Oh, a Blog… and Other Stories

Another online date out of the way, and more time spent with people who haven’t seen me in awhile brings me to my least favorite line of questions: “So, Beth… tell me about yourself. What do you do?” If there is one question that is like hitting the clear button on my brain, that’s it. You ask it, and not only have I forgotten what I recently had for lunch, I’m not entirely certain where I actually live. It’s a house, I think? Likely in Texas? We’re in Texas, right? (Hrmm… seems I didn’t travel far or, y’know, Texas far.) I have a cat! (Wait, I do have a cat, right? Maybe a dog? Maybe not… Tricksy questions.) Err… how about you? (Whew. Solid ground again. They probably didn’t notice the floundering.)

I’m about 97% certain I bored the recent date so much with my lack of ability to point to anything I did that he basically faked a reason to escape. (This worked out quite well, because I “really” had to go to powder my nose, and he’d told the staff it was ok to go ahead and lock up. We’d be good sitting on the patio drinking tea with no access to facilities. Also, what kind of mad coffee house closes at 5pm???? That’s not a thing!)

Ok, the fact that I may have been bent on boring him on purpose
after he popped his index finger into his nose for the THIRD time is not important to the story. I just wanted to share that bit, because OMG a grown man, a pastor, put his finger in his nose multiple times. Just kept it there, too. Like you do when you’re meeting someone for the first time.

Anyway… I digress from the point, which is discussing the question I hate. “What do you do?” Here’s how that conversation typically goes, with very little variation:

Person: What do you do for fun? (Keep up, I can’t believe I had to type that again.)

Me: I write.

Person (eyes light up as their thought bubble excitedly explodes with, “Ooo! A novelist! Definitely a novelist – probably in a writing group… literary… smart… look at the glasses, the brown hair, she sits tall… all signs of great intelligence): What do you write?

Me: I have a blog.

Person (barely contained disappointment – not a real writer) …what kind of blog?

Me: Mostly anecdotes about my life. (Seeing the disappointment, I offer…) It’s sometimes funny???

Person: Well… isn’t that something. Oh hey, I think I just saw Alice and Mario walk in. Let me just go say hi. (They flee never to be heard from again.)

Honestly, I would get a much better reaction if I said matter-of-factly, “I lick paint,’ or if I started to peel and eat crayons in front of the person.

Y’know, it reminds me of a schoolmate’s husband. “What does Tim do?” “Oh, he’s a magician… at a strip club.” I mean, who doesn’t go to those places just for the magic show and the cheap steak?

As I type these words, I realize that analogy is spot on – to call what I do “writing” is a bit like saying I’m a magician at a strip club. Or I guess it’s more truly akin to claiming I paint, and producing a Paint by Numbers kit. “It’s Christina’s World! They give you like three different kinds of beige. Isn’t it awesome? I plan on framing it when I’m finished.”

Or, you know, like going to a “Painting with a Twist” class and showing off my lopsided Eiffel Tower, and calling it art.

I really should take up drinking one day.

Anyway… all of that to say I’ve been asked about my hobbies a lot lately (the online date guy, Dad’s birthday), and each time, I drew a gigantic blank, no memory of anything I did in the past or do currently, then blurted out, “I write a blog!!” with a goofy smile because I’d remembered something. It was like I’d just announced, “I LIKE PONIES!!!” (In all fairness, who doesn’t like ponies?? I mean in theory, actual ponies are kind of assholes.)

Dad’s friends exchanged sad looks as they realized that the poor man only has the one child. “Bless her little heart. She tries. At least she’s able to feed herself on her own. Or… maybe not. I can’t even look right now.”

This reminds me that I’m still trying new things this year (that I’ll forget to mention when asked what I do).

This is the “and other stories” promised in the title. As you know, I tried painting (February). In March, Anna and I live-streamed our attempt at yoga, and I discovered a new gallery Ao5 (Art on 5th) c/o my nephew, which was fantastic. In April my plan is to sign-up for beginning rowing. And as always, I’ll write about it, or write about it (in italics, since this isn’t real writing from what I gather based on everyone’s reaction).

Oh, and by the way, this is about the same reaction I receive when I announce I “go to the gym,” but that’s another post for another day.

A Date

I went on a date.  Ok sure, it wasn’t necessarily the person I wanted to go out with, but hey I figured what the hell.  That guy isn’t free, I had some free time, and should the other date actually happen, maybe I won’t act like a new born fawn in some perverse Benny Hill sketch. Maybe, if it happened, I could pass as cool?  Ok fine, this from the girl who once kept dropping cow bells repeatedly every time she walked past a work crush when I was in my early 20’s. (No seriously, I dropped them at least three times – COW BELLS – it’s not like that goes unnoticed. He’d smile, my eyes would get big, and those ridiculous things would fall out of my hands – MULTIPLE TIMES. No amount of, “play it cool, Beth” could make up for the loud clanging on the concrete floor as I blushed profusely, trying to grab them up, then I’d go back for more and repeat that whole scene, because apparently I don’t learn. I may have mentioned I live in a long running I Love Lucy episode. It’s horrifying.) Maybe I should just go ahead give up on this idea that I could ever come off as cool.

