Break It Up (Into Beats)

trader-joe's-guy-series
[This is Part Three of the Trader Joe’s Guy Series: click for Part One and Part Two and Part Four and Part Five]
When I first met you, I had doubts. You’re homeless, you’re an actor. I was afraid the age difference would be a problem. But I couldn’t dismiss you just on that, I had to actually get to know you. And I’m so glad I did because you’re truly one of the sweetest, kindest people I’ve met. Ever. But.. we’re at really different places in our lives. Which is a grossly cliché thing to say, but it’s true. I’m not feeling what I need to feel to be in a relationship with someone.

I have lines again? Yep. A monologue in fact, from my one night only performance of a little theatrical piece called “The First Time I Ever Initiated a Breakup Myself.”

Deliberate, premeditated, perhaps painstakingly planned: I imagine most breakups of this “it’s just not working” sort sound scripted, peppered with vague to blatant clichés. (We’re not a good fit. We want different things. It’s not you, I think you’re great.)

“Uh…last time I checked, you went on half a date with him,” I see you thinking, “Why all the drama? Actresses.

If only it were that simple (she says, dramatically). Let me catch you up.

Two roads converged on a New  York night and I? I took the one less traveled by.  Yep, I gave my 20 Year Old, Actor, Trader Joe’s Crush a chance. I realized I couldn’t write him off without actually getting to know him- beyond the labels- first. And so that first date we did go bowling. Turned our backs on The Gutter’s nostalgic charm and vintage prices in favor of a typical animated screens, dozens of lanes, non-carding, bowling alley. And had a lot of fun. And I solidly kicked his ass all three games. Which he didn’t seem to hold against me because at the end of the date he made plans to see me again. And I was pleased. He’s my crush after all.

This continued for the next several weeks. A movie here, a meal there, a few long romantic strolls. I met some of his friends. (Surprisingly a huge confidence boost. I never met any of Cute Theatre Boy or Central Park Guy’s friends- truth be told they didn’t have many. Trader Joe’s Crush’s friends showered me with complements. I was called pretty, stunning, witty, adorable, and told I had awesome dimples. All by men who were obviously not trying to get in my pants. Ha, I was “approved”, fun date.) My roommates gave their blessing (“He seems cute, goofy, and super sweet. I like him.”)

We’d only been on a handful of dates when I got terribly sick. Your cliché New York guy (hell, any cliché guy) would respond to such sickness along these lines: “I’m so sorry you’re feeling like shit, but um.. we haven’t dated enough for me to want to see you like that, so…give me a call when you feel better?” Not Trader Joe’s Crush. He took care of me, brought over soup and movies, told me stories- filling my silence when I couldn’t talk, kissed my possibly infectious lips, and cuddled with me when I couldn’t sleep. It was without a doubt the nicest thing a guy has ever done for me. Top 5 nicest things anyone (who’s not my parent) has ever done for me.

Seems like I have a pattern, doesn’t it? Some traumatic health issue befalls me in the early stages of a romance and accelerates the relationship to a place where it really isn’t ready to go yet (I’m talking about my Cute Theatre Boy episode, of course). Was I thinking this? No. This is pure hindsight. I was thinking how nice it was to have a distraction from the intense pain in my throat. Was I thinking about what it must mean that he was being so nice to me? No. I was thinking how safe it feels to have someone share your bed when you are bedridden.

They say in relationships, timing is everything. They are right.

Before I got anywhere near better, he was gone. On vacation to visit family in the sorta-South for 2.5 weeks. Which confines all communication to the phone, very hard when your throat is so inflamed you can’t talk. Every phone call is basically the same on my end, a slow progression: mmhm ouch, still can’t talkit’s getting a little better; well my voice still sounds like shit; yeah, still hurts but not too bad?; Yay, I can talk! While he is all talk of Home this, My-Mom’s-New-Kitty’s-So-Cute that, Brothers! Sisters! Nephews! Childhood Friends!

I got to know him a little better in these 2.5 weeks apart. No visa versa. I got to know his entire family knew about me. Got to know that he really missed me and wanted me to know that. Began to suspect we were not on the same page. Didn’t know,  but strongly suspected. Until he came back. Then I knew. Knew he was much more into everything than I was. Realized I didn’t like that. Knew that when I had missed him it was for all the wrong reasons. Began to suspect the end was swift approaching and I would be the one to end it. Didn’t know, but suspected.

