Monthly Archives: July 2011

Chapter 9: Fast Food Nation

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Out at a bar one night, my roommate points out her friend and says, “We think he’s gay but we’re not sure.” I, with a few mojitos under my belt, took the statement as a challenge to find out. He was charming, from what I remember. The end of the evening came and the mojitos made me tell my roommates that I was going to see them tomorrow as I walked away from their car and towards his. My target was most likely as surprised as my friends were. I was unphased, quite focused upon the task at hand.

The task at hand quickly fell by the wayside halfway to his house as I realized how unbelievably mad I was at those mojitos for convincing me this was a good idea. As I finally stumbled into the house, my target became very excited to show me a new tv show called The Office. He watched for what seemed like hours and laughed hilariously as I tried to keep from falling off the couch (and tried to keep the mojitos from reappearing in his living room).

I’ll spare you the details of the rest of the evening…the majority of it was spent sprawled on a fuzzy green rug in front of the commode. I’m sure I impressed the heck out of my companion. I’m also sure I had forgotten about my original goal of investigation sexuality. Mission: Not Accomplished.

The next morning I was unhappily roused from ‘passed out’ to hear him asking me about breakfast. Now, if you know anything about me at all, you know that food is something that I’m quite particular about. Not taste-wise, but nutrition-wise. Obviously my rommmates had not shared that little tidbit with this poor soul.

He leads me to his fridge and proudly opens the door to an ENTIRE stockpile of McDonalds takeout bags. The contents of each were scratched in black ink on the white greasy paper. The stench that rolled out of the open door made me want to retreat to the fuzzy green rug.

He explained the logistics of this brilliant feat.”My roommates and I go every Monday and stock for the week. We have anything you could want! Just grab a bag and stick it in the microwave. You can have more than one if you want. I’m nuking a sausage biscuit and hash browns now. We got Big Macs, McNuggets, fries, double quarter pounder with cheese, Fillet-o-Fish sandwich…” his voice went on and on as I excused myself to go the the bathroom. As I escaped down the hall I heard him yell, “You like ice cream? We have McFlurries in the freezer!!!!”

Chapter 8: The Architect (cont.)

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After three dates all centering around dark venues, I was left with this gnawing feeling that I HAD to find out how old The Architect was. I insisted on meeting him in the daylight. He eventually gave in and invited me to his house for lunch.

I was more cautious than ever this time and covered all my bases just in case I was never-to-be-heard from again. My self-defense instructor would have been proud of the precautions that were in place. I truly couldn’t wait to see The Architect with the sun on his face. I hoped that his house had a lot of windows.

It did. As soon as I walked in, my expression must have given me away. The gray hairs amongst the black ones gleamed in the sunlight, the wrinkles shifted around his eyes as he tried to guess my thoughts. The quote that kept coming to mind was from Red Riding Hood, “Ah…better to see you with, my dear.” Luckily I didn’t say it out loud. The other thought I had was my friend saying that I was going to be pushing a stroller with one hand and his wheelchair with the other. I don’t remember much about the lunch because I knew that it would be the last time I would ever see him.

As he walked me to my car, I turned quickly and finally said, “So. How old are you? Really.” He paused for a deep breath and a long drawn out exhale. “I feared you might ask me someday,” he confessed. I waited for him to continue. “Darling, if it doesn’t matter to us, then who cares what other people think? It’s not their life anyway, right?”I continued to wait silently. He looked at me and finally answered, “I just turned 40 last month.”

As I drove away from his beautiful home on the river, I wondered how old he REALLY was…

Chapter 7: The Architect (cont.)

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Date Number Two with The Architect. I let him choose the restaurant. He chose Sunny Italy. He arrived early and was half-a-glass into the evening already by the time I got there. He was at the dark table again. I said maybe we could sit by the window. He noted that it will be dark soon anyway. And it’s more quiet here. (And I can’t see your wrinkles, I thought to myself.)

This evening went much the same as the first, aside from a different entree selection for me. I became keenly aware of The Architect’s over-used compliment, “You’re funny.” But he never laughed. He just quietly smiled and told me I was funny, alluding to the fact that if he was a laughing type, he’d be rolling on the floor due to my hilarity.

The awkward part of that was that I was never sure if I should say ‘thank you’ to his observation. It’s not like you thank someone for laughing at your joke. (Unless you are a stand-up comedian.) But I do say ‘thank you’ for compliments in the form of a sentence. Then I began to wonder if at a comedy club if he would laugh, or if he would just say, “They’re funny.” Then I returned to wondering how old he was.

On the dark street, Mr. Architect said we should do this again. I invited him to come to a musical at my university. Mostly so that I wouldn’t have to sit at that dark table again. He came. Some girls from my dorm saw us there together. They came up to say hello, which turned into quite a cumbersome conversation. The highlight was when they commented on his hat. I was hoping no one would notice.

