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Making Friends

Awkward Start

So last night was the event I mentioned in my last post. My fitness group was getting together to have dinner. There had been a class earlier in the afternoon, and I had attended. As I was walking out the door, my instructor (not the one I’m interested in) asked me if I was planning to go to the dinner. And I kind of got this “he might be interested” vibe from him. Turns out he was just being nice.

I was a few minutes late to dinner because I had only 1.5 hrs between class and dinner & I had to catch the bus, shower, get ready, catch the bus back. So when I arrived almost everybody was already there (the only other girl who went to the session that day wasn’t there yet). Only the instructor from the afternoon class came, not the one I was interested in. He’d brought along another guy who he shared a flat with.

And it turned out that we didn’t have a reservation. And we were in the theater district at 7:30 on a Saturday night. With a group of nine. Well done event organizer!

I may have been here before

So we wandered around a bit to try to find somewhere that might take a group of 9. I chatted with a few different people in the group and at one point started talking with another guy I was sort of interested in. He’s one of those guys who is just easy to talk to and super nice. I was kind of wondering if he might be interested in me, but when I tried to talk to him as we walked to another restaurant, he didn’t try to prolong the conversation and walked past me at the first chance. I wasn’t sure what the deal was until we got to dinner.

So finally we ended up on the next street over and happened upon this little restaurant that I happened to have been to before…and hadn’t been impressed. So of course, they had space for nine people. I didn’t want to be picky (especially since I was the only newbie who showed up and hadn’t figured out the group dynamic yet), so I kept my mouth shut, and we went in.

Highlights: who’s married, who’s gay, who thinks I’m into them

So we all sit down at the table and people start talking, and wine gets ordered, and people keep talking. The instructor turned to the event organizer and made a comment about how he’d led us to the gay district (“I don’t mind, obviously,” he said. At which point my brain went ????).

Super Nice Guy starts telling a story and gesticulating with his hands – he’s wearing a wedding ring (another “ah-ha” moment in my brain).

Event Organizer, who’s sitting across from me, is slightly cross-eyed, and I don’t realize he’s talking to me until he finishes his story and expects a response.

The guy next to me looks super young (I estimated 18-21), didn’t order booze, ordered two appetizers and mac and cheese as his main course. Later somebody commented on how he’s the youngest one there, and then The Instructor says, “Well, maybe not, how old is Sadie?” I almost choked. “Excuse me?” I said. I looked at The Kid, “How old are you?” I asked. “19” he said. Without meaning to, my mouth formed an “awe”, and I patted him on the shoulder (though I’d intended it to be a reassuring pat, not a condescending one. Not sure I pulled that off). Just so you guys know, I’m more than halfway through my 20s. So it’s a little annoying when people think I’m younger than a 19 year old.

The Kid mishears a comment The Instructor makes about beating wives (I think he actually said “eating wives”) and says “Does R (the guy T.I. brought with him) need to tell us something?” (my brain went “le sigh”).

Towards the end of dinner, The German shows up with a big beautiful white fluffy dog. He sits down in the only empty chair, which is next to me. Oh, I should mention, besides the two ladies who come to class frequently, The German is the only other one I’ve added on Facebook, and here’s why: he invited me to a party and said he’d inbox me the deets. So I added him and he never sent the info. Also he seemed somewhat flustered and possibly blushed (more probably was just still red from working out) when I asked him about the party after class. He’d invited everyone in class (it wasn’t a me-specific invite), but I’d wanted to branch out and meet some more locals, so I asked him about it. Anyway, I think he thought I was into him (I’ll be honest, he does make me slightly uncomfortable, and the thought had crossed my mind), so pretty much the first thing he says in conversation at dinner is “My girlfriend” yada yada yada. Right-O.

Move to the pub

After dinner we head to the pub. As you do. A couple people peel off, including Super Nice Guy (who, by the way, looks a lot like one of my exes).

Event Organizer and The Kid both try to buy me a drink. I order a whiskey ginger and pay for it myself. The Kid tries to tell me what whiskey is. He’s pointing at my drink thinking it’s his. He’s ordered straight whiskey, and it comes with a little pitcher of water.