Then came Halloween.

(to be continued. It’s taking me forever to finish this entry! But it wont be 2 weeks again, promise!)

Too Young to Drink, Thus Too Young to Date?

trader-joe's-guy-series
[This is Part Two of the Trader Joe’s Guy Series: click for Part One and Part Three and Part Four and Part Five]
Here’s a fun trivia fact: I’ve never played an organized team sport. Not in high school, not even in college when I had a mild freak out that it was my last opportunity to be on such a team, to experience the  camaraderie that can only be found running around with a bunch of other people all trying to achieve the same seemingly meaningless goal. While in school, I dedicated myself to the arts route, which left room for solo running and biking- activities where the only person counting on me was myself. The sports route never called to me. With one exception. A more fun trivia fact: I was in my middle school’s bowling league.

Oh yes, you read that right. Someone might argue this counts as an “organized team sport” but I don’t think they’d get too far without laughing. I would even have trophies to prove my participation had I not found it far more fun to take them apart- twisting little gold plastic bowling balls off little plastic arms. They really like giving middle school kids trophies. Let’s face it: I’d probably feel a void if I’d never received one. These trophies are a testament of my skill (“skill”)- I am better than your average “Let’s go bowling for fun!” bowler. I can’t make the ball curve like the pros, I still get excited when I get strikes but my score is always triple digits and gutter balls are practically unheard of.

I imagine there are places in the country where renting shoes, ordering a round, and playing a couple games is a fun, affordable past time. Perhaps this is as common as corn in the Midwest. In New York the idea of a night spent bowling is a considerable investment (read: mad expensive). Or so I thought until Time Out NY introduced me to  the bar/bowling alley The Gutter.

thegutter
See the bar on the right and bowling lanes on the left? It all has a 70’s retro vibe (which is even reflected in the prices). Fun!

The plan was to go bowling on my birthday. Which was in July. It never happened. Some how we thought we’d be able to travel from Mé Bar in Manhattan to The Gutter in Brooklyn. Maybe in some fantastical can-do universe this might be possible. In NYC, inter-borough travel is difficult on a good night. On a night when all your friends are buying you drinks, it’s near impossible.

So I’ve wanted to go bowling since July, and now I finally am with my Trader Joe’s Crush. We meet in Brooklyn, which is kind of a big deal for me. I’m not, surprisingly, the biggest fan of Brooklyn. It has this urban-suburban dichotomy going on that makes me feel like I’m in urban purgatory. I prefer feeling immersed in a city- with the skyscrapers of NYC or the hills of SF. But here we are on Bedford Ave which is quintessential Brooklyn. Lots of independent shops, great little restaurants, bikers in the bike lanes, and of course skinny jeans.

It’s nice to see someone you’ve only seen in a grocery store away from florecent lights, outside in fresh air. Still cute sans Trader Joe’s t-shirt. We grab a bite at a sandwich place before getting our game on. Conversation is as smooth as it was at check-out; by which I mean no awkward pauses, don’t worry I’ve ceased all ridiculous, calculated lines!

I’m still new enough to first dates that I can enjoy them. I like the element of the unknown, how everything is new and you get thrown curve balls you’d never expect. Like when he tells he’s… an actor.  I should’ve known. Of course the minute I say “Maybe I shouldn’t date actors” and meet a guy at a completely un-theater related place, of course he’s an actor. Why did I not see this coming? I can’t avoid them (even when I try)!

Well…I can’t dismiss him just because he’s an actor. I would hate it if someone did that to me. I’ll just be wary of the fact. He’s just graduated from a two year acting certificate program. Hmm…I wonder if that means he’s young. And simultaneous with this wonder, he verbalizes: “How old are you?” Point blank, no mincing of words. I have no need for a coy reply, this lady sees no reason not to tell her age. So I give a point blank response: 23. “Really? You don’t look 23!” ..No? “You look younger.” That’s not something I hear often. The prevalent opinion seems to be I look/act/have an aura beyond my 23 years. Personally, I think I look 23, but what do I know? Well, actually what I do know is he is young. For sure. He must be to ask such a bald faced question not half and hour into a first date. But how young? How old are you? I respond. “How old do you think I am?” Erm, I stare in horror at the possible high school senior across from me, That’s not fair, I didn’t make you guess. And I’m a lady.

20.”

