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.

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