Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Part II

When Alex emerged into the half empty hot chocolate house, I thought perhaps my desperate repartee with the barista would carry over into some kind of warm, funny situation with us and this other person who is not on the date being like the buffer and telling us how adorable we were and things like that?  My unrealistic hope was that it might (possibly?) dispel some tension, erase the hair fondling episode, give us a fresh start?  This was, however predictably, not how it was to go down.

I don't know what happened in the bathroom.  I probably don't want to know what happened in the bathroom.  Now that I think about it, Alex spent at least 5 minutes in 3 different bathrooms during our 3 hour date.  I guess he could have a small bladder (so much tea and hot chocolate)... but I'm going with Stuart Smalley daily affirmation style pep talks (the alternative being drug use... which is less funny).  If only because I can picture it in my mind... the pointing at his own reflection, the two fingers to his eyes and back at his reflection... the smoothing of the eyebrows.  Yes, this is story I am going with... but I digress. 

Alex stomped out from the back of the place and was clearly in no mood for barista chat, buffers, being adorable or, frankly, any of that nonsense. The man was all bidness as he put on his winter gloves with painted on grip and suggested we go for a walk, ignoring the barista, with whom I then exchanged longing looks as Alex and I tumbled out into the sullen winter street.  Burt the Barista waved goodbye, eyebrows arched as if to say "better you than me dolly" (just cuz that's the kinda shit Burt would say).  (Ok, I don't know that his name was Burt... but technically I don't know that it wasn't. So shut up about it already, geez.)

As we walked I remarked that the pattern on his gloves strangely reminded me of the cover of the book Neuromancer.  Blank look result so I explained it in the style of Lucy Arnaz making excuses for her hilarious but destructive hijinxical adventures with Ethel to Ricky.  I thought it was kind of awesome.  He grew visibly bored (backfire!).  I steered the conversation back to him - ship was righted. In the spirit of brevity the rest of the walk was like this:

Homeless guy asks for change
Alex is dismissive and rude
Alex tells story to explain his position (story involved unsolicited bagels and Dunkin Donut cards
and rented lighters and quarters and alleyways and drugs - so, you know, good times basically)
I remain silent - he asks "what are you thinking"
I tell him what I am thinking
More silence
I start to not enjoy feeling of imminent crash and burn of date and start trying
harder to make it not suck quite so hard
I ask him to tell me about his worst dating experiences (hoping for some shared light hearted pain, some compassion, some laughs... to turn it all around possibly?)
He complains about girls claiming they are attractive and then not being attractive and other perceived transgressions against humanity (ah the humanity!)
I laugh and tell him about guys showing up drunk and/ or high and
hitting on other girls (and/ or my mom)
Additional silence
I take photo of the Harvard Lampoon building momentarily forgetting he is there (oops - not a proud moment - get your head back in the game kid!)
We circle back towards Grendel's Den...
I start to feel something resembling happy until I remember there is no way we are going there. Dammit.

We arrive at Peet's Coffee.  Alex goes to the bathroom again.  I pay for the drinks.  I wait for the drinks.  I bring the drinks to table.  I wait some more.  My phone battery dies.  I start staring out the window, which points directly at the basement of Grendel's.  The golden glow being cast into the street is almost cruel.  Chin in hand, I close my eyes just for a second and imagine the scene inside.  I can hear the clink of glassware and the raucous laughter of co-eds and hipsters.  I imagine pressing my ear to the glass... is that Beck singing about what now?  A Devil's Haircut?  Oh you, Beck you.  Aww... look, the waiter just brought us a mistake from the bar... and you know what, I would love to try the fondue...

Heeeeeeeyyyyyyyyyy Theeeeeeeeeeerrrrrre.  What the, what now??  I am jarred from my enchanted dream state by this unpleasant vibration way too close to my ear.  Alex has emerged and now we are on personality number 3 (no worries though, it's just as creepy as 1 and 2, but now it wants to flirt and also, possibly, make my ear itchy).  We talk more and in no time he has revealed to me a glorious sampling of his paranormal experiences.  Apparently he has astral projected (many times) and also, other beings have reached out to him and massaged his third eye while he lay alone in bed.  The latter he illustrated to me by reaching across the table and pushing his finger between my eyes in a circular motion for much longer than necessary.  I don't even know how you would determine how long would qualify as "necessary," but I can tell you with confidence that this was definitely way longer (like, way longer).  I finally knocked his hand away in a sort of relaxed "wax off" move that I imagine would have made Mr. Miyagi proud - although truthfully, my execution had about as much flair as Jennifer Anniston could muster for her Chotchke's uniform.  I would like to continue to make wildly cheezy movie references (because it makes me happy and pleased with myself) but I recognize you guys have lives to lead, so I will carry on presently.

