Sunday, March 13, 2005

Night of the highlighters

Since my exciting neighbor crisis is over and I have no date prospects, I thought I would go back in time and share some of my greatest hits. This not exactly a dating story, but KJ thought it would be funny, so I'll give it a whirl.

On the night of the highlighters I went out with KJ and CK and handed out highlighters. A night of drinking and random highlighter dispensing…what more could you want? I had a box of highlighters that a guy had given to me. That's right, this fellow gave me a box of highlighters as a present. I was still working on my dissertation and he thought highlighters would help me study. He wasn't joking, he was trying to be helpful. I think I mentioned studying to him, but at that stage of the dissertation I wasn't doing any more reading--I was writing and doing statistical analysis. And, I don't think I was working very hard. I must have been feeling guilty about not working hard, so I talked about it.

I met C from Philadelphia (CfP) at a happy hour sponsored by the DCJCC (DC Jewish Community Center). (I guess that means that Jdate© wasn't my very first foray into the Jewish dating pool.) At this happy hour, I became the object of attention of two guys, CfP and a fellow who worked at the Patent Office (PO). I think I'm not being vain when I tell you that these two guys were vying for my attention. It took me a little while to realize what was going on, but CfP's actions made it somewhat hard not to draw that conclusion. I was standing and talking to both of them and CfP slowly but surely kept inching to his right, away from PO. I had to turn to keep talking to him, which meant turning my back to PO. CfP was boxing him out. I was amused when I realized it. I was also impressed and a bit nonplussed because I was already pretty sure that neither of these guys was for me. But I could not escape. We all walked to the metro together, we all exchanged numbers, and in a couple of days I heard from CfP. I eventually heard from PO too and we had a normal, boring one-time date--no funny story.

On our first date, CfP and I went to the National Building Museum followed by lunch. I didn't like him too much, but I found him oddly fascinating. He talked non-stop in a mind-numbing monotone. Some of what he said was reasonably interesting and it wasn't like I never got a word in, but he never paused. When he was thinking of the next thing to say he would say "um" or "you know" until the next thought came. He also looked at me very intently the entire time we were together. It was slightly unnerving. Way too much eye contact. I got the distinct impression that he wanted to marry me. I looked at him and I could see that "she is a nice Jewish girl" look on his face. It was…what can I say? Encouraging. Even though I was 99% sure it wasn't going to happen, I was interested enough to have a second date with him. There have not been that many guys who wanted to marry me. What if the weird talking were just nerves? Who knew? Be mindful, though, that on that first date he offered to take me to Philadelphia and show me around and meet his mother. Right. He also gave me a present: a box of 12 highlighters in pink, blue and yellow. I don't use highlighters and thought it was a bit much (but not wrong). I didn't want 12 highlighters, though. I managed to leave them in his car and I hoped he would forget about them too.

The second date was a movie. Since it was at Union Station we got a bite to eat in the food court. I realized it was a mistake to have agreed to the second date. He proceeded to keep doing the weird talking thing. He regaled me with stories about his law firm and how his pregnant colleague probably wasn't going to be promoted because she wasn't working enough hours. He exuded about zero sympathy for her. He got the job done. He stayed as late as they asked, did what ever was asked of him and thought that was how it should be. All delivered in a flat, no-pause monotone. I was disgusted and I started to hate him.

We saw the movie. He drove me home. I noticed the highlighters were right there on the floor where I'd left them. He said not to forget them this time. I looked in the bag and he'd also gotten me some candy. I thanked him and said it was too much. Then I said I was tired (true--hating someone can wear me out) and that I had to study (lie--at least I had no intention of studying, I probably did need to study). He said he wished I had time for coffee but that he understood I had to study. I almost flew out of the car as I said goodnight. Gotta give CfP credit, though, he never called again. He seemed clueless, but he did get that I was not interested. I ate the candy promptly. It was something good, like truffles. But, I was stuck with a box of 12 highlighters that I would never use.

KJ was coming to town and I decided that we should go hit all the bars on Penn that I'd never gone to, and all the ones I had gone to, and give away the highlighters. I also invited CK. They thought I was crazy, but were also amused by my plan. I gave each of them four highlighters to do with as they pleased. I didn't mind if they wanted to keep them, but they had to give away at least one.

We ventured out. At first it was embarrassing. How do you choose who gets a highlighter? The more I had to drink, the easier it got. Mostly, we were met with odd looks and suspicion, followed by reluctant highlighter acceptance. A typical exchange:
"Hey, you look like you could use a highlighter."


"Have a highlighter."

"Uh, ok." Takes highlighter. "I have to go." Attempts to return highlighter.

"No, keep it. It's for you. It's a present."

"You don't want it back? I don't want to keep your highlighter."

"I'm giving them all away. You have to keep it."

"Ok then." Leaves quickly.

I was pretty toasty by the time we got to the Tune Inn. I flirted with the bartender and told him I was sorry that I was all out of highlighters. KJ said that he was flirting back, but I didn't notice. Too bad, I still remember thinking he was very cute.

Grateful for: nights with friends and highlighters.

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