We both stare at each other in a moment of ...What does this mean? Should I just end this now? Will he/she end this now? Age is just a number? He breaks the pause, “I’ll be 21 in November.” Oh my. It sinks in. He’s not 21 yet! Uh oh…The Gutter is 21+. I didn’t even consider that could be an issue. I’ve only been 21 for two years but it appears that’s long enough to forget that some people aren’t. A New York cliché: if you are past puberty, live near the city but you’re under 21, you have a fake ID. It’s almost a given. This guy, however has nothing of the sort.

Thus the plan for this date is thwarted… which gives me the perfect opportunity to bow out… He’s 20, he’s an actor, and he’s mentioned his lease just ran up so he’s on his friend’s couch until he finds a new place (read: he’s homeless). That’s 3 strikes. Which usually means you’re out. Except in bowling. In bowling 3 strikes means you’re awesome…and bowling is supposed to be the name of the game.

I’m staring at a fork in the road: Oh, it’s too bad we can’t go bowling, I’d better get home then. Thanks for the sandwich, bye! vs. giving this guy a chance, even though he looks bad on paper, and coming up with a Plan B for our date.

What would you have done? What do you think I did? Can you stand the suspense? Stay tuned (and remember I love comments)!

Meeting Men at the Grocery Store: I Know My Lines

trader-joe's-guy-series
[Part One of the Trader Joe’s Guy Series: click for Part Two and Part Three and Part Four and Part Five]
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 to 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’m 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 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 14th Street 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 on line 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 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 says, smiling 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 shall be mine!

The next trip is certainly different because, alas, 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.

When I’m next in Trader Joe’s it’s been more than two weeks since our initial encounter. There is no way this guy remembers me. Sigh.
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. Sigh.

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.

Oh Boy(s), Oh Online Dating

I know what it’s been like. For weeks you were on the edge of your seat, dying to find out what was going on between me and Cute Theatre Boy. After my last words on the subject, really, how could you not have been? After months of no updates, you gave up, accepted you would never find what happened between me and this new-york-cliche-defying non-asshole.  Perhaps you thought, it certainly fits a cliche, that I was so head over heals that I became one of those girls who abandons everything (including her blog?) for her beau.

No, let me assure you that is not the case. Our relationship happened to be one of those that peaks in an emergency room. The entire debacle- head injury, ER, fainting, and recovery- occurred when we’d been involved for just a little over a month. It brought the two of us together insanely fast, and then stood still. We never got closer to each other after it, and not for lack of trying.  I had a lot of fun with him but in his words (and I agree) it was “good not great.” “We weren’t a good fit” as a couple. He broke up with me when I was least expecting it, I cried, then got over it. Now he’s easily the best friend I have made since moving here. We’ve gotten close as friends, we’re a much better “fit” as friends, everything’s just worked out for the best (ha, cliche!)! My only disappointment in the whole thing is, alas, it’s not much of story!

Following Cute Theatre Boy I decided no more actors. Sure, it’s nice when he understands the stress of Hell Week, obscure references, and why the direction in a play we saw together sucked. However on the whole, the actor-on-actor thing adds an element of judgement and competition which I am point blank not fond of. Ok then…uh…where does one meet non-actors? In Central Park? Fail. On the Subway? No. On the street? Never. In bars? Hahaha yeah right. So what’s a girl living in NYC to do?

In the interest of pursuing the cliche, and sheer curiosity, I set up a profile on a (free) online dating website.

I know, I can’t really believe I did it either. With my biting wit and professional headshots that make me look, as one auditioner awesomely put it, “stunning” (as they’d better- I paid my awesome photographer a pretty penny so that would be the reaction), I had no shortage of responses. A few of them seemed possibly worth meeting. And why not? I don’t have many friends here, kidnapping someone in a public place seems extremely difficult; maybe I’d get a free meal, and a good story. Well, I didn’t really get any stories worth mentioning. Nothing Blog-worthy. Instead I did meet interesting people, even made a friend or two (and yeah, got a couple free meals- hey when  money’s tight, free food is not to be undervalued).

I learned most of these guys are pretty normal. Some a little shy, some hate the phone, some might be on the boring side, but they aren’t the creepy perverts stereotype suggests. (I don’t know why this comes as a surprise- I’m pretty normal at worst, super cool at best, and not desperate or socially retarded by any stretch.) They mostly look like their pictures (except the bald one, and your heart must go out to baldies under 30) and almost everyone I met was quite sweet, a few even had a lot going for them.