We all sit down at our table; I’m next to E.O. His teeth are stained from the red wine earlier. Now he’s drinking strawberry cider. He makes a comment about having a girly drink, but The Instructor says, “No, what makes it girly is the fact that there’s a girl sitting next to you drinking whiskey.” True story.

Somebody starts a conversation about how creepy Mr. Tumnus is in “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe”. We determine that if his name had been “Jeff” he wouldn’t have been so creepy. I feel like I’m sitting in a Monty Python skit and can’t stop laughing. In my head I’m making all the Holy Grail references.

The Instructor and R leave around midnight, claiming “for every year you go past 30, you must leave one minute before midnight” like some reverse Cinderella or something. Then he clarifies, “R is tired.”

I’m getting another drink, do you want another drink?

Event Organizer tells a really awkward story about another guy – who we’ll call Jeff – not taking “the hottest girl at the party” home one night, then he yells somewhat belligerently, “I’m getting another drink!” and makes a motion as if to stand. I say I’m tired and ready to go home, and the one other lady who’s stuck around says she’s peacing as well. Event Organizer suddenly has a change of heart presumably since The Ladies aren’t staying, and starts putting his coat on.

We all head outside and congregate on the sidewalk as if we’re about to have a team huddle and chant before a match. Then we all head our separate ways. Jeff, Event Organizer, and The Lady are heading my way, so we walk off together. Jeff makes a comment about The Instructor “and his boyfriend” (relationship confirmed. Boys with accents confuse my gaydar). Then Jeff (who, besides The Kid and Event Organizer seems to be the only available male in the club) mentions that he was supposed to baby-sit his 8 year old niece but instead popped in a DVD and said “see ya later!” I asked him if he just left her at home by herself!? Then it came out that he lives with his parents. (brain does a sigh). He peaces to go find his car.

I watch my bus pass us on the opposite side of the road. 35-minute walk, yay. E.O. and The Lady go a little out of their way to accompany me to a main road, then I walk back listening to “North American Scum” by LCD Soundsystem.

When I get home, The Kid has added me on Facebook.

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My first date with Readsalot, we went to a coffee shop

I know, super original. It’s like I’ve run out of ideas or something. Mostly it was just because I was caught up with whatever was going on with Belgium that I wasn’t particularly concerned with this guy. Either way, neither of us could come up with something cool to do. So we went to a coffee shop. R said we’d just figure it out from there.

Sorry I’m late

I was running a few minutes behind (I don’t like showing up to first dates right on time…it makes me feel like I’m desperate), and I texted him to let him know. I got this response: “Punctuality is a western idea I don’t agree with.” That made me smile. I’m not sure if it was in a good way or a funny way, though.

When I walked up to the coffee shop, he was seated at a table right outside. The first meeting is always a little awkward, and I try my hardest not to make it super obvious it’s our first time meeting. R, though, seemed caught unawares when I walked up. He stood up abruptly and looked at me awkwardly. When the awkwardness didn’t dissipate, he offered his hand. *Note* Unless you are simultaneously interviewing for a job, I consider it bad conduct to shake your date’s hand. But I shook his anyway, just to make it less awkward. That seems to be the go-to for guys in awkward one-on-one situations anyway, so I didn’t hold it against him.

I don’t like sitting

I didn’t really want to sit there, waiting for my tea to cool enough to sipping temperature, and stare at each other across the table. So I suggested we take a walk. We were already in the downtown area, so there was plenty to see.

We walked along the boardwalk, and hit it off pretty quickly. It turns out we had a lot to talk about, and a lot of similar life philosophies. As a matter of fact, he reminds me a lot of one of my best friends from college. They even look alike!

So I left Match…

As we were walking back, R broached the subject of the online dating world, as every guy from Match eventually does. “So, I left that…uh, site,” he started, clearing his throat.

“Yeah, I noticed,” I said. I’d tried to pull up his profile a few days earlier to show one of my girlfriends, but it hadn’t come up.

“Yeah, I just don’t know how I feel about the whole thing, ya know?” he continued, “I still think I’d rather meet people,” he gestured vaguely, “organically.”

“Yeah, I gotcha,” I said, kicking a stick from the sidewalk.

“Anyway, I like being friends with girls before dating them,” he said, looking away.

