What does the world cost? Oh well, then we'll just take a small coke.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Part Four: “You Will Never Learn”

For a few minutes after Carrie agreed to accompany me to one of our town’s better steakhouses for dinner, I felt strong feelings of elation and relief: Elation because Carrie had said “yes” and relief because she hadn’t said “no.” But I didn’t get much time to enjoy these emotions because my overactive mind began thinking about the ramifications of the commitment I'd made.

Yes, I’d made a date for dinner, but maybe Carrie would think of it as more than that. To me, dinner is a meal. Fifty bites, 70 swallows (if you count the beverage) and a little conversation. Sounds like a song, no? To Carrie, a nice meal with some charming company might be suggestive of something more; something more permanent and lasting. Maybe she would cling to me thereafter like cheap aftershave and never let me live my own life. Maybe I was signing a stalker request and ruining my love life ever after. I know, not really losing anything, but maybe it would tip my hand too much and give Carrie the ammunition to really hurt me.

But who was I kidding? How could I possibly be engaging enough to entertain someone through an entire meal, especially someone as engaging as Carrie? Maybe she would get more enjoyment out of looking in a mirror the whole time. Maybe she would never want to talk to me again. Or maybe she would sick her 120 pound male companion after me.

That's a lot of maybes for two paragraphs. Dang Bentham's utiles.

To help assuage my concerns, I checked the FCN comments page from Part 3 of this series and, to be perfectly honest, studied the reader comments like class notes before a mid term. Some of the advice was perfectly absurd. Go roller blading, don't schmooze her and don't do anything stupid are great rules of thumb unless you happen to be me. Rollerblading is out of the question, stupidity is inevitable and Schmooze is my middle name (it's German).

Other bits of advice were just reasonable enough to drive me to action. So much so that by the time yesterday evening rolled around, I had seen Hitch, practiced pouring coke without spilling, opened the door a million times for my mother, built a cake and, yes, checked rFCN.

I was so ready for the date, all the wild steeds in Wyoming couldn't keep me from making the evening a success. But Carrie could.

As I've mentioned before, my prior interaction with Carrie was very brief. All I really knew her by was my own hormone driven infatuation and our conversations had never lasted more than a few minutes. For all of you out there who have never been in a one-on-one dating situation, conversations need to last longer than a few minutes or things get really awkward. At least I think.

But with Carrie, things got awkward even before our conversation expired.

"Hey Carrie! So good to see you!" Our table was three paces from the door, so I rushed over to open it when I saw her coming. Apparently she neither saw me coming, nor the door opening, since it swung into her with a rapidity unbecoming hardwood and some part of her face emitted an abrupt squishy sound as flesh came in contact with machine. Not good.

"I can open the door myself, silly. Goodness. Clumsy oaf." Carrie had a way with words.

There was no blood, but her forehead had a nasty bruise that looked like it was itching to swell. The kitchen brought out some ice and I kept apologizing until the waiter came to take our order.

Only then, after I had selected my favorite item from the menu, did Carrie actually engage in serious, non accusatory conversation.

Carrie and 120 pound nerd just broke up. I would recount the long and painful circumstances that precipitated this separation, but that's neither here nor there. Suffice to say that the story is long and emotional. And that Carrie is pretty torn up about it.

Picture me, across the table from an exceedingly attractive young woman for whom I hold a skin deep interest that may very well flourish into something more genuine, listening to an episode of Days. This wasn't a chick flick, this was chick torture.

The more Carrie talked, the more she seemed to cling.

Carrie told me about her love life, her needs, her idiotic ex, her school, more about the jerk of an idiotic ex, the problems with boys in general, the problems with boys in specific, especially with regard to the jerk of an idiotic ex, etc. In return, she found out I like my steak medium rare.

I was Jimmy Stewart at a meeting of the Red Hat Society.

But other than Carrie's incessant verbal diarrhea, the evening wasn't so bad. In fact, I could see a very one sided relationship developing. On dates, one of us would talk, the other eat. Carrie could dump her emotional problems on my lap and I would do relationship dog duty.

My imaginative reverie was broken by the soft buzzing of my shell phone in my right hip pocket. At first, I thought the call was from one of my guy friends wanting to set up a run or maybe from my brother asking how the date went. Hey, man! Date is still in progress! I help up my finger to pause Carrie and glanced at the name on the screen: Luce.


