When I was a little kid, one of my favorite games was Chutes And Ladders. Spin the number wheel & move forward that many spaces on the game board, landing on a space that may help you to advance further forward or fall behind. A ladder, a chute... or just a plain old space. A space is fine, because you're at least safe where you stand. A ladder is of course superb because the goal is to get to the end - the last space on the board... and a chute is a royal pain in the arse.
The game was good wholesome fun when I was six. I was far too sophisticated a child for Hungry Hungry Hippos and games of that sort. No no no... I was destined to be a chutes and ladders man. Now here I am at age 32, and much to my shock and dismay, I've come to realize that life is a giant game of Chutes And Ladders, except that this time, I'm often playing against myself.
Case in point:
Let's say that I meet a woman & she's intelligent, charming, attractive, interesting and creative... and did I mention that I have a penis? Thus, I am interested! It's not that I'm going to try to sleep with her. The goal is to get a second date. "A second date? You haven't even gone on a first date yet." Hey, I never said my thinking made sense.
THE GAME IS ON:
We talk. I spin the wheel by telling her one of my favorite stories - such as the cow story. She laughs as I advance three spaces! Neato!
I ask her out on an actual 'date' & she accepts. LADDER! I advance ten spaces!
I take her to a cute little Italian restaurant downtown. LADDER! I advance seven spaces.
I mention that toe rings are quite possibly the dumbest form of body art. She kicks me under the table with her toe-ringed-foot. CHUTE! back twenty spaces. Crap.
I blow it off as if it's no biggie... Ladder! Advance eight spaces.
The bread doesn't arrive until after the food does. This is neither a chute nor a ladder... I'm left stationary as I spin the wheel in preparation for my next move. [This place has great bread that you have to tear it apart with your hands and dip it in vinegar and olive oil. On a date, it's always a winner]
We're small talking about all sorts of things, and I mention that I love curling up on the couch with a bottle of wine & telling stories [true by the way]. She says that sounds like fun. LADDER! We leave a tip & get the hell out of there while I advance fifteen spaces!
We pick up a bottle of red wine at the Psycho Safeway downtown near where I live. What the hell is that smell and who is emitting it? What's the connection between psychosis and not showering? It doesn't matter because it's still a Chute. Back 9 spaces. Crazy people shop at this store! [grumble grumble]
We enter my condo building [I'm renting by the way]. My drug addict neighbor ISN'T getting stoned out of his mind tonight & thus, he's not stinking up the whole floor! That's another safe space for yours truly.
As we walk in my front door, my cats come running up to meet us. She loves animals. LADDER! I advance six spaces.
My cats decide to play "Marco-Polo-Cat-o". This is where they lie down at opposite sides of the apartment and yell back and forth for no reason whatsoever. Chute. Back 5 spaces thanks to a mood killer.
We're now on the couch sharing a bottle of Shiraz. It's yummy. Another safe space for me.
As the evening progresses, I spun the wheel & kissed her. Just a nice soft little kiss. Looks like I landed on a safe space. Hhhmmm... All is going well.
I touch the end of my nose against the end of her nose, looking her in the eye... then I kiss her again. Ladder! Advance ten spaces.
Uhh... she's a bit of a sloppy kisser. Aggressive maybe. Or - wait a minute... I think she bit me! CHUTE! Back fifteen spaces! Am I bleeding? Oh geez... there's no cool way to hide my bludgeoned lip and continue the festivities... crap. Chute. Back twenty spaces.
She's embarrassed. She's eyeing the door... Uh-oh! ...is that a splotch of blood on her white shirt? CHUUUUUUUUUUTE! Back to start... lookth like it'th game over unleth I'm willing to thtart again from thquare one. My lip ith throbbing & I thound like I wath at the dentitht.
It'th not my fault that the'th got fangth, and yet I'm thuppothed to feel thupid now. Thith thuckth.