Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Know when to walk away

The other night, I accompanied Kristin to the third Grand Reopening of the Capitol Lounge. What reopened this time was the kitchen.

First amusing incident--on my arrival, I spotted my former neighbor, Hun (horrible upstairs neighbor). Before the Lounge burned down, Hun was a regular. The last time I visited with Kristin, Hun was there, but we did not say hello. I tried to make eye contact with her, but it wasn't happening.

This time, I saw Hun seated at the bar and I slowed down and said, "Hello, Hun." To my surprise, I receive a very warm, "Hey Jamy! How are you?" in return. We chatted in a friendly way for several minutes. Much to my chagrin, after Hun asked me how things were going in the building, I started to complain about the complete lack of wherewithal of the condo-mates--if there is weeding to be done, I do it; if a light bulb needs to be changed, I change it, etc. Right about then, Kristin showed up, walked right past me and I had to slap her (gently) on the back to get her to stop and turn around.

I introduced her to Hun, pleasantries were exchanged and we said goodbye. Kristin and I went downstairs to find the rest of our party. I'm glad Hun and I are on friendly terms and I don't have to worry about the 'saying hi' thing when I see her.

We found Kristin's brother and friend at the small bar downstairs and we settled in. We chatted happily, drank and ordered something to eat. Our friends left after a while and Kristin and I were on our own.

The second amusing incident started after I'd finished my first beer and a sandwich. I was working on a glass of water.

A man came up between us to and said, "I'll buy you a drink if you can name this song."

Without thinking, I said, "The Gambler." I'm not a big Kenny Rogers fan, but "The Gambler" is the best little song about relationships that is ostensibly about gambling ever.

"That's right--what do you want to drink? Oh, you're just having water." He seemed surprised that I got it so quickly.

"It's a good song. I like it."

Kristin agreed, "It is a good song."

The guy said, "Are you sure you don't want something--[to the bartender]--get her whatever she wants."

I ordered another Bass. Hey, I won the bet, didn't I?

Unfortunately, this boring, moderately unattractive fellow who was in town for a conference, took this as an invitation to hover around Kristin and me for the rest of the night. He mentioned that he might go over to Buffalo Billiards and we encouraged him to go. "It's a fun place."

"There are a ton of pool tables there."

He said, "I was at Atomic Billiards last night and I met some guys there and they said they were going to Buffalo tonight."

I said, "Oh, we have a friend who plays at Atomic all the time. Maybe you met him." This caused Kristin to giggle.

Not only did the moderately boring man never go to Buffalo, but at the end of the evening, he started to proposition Kristin. "Are you leaving now?"

"Pretty soon." Kristin said. "It's a school night."

He said, "You're in school?"


"So why is it a school night?" You have got to be kidding.

I said, "We have to get up in the morning--to go to work."

"So are you in school too?" He asked Kristin.

Kristin said, "No."

"So where are you going now? Can I come with you?"

"Home." Kristin answered.

"I don't mind, I can come with you there."

I said, "No you can't."

He looked at me, then said to Kristin, "She's a good friend."

He ambled away and I said, "Sorry."

Kristin said, "For what?"

The last amusing incident of the night occurred about half an hour later when we were actually gathering our things, paying the bill and planning to leave. The bar was emptying out and we were chatting with a group of bartenders, bar-backs and a cook. A man comes up behind me, and says, "Hey! It's you! How are you?"

I recognize him immediately. It's this guy. Un-fucking-believable. Good ol' Stan. I give him a decidedly unenthusiastic hello.

Stan says, "It's been so long! Ten years--I can't believe it's been so long."

I say, "It hasn't been that long. I haven't lived here for ten years. It's probably been six years."

"You're right. I've lived here for ten years. Maybe that's why I said that. So, how are you? What are you doing?"

"I'm fine. I'm doing the same thing--same job. I did move though." I tell him where I live.

"That's great! I have a buddy who lives up there--I hope you bought."

"Yes, I bought a condo."

"Good for you. That's smart."

Kristin and I stand up and put on our coats. Stan turns to Kristin and introduces himself. I'm sure he thought I forgot his name. I didn't forget.

"Are you guys leaving?"

"Yes, we have to get some sleep. Work is busy."

"Hey, do you have a card?" Stan asks.

I say, "A business card?" Because I'm smooth like that. I rifle through my wallet, knowing full well I have no cards. I say, "I have a lot of cards, but no business cards." I pull out my ticket stub for Brokeback Mountain. "What about this?"

"That's great. Write down your email address."

I wrote down my email address on the back of the ticket stub for the saddest little movie in the world and handed it to Stan. He walked us upstairs and went back to his friends. Kristin and I left.

I started ranting as soon as we got outside, "I can't believe that guy! Does he think I forgot what happened?" I gave Kristin the two minute version of the story (it's really all I remember): I met Stan in a bar and we talked. He asked for my number and he called me a few days later. We had one date. He plied me with martinis, went back to my place and we kissed. He said he would call and he didn't. I got myself a little worked up waiting for him to call so I called him. He told me he'd gotten back together with his ex-girlfriend and couldn't see me again.

I said, "It's not like I haven't seen him in the last six years. He's seen me in the neighborhood. And we've definitely said hi."

Kristin said, "It was kind of awkward. He was all over you. He really wanted your email. He was so attentive."

"He was, wasn't he? I don't get it. It's funny, when I first met him, he asked for my business card and I gave it to him. I was thinking, 'you already have my card, why don't you go find it.' I bet he's going to ask me out."

"Oh, I'm sure you'll be hearing from him."

"Well, maybe he's changed, but I doubt it. I bet he just broke up with someone. I'm almost willing to put money on it. I think I should reject him. Jerk."

I wonder why I still have such a strong negative feeling about Stan. I think it's because he wasn't straight with me. I've been rejected plenty of times and, though it's never pleasant, I find it a lot easier to handle if the guy is honest. It's the lying I can't forgive. I particularly don't like that he left me hanging. If he'd just called to explain, I might have been dissappointed, but I wouldn’t have even been angry.

While it might be amusing to toy with him, I wouldn't actually enjoy it. I'm figuring he won't email (maybe he was drunk last night) and I can just forget about it. You know how well that usually works out for me....

Grateful for: attention.

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