Thursday, May 22, 2008

11:39 am: i’m sitting behind u

I woke up Sunday afternoon to four text messages.

7:45 am: hey ryan, its jessica. i hope u r having a good morning. call me when you get up.

7:46 am: btw i got 2nite off. we should hang out. what do u think??

10:30: sorry but i forgots. i told my friend that i’d hang out with her. i can cancel if u want.

11:30: my friend is sick so we can hang again :-)

Who is Jessica?

I thought about last night and retraced how it all went down:

I was at Martini Ranch dressed in Scottsdale attire. Dress shirt, untucked. Casual. Black pants. Classy. Aldo shoes. Mandatory.

I was with a group of friends celebrating our final weekend of summer vacation. I had no intentions of just hanging out with the guys as I wanted to get out there and dance.

I searched for a female that was at the awkward end of a female dancing triangle.

Definition (not seen in Webster’s): Female Dancing Triangle- a dance that consists of two women facing each other while a third woman faces the other two women.

A diagram: [:-]. I was looking for the dash.

I also searched for the female that was just chilling while her friend was chatting it up with a guy. No definition or diagram needed.

I found a female dancing with two other girls. I approached her and said, “Let’s dance.”

“I’m Jessica,” she said.

“Ryan,” I said.

We danced until closing time. At the end of the night, we talked outside of the club for a little while.

“Yesterday was my birthday, and I got a $50 gift card to Chili’s. We should go Wednesday night,” she said.

“Yeah, sure. That sounds fun. Let me get your number,” I said.

She gave me her number, and I called her phone.

“Sweet. Well, I gotta get going,” I said.

“You’re going to call me, right?” she said.

“Absolutely. And I just called your phone so you have my number also,” I said.

We hugged, and I went home.

Jessica is the girl I met last night at Martini Ranch.

My roommate Eric walked in through the front door. I went to the living room to show him the text messages.

“How are you feeling?” Eric said, handing me a Gatorade bottle.

“Thanks,” I said. “I’m okay. Just out of it. I woke up to four text messages from this girl I met last night,” I said.

“Nice. So what happened?” he said.

“We were at Martini Ranch. I just went off looking for a girl to dance with. I saw a female dancing triangle, and I approached one of the girls. She was cool and all, but look at all these messages,” I said giving him my cell phone.

“Wow, this girl really likes you” he said.

“I know, and I’m just not feelin’ it. Like I had a great time and all, but I’m not sure I want to date her. Plus the new semester starts tomorrow. Everyone is single. I kinda want to be single too,” I said.

“Don’t answer her calls or text messages,” he said.

“It’s not that easy. I was so enthusiastic last night,” I said.

My cell phone went off. It was a text message.

12:02 pm: hey, r u up yet?

“Tell her that you can’t hang out tonight,” Eric said.

I responded, and moments after, she called me.

“Don’t answer,” he said. “You’re not prepared to have a phone conversation with her yet.”

After a few minutes of silence, Eric suddenly had a big smile on his face.

“You should take her on an afternoon date,” he said.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because it’s casual and nothing serious and you can play it off as a friendship,” he said.

“That’s a good idea. I can take her to that sub place near campus,” I said.

“Yeah, and schedule it at a time where you don’t have much time to hang,” he said.

“We have that sociology class at eleven forty. I’ll have lunch with her at eleven, and I’ll meet up with you at like eleven thirty or so,” I said.

“Yeah, definitely,” he said.

“You know Melissa is in that class,” I said.

“That’s gotta be awkward,” he said.

“We signed up for the class when we were still together,” I said.

“It’s gonna be weird every time she sees you talking to another girl,” he said.

“Well, remember, she broke up with me,” I said.

“Still,” he said.

I got out my cell phone and sent Jessica the text message.

“Alright, I sent it,” I said.

I woke up Monday morning to four text messages.

6:30 am: good morning :-)

8:35 am: i jus got out of my first class. i have an hour break if u wanna meet up.

8:36 am: i’ll be at the library.

10:42 am: i’m headin over.

After reading those text messages, I knew that I couldn’t hang out with her beyond the afternoon date.

I threw on a t-shirt and basketball shorts, and I walked over to the sub place. It was about a five minute walk from my place.

