stalker-y, but only in the way that’s come to be expected as an appropriate sign of interest in this brave new world of social media and google).

He’s sweet and complimentary and mannered. He holds car doors and building doors and helps me on with my coat. (Without being caveman-y).

He’s funny, holds his own in conversations, (which is no small thing around me) and even tells his own stories. (Without being overbearing-y).

He initiates emails, instead of just replying to ones I send.  He suggests and plans actual dates – even after four weeks of dating. Like real dates, you know, where you go out to a restaurant with table service and no drive thru, and then go somewhere else for coffee or ice cream, all the while talking and laughing and showing each other new sides of yourselves and then making out in the car for half an hour because it’s a weeknight.

He says he wants to meet my friends and go to my weird artsy events, and then actually goes. More than once, which means even though he knows what it’s going to be like. AND not only does he not complain about bad parking, sold out shows, overpriced restaurants, being singled out from the stage, having my friends pet his face, or the fact that I turn away (or occasionally totally walk away) from him 25 times in an hour to hug and say hello to and chat with a million different people during the night, but he even manages to look convincingly like he’s having a good time. 

.

What. The. Hell. Right?

I mean, who does he think he is? Where are the mixed signals? Where are the games meant to keep me disoriented and insecure as to his actual level of interest so that the balance of power always rests firmly with him? Where is the trademark approach/avoidance attitude toward monogamy seemingly endemic to men in their 30’s and 40’s?

Did he not get the same speech that I’m convinced all the other boys on earth got during their special sixth grade “assembly”? You know the one – while all of us girls were off learning about  our periods and the great burden of being life bearers that we’ll carry for next 40-50 years, the boys are in the gym learning how to hide their emotions, be inconsistent, and act like they don’t have the ability for complex thoughts, let alone the ability to convert them into coherent sentences on any topic related to relationships or emotion.

And even though every man I’ve ever asked denies that this assembly takes place, or that they are ever specifically taught these things at all, I know that’s just because they all swear an oath on their testicles to keep the secret.

This guy has clearly gone rogue from the program. You know, the program I’ve spent my entire adult life trying to understand, deconstruct and develop strategies for? Yeah, that program.

I mean…what the hell am I supposed to do with that?

.

Other than, you know, enjoy it :)

 

 
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