Opposites Attract

I could write a whole blog on the side conversations I hear at The Grove. A third of the people are on dates. Another third are “reading” or looking for dates. And the last third are the Mexican workers concerned with only one date–their green card expiration date.

I’m sitting there, gnawing on a decrepit peanut butter cookie while reading my books. They had just sold their last chocolate chip cookie when I arrived. I should’ve gotten a slice of carrot cake. I threw the cookie away after just a few bites. And believe me, I never waste food.

I’m certain the couple next to me is on a blind date. It’s so unbearable to sit next to them, I wish I’d brought my iPod. The forced conversation. The awkward silences.

While inching his chair back, the guy asks his date, “Want anything else?”

“The chocolate cake is fine,” she responds. I’m thinking, this is my kind of girl.

Then she kisses him smack on the lips before he gets up. Wow, I’m thinking, that is really forward of her on a first date, especially with the dismal conversation. Maybe she’s really horny, planning on getting some action whether or not she really likes him. I read a statistic today that the majority of women spend more time doing laundry than having sex.

I’m intrigued by how this date is playing out.

I pretend to be engrossed in my book. “I’ve been meaning to pick up that book!” she hollers excitedly at the Freakonomics book I’m holding up. She’s in her mid- to late-thirties. Attractive. Outgoing.

“Yeah, it seems like all my friends have read it. It’s a quick read, too. I’ll be done tonight.”

Her date returns with a couple glasses of wine and a slice of chocolate cake.

I continue to read until the woman says something to her “blind date” that shocks me.

“My family really enjoyed meeting you over Thanksgiving.”

Wuh?! I’m astounded. She goes on to later say something about how they’ve been together for almost a year.

Now, I like to think of myself as smart. Even more so, I like to think of myself as street smart. I have a knack for reading people and situations. They did not seem like a couple that had been together for a year, let alone a full 8-hour day!

I’m so shocked, I stop paying attention to them. I’m annoyed at my failure in interpreting what’s really going on.

I’ve lost track of their conversation, but reconnect when she gushes over my books to this supposed long-term boyfriend of hers. “See what she’s reading? I need to pick that book up. And the other one she has there–In Cold Blood–that is one of my favorites. Oh I just love books. I can spend hours and hours in a bookstore. I wonder what I should read next?…You know, I should’ve been a freelance writer.”

Agh!!! My dream girl is sitting next to me and she’s dating a moron. I’m so tempted to give her my business card, suggesting we start a book club, a family…whatever.

“I’m sure if you go to a bookstore you can find something, ” he sighs. “All you have to do is look.” Those are his exact words. Verbatim. No shit, Sherlock!

“Hmph,” she mutters. “Well it’s good I fell for you before I knew how you felt about books.”

Unbelievable. I guess opposites (complete opposites, polar opposites) do attract.

Homeward Bound

Sitting in Heathrow Airport, on layover before the last leg of my journey, I can’t help but think of all the things I want to do when I get home. I find it shocking that when I had vacationed in the past I would come home, rev up my car, and dash to Jack-in-the-Box for chicken strips, curly fries, and an oreo cookie shake. The thought of more food disgusts me as the majority of this trip was spent eating and drinking. Always two bottles of red and two bottles of white to start, and stern advice to the waiters: “We don’t ever want to see a glass empty. Got it?”

No food cravings this time. Instead I foresee raw veggies in my diet for the next week–for the pure blandness of it. I have maxxed out on my quota of steak, duck, and chicken mayonnaise sandwiches.

I long to read an American newspaper, to check my stock portfolio with the hope that the gains will offset even a small portion of my pricey vacation. I want to flip through the trashy media: Us Weekly, People, and the celebrity gossip blogs I’m used to reading on a daily basis.

I’m curious to log on to my laptop and see what has progressed or not progressed on the work front given the Thanksgiving holiday. I was pleased with how I left things–nothing critical on my end.

I can’t wait to talk to my friends and family, to sit and read on my couch, to sleep in my own bed.

But most of all, I cannot wait to lace up my well-worn New Balances and hit the Golden Gate Park track with my iPod. After the constant interaction with others, the solitude and serenity of it… After the numbing 22+ hours in an economy seat and sitting in taxis and tour buses, the full-body movement of it… A particular kind of heaven. It’s good to be home.

I Appreciate You

This is for the anonymous person who commented, “He went out of his way to do you a favor. You could at least have the courtesy to call him back and saying “thanks but no thanks”.

The cop didn’t have my number at first. I called him to tell him how thankful I was for everything he did. I also gave him my number. He returned my call. I called him back. Phone tag ensued and that’s when the guy called me eight times in a row.

I’m not that much of a bitch to not even call him and say thanks! If there’s one thing I am, it’s appreciative. When I went to Chicago to visit my business school for the first time, I was hosted by a 2nd-year student. My last night there, she opened up a bottle of wine–her favorite–a cabernet that could only be purchased from the winery. I made a point to write down the name of the wine. When I returned home, I drove to Napa that very next weekend, and had her favorite wine shipped to her direct from the winery.

While I’m at it, I want to give a shout out to my two favorite Chicago boys, Joe Castillo and Paul Capper. I met these two in b-school when I choreographed a dance routine for our annual variety show. Imagine directing a bunch of geeky guys who have no sense of rhythm (I’m talking about the group not Joe or Paul.). It was painful, but an overall enjoyable experience. If you want to hear more about my bad temper, just ask these guys. During a practice session, I had a full-on conniption. But I got my result. They performed and performed well. Aside from the grand performance, I befriended a group of fun, interesting guys.

Anyhow, these two hoodlums roadtripped out here this past summer after they graduated from b-school. We had a jolly time, hanging out. In fact, we spent a whole night engaged in a lively discussion about sex. Very, very interesting. After they left and the ofoto albums were sent out, these guys went out of their way to mail me the above photo in a frame. A nice gesture, indeed. Thanks so much, Joe and Paul! I get to see your lovely faces every single day