Despite all this, I’ve found I have a stigma against online dating that I just can’t shake. Something that just doesn’t feel right, that “this is not how it’s done” or at least not how I want to do it. The perfect guy for me (ha, what a statement) could easily be floating in some cyberspace profile somewhere, waiting for me to click the right link. I won’t deny that’s completely possible. But I know, at the very least, I would never get over our answer to the question inevitably asked of all couples, “So where did you guys meet?” “Online” is the absolute most unappealing answer I can think of. I don’t like it.

So I’ve decided to cease the virtual and focus solely on reality (she says, typing in her online, virtual medium…). And for starters, I have a crush! He works at Trader Joe’s. I haven’t had a real crush since Cute Theatre Boy, so it is a smidge exciting. I’ve decided the next time I need groceries I’m going to ask him out, face to face. How’s that for reality? Asking a boy out is something I have extremely limited (read: I’ve done it once!) experience in so this will be no small feat. I’ve mastered the first date, it’s time to become proactive in making them happen for myself.

The Time I Almost Died and Subsequent Deja Vu

One of my favorite stories to tell is that of “The Time I Almost Died”. As the title suggests, it’s full of drama, high stakes, death-defying stunts, gory bodily fluids, plot twists, and even has a crowd pleaser of a happy ending.

The story begins at the beginning of senior year with the decision to direct a play as my thesis for my Theater Arts degree. I was determined to do a full scale production of  Edward Albee’s The Goat, or Who is Sylvia (my favorite play, my favorite playwright). Though not exactly appropriate for my college-aged actors it is extremely appropriate for my target audience of liberal art college students. I decide they need to see this play and I can make that happen.

I cast the play in May, thought about it all summer, and was all ready to go before classes even began. I had just over a month to produce and direct my little master piece before department productions took over. I worked my ass off, attending classes, being president of the drama club, holding daily rehearsals, filling out campus paper work, and generally trying to do  everything by myself. This was my baby, no one else was gonna touch her.

Two weeks in I was exhausted. Three weeks in my throat started to hurt. Strep throat kind of hurt. My days turned into nothing but going to health services during the day and rehearsal at night. I was negative for strep, a positive thing I thought. Wrong. The sore throat got worse and worse, the swelling so bad that every swallow was accompanied with a wince and my voice sounded strangled, entirely unrecognizable from my normal speech.

Health services put me on steroids to control the swelling and told me I probably had mono but the test for mono is only effective after a certain period of infection. I cursed my horrid luck, blamed a professor who had said “Macbeth” multiple times in the theater where my play was being produced, and continued going to rehearsal everyday whispering directions to my actors, thinking of nothing else but producing the best damn production no matter what my state. I felt so awful one day I had to missed the last rehearsal before tech and cried from frustration. I was fully present for tech and dress and proud as hell, the set looked great, my actors were awesome, publicity was out, I was still alive, and we were totally ready for opening night on Friday.

Friday morning I make my way over to health services, a daily activity at this point, the excitement of opening night eclipsing the excruciating pain I am feeling. And at health services my worst fears come true: the swelling of my throat has gotten so extreme that the doctor is afraid it will obstruct my ability to breathe. And demands I go to the ER. I try to talk her out of it “Can’t you just get me more steroids? I can breathe, it’s not that bad! I’ve lasted this long!” but the protests of someone who can barely whisper are easy to ignore. The next thing I know I’m stuck in the ER, trying to choke down Gatorade, waiting hours and hours to see a doctor. By late afternoon I’ve finally been seen, they’re repeating all sorts of tests (“Um, I was already tested for strep, ok? Can you just tell me I have mono so I can go attend to the opening my play, please?”), and not telling me shit.

My doctor is kind of an asshole with a shitty, mean, sense of humor. He makes fun of my voice. That doesn’t make me feel better buddy, shut the fuck up and fix it or let me GO TAKE CARE OF MY BABY! At 6pm, though I’m still convinced I will make the 8pm curtain, my friends (who have been amazing, holding my hand through all the awfulness of the ER) start giving each other looks of “oh man, she’s not going to take it well when she emerges from denial….”