“Right, I know what you mean.”

How many Match dates have you been on?

Then he asked me how many Match dates I’d been on, and I grossly underestimated. He told me he’d only been on one other date. Way to give it a chance before jumping ship, dude.

As we got back to the coffee shop, I headed inside to use the restroom, and gave him a hug as he left. “That was fun, we should do it again sometime,” I said. He said, “Yeah, me and my buddies go kayaking sometimes and dig up oysters. You should come along one of these days.” “For sure,” I waved as I walked back in the coffee place, and he ambled away, hands stuffed deep into his pockets.

Next up: date with newcomer Ken Doll

So last week, this guy messaged me on FB

“I’m playing in a soccer tournament in your town this weekend!” he wrote, “let’s hang out!”

It took me a second to remember who he was. I looked back at our FB thread. He’d wished me a happy birthday several months ago and asked if I was still in town so he could buy me a beer. We’d worked on this music video together in his hometown, and he’d subsequently added me as a Facebook friend. By the time I’d gotten his message, I had already headed back home, and told him so. “Well let me know anytime you’re around and we’ll hang out!” he wrote back, “and I’ll let you know next time I’m near your town, too!”

9 months later

We had little to no Facebook interaction since that message he sent me on my birthday, and we hadn’t exactly hung out much on set. It’s not like we had exchanged phone numbers or anything.

So, as you can imagine, his recent message felt a little out of the blue. But he seemed like a nice enough guy, so I thought, “hey, why not? Not like I have anything else planned for this weekend.” Except actually I was pretty booked. Two photoshoots – one Saturday, one Sunday, so I wasn’t able to make any of his games. Instead, we planned to go grab some drinks on Saturday night.

The Frat House

This guy, we’ll call him SG for Soccer Guy, is almost 40. When I asked him about his league, he made it sound like he played in an over-30 men’s league. But when I arrived at the house where they were all staying, I was surprised to see guys – and girls – all around my age.

SG opened the fridge and offered me a Natty Light. I popped the can and tried to take it all in. There were probably 15 people in the (not very large) living room – about 50/50 guys/girls, and as I walked around and introduced myself and my friend, R, who I’d dragged along with me, I was greeted with glazed eyes and drunk smiles.

At one point a ping pong ball appeared from nowhere, and someone aimed it at a red solo cup. Finally, SG called a cab for us all to take to the bar, and everyone piled themselves into the van and headed out.

Walk-in coolers, locals, and one heck of a dive bar

The bar was a pretty neat place, but very divey. There were a handful of locals (mid 40s-50s, several couples), and they rolled their eyes at us as we invaded their bar. We all walked to the back, where there was a huge walk-in beer cooler. We picked our beers then headed to the bar to pay. SG was being very friendly, but not in a creepy way. We found conversation easy even though we’d never really hung out. I don’t remember what exactly we talked about, but it wasn’t awkward.

Popped my Photo-hunt cherry

So apparently there is this bar video-game that everybody loves, but that I’d never heard of. It’s called Photo hunt. The gist is this: two photos pop up on a touch screen, and you have to pick out the differences. Apparently there is a more popular version where all the photos are of naked people. Unfortunately, this wasn’t that version.

The photo hunt game was located in a little nook out of the way, and we somehow crammed about 5 people back there and all played the game at once. We almost beat the high score (we came in 2nd overall!).

Later, I tried to learn the Cubic Shuffle among other dances, and SG cheered me on. At one point, he winked at me, but that was about as flirty as things ever got. But it was a very fun evening.

Back at home

Eventually, we all went home – the team had an 8am soccer game the next morning! Needless to say, they were all very, very hungover.

The next day, after the team hit the road to head back to their respective cities, SG sent me a text to ask how my photoshoot went. I said it went well, and he jokingly asked me to send him some proofs from the shoot. Then he said,

SG: I do think you are absolutely beautiful and sweet though.
Not kidding. Ha
Blushing.

Me: Hey, thanks ^^ now I’m blushing 😛

SG: Ha. Yr welcome. I wish we lived closer bc I’d like to hang out w you more.
It’s rare I find someone your age interesting and intriguing 🙂 no offense intended!