Chapter 6: The Architect

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So there I was on my 20th birthday, sitting in my favorite coffee shop with my mom and brother after church. There was a man across the way; a mysterious guy sitting in the corner who seemed to be extraordinarily fascinated with our particular table. The man suddenly gets up and quickly dashes out through the door. My brother meticulously notes, “Dude. That guy had a major staring problem.”

He had no longer gotten the words out of his mouth when back in through the door with a fervor is this same man. He stops mid-step about 3 feet from our table. Older, curly brown well-coiffed hair, tortoise-rimmed glasses and dressed quite smartly. All three of us look up at him in surprise. The man steps up awkwardly and says, “I’m sorry. I couldn’t leave without giving you this.” He puts down a business card in front of me with a phone number scrawled across the back. When we look up, he is gone.

Now, most 20 year old girls would perhaps respond differently than what I did in this situation. Any guesses as to what I did? Of course. I carried around his card for about two weeks (it was, by the way, perhaps the first legit business card I had ever received). One day, out of the blue, I took it out and called him.

He was an architect. I was a college student. But he thought I was ‘intriguing’ and ‘beautiful’ so naturally I accepted his dinner invite. Mom and Dad, I was responsible. I agreed on the condition that I met him at the restaurant and told lots of girls in my dorm where I was going and when I should be home and if I wasn’t to call the police. I think I might have even written his name and phone number on the white board outside my door.

Sunny Italy. I learned he had arrived at the restaurant long before our agreed meeting time. We sat at a back corner table, where it was so dark I could hardly read the menu. I wondered aloud about the name of the restaurant. The Architect smiled but didn’t laugh. “You’re funny.” I wondered silently how old he was.

We talked about intellectual things, world travels, my university and his house that he was renovating. We spoke about things I don’t recall ever having talked about with a boy up to that point in my life. He was quiet and thought for a long time before he spoke one of his perfectly crafted sentences. It was nice. I wondered how old he was.

He told me about how nervous he had been the day we had met in the cafe. I didn’t tell him that it had been quite obvious. I wondered how old he was. The stupid lighting in not-very-Sunny Italy didn’t help my guessing.

I wondered if the server assumed he was my father. My thoughts drifted and imagined him as a possible partner for my mother (my parents had recently split). Mom liked houses. Maybe The Architect would let her come over to his house to see the renovations and they would fall in love. But then that would always be strange because it would be a weird feeling to know that my stepfather was attracted to me.

The Architect slowly and deliberately sipped another glass of wine as I tried to dream up questions from which I could deduce his number of years on this planet. College, grad school, an internship, back to more grad school, a long travel vacation, and some other sort of architecture program abroad. Was he trying to confuse me? He shared that he graduated college early, but due to a hiking incident in the Grand Canyon he didn’t go on to grad school right away. So many details. Fortunately it didn’t take too many detective skills to conclude that he was quite a bit older than me…he had at least a decade or more of post-college work under his belt. I tried to weave back into the conversation that I was 20. Not even that I was almost 21, but that I was barely older than 19.

As the night wound to a close, we parted ways outside on the dark street. Of course Sunny Italy didn’t have a bright security light to view the facial features of my mystery man dinner date. He said we should do this again. I said ok. I wondered how old he was…

(to be continued…)

Chapter 5: Arrogant Andy

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Ok. Back to high school. My parents had gone out of town with my brother, leaving me at home in my house alllllll alone. But of course, because I was a ridiculously responsible child, I didn’t dream of throwing a kegger or an orgy or even have one friend over to watch a movie. How boring, I know. But I had to live with my father…and back then his favorite saying was “I’m your dad. And I know everything.” And I believed him.

There was this boy from a neighboring town. Arrogant Andy was tall, skinny, blonde, blue-eyed hottie. He worked at the pizza place we traditionally frequented after basketball and soccer games. He looked tragically cute in that visor and apron carrying out steaming hot round pans to our table, grinning and tossing his surfer-like hair.

I learned Arrogant Andy listened to hard, loud music like Silver Chair, of which I suddenly became a huge fan. I went out and bought several cassettes for my car. Obviously I wanted to seduce this boy. Cassette tapes will often do the trick.

One fateful night, Arrogant Andy invited me out. Impressing me from the beginning, he told me that he couldn’t drive and asked if I could come pick him up. (I think maybe that he had his license taken away because of illegal substances of some sort…)  I was blinded by love and accepted without a second thought.