This provides the perfect cue for Dr. Asshole to come in and finally tell me what’s wrong with me: “You have a peritonsilar abscess. Huge pockets of puss in the back of your throat. We’ve called in an ENT (EarNoseThroat)  specialist who is on his way. He’ll stick a huge needle into the back of your throat to drain the puss.” What? Um, what? I think I misunderstood you, you said You have mono, here’s a pill, you can go to your play now, right? Dr. Asshole laughs and says, “I’m afraid you won’t be going anywhere tonight. After the procedure you’re looking at a night or two in the hospital. You’re severely dehydrated, we need to set up an IV and monitor your progress.”

After many tears- a truly pathetic sight when the crier can barely breathe- I’m out of denial. I’m missing opening night, at the very least, and the whole opening weekend at the very worst. Thank GOD I planned a two weekend run.

In the end 10 mL of puss was drained from my throat (it was impressive/disgusting to look at) they told me that if I hadn’t come in when I did, chances are I would have died, my case was so advanced. I spent the next two nights (read: entire weekend) in the hospital. My assistant director took over my play, thank God, and from everything I heard-  including that the president of the college (who had never come to a student production in all my time at school) was in the audience and seemed to enjoy himself- my baby was very well received. Understandably this takeover caused a lot of  stress for my AD, unfortunately she didn’t handle it well and had a bad attitude toward me for the rest of production, really the rest of the time we were at school together. So uncool.

Now for a happy ending: The next weekend I was able to attend every performance, was on the way to full recovery, and received an insane number of flowers and complements on how good the show was. I sat in the audience and watched people in front of me, who I didn’t know at all, gasp and exclaim “Oh my God!” so affected were they by my play. Truly an awesome feeling. I got incredibly positive feedback from professors and months later heard freshmen talk about my play and how it got them interested in the theatre program. Another truly awesome feeling. My throat recovered 100% and a month or so later I was able to look back or the experience as something horrible that had happened in the past but a freak disease (my doctors told me it was rare) I would never experience again. And it made a good story.

Any time my throat has felt sore since a small part of me is terrified I have a peritonsillar abscess. Which I always deemed a rather paranoid fear. A few weeks ago my throat started to hurt severely and I cursed my roommate who works at a preschool thinking she had brought home strep throat. I went to the doctor. He didn’t even do a test said, “Yep, probably strep,” and gave me a prescription. I took my meds and my throat only got worse.

Realization that this was an eerie, horrid deja vu descended. I went back to the clinic three days later and tested negative for strep. Uncontrollable tears streamed down my face as a physician told me that from what they could tell I had an abscess and sent me to the ENT Infirmary. They confirmed the abscess, drained it (think: hacking up blood and puss, think: gross), and sent me home. Fortunately I avoided an overnight. I couldn’t talk at all for almost a week. I haven’t been to work in over two weeks. Yesterday was the first time in 15 days that my throat didn’t hurt every time I swallowed. It’s been a long, slow, awful recovery.

NYC is an awful place to be sick. At first, no one believes you. You tell them you’re sick and they think you’re doing something awesomely fun- playing hookie to escape to the beach. Fortunately my voice was as extremely effected as my first experience, so anyone I called would know I was not lying. Which inspired many of my friends to visit me with soup and to keep me company in spite of my mute-itude. Which was all very nice for a week. I have learned that after a week, it becomes extremely socially unacceptable to still be sick. To not be able to answer “How are you feeling?” with “Better!” is such a social faux pas. But to do so would have been a huge lie until the very tail end of the 2 weeks, depression started to engulf me well before then. Fortunately, it didn’t have time to settle. Now I can correctly answer the question. I am feeling so much better. I CAN TALK. I’m going to go to work tomorrow. I should be going out and functioning as normal by this weekend. I can start actually living life again.

When I got sick it was summer. Now it’s fall. That’s time I’ll never get back. When you don’t have your health, you realize how nothing else really matters. Now that I have it back (mostly) I am going to cherish it. Make taking care of myself a number one priority. It’s a good time for fresh starts. Do things that are fulfilling. Things I’ve neglected that I truly enjoy. Like writing here. Creating art in all the ways I love to. And making some money. Right now, if I’m healthy I feel like I can do anything. That’s a good place to be.