Me: hahaha, no I understand 🙂 people my age are pretty lame.

SG: Haha, no not at all. Most of u are just being/acting yr age. I can’t relate, but that’s fine, I’m not really supposed to…but u have more depth and maturity. It’s refreshing.

And then he fell asleep in the car.

Valentine’s Day

On Vday, I didn’t have much to do, and I just happened to be hanging out on Facebook. SG chatted me. We talked for a good while about random things and my online dating adventures (although not to the extent that I talk about them here! Hah…), then he had to run off to another soccer game. Either way, he seems like an interesting guy. He’s super nice and laid back, and I had fun hanging out with him. It was refreshing. Maybe I just need to start hanging around older people. Maybe that would help solve my dude issues. *sigh* probs not with my luck. Oh well! Onward and upward!

More to come on two new match guys!

Round 1: PunkRock at a Fro-Yo Bar

PR and I had been exchanging texts and emails for a week or so by now, and at one point he said something about cherry ice cream. I figured it was about time we met in person, so that prompted me to suggest the fro-yo bar.

Via text, PR seemed a little scattered. He’d send me funny pictures or random thoughts every day or so, and we’d talk about music. He seemed like a cool dude, but he did mention that he had ADHD. And it definitely showed.

Where are you?

He texted me around ten till 8 to say he was a little early. I was running about 5 minutes behind (my thought is that arriving early as a girl seems a little desperate). When I showed up, I texted to let him know I was there, then walked into the Fro-Yo place. He wasn’t there. Then I receive a text saying “Meet out front?” Ok…I thought he’d been there for 15 minutes already…

I stood around for another five minutes or so, and he still hadn’t appeared. So I texted to make sure we were at the same place. As soon as I looked up from my phone, he was there in front of me.

“I accidentally went to that smoothie place on the other side of the shopping center,” he told me, holding out his arms for a hug. I smiled warmly and gave him a brief hug, then we headed inside.

How’s it work?

He’d never been to a Fro-yo bar before, so I had to explain how everything “worked”. He ended up filling his entire cup with yogurt (that’s A LOT of yogurt) and then put a bunch of Captain Crunch on top. When we sat down, he placed his cup on the table and sat back on the seat, considering. “I didn’t really think this through,” he said, “that’s a lot of ice cream.” “Yup,” I said. He continued, “Plus this Captain Crunch is just going to cut the roof of my mouth.” He was silent for a second, then shrugged, “Oh well!” and dove into the mountain of yogurt and Captain Crunch.

Connect Four

Some of these yogurt places are really pretty hokey, and we ended up at one with a bunch of Connect Four games on the tables. So of course we played it. For like an hour. In the meantime, PR jumped from one subject to the next, frequently interrupting himself to go off on tangents and then completely forgetting about the original story.

“So all my work friends think I’m crazy for this,” he started off, “but I really want a pet skunk.” That was his ice breaker. And the rest of the conversation throughout the date was similarly introduced. In any case, it turns out skunks are kind of adorable (when their scent glands are removed).

Have you considered stand-up comedy?

PR is back in undergrad studying for a degree in Accounting, but he is currently taking a bunch of gen-eds and pre-recs. For his gym class, he signed up for Fencing.

“Fencing!?” I said, “That sounds pretty baller.”

“Yeah, I thought so, too until I realized something,” he put his hands out and raised his eyebrows, “I don’t like getting stabbed!” This made me laugh, “Hey, have you ever considered doing one of those Open Mic Comedy NIghts?” I asked him. “Nope,” he said right away. He cocked his head to one side, “Not sure why, though.”

Suddenly, something occurred to him. He leaped up and asked, “Hey! Have you ever considered wearing aluminum cans!?” “What?” I asked, but he was out the door before I had time to inquire further.

Five minutes later he’d returned with a pair of earrings. Made from Monster cans. They actually looked super cool.

“I drink a lot of energy drinks”

I told him that I liked how you couldn’t tell what soda can the earrings came from. “Really?” he said, incredulous, “I could spot sugar-free Monster from a mile away…but then, I drink a lot of energy drinks. Usually I get two energy drinks and a large coffee when I have a lot of studying to do.” He shrugged.

