|Some days you're a sunflower seed
||[Aug. 10th, 2012|04:13 pm]
So, one of the tiny perks at my company is that when a senior executive is on travel or vacation, they hand out access to their parking spot in the garage to people in their department. Normally I don’t care – I get in early enough to get a good spot in the morning. But during the summertime, everyone crowds into the garage to keep out of the sun, and if I go out for lunch, then I wind up in the bowels of the garage when I come back. So, it’s actually a treat to get a Starsky & Hutch spot to slide into after lunch on a hot sunny summer day. Today was my assigned day for the parking spot. |
Yes. Yes, today it was cloudy, overcast and there really was no point to parking in the garage, as there were closer spots out in the open.
I’m coming to the conclusion that maybe speed dating would be more up my alley. Let’s face it, ten minutes in, I’m usually done, and now I’m just killing time until the food arrives, making small talk until the check arrives, and then I am out of there. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy the company of men – and am perfectly happy having a platonic lunch or dinner with a guy. But if you’ve set it up as a date…there are expectations. And at some point…11 minutes…I feel as if my projected end state is veering wildly away from HIS projected end state, which makes me feel bad. So in addition to trying to find conversational common ground, stuffing away the feeling that I’m now wasting valuable personal time when I could be buying cat litter or something, I know feel GUILTY because I know I’m not going to call this guy again, and he’s sitting there practically in a flopsweat of hopes and dreams. (Obviously, this is the first time they’ve met me.) So I spend the meal desperately searching for SOMETHING that will change my mind, trying to tell myself that really, maybe I could loosen this guy up, convince him to see a dentist more often, stop dressing like my father, give in and accept the receding hairline, cut back on the cologne cloud that is even now trying to take over the next table, maybe when I said right up front the date was dutch and then he picked up the check while I was in the ladies room he MISUNDERSTOOD me somehow and that surely this would be the last time in our nascent relationship that he would deliberately ignore the ground rules I set.
On the plus side, it makes me appreciate quiet evenings at home with a book or DVD, a bottle of wine and five needy-ass cats. And I do get some great stories:
Bad Date Story #14: The Sunflower Seed
So a former colleague from a former life calls me and wants to go out to dinner. Technically this is not a date. No, wait. Obviously yawning chasm between my expectations and his begins HERE. I’m very, very, painfully literal. Anyone who’s tried to tell me a joke without signaling with body language and tone that THIS IS A JOKE knows just how literal I can be. So, when he says “thought it would be fun to catch up” I hear “fun to catch up”. Apparently what he really said was “now that we’re not working together I want to take this to a whole ‘nother level.” It just SOUNDED and was spelled like “fun to catch up”.
And that’s when I realize that it’s been nearly ten years since I’ve last seen him and those intervening years haven’t been kind. Plus, I’d forgotten that he’s sort of a homophobic asshole.
But okay. While we’re waiting for dinner, I’m reminded that I always tried to not sit across from Shawn at store meetings because he had a tongue that reminded me of a parrot’s. I grew up with parrots and loved to watch them work that little muscular tongue around a seed or peanut shell, crack it open, fish out the seed or nut, all just using their tongue and beak. When I was young, I’d try to imitate them and well, it would just be gummed up seed shells and drool. Anyway, there’s something about the way that Shawn uses his tongue when he talks that you wind up seeing the underside and side a lot and it just always makes me think of a parrot flipping a sunflower seed around to crack it and fish out the seedmeat. Sadly, I think he was certain I was just glued to the conversation and unable to take my eyes away from his magnificence. When really, I was parsing just what parrot-like qualities his tongue had and whether it had something to do with his tongue being defective, or nerve damage, or just a bad habit, or whatever. And just how horrible a person I was for noticing and obsessing over this.
But we did a have a lot of things to catch up on; he kept in touch with a lot more of our colleagues than I did, so that was fun and interesting. And then we walk out to the parking lot and as we’re walking he puts his arm around my waist and I think “aw, crap” because he pulls me around and makes a dive for me and….
Here’s the thing: I enjoy kissing people. It’s nice. If I have a comfort level with the person involved, it’s as companionable as a neck rub or cuddly hug. I would exactly say that I had that kind of comfort level with Shawn, but as he leans in, I actually start to flinch away – because all I can think of is that parrot tongue rearing up and sideways – so out of GUILT, because I am a bad and shallow person, I halted the flinch and let it happen.
I was not wrong. Now I know what a sunflower seed feels like when in the parrot’s maw.