The 3rd eye massage notwithstanding... I felt less disturbed by the astral projection claim itself than I did by the idea that he thought it was just the thing to talk about with me after knowing me for 2 hours.  I think it might be cool if you believe you had that experience (although honestly, maybe not if you had met this dude), but I'm not sure I think it's at all that cool that you felt it was appropriate to tell me about it at this juncture.  Maybe that's more about me - who can say?  Regardless, I was sort of getting the unstable vibe and contemplating whether my personal safety should begin to play a role in future decision making (I decided it should, in fact, not).  When he asked (again) "what are you thinking" (in a voice that can only be referred to as "sleepy stalker") this time it was a quick "nothing".  Alex chose this ill fated moment to reach out and take my hand.  I froze.  He asked me if I was a "touchy person".  I said "why, do you think I am not?" (thinking to myself, might you be commenting on my complete paralysis or is it my lifeless, rotting Mackeral of a hand?) but I did not say that.  I remained still, said nothing and scanned for the exits.  He said "you don't seem to be, no" and I said "I guess I am sometimes... but now is not one of those times."  I thought this was kind of a lame response with maybe a dash of mean... but apparently it was a come on, because Alex took this opportunity to pick up my hand and kiss it.  Like, with his lips. Like with his lips on my hand.  My hand, in his hands.  No no no no no no no no to the no of no to the not wanting this how to stop it gahhhhhhhhhhh.

My brow furrowed deeply and I tried to wriggle without much success.  I took a sip of my neglected matcha to avoid eye contact, which now, sadly, tasted like cold green chalk laced with Alum so I (naturally) immediately choked and more or less spit it all over the table because really... what else would I do?   I mean, I am obviously a huge coward who is unable to communicate simple ideas with any degree of honestly or virtue.  If I wasn't me, I would be appalled.  But as things stand I have to root for the underdog (which I believe to be me, of course).  I mean, if you were asking yourself "how could this get worse?" - well, you might not know me that well, frankly.  He continued to stare at me, smiling (eery shudder...) until I quietly said "maybe a towel please, Alex?"  At that he reluctantly released my hand and returned with a stack of bev naps.  To his credit he did help me clean the table and did not touch me again for the next 20 minutes.  So there was that. 

I put on my coat and suggested we call it a night.  He protested it was early.  I said I needed to be home by 10 (in retrospect I should have faked a seizure, but you know, hindsight is 20/20).  He then, in an unexpected move, invited me to come to his place to listen to records.  I was surprised (for obvious reasons) and considered asking him if he was on the same date I was but instead, I found myself laughing out loud (probably a little too loud) and looking around the coffee shop like maybe he was talking to someone else (you know, for comic effect).  When my eyes stopped rolling around in my head and returned to him he was still looking at me wide eyed and expectantly so, wiping the residual matcha spittle from my chin I sputtered something like "um... I don't, I would not, um... thanks but I'm not going to go to your house Alex.  Maybe you could just walk me to the train?" 

"Oh, let me give you a ride home."

"Um... really I don't, well, I guess, ok, thanks."

I'm not sure if this actually happened or not - but I could have sworn at that very moment as we left Peet's I caught, in the very corner of my peripheral vision, a murder of crows alighting in an orderly row upon the branches of a nearby tree.  I don't write that entirely because I have always wanted a reason to write "murder of crows" (although that is truthfully mostly the reason). 

Next Up... Part III - Ride Home: The Final Chapter


  1. Its as though I could feel exactly what you were feeling as I read this... *shudder*.

  2. Thanks Kim (I think?). Sorry for any traumatic injuries to you soul. Should I put a disclaimer on the blog to this effect? Gibb suggested I give my dates releases to sign at the end of our dates. Sigh...

  3. Are you making this up? I feel like you aren't dead, so you must be making this up. Because clearly, in part three you're going to end up divided into a bunch of little chocolate-bar sized squares.

  4. Thank you Robby for feeling like I am not dead. That is encouraging to say the least.