Wow, this explains a lot. Also, talking to him made me realize I don’t have ADHD. (Not that I’ve ever been diagnosed with it, I just had my suspicions).

Time to go

We played one more Connect Four game, then headed out the door. He gave me a hug and went to kiss me, but I turned my head so he got my cheek. As we headed to our separate vehicles, he yelled something funny about being the Connect Four champion. I was genuinely amused.

The Verdict

I liked hanging out with this guy a lot, but his ADHD and immense amount of energy was a little too much for me. I could totally see myself being friends with him, though, so I sent him an email and suggested we just be friends. He said he was down and said he might like to go to a karaoke night together sometime. Sounds like a plan.

On a Scale of 1-10

Common Values: 7

Common Interests: 6

Sense of Humor: 8

Attraction: 5

Total: 26/40

Remaining Players

  • Gryffindor
  • Jimmm
  • Milwaukee
  • Brown Trout
  • Sailboat
  • Mr. Ordinary
  • JonnyBoy
  • Cars, Guns, and Horses
  • Brusselsprouts
  • Hapkido
  • PunkRock
  • Canada
  • Mr. Fun & Caring
  • Readsalot

Next up: Round 2 with Brusselsprouts – Sushi & Blues

Back in college, I wrote an opinion article about art that was published alongside my picture in our school newspaper. A couple days later, as I was eating my lunch in the dining hall, this kid came up to me to talk about my article, and then he asked me out.

Dining Hall Date

I met him the next day at the dining hall for a “lunch date”. He was waiting for me when I arrived, sitting on the couch in the atrium reading…a Bible.

“Oh, don’t mind me, I’m just reading my Bible,” he said, closing it and tucking it under his arm.

Now, I’m not one to judge you on your religious affiliation, but this whole situation seemed a little canned to me. I made it through the date – it was a little awkward – but I made it through.

I made the mistake of telling him where I work

The next day, as I was running to work at the on-campus coffee shop at 7 am (I’m not a morning person), I burst out of the door to my dorm, only to find Bible guy standing there holding a coffee and a paper bag.

“I brought you some breakfast,” he said, handing me the coffee.

“Oh! Uh…thanks,” I took a sip of the coffee. It was already cold. He had gone off campus, bought the food, and waited in front of my dorm long enough for the coffee to get cold. Wow.

He walked me the rest of the way to the cafe, then asked when I’d be getting off. My shift ended in 4 hours. He said maybe he’d see me then.

Here’s where it gets weird

Four hours later, I walked out into the sunlight and found him standing there…again. He was a little ways off the sidewalk, in the grass, but as I walked out, he looked up and headed towards me.

“I found these for you while you were at work,” he said, holding up not one, but two four-leaf clovers. He had been standing there, searching the clover for four hours, waiting for me to get done at work. I decided it was time I put a stop to this. I told him in the nicest way possible that I just wanted to be friends.

Later that evening, I received an angry email from him that said, among other things, “I’m sorry you can’t handle the fact that I’m religious.” Wut.

I told you that story to tell you this story

Somehow, I have a habit of attracting creepy-cute guys. I don’t know how I manage it – maybe it’s because I’m too nice. In any case, remember the three guys I met at my favorite bar a couple of weeks ago? And I totally thought I’d put them off by my awkward comment. Apparently I was much more charming than I’d thought. Because one of those guys flagged me down last week.

I was just wandering around at my favorite bar (as I have a habit of doing), when he started chatting to me. He seemed nice enough, so I talked to him for a second (he had already reminded me that we’d met the week before), then I went on my merry way. A little while later, he came up to my group with his friend (the guy that had come up to M&M and me the week before and had apparently been among the guys I’d met the week before that. mystery. solved.) and we all got to know each other better.

I made the mistake of giving him my business card

We were talking about business cards and such, and I made the mistake of giving chatty guy mine. The next day I received an email from him titled “I smelled your beer“. It started like this:

“I totally meant it when I said that we should be friends. Since getting to know someone can take a long time, here are some important things about me”.

And he went on to list in two (not short) paragraphs some “important things about him”, ending with

“Other things I love are ripe peaches, clean sheets, climbing trees, playing kickball, and discussing great art. For the record, cynicism is my least favorite quality in a person.”

