I have a tendency to wait for people to come to me. It’s not something I’m proud of but until this past year there was little incentive to change. In college people need friends; I never had to put in the inciting effort of friendship- they would come to me. This is not the case in the real world. Outside of school, people pretty much only come to you if they want to sell you something or fuck you (which is sort of “selling” themselves to you if you think about it). In New York making friends is no easy task. “It’s super hard” might be even closer to the truth.
I was surprised when I realized dating is so much easier than making friends. It makes sense. Everyone already has friends, not everyone already has dates. And sometimes dates turn into friends- a convenient little short cut. I’ve succeeded this year at putting myself out there for dates- no small feat as I didn’t really date in college. The same is much less true with friendships. Both are still a work in progress, conscious deviance from my passive nature.
It was in this frame of mind that I decided to do something about a crush I’ve had for almost two weeks. He works at Trader Joe’s where I do the majority of my grocery shopping. I quickly fell for his adorable smile, 6+ frame, curly black hair (I’ve always been a sucker for white guys with black hair, with the exception of Harry Potter), and genuine friendly banter as he rang up my groceries. He handed me my shopping bags, addressed me by name from my debit card, and wished me a pleasant evening.
This is an instance where my personality seems contradictory: I can be very quick witted with snappy come backs and clever one-liners (and blog posts? and flattering myself?) but then kinda slow when it comes realizations. I was well out of the store before my brain went Hey! You should’ve asked that guy out, gotten his number, something! I paused in the street for a moment and actually considered going back. Then I decided I shop at TJ’s all the time and would see him again.
I was right. Next grocery run I am accompanied by my roommate. Which might have made me brave and ballsy but alas, no. I’m approximately 500 times more easily embarrassed when in front of people I know. She doesn’t know it, but my roommate’s significantly decreased the chance I’ll ask this Trader Joe’s Crush out. But there’s still a chance. Walking down the isles of the store, one eye is looking for my crush. The other for tahini humus. I find the humus, last thing on our list, and we make our way to the end of the infamous line of the Manhattan Trader Joe’s.
If you’ve never been to Trader Joe’s in New York, it may be hard to imagine. Understand: this is only location on the whole island of Manhattan. In a city where exhorbant prices are given, TJ’s- where prices do not vary by location- is a godsend to starving artists, to any one trying to eat not-crap on a total-crap budget. Now this makes shopping there very strategic. Go at the wrong time and you’ll be stuck waiting in line (New Yorkers say “on line”, San Franciscans say “in line”- I’m very conflicted on which to use) for a good hour. I once tried to go on a Sunday afternoon and was informed by security I would have to wait on line (maybe I’ll use both, switch when ever I feel like it- “in line” paragraph, “on line” the next) just TO ENTER the store. Since then I try to go on Friday or Saturday evenings. I’m serious. There’s never a line then. Plus it’s funny to watch the weekend preparations/rituals of the NYU freshmen who swarm the area.
Knowing all I know (and have just shared with you), I’ve timed it well: the end of the line is not intimidating. Wait. I do a double take. Not intimidating except for the fact that o-m-g my crush is there at the end of it! Eep! Turns out being with my roommate, basically my best friend in the entire world, puts me in rather-severe-school-girl mode. Perhaps an inevitability when you’ve known someone since you were ten. Hey you were in here the other day, weren’t you? he smiles at me. I don’t remember too clearly but I’m fairly positive I turn pink, say something idiotic, and continue talking to my roommate in a massive attempt to deny any kind of butterfly action entering my stomach. Complete-five-star-school-girl-fail.
I vow that next trip will be different. No friend to make me giggle. Nothing but resolve and sheer nerve to ask for a boy’s phone number under the guise of grocery shopping. Victory will be mine!
Of course the next trip he’s no where to be found. Not in the store. Must have the night off. I curse Cupid, Aphrodite, the fates- all those assholes- taking solace only in the fact that I must eat and will therefore buy groceries again.
The next time I’m in Trader Joe’s it’s been more than two weeks since our initial encounter. There is no way this guy remembers me. I see him at his register and sort of watch him as I wait in line (hey, it’s not like there was anything else to do!) He’s extremely friendly to every customer, never denying anyone his killer smile (did I mention dimples?) As I wait and watch I become increasingly convinced I imagined any kind of “connection”. It’s obvious he flirts with everyone, hell it might even be Trader Joe’s protocol. He’s at 1 of 20 registers. That’s a five percent chance he’ll check me out. The odds are stacked against me. Damn.
I’m almost at the front of the line, about to just give the whole thing up as a stupid, hallucinated crush when our eyes meet. Gulp. A look of recognition passes across his face (score!) followed by a big smile and a mouthed “Hi! How are you?” I then watch him quicken the pace on his check-outs and he manages to time it so right when my turn in line comes, he’s free. Coincidence? Not a chance.
I was kinda hoping you’d check me out- I mean my groceries.
How’s that for a line? (I think it may be right on par with the aforementioned ridiculous check-out line. On some sort of homophonical/pun scale?) Can you believe I actually said that? I’m next to positive that being a woman helps a lot when it comes to pick-up lines. Being cute (sometimes I doubt other things, but this is near solid fact: I am cute) probably helps even more. Or maybe my line just falls into a “so bad it’s good” category. All I know is this: it is a Total Hit. A Smashing Success. I should use it on all the guys. He writes down his number before I can even ask for it and asks for mine. At the risk of his job no less.
He calls a few days later to make a date. I suggest bowling. Yes, I am a dork (as this entry’s 1000+ words have more than proved) and I’ve wanted to go bowling for months. If he’s my-kind-of-guy it’ll make a good date. I’m school-girl excited and letting all feelings of butterflies fly.