Ok, so I noticed some of my Facebook posts were getting a little long. So I decided to just go with it and write some of them up into blog form. This is one I already related, but I present it here again in expanded form.
For those who don’t know me, I am single. I am, in fact, laughably single. When I moved into my current accommodations a year and a half ago, I put an extra suitcase on a recliner, promising to move it to the closet as soon as I had a visitor show up. The suitcase remains… ;)
Now, I am not immune to the basic human social tendencies. It is well known that any adult human, being single, seeks to change that status or understand the reasons why. Once the reasons are understood, the next step usually involves ice cream. It’s a wonderful time to be alive, folks.
Lucky for me, the reasons are not only apparent, they are also pretty entertaining. And so, with an eye to share this personal journey with complete strangers on the internet, I share this little story, with likely a few more to follow as opportunity and wit allow…
So this story happened a few days ago on a rather lovely Monday evening. I was meeting the girl in question for a first date at a Thai restaurant. She gets the jump on questions and we start by talking about me. With my usual wry sense of humor, I describe myself as a wandering madman, which I still think is a pretty accurate description for what I actually do. Harmless, right?
She smiles politely at the little joke, but makes no comment and we’re distracted by ordering food and such. A little while later, I start shivering. This has nothing to do with nerves, the food, or the climate. Rather, a fever has struck out of nowhere. This surprise is not really all that surprising given my dating track record.
It may benefit the story at this juncture to point out that I have famously bad luck. That’s why I don’t believe in luck. It’s a family thing. Our ancestral sword, along with its prophesied protections, was destroyed during the Civil War. Ever since then, members of my family have been able to conjure up circumstances that move down the bad luck spectrum right into: “Kinda hilarious when seen with a sick sense of humor.”
Anyway, so there I am, trying to enjoy a lovely noodle dish, trembling like an aspen leaf. The girl doesn’t mention anything and my fevered brain manages to hope that I am somehow being discreet, like there’s some way to shiver unobtrusively.
With some dinner out of the way, I take control of the conversation and direct it in the best way I know how: away from me. I ask her what she does for a living. This one I should have seen coming, honestly. She looks me straight in my bloodshot eyes and says: “I work in a psychiatric hospital.”
Of course she does.
The only thing that could have beaten that reveal would have been if she was an undercover narcotics cop. Clearly my best move at this point is to shove noodles in my mouth and think through the rest of the evening. Most notably, was there any point she was on her phone when she could have been calling in professional backup to our date?
So there I am, mouth full of noodles, shaking like a junkie, and looking around for the men in white coats like a paranoid schizophrenic.
Why would you bring that up?
Schizophrenic. You know we don’t like that word.
I thought it added to the story. Besides, I don’t understand why you’re so sensitive. We’re not schizophrenic.
I know, I was clerk during the meeting when we decided that. Still, I think one of the voices might be.
Really? Which one? You know what, never mind. I’m trying to tell a story here.
Fine, but we’ll talk later.
Very well, where was I? Right, the psychiatric hospital. I decide to find out a little bit more about what she does. After all, it’s only polite to show interest in your date’s profession (not to mention it might help me calculate the odds of her having anything in her purse that rhymes with hypodermic meedle).
“I do some administrative stuff, but mostly I do marketing.”
At this point I’m pretty much out of noodles, which is bad news because I am nowhere near done with awkward pauses. This is one of the worst as my mind starts pitching possible TV and radio spots advertising for a psychiatric hospital…
Do you feel like the last sane person on Earth? Do people who never age or sleep keep you company? Are you feeling REALLY optimistic about any of the presidential candidates this year? If so, we invite you come visit us at Sunnyside Psychiatric Hospital! Come and enjoy the softest bathrobes in the business; on site animal care for all pets, real and imaginary; and skittles sorted by color and socks by thickness.
During the closing jingle, I tune back into the date and the awkward silence I left behind. I decide that I need better information and inquire what exactly she does for marketing.
“Actually, I mostly do internal marketing.”
Internal marketing. Now, there is an entire host of things that would make complete sense, but my mind reaches for none of those. Instead, only one word comes to mind and in that instant, I can’t think of any reason why I wouldn’t ask:
Yessiree, folks. That’s how it’s done. 100% lady-proof! Tune in next time to hear how a sweet young blonde gave me a lock of her hair… involuntarily… on the dance floor.