We met for coffee, and let me just say here: Starbucks’ Gingerbread Latte is an appalling abomination. No amount of toothpaste or breath mints can rid you of the taste or aftertaste or after-after taste.  This is a public service announcement. You’re welcome. Me being me – I went to the wrong place, because whoopsy, who pays attention? Especially, when given landmarks like “near Walgreens and Wal-Mart”. That’s all my town is. I think I can find three nearby Starbucks that meet that criteria. It took me about 10 minutes to get to the right spot, and my goof was greeted by chastising and a whole lot of words that really amounted to 1) huge control freak, and 2) EJECT!  If he had been the least bit empathetic, we would have seen this goof from my side, which was that while he was momentarily inconvenienced by having to loiter a bit, I had to actually double-back AND update several people who would reign hell fire on him in the event I texted them with “911”. They too had to mentally re-map their routes, dude – not like it was just you who were inconvenienced; it created a small logistical issue. So, self-centered.

We drank coffee, and chatted, which was fine. My only real observations here were: 1) How can so many words fall out of one face? SO MANY MANY WORDS. For the love of all things Holy, please stop making them. No seriously, I need your face to stop moving. 2) Why are you so concerned about where I live? (I made a mental note to ask the security guys how to install cameras) If I changed the subject away from my neighborhood, he’d get back to “no, where do you live. You haven’t answered me. I’ve asked you now a few times.” Will Robinson didn’t even need a robot to be warned – anyone with half a brain cell would have been concerned, and 3) Personal space, observe it.

There’s a running joke about me and hugs, and the fact is that a lot of people can actually hug me. A lot of people can’t. I just keep everyone on their toes by never updating the people who formerly couldn’t that their hug status has been upgraded. And there’s some people I’ve met for the first time that they better hug me, which also surprises older friends who still are in the “no hug” zone. I’m complicated. 🙂 So, back to the date: This guy tried to kiss me, and I presented him with my forehead, because NOPE. Do not get your face near my face, thank you. He made a joke that he kissed my forehead for good luck while I was internally blaspheming up such a storm that I was in danger of multiple lightning strikes. Simultaneously, I tried to work out how to get a whole ton of lye, and pondered whether it might be caustic enough to clean my forehead properly. In hindsight, I’m actually surprised he stopped speaking long enough to attempt such an action, but there you go.

He then invited me to get gas with him at Costco. I have no words. Not that the gas isn’t fine there; it’s just approximately 12-15 miles from where we were. No, I’m not getting in your car. No, I don’t think gas is so amazeballs at Costco that I’d ever be willing to pass 15 other gas stations along the way for your special gas run. And with that I waved good bye, and actually closely watched the cars behind me as I headed home. One followed me into the neighborhood, so I drove a more circuitous route until they were no longer in my site. He’s THAT guy – the kind that gives you that vibe.

We broke up the next day. Well… at least that’s what the texts tell me. I was busy at work, then later ran out with friends to dinner only to find this really long one-sided text conversation which amounted to “Do you like me? Yes? or No? Well, clearly you don’t. You realize I’m quite a great catch. Why don’t you like me? Could you send me a note so I can improve? You’re missing out.” This conversation apparently went on over some period of time. (I should mention, I’m bad with phones and really bad about answering or responding.) So, by the time I got home our relationship had run some course and it was over. YAY!!!!! When I read the entire thing late last night, I nearly burst out laughing. So much drama. You know, someone needs to create a “Do you like me?” app. There could be a push notification, you could decide then and there, and if it’s “no” then the app should go in and delete/block that person. Maybe an obnoxious slamming sound with the word “NO!” could appear on their screen in return.  Whereas, a “yes” could generate date options or some such. This is a work in progress.

All of this to say that I did go on a date. It was meh and drama filled (granted, one-sided drama – which, by the way ladies, he’s free AND he claims to be quite the catch should you all want to have your shot.)

And while this wasn’t particularly great, it added a few new stories to my repertoire. And let’s face it, I’m not dating anyone I don’t think Jay would approve of (and he would definitely not have approved), nor will I date anyone that I feel needs the protective pack of men in my life to explain to him why it would be in his interest to never think of me again. (Thanks guys!)

But hey, date. There will be another this Sunday with a runner who seems much more my speed (well, not running speed – a ton faster there, I strongly suspect).

The things I do for you guys. You’re welcome.