I walked into the sub place, and I saw Jessica inside sitting at a table.

“I ordered your sub for you,” Jessica said.

“Oh, thanks,” I said.

“I figured you’d like Turkey,” she said.

“It’s not bad,” I said.

“How are classes going for you?” she said.

“Actually, my first class starts at eleven forty,” I said.

“Really? My last class starts at eleven forty. How funny,” she said.

She wore a t-shirt with a big carrot.

“Do you garden?” I asked.

“No, I just like carrots,” she said.

“I was thinking of growing a garden in my front yard. It would be kind of cool to be able to go out there and pick out fresh radish for a salad,” I said.

“Really? How funny,” she said.

“Yes,” I said taking a bite out of the sandwich.

“I still have the gift card. Do you want to go tonight?” she said.

“I would. Actually, let me just be straight up with you. I don’t want to date you,” I said.

“What?” Jessica said.

“I’m sorry,” I said.

Jessica started crying.

“I’m sorry,” I said.

“You were so enthusiastic the other night,” she said.

“I know, but we just met and you text a lot. I’m just not feeling it,” I said.

“But,” she hesitated.

“I’m sorry. I gotta go,” I said.

I left the sub place to go meet up with Eric at the hallway outside of our class.

“I told Jessica that I didn’t want to see her again,” I said.

“How did she take it?” I said.

“She cried. It was hard, but I had to be straight up with her. I got another barrage of text messages this morning. She really doesn’t have anything interesting to contribute in conversation. After everything I said, she would say, ‘Really? How funny.’ I just had to do it,” I said.

“You’re right. Hey, I’m going to go get a jamba juice before class. Are you coming with,” he said.

“Nah, I’ll hit up the vending machines outside,” I said.

I went to the vending machines outside to get a bottled water. When I returned, I walked inside the classroom and sat down in the middle of the class. I heard my name being called, and three rows in front of me was this cute girl, Chelsea, whom I had a class with the previous semester. She came to sit to the right of me.

“How was your summer?” I asked.

“Good. I was in Italy for six weeks,” she said.

“Nice, I bet Brad missed you,” I said.

“Oh, we broke up two weeks before I left,” she said.

“Really?” I asked.

“Yeah, nobody goes into summer in a relationship,” she said.

I saw Eric walk in, so I stood up and called his name. He came and sat to the left of me.

“Hey Ryan,” someone said.

I turned around, “Oh hey Melissa,” I said.

I turned back around. “We’re amicable. I called her last night,” I said to Eric.

I turned my attention back to Chelsea, but she was occupied with a text message.

“I got tickets to this concert tonight. I was wondering if you wanted to go,” I said.

Chelsea looked at me and looked back at her cell phone. She then got up and moved to another seat.

“What’s with her?” I said to Eric.

I got a text message, so I checked it out.

“No way,” I said quietly to myself.

I turned around and Jessica was sitting next to Melissa.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Three Sides of Comfort

I agreed to hang out with a female friend from class. And her boyfriend.

I met them at his apartment that night.

She introduced us, and we shook hands. He elected to flex his biceps during the handshake. Oh, don’t worry. He flexed any chance he got that night. He flexed while holding her hand, he flexed while pointing, and he flexed while turning the steering wheel.

After the flex-shake, we left the apartment and walked to his car.

“What’s with the backpack?” Kevin said.

“I use it to carry things,” I said.

“Like a purse?” he said.

“I guess you could say that,” I said.

“Looks pretty gay,” he said.

We loaded up his car, and I took my third wheel position in the backseat of the car.
Occasionally, I would lean in a little, waiting for a break in the conversation to interject fast phrases. Just so they knew that I hadn’t jumped out of the car.

“Do you work out?” Kevin said.

“No, I like being unimpressive physically,” I said.

“Really, you should give it a try. You might actually get some dates,” he said.

“I’ll keep that in mind,” I said.

He stopped to fill up his car with gasoline. I took the opportunity to talk to Amanda.

“How do you think you did on that test today?” she said.

“That was so easy. Seriously, didn’t study at all either,” I said.

You know how when classmates hang out for the first time outside of class, they end up talking about class…

“Hey, you remember when I said that I still had a New Kids on the Block folder from the first grade?” I said pulling out the folder from my backpack. “Well, check it out.”

