Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Year Ago, Part V

In which our protagonist is going places with a guy in the Big City but is most definitely not dating.

As the week after our first encounter drew to a close, I was in particularly rough shape from an extended bout of generalized demon-wrestling. With Guy's input I concluded that I needed to get the F out of my own life for a while. I considered escaping to a hotel or B&B or something for the weekend, but I quickly realized that more time by myself was not going to give me any sort of vacation from... myself. I decided that getting the F out of my apartment and interacting with another adult might be a better choice.

Gee... who might be willing?

I asked Guy if he wanted to meet at the City Market for a Saturday afternoon stroll; I'd spring for food if we deemed it necessary. Being the agreeable sort, he agreed. I caught the ferry over in the early afternoon and we wandered through kitchen shops and bookstores (shared weaknesses) until it dinnertime.

We enjoyed a really good dinner in a Thai restaurant then I caught the boat back, feeling better for having gotten out of my own head for a few hours. I was also feeling reassured that we could indeed hang out successfully.

The first cosmology lecture (Brian Greene!) was a few days later. I don't know what I was thinking. Getting to the Big City and back on a weeknight was a huge hassle required unprecedented effort. Aside from getting dressed like a grown-up -- full warpaint included -- it would take an hour each way by ferry, require complicated and costly child care arrangements, plus I'd be getting home after 11 pm on a work night... any one of which was beyond my normal capabilities at the time. But all together? What was I thinking?!

But it was Brian Greene and the tickets were bought and paid for. I pushed through it and somehow got there in one piece on time. The evening was congenial enough, but getting Guy to interact appeared to require extra effort on my part. I did not take that as a sign of interest in... being interested. And I was OK with that, or at least working on believing that I was. Hey, at least it wasn't an outright snub.

Another week passed. Somewhere along the way I learned that the Symphony was going to be performing Beethoven's 9th Symphony,one of my all-time favorite choral works. I had to go!

Gee... who might be willing?

Once again, Guy stepped up. The concert was on a Friday night so it wasn't nearly as painful. Even so, I wasn't too thrilled about getting back home well after midnight, so I decided to deploy a gift certificate I had for a night in a nice downtown hotel. Problem solved. Dinner, a show, a nice hotel -- practically a mini-vacation!

We met for dinner, saw the concert*, and on the walk back to the hotel it occurred to me that I was a single female out with a single male and I had a hotel room. Gulp!

Yep, there was palpable tension in the air as he walked me back to the hotel. I thought I might well puke.

Yikes! What am I supposed to do? Am I supposed to, like, make a move or something? And how exactly would one go about that, anyway? If he made a move, would I even realize it? There are rules, right? Crap! I didn't get a copy of the manual!

That was when it hit me that I had absolutely no clue about how grown-ups handled such things. Of course it was all largely theoretical as there still was no indication whatsoever that he was interested in anything other than hanging out. But there was no indication that he wasn't, either. Shit!

Play it off, play it off... act like you know exactly what you're doing. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain....

In hindsight, we managed to ignore the elephant in the room fairly well. Upon arrival at my destination after the concert, I gathered every bit of courage I possessed and walked over to give him a hug before he headed off to his car. Sounds easy enough, but I seriously thought I might pass out**. I held my breath... and after a moment's pause he hugged me back. Gulp! After my heart lurched back into motion, I remembered that hey, this was no big, right? Just friends hanging out, right? A hug would certainly be appropriate that context, right?

Maybe so, but I still had a big old smile on my face as I climbed into bed that night.

The next lecture (Stephen Hawking!) was just a few days later. Once again I dragged my ass over to the Big City on a weeknight and got my ass back on the ferry as quickly as possible afterwards. It was, I admit, a slight letdown after the buzz I'd been hanging on to since Friday night, but sitting side-by-side in a dark lecture hall simply didn't allow for much interaction. Or so I told myself.

Oh well. Maybe it just is what it is.

That was our last scheduled event. I didn't know what to do. I was confused (on many levels) and still receiving no signals (that I could read) from him as to where we were headed, or even if we were heading anywhere. There was email and the occasional phone call, and to the casual observer it seemed that not much had changed...

...except that the more time I spent talking to him, the more I liked him. And it was taking increasingly more effort to remind myself that this was neither the time nor the place to be thinking about A Relationship.

It dawned on me that I had been the one oh-so-conveniently finding reasons for us to get together over the past few weekends. It seemed that the prudent thing to do would be to kick back, take some time, and just see what (if anything) was going to happened.

But the best laid plans... well, you know.

Part VI: In which the best laid plans go awry, with interesting results

* It was an amazing experience. I'd sung in it but had never just seen it.

** Christ on a cracker, how old am I, again?!? Pathetic.


  1. Ooh, you know I'm waiting for the next installment...

    And, btw, I love the "Christ on a cracker" phrase. Now THAT I'll have to use. :)

  2. I too love B's 9th, and never tire of "Ode To Joy," one of my all-time favorite pieces. I use it to get myself going just about everything morning.


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