From Fun Times to Head Injuries In a Single Blow

…continued from the previous entry

Sunday. Fifth date. Cute Theatre Boy and I haven’t seen each other in almost a week- due to house guest presence- and at this early stage 6 days has been a looong time. The plan is all-American classic: dinner and a movie (not in that order).  I’m generally not a fan of the movie date. Not only is talking (good conversation being the key to a good date) completely inappropriate but I also get distracted by the reactions of my date. But after 8 hours at work on my feet regaling: “Hello. Welcome. To enter go next to the escalator around to the entrance in the back. There’s a free coat check in back of me, restrooms on your left.” sitting in comfy$12 seats sounds excellent.

Unfortunately (debatable assessment), as we sit down in our seats, lights dim, movie starts, I am indeed completely distracted by the person sitting next to me. We quickly become one of “those” couples (much to my chagrin on one level and enjoyment on another) except we are both trying very hard to not annoy those in back of us. We basically become like two eighth graders whose chaperons are sitting mere rows behind (by the way from here on Parental Discretion is Advised for this entry. Which really means I think my mom reads my blog. Mother, dear, if you are reading this…please stop!) ; trying to be discreet but probably failing miserably (although no dirty or knowing looks were cast our way, maybe just maybe 20 somethings have more mastery of subtlety than 13 year olds).  P.S. all that said, I did actually watch (most of) the movie (which was Vicky Christina Barcelona, some how still in an indie theater- only in NYC) and thoroughly enjoyed it. Fine, don’t believe me.

Movie over. Out of theater. On the sidewalk. He pulls me aside. Close. Ok. If you’re really hungry we could figure out somewhere to get dinner but… I kinda have to have you right now. Screw subtlety! Sex vs. Food? No contest. The dinner part of dinner and a movie is on hold.  A short (debatable assessment. It did not feel short, but at least it was shorter than six days) subway ride later, we’re back at his apartment (on the cusp of Harlem and the Upper East Side, it’s nice…ah I’m a sucker for boys with Manhattan apartments).

Things are getting started. We’re on his bed. Smooches. States of undress. In the same way he told me he had to have me right now he purrs in my ear Lie Down. I comply with gusto. With enthusiasm. With fervor. With apparently all that (and more) and a mighty swift motion meant to send me back in the pillows but instead BAM! &(#*@!!! OUCH!!!!OW!!! The back of my head connects hard with a nightstand the boy has (STUPIDLY) placed in back of his bed. The pain is sharp but not overwhelming. I decide I can shake it off. Are you ok?? I’m tough. Yes. I am delusional and have a unnerving tolerance for pain.

Kisses later my head is still pounding. The “shaking it off” plan is not going as well as hoped. I put my hand up to the collision site to gauge what kind of mammoth bump to expect in the morning. I touch my head and feel wetness. WHY IS MY HEAD WET? Are you sure you’re ok? Fuck! No! Fuck! Lights come on.

FUCK! we exclaim in unison, looking at the blood spattered all over the head of his bed. BLOOD. From my HEAD. Shaking this off is clearly not an option.  Fuck! As the back of my head is not easily accessible to me, he checks out its situation.

Diagnosis: There is good new and bad news. The good news is it’s not deep and it’s small. The bad news is, I think we should go the the ER.

Cue me freaking out. Me trying convince him it really isn’t that bad, not hospital bad, come on! Him not agreeing. Me getting out of denial then freaking out about insurance. Him being totally calm. Me freaking out about calling my parents. Him holding my hand while I call them. Me: “Uh yeah Mom…I uh…hit my head..on…a desk! Yes! The corner of a desk!” (MOM, I told you to stop reading! Did you really want to know your daughter is a liar? Among other things?? Now you must just pretend it’s fiction. I mean, it is!) Him searching for the nearest hospital. Me some how not crying. Him finding a hospital that’s 4 blocks away. Me asking if I really, really have to go? Him getting me out of the apartment. Me walking down the street with a bloody head. Him actually keeping my freak out level pretty low, all things considered.

We walk to the ER. Where else would one ever do that but in New York? When we get there I’m faced with many forms and the unprecedented task of convincing hospital officials that Cute Theatre Boy is not, swear on my life, NOT domestically abusing me. Then about a three hour wait before I actually see a doctor. Followed by me freaking out when I am told they are going to put TWO STAPLES into my head. Then feeling bad ass. STAPLES.

The boy is amazing through the whole thing, stoic, couldn’t have been better. I can’t help but think of all the jerks who would have freaked out more than me, abandoned me at the hospital, or agreed with my denial “I don’t need the hospital!” diagnosis. That’s what the cliche New York man would do. Guess the boy’s not a New York cliche.