She'd said she didn't want to talk with me anymore. She'd shunned me after our disastrous encounter, and rightly so. Why in the world was she calling? Did a renewed crush for me drive her to the phone? And why call now of all times?

With an apologetic "I've gotta take this" look, I answered the phone. That was the mistake that made me lose Carrie.

Luce was sorry she had acted like a sophomoric twit (my words) and wanted to go out again. She still had a crush on me and wanted to know about the new Brad Pitt western in theaters. Was I interested?

Was I interested? Present company included, I had pretty much struck out on every date I'd tried. Luce was giving me another chance at feminine redemption.

That's when I realized that Carrie had gone from lost in her recantation of woe to completely focused on our conversation. When I hung up the phone after five minutes of talking, Carrie asked me sharply: "Who was that?"

"Well, uh, well, let's see..." The fact I had euphorically shouted Luce's name when I picked up the phone and given my verbal consent for a date next week eliminated most of the nondamaging lies. So I told the truth.

Ballistic is too contained a word to describe Carrie's reaction. Apparently going out on a date with some girl while scheduling one with another one doesn't fly in her book. So she left.

The cold outside air that was swept in by the closing hardwood door served as a rationalizing force and I didn't follow her outside. Those at the adjacent tables had already witnessed enough of a scene.

So that was Carrie. I'll see her in class on Tuesday and maybe we can patch things up. Maybe. But I doubt it. A girl like her can have her pick and there are plenty of other welterweight dweebs who will lineup for some attention.

For now, I've got a date with Luce to look forward to and a severely battered ego to patch up. Oh yeah, my fortune cookie read "YOU WILL NEVER LEARN." Depressing, but true.


Christopher Yerziklewski said...

Here's something you SHOULD learn: skin deep relationships don't work. Wow, I'm sounding like Mommy G now. Sorry ma'am, didn't mean to steal your line.

Mommy g said...

Good Job, Christopher. Actually, you have it quite right. Skin deep relationships don't work. And the saddest part of the story is that MANY people find themselves in marriage contracts that were based on skin deep attractions. Then it's forever, boys and girls. Couples find themselves entangled in emotional attachments and physical intimacy before they really know the person. Then it's all over but the shouting.
Thanks, C, for the platform.

Kat said...

Ahhh...poor C. What a bummer. Next time I see you, I will wear my Hat o' Empathy.

Udontwannakno said...

When we say open the door for her, we don't mean for you to hit her forehead! I've heard of closing the door on someone's finger, but never OPENING a door on someone's forehead!

A City in Germany said...

* shakes head *

Ya know, those little buzzing things will eventually go to voicemail..........It would have been better to have finished the date, and then at some point pulled the infamous "ya know, I really think this isn't gonna work out. Let's just be friends, okay?" line, whatever that happens to be in guy language.

Personally, I hope you dump her. Girls like that are very unsteady, and while they may look good, you don't wanna get stuck with them. Let 'em wet their girlfriend's shoulders, not yours.

Maybe I ought to team up with Mommy G....

Luce said...

Whoa whoa whoa! What is it with all this anger and vitriol? I happen to think that Luce is a perfectly decent person (one who I have never met but still). I think we need to be supportive! C, I support you and Luce. I am sure you will be able to find some things in common. She's human. You're human. I support you wholeheartedly!

mumble's the word said...

Okay, luce (?), I'll give you that they're both human in some respect. The question is, are they both at the same stage of evolution? And, if they are, is both of them being human enough in common? I mean, Donald Trump and Paris Hilton are human to some extent (although the full extent can be debated).

adrialien said...

LOL. A lot of these comments are even better than the post!

I'm hungry said...

I just wanna know what "our town's better steakhouses" is. Dying to know.

Ally Pie said...

I want to know which one of "our town's better steakhouses" gives you fortune cookies. ;-)

A City in Germany said...

I meant he should dump Carrie, not Luce.

you can call me batman said...

I'm thinking of a certain Relient K song. here's the lyrics (Relient K, if you're reading this, your band is awesome. please don't kill me for totally violating pretty much every copyright law in the book...):

And I've decided college girls just won't go out with me/they make me nervous and they always catch me off my guard/ and I've decided college is too hard...

does that make you feel better?