So we drove along in my car, Silver Chair blasting. We went out to eat and to the carwash. Lovely first date. As we were air-drying on the highway, Arrogant Andy started asking questions about where I lived: what my house was like, how far away it was…and he seemed interested…truly interested in seeing it. I, of course, wanting nothing more than appease this member of the opposite gender, offered to drive by. I reminded him that my parents were out of town (a fact of which I’m positively sure he had taken note).

We drove to my house. I am suddenly not aware of what is going on inside the car, as all I can concentrate on is what is going to happen (or not happen) when we arrive at my vacant house…with 3 beds and 5 couches and lots and lots of plush carpeting. “Did I mention no one was going to be home?” I sheepishly asked. Arrogant Andy appeared to be in a happy daze, most likely wet dreaming about the next 30 minutes of our lives.

“Ok, here it is…” I mutter as we drive past. He is suddenly at attention. “No wait, I would really like to see the inside. It must be beautiful!” I am easily bamboozled into thinking that this blond pizza pusher is interested in interior design and Victorian decorating.

Ten minutes later, after a sweaty-palmed tour of my very vacant house with even more pillows and couches than I remember, Arrogant Andy makes himself comfortable on one of these sofas. “So…are you going to come sit down?” “No. We should leave.” “Oh come on….let’s watch a movie.” “Ummm. Let’s not and say we did.” (a line from my father, who I suddenly more than ever wished was in the next room.) Arrogant Andy had to step up his game. “Seriously. Come over here.” At this point he looks down, smiling slyly while he unbuttons and unzips his stonewashed Levis. My head is spinning as he then runs a hand through his beautiful hair.

Now, I’m not saying that I had Zac Efron sitting on my blue vinyl sofa, but I do recall it to be pretty close to this scene. I quickly snap out of his trance and responsibly walked towards the door, jingling my keys. I turn to face the boy as he says boldly to me, “No one has EVER turned down ____ ____.” (insert name here)

I replied with an authority I didn’t recognize, “Well, I think someone just did. I’m going to the car.”

Looking back, it was probably a good decision. But damn was he cute. Unfortunately he (and every other girl who owned a couch) knew it too.

Chapter 4: Insect Love-ah

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I was hoping to do these chronologically but… I just can’t get this guy out of my head lately. I think it’s because I was recently sweeping a huge anthill off of my front porch. For a split second I wondered if I should just leave them there, happy in their own little ant-world.

Enter Mr. Insect Love-ah. Now, I have absolutely no recollection of how this strapping young fellow and I met during my college years. I’m sure he was attracted to my long skirts and barefoot-ed-ness at a typically prepster university. Admittedly, I was attracted to ‘alternative’ males, but this fella went just a bit too far…

Tall, gangly, wild wind-blown hair and those thick glasses that were never without a haze of smudges.  He invited me on a date. Naturally, I accepted. =-)  (You will see, if you haven’t already, that this is an ever-repeating trend in my life.)

Mr. Bug Club met me at my dorm and we planned to walk across campus to the student center to get some dinner. As a short cut I began walking off of the sidewalk through the grass. I had taken about 2 steps onto the well-groomed green carpet when I was almost violently grabbed from the side. My dinner date looked at me in horror and asked, “Where are you GOING? There are sidewalks here for a reason!!”

I’m sure that my mouth fell open…my first thought was that usually a nature-loving guy like himself would revel in walking in the grass rather than on a concrete-lined maze constructed by the horrible people that build things on top of nature and choke out all signs of our world’s natural habitat. I was wrong.

The next sentence I heard was, “Do you know that within the average size of a person’s foot there exists approximately 547 species of insects and other living things? So with each step there is a very high probability that you could indeed be KILLING (emphasis not added by me) hundreds of innocent creatures? (long silent pause) Have you not ever thought of that before?”  (another long pause) ” Well anyway, that’s why I walk on the sidewalks at all times. They were put here for a reason.”  End of discussion. Mr. Insect Love-ah nodded his head in decisiveness and turned to walk away down the stretch of pavement. Saving lives with each step….

Chapter 3: Farmer and his Friend

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In high school, I was *almost* dating the guy from a neighboring town and my best friend was *almost* dating his best friend.  I do recall that one of them (not MY guy) was cute and quite funny. I just got stuck with his weirdo sidekick who knew that the distance between my house and my friend’s was 3.3 miles.

Now, keep in mind that my *almost* boyfriend is now a farmer. Like with his own land and own tractors and animals and things. I fully respect farmers, and I’m not knocking that career in the slightest. That was his dream when I knew him…and now he has it. He also now has 4 kids and a wife with bottle-blond hair who wears miniskirts, florescent yellow tops and stiletto fuchsia and leopard heels to the neighborhood grocery store with her bleach blond hair pulled up on top of her head and her bangs split in half with half curled up and back and the other half curled down over her forehead. Needless to say, he wouldn’t have been happy with someone like me. Like I said, someone for everyone…