It’s after midnight by the time I’m all stapled up and ready to leave. He’s almost faint with hunger, I’m running off adrenalin but know my body needs food. We get burgers at a 24 hour diner, my head freshly stapled, blood still stuck in my hair. The next day he helps me wash my hair, a delicate process as sterilized water must be used. It’s something I don’t feel comfortable doing by myself and he agrees to help me wash my hair until the laceration (that’s not me being dramatic, that’s the word the doctors used!) has healed some what.

After sleeping most of the day (necessary recovery), I meet my house guest for dinner in Little Italy. She doesn’t believe my story, until I show her the staples. She doesn’t say this but I can see it in her eyes: Yeah, karma’s a bitch! Teach you for ditching me for a guy! Though staples?..that is pretty harsh. The next day her stand-by plan fails and she ends up staying with me the full ten days. For fucks sake karma, enough already! Nope, not quite.

Two days after the accident I’m back at Cute Theatre Boy’s place. He’s helping me wash my hair as arranged. Pouring the cold sterilized water on my head, making sure the wound is clean. I’m shivering from cold. Then seeing stars. The world is closing around me. Hearing myself say I don’t think I’m okay… From far away I hear, Lean on me. The next thing I know I am waking up on the floor of the bathtub. I fainted dead away in his arms.

I thought dating an actor would be dramatic, but nothing prepared me for all this.

Epilogue: My wound healed perfectly with no complications. I asked if I could keep the staples. They said no. We decided the fainting was due to the drastic temperature change of water on my head. My house guest finally left at the end of 10 days; unfortunately, she and I haven’t spoken since.

Rule: Houseguests Should Not Bar You From Getting Laid

Anyone who lives within any sort of proximity to NYC knows intimately the trials and tribulations of oh-so-inevitable house guests. The closer to the island your couch is, the more desirable a vacation destination it is. Now the majority of these guests have agendas- conferences, events- specific things that bring them to the city- as well as other New Yorkers they need to see. Their days are supposed to be crammed with activities which include treating you, the couch provider, to a meal and enabling you to spend your day off looking at New York through fresh eyes.

 

Being a good house guest is an art, a delicate balance, the mastery of which is essential to avoiding the riffs and ruined friendships which are easily the spoils of a miss calculated couch crash. It’s tough living with someone who’s in vacation mode, waking up early to spend the day sightseeing while you’re off to the daily grind where the only sight is your asshole of a boss.

So how long can I stay? she asks me via cross-coastal phone conversation. And so it begins. The delicate art of answering this question- I say too short and I’m a bitch, too long and I’ll start hating her. “Four Days.” I reply. That’s a direct quote.  Four days is a bit of a stretch, but I tell her as long as she realizes I can’t take off work, that I  will try to fit in time with her into my schedule, but I can’t make any promises.  As long as all that is clear, my aerobed is her aerobed.

And it’s fun. We go to restaurants I’ve wanted to try, see Avenue Q which I’ve wanted to see since 2003, do some good walking explorations, and complain about the East Coast Cold as only two California girls can. She’s on the needy side. She’s just visiting for no real reason, she doesn’t know anyone else in the city, but that’s alright for four days. Having a friend visit provides a great reminder of how awesome the city is, a fact which sometimes slips my mind now that it’s been my home for several months. Good times.

Then the bomb drops.

My mom actually booked my flight for ten days. But I’m going to try for stand by on Tuesday.

WHAT? Excuse me? TEN DAYS? When I said FOUR? How does that make sense? I can understand being economical or whatever, but not when it’s on my dime! My time dime! I already made plans for Sunday, the day you’re SUPPOSED to be leaving. I have a date with Cute Theatre Boy– our fifth date in fact, well past the cliché third.  If I have to come home and sleep in the same room as you when I’d rather be “sleeping” in the same room as him, I will come home a frustrated cranky-pants.

 

My decision: Sunday, the fourth day, I relinquish any “host duties”.  She can sleep on my floor, she has no where else to stay that doesn’t cost boat loads of money and if I asked her to go to a hotel I know the friendship would end right there, but I’m done entertaining her. She’s on her own. There’s guilt in this decision- am I being a shit friend? And perhaps I am because shortly following this decision, karma delivers me a sounding blow to the head (and I do mean that in the most literal way possible), the story of which you can read in my next post!