Tuesday, March 25, 2014

First (And Last) Date

            If I’m not mistaken, I have previously made a few (20 or 30) passing references to my bad luck with women.   But until now, I haven’t really gone into detail on any of it.  And I think it’s time for that to change.  What better way to start it off than with a ridiculous first date story?

            Now, before I get into the bulk of it, I need to give you a bit of back-story.  I met this girl through a co-worker at a birthday party.  I’m not quite sure what sealed the deal for me, whether it was my off-key singing, my rhythmless dance moves or my awkward conversation, but by the end of the night I had her phone number.  The next day, after I overcame the initial shock of this actually happening, I texted her (and she surprisingly responded).  We talked for a few days and she agreed to a date.  If you’re still with me at this point, I assume that you are as surprised by this chain of events as I was. 

            I spent tens of minutes poring over every single detail before the date actually happened (I’m a guy, it doesn’t take me very long).  I made sure my hair looked nice, my clothes matched and my breath didn’t stink.  I picked her up in my extremely impressive Chevy Cavalier (a vehicle that obviously says “I save money on gas so I can buy you nice things”).  I did the gentlemanly thing and opened her door for her, walked around to my side, got in and started the car.  This was my first indication that something might be wrong: my car struggled to start.  In the 9 years of having the car, I’d never really had any trouble with it, and it still started on the first try, so I figured I’d just get it looked at later.

            I drove to the restaurant, parallel parked (terribly) and we sat down for a nice dinner.    Dinner itself went well (I think).  To most outsiders, I would have seemed like a guy that doesn’t regularly put his foot in his mouth during normal conversation.  Unfortunately, after our food was done, the waitress apparently forget that we were supposed to pay and the two of us sat there an extra 30 minutes desperately trying to flag down a waitress while making obligatory jokes about how the meal must be free.  Eventually, the meal was paid for and we went back to my car.

            This is where the night comes to a screeching halt.  As I turned the key in the ignition, my heart sank.  My car refused to turn over.  Naturally, I made the obvious joke and exclaimed, “I swear this has never happened before,” before (suavely) following it up with “I heard a lot of guys have performance issues…” I stared meekly under the hood and then made two phone calls.  First to a friend to come pick us up, and second to a tow company to take my car to a shop.  Then, because we were right outside a bar, we went inside for a few drinks while we waited.

            My friend arrived far more quickly than the tow truck. Thankfully, he had no idea what was wrong with the car either, so I didn’t look like a total doofus. He then joined us at the bar for what was the absolute definition of a third wheel situation.  Now, I have to give him credit for sitting off to the side and letting my date and I talk on our own.  But it also ended up feeling like a parent-chaperoned date, where you dad tries to make himself scarce by sitting 2 tables away from you.  It got even weirder after the tow truck came.  Since my friend was driving us home, my date sat in the backseat.  And since I didn’t know what else to do, I sat in the backseat with her.  I never went on any dates before I was able to drive, but I am now abundantly aware of how awkward they would have been to have a chaperone.  We alternated between hushed conversations in the backseat and trying to include my friend in the front seat.  And by the time we dropped her off, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to lock myself in my room and listen to angsty music or for my friend to pat me on the should and say “I’m proud of you, sport “(is that how middle school dates ended?).
            I don’t have that car anymore and there was no second date.   I’m still friends with the guy who picked us up though.  And if I ever find myself in a similar situation he knows to show up wearing a suit and pretend to be my chauffer. 


Monday, March 24, 2014

Forgive me?

            So, I’m sure my 3 regular readers (is it up to 3 now?) have noticed that I haven’t posted in nearly a month.  And after thinking about it, I think I have a reason (excuse) for that.   I can’t really say for certain why, but I’ve always felt like I’m at my creative best when I’m unhappy about something.  Sure, sometimes I can write and come up with jokes when I’m in a good mood, but I always feel most inspired when I’ve got something that is bugging the hell out of me (perhaps part of the reason I have roommates?).  Some of my funniest moments are when I go on a rant about something that bothers me.

I do have some theories about why my creativity depends on how miserable I am, because this would be a pretty lame post if all I said was “haven’t felt like writing, later.”    Knowing my brain as well as I do, I can say with some level of assurance that it only has 2 settings (like a really cheap toaster).  When I’m in a good mood, my brain is all “Tra-la-la! Parades and rainbows! Fun things are fun” as I blindly coast through life not giving anything a second thought.  This is in stark contrast to my brain’s other setting; when something is bothering me.  On this setting, my brain thinks, and analyzes and critiques.  And then it does all that over again.  It would be super cool if I could direct all of that thinking towards something like astrophysics or literally anything else that would actually be useful, but instead the only thing I end up motivated to do is to pick up a pen and start writing down all of the absurdities flowing through my suddenly overactive brain. 

Most of the things I think of and subsequently write down are quickly thrown away because they’re just not funny or relevant to anything (it’s such a huge change from what I actually do post…).  Then, I take the few things that have the potential to be funny and meticulously tear them apart so I can reconstruct them over and over in my mind, using different words, timing and phrasing.  Of these ideas that I’ve now spent far too much of my day on, I finally feel comfortable with one or two of them and I either throw out the rest or put them on a shelf for further work (or, alternatively, to never touch them again).

What this does is (1) occupy my time, (2) provide you with the best possible jokes/content that I can create and (3) leave my desk a complete mess of half scribbled-on notebook pages (possibly a fire hazard).  See, one thing I firmly believe is that just because you have the ability to write doesn’t mean that you have the ability to write well.  And knowing this distinction is what separates talented writers from people posting fan fiction on Internet message boards (If anyone reading this actually writes fan fiction, I didn’t mean that.  You’re great and you should continue to follow your dreams no matter how creepy and obsessive they are.  To everyone else, I totally meant that).

I’m sure by this point you’re probably wondering what the point of this post is.  And much like the rest of my life, I’m not really sure.  I guess since I draw my creativity from stress and unhappiness, if you truly care about and want me to succeed then you should make it a priority to regularly disappoint me.  And believe me when I say that I haven’t been avoiding my blog because I didn’t feel like positing.  I just haven’t had anything to say because I’ve been in too good of a mood to be inspired and because I care so much about only bringing my readers (I really do hope it’s ‘readers’ plural!) the best content possible.  It’s not you, it’s me.