“That’s so awesome. I can’t believe you kept that,” she said.

“I never saw the need to replace folders,” I said.

“You know that MTV special on the New Kids on the Block. It actually might be Vh1. Anyways,
they show archive concert footage, and there is this girl with red marker highlights in her hair
screaming outside in the parking lot, ‘I want to marry Joey McIntyre. I want to marry Joey McIntyre!’ Yeah, that’s my sister, and I was the 6-year-old standing next to her,” she said.

“Oh, you know I have to check that out,” I said.

Kevin popped in through the driver’s side window.

“How about that girl over there?” he said, pointing to a woman pumping gas one car over.

“What about her?” I said.

“Think she’s cute?” he said.

“I think she’s 40,” I said.

“I’ll go talk to her,” he said.

He went to go talk to the woman as he finished pumping the gas.

“So how long have you guys been dating again?” I said.

“About a year,” she said. “It’s comfortable.”

That adjective threw me off. I really didn’t know how to reply. New Kids on the Block couldn’t even help me out.

I looked out the window and saw him talking to the woman. She looked uninterested in whatever he had to say. After a moment of seeming rejection, he came back into the car.

“Sorry man, I tried to get that girl’s number for you,” he said while starting the car.

The rejection was confirmed.

“Why would I want her number? She’s like 20 years older than me,” I said.

“She’s got experience. She can teach you a few things,” he said.

“She’s not even attractive,” I said.

“She’s a stepping stone,” he said.

Fortunately, we arrived at the bowling alley moments later.

“Let’s make a wager,” I said. “Loser buys the winner a soda.”

“Alright, let’s do it,” he said.

We got our shoes. 9.5 for him, 11.5 for me. Not that it means anything…

We got our balls. 16 for him, 10 for me. Not that it means anything…

We went to our lane, registered our names, and began to bowl. Amanda and Kevin sat together to the right, and I sat in the middle seat behind the score-keeping console.

Kevin went first and stood in front of the air blower for about a minute. I moved to sit next to Amanda.

“I’ve always enjoyed talking to you before class, and I’m glad we finally got to hang out,” I said.

“Yeah, totally. So what do you think of Kevin?” she said.

“Steeeeeeeeerike,” Kevin said running toward Amanda and giving her a kiss.

The game was pretty competitive. He bowled two strikes in the tenth frame to surpass me. I needed five pins to win. As I was getting ready to bowl, I noticed that he was talking to a cute brunette at the lane to the right. I couldn’t hear what the conversation was about, but I heard him say the word ephedra. I bowled and knocked down six pins.

I returned to the front to check the monitor to make sure that I did win the game. I looked over at Kevin, and the girl looked uninterested in whatever he had to say. At this horrendous rate, I wouldn’t be surprised if Amanda dumped him by the end of the night. I finished out the tenth frame by knocking down two more pins.

Kevin came over after being rejected by the girl. I didn’t even need confirmation.

“Sorry, I thought I had that girl for you, but you know how girls are sometimes,” he said.

“It’s cool. But hey, I believe that you owe me a soda,” I said.

“I could have sworn you stepped over the line in the third frame,” he said.

“I’m pretty sure the buzzer would have went off,” I said.

“Sometimes those things don’t work,” he said.

He went to step on the line. The buzzer went off.

“Alright, well, here,” he said counting out the money. “We’ll have a rematch someday. Best two
out of three.”

He gave me the money and flex-patted me on the back. I went to the snack bar to purchase my soda. I noticed a girl standing by herself to the left of the snack bar. I approached her after the snack bar lady gave me my soda cup and change.

“This hasn’t been an ideal Friday night. I’m the third wheel,” I said.

“Yeah, tell me about it. I’m also a third wheel. My friend is totally ignoring me,” she said.

I noticed her shirt had a superman logo.

“I still have the death of superman comic in its original black bag at home,” I said.

She smiled.

“Let’s make this a fun night,” I said.

I went to the soda fountain to fill my cup with orange soda. I looked over, and I noticed a guy was talking to her.

“…you’d be Tennessee because you’re the only ten I see,” I heard the guy say to her as I walked toward them.

“Excuse me,” I said to him.

He looked at me. I looked at him. She looked at us.

The three of us looked at each other.