Either he’s really trying to impress me, or everything he knows about dating he learned from eharmony.com. Probably a little of both.

The funny thing is, I totally would have considered hanging out with this guy until he sent me this cover-letter-like email that ended with what sounded like a warning: “BTW you better not be cynical.”

He invited me to a crepe party a couple days later. I didn’t go.

Oh, the internet age

It’s kind of sad what the internet is doing to our relationships. Instead of gradually learning all the interesting things about people, we expect to know them now! Through facebook, twitter, blogging et al, it’s very easy to know intimate things about a person before you go on a first date. Chatty guy had my number. If he’d called or texted and invited me to do something, I probably would have gone. Instead, he tried to jump the gun on the relationship and ended up shooting himself in the foot.

Yes, chatty guy, “getting to know someone can take a long time”. That’s the fun of it.

So I’m supposedly hanging out with awkward hug guy again tonight. He texted me earlier to see what I was up to. “No plans as of yet,” I wrote, “what about you?”

He responded with, “trying to play some pool and hang out with you, if you’ve got the time.”

That sounds suspiciously like a date

Last week, I went to a fundraiser for his moped gang at my favorite bar. He invited me the morning of, and I didn’t get the text until an hour before the event started. I leisurely got ready, did a few things, and then mosied over to the bar by myself an hour before it was supposed to end.

I have to admit, I was extremely conflicted about going because A) I didn’t have anyone to bring with me and B) I was still embarrassed about the awkward hug episode.

Ultimately I decided it would be better to go and make things less awkward between us rather than just let that friendship die because of one awkward moment. So I went.

I got there and…

The first person I see is beautiful look-alike drummer boy. I swear, this kid is haunting me or something. But apparently, he’s in the same moped gang as awkward hug guy. And he also looks a lot younger in daylight. Like maybe 20 or 21.

Anyway, I panicked a little bit, scanned the crowd for my friend, didn’t see him, then turned around and pulled out my phone to call him. All of a sudden, he appeared at my shoulder. I waved, and things were a little awkward for a second, but then he introduced me to his friends, who I instantly started chatting with, and all was well.

Awkwardness ensues (what’s new?)

Later, I was standing around chatting with my friend and the three guys he introduced me to, when look-alike drummer boy walks up and starts talking to the guys.

This is what my brain did: “buh… . .  . .   .     .”

I looked down and tried not to blush. It was kind of a difficult feat. I think I did manage to smile at him at one point, but then I looked away quickly. Because holy shit. The kid is beautiful.

Anyway, he eventually wandered off somewhere else, and I stuck around for a little while longer, then said my goodbyes and left. Awkward hug guy said he’d text me later to see what I was up to. I didn’t hear from him until this weekend. And we’re supposedly going to play pool again.

The Saturday after the awkward hug episode, I slept in late and when I got up, I grabbed lunch by myself at a local deli, then headed downtown to do some work on my computer at a cafe. I stayed an hour or two, then packed up and headed back to my car. I didn’t feel like going home, so I tucked my laptop under the back seat, locked my car and wandered along the boardwalk.

“I feel like being on a boat”

I am very much a water-baby. I love being near water, in the water, on the water. Especially the ocean. As I meandered, I felt a strong desire to be on a boat. It was just past 6:30, so the majority of the boat tours and river cruises had already departed, but I came across one that had a starlight cruise at 9:00. I decided to wait it out at a French café down the boardwalk a little ways.

Paris-perfect

As I approached the French bistro-style tables and chairs outside the café, I noticed a woman, mid 50s or so with fading red hair pulled into a frizzy ponytail, sitting alone drawing with oil pastels. I paused to take a picture of the awning and the Paris-perfect setting. The woman looked up and smiled at me from under her visor. I smiled back, then took a seat at another table, ordered a cappuccino and pulled out my notebook.

Lately I’ve felt as though all my creative juices have backed up inside my head. My job has acted as a stopper to my artistic voice, preventing the overflow onto paper and other media. But sitting in that bistro chair at the French café, watching the sun set over the water from underneath the blue-striped awning, I felt words take the shape of poetry inside my head, and they flowed down my arm to my pen.

But something stopped me before I could transcribe the feeling onto paper: my ears caught the lilting cadences of the French language – spoken by the red-haired artist to one of the waitresses. Having spent some time in both Paris and Montreal, I am fairly fluent in the language. And I miss it. I miss it so much.

“Vous êtes française?”

After the waitress left, I caught the red-haired woman’s eye and said to her in French, “Excuse me, ma’am, but are you French?”

“Yes,” she said, surprised, “You are too?”

“No, no,” I said, “but I did live in Montreal for a while.”

“It’s so funny,” she said, “I just jotted down in my notebook about this pretty girl who smiled at me and sat down to order a coffee. You have a very European look, you know.”

I smiled again, blushing a little bit, “Thank you.”

We spoke in French a while longer, she complimented my accent, and I got flustered and mixed up a couple of words. Turns out she has lived here for the past 18 years, and she is a part of a French meetup group that gets together once a month to speak in French and do French things. When she left, she gave me “bisous” (an air kiss on each cheek), and we exchanged contact information.

Alone again

My new friend hung around for a little bit, taking pictures of the sunset, and I got the feeling she might be waiting for me. I didn’t make the connection until after I’d ordered another coffee, though, so after a minute or two, she waved and walked down the boardwalk.

After I finished my second (decaf) cappuccino, I paid and walked down to the boat tour kiosk. The girl at the desk told me the tour was canceled due to lightning. Bummed, I followed the sound of music to a deck party of some kind, then noticed a sign for a basement bar underneath. I wandered down to the door – it looked like the back entrance to somebody’s apartment – and tentatively pushed it open. A friend had told me about this place, and I felt like checking it out – especially since I hadn’t planned on going home so early.

The bar was small – only a handful of tables, all empty, and about 8 or 9 patrons around the bar. A couple of fratty-looking guys played fussball in one corner, and the large, red-bearded bartender (so many red beards!) kept changing the music (which he operated from his ipod) in the middle of songs. I took a seat at a far corner of the bar, pulled out my book, and began to read.

Reading in a bar?

A friend of a friend told me that she makes a ton of friends just going to bars with a book, and this method seemed to have worked at the wine bar, so I thought I’d give it another shot. I must have looked very engrossed, though, because I ended up just finishing a chapter and a beer before closing out and leaving (actually I tried to close out, but there was a $10 minimum on cards, and I didn’t have any cash. I told the bartender just to put $10 on my card, but the couple beside me insisted on buying my beer. Talk about awkward).

Acting neighborly, for once

I called my friend M (remember her?) on my way home to see if she was up to anything. She was already in her PJs. Defeated, I drove back to my apartment and walked through a handful of my college-age neighbors smoking in front of the building. I waved, but didn’t break stride.

“Hey, we’re playing some poker if you’re not doing anything,” one of them called after me. I stopped and looked back at them, considering.

“Well alright,” I said, “not like I’ve got anything else to do.” A few hours later I plodded home, tired, slightly drunk, and $8 lighter. It could have been worse.

Sunday parties – bluegrass, food truck et al

Sunday I found myself working at another cafe, then packing up and meeting M and her boyfriend (who is also M…together they make M&M…ha) at my favorite bar for Sunday bluegrass and a food truck that sold delicious veggie hotdogs. First person I notice is beautiful look-alike drummer man from the week before. I quickly turned tail and headed to the bar. Because that’s what I’m good at. Avoiding people I’m interested in.

Z’s bartender was working; I managed to catch his eye, and I guess he recognized me because he served me right away. Then M&M and I headed outside where it was a little less crowded. We were standing there nursing our beers, when this very intoxicated lanky guy with crazy curly hair down to his shoulders staggered up to us.

This seems to be a theme in my life

“Hey!” he said to me. I looked up, startled. “I remember you!” he said, holding out his hand.
I looked at it, a little confused, before giving him mine to shake.

“Wait, what?” I said, my surprise temporarily overriding my sense of tact.

He looked more and more uncertain, “We met…the other night…” each word grew quieter, and he shrank away, eventually staggering off, leaving the three of us standing there, confused.

“What just happened?” I asked M.

“I have no idea,” she replied. We both looked at M’s boyfriend. He just shrugged and sipped his beer.

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