Amazing. I can write about the death of my father, but not this. What does that say about me? I don't know.
Yes, I do know, and I don't like it. So I will write, unsure of whether or not I'll actually discuss the secret itself. The secret itself is really nothing... and yet, I hide it... I cower away from it... but it is my secret to hide behind until I choose not to.
So be it.
When I turned 30, I decided that by age 40 I'd be past this. At age 33, I can honestly say I've made progress, though my indecision regarding the topic at hand shows I've still got a long way to go. I started writing this post in July of 2004 - a fact that is quite telling in and of itself.
It's mid afternoon and I'm walking out of the rest room at Huber's with the clammy feeling of freshly washed hands. But I'm feeling something else too. I've got that sinking feeling I know so well - a knot in my stomach. My body is reminding me: "You don't know where your table is."
There were two factors at play here. One: It was my first time at Huber's, so I wasn't familiar with the restaurant's layout. And two: I was sitting with three people - none of whom I knew very well. In fact, I'd just met two of the three that day.
OK, there were three factors at play. Kermit the frog said it's not easy being green. Well Kermit, I've found something harder to be than that.
The restroom door swings itself closed behind me as I take a look around. "There's the hallway. 'Go that way.'"
My table is somewhere in the big room at the end. Maybe if I hadn't had to work so hard to find the restroom it would have been easier to find my way back. In truth, finding my way back is easy - the real challenge is to find my way back without being spotted finding my way back.
They always spot me before I spot them, no matter who 'they' are. It's one of the many quirks that come with being me. Should you ever be me for a day, you've been warned.
There are many quirks that come with being me - including, but certainly not limited to: Is this my bus? Is someone trying to get my attention? Where is the thing I'm looking for? Is that car honking at me because I know the person in it, or is it honking at someone else... or, is it about to hit me? And my personal favorite: What does that say?
But, of course, I can't ask. Asking is akin to defeat. How fucked up a thought is that? Don't bother answering because, believe me, I already know.
Coping with 'being me' is all about knowing the tricks of the trade, so to speak. It's all about figuring things out without letting someone know I haven't yet figured them out so I won't have to either look like an idiot or, god forbid, 'EXPLAIN.' Oh dear mother fucking god, please don't put me in a position where I have to explain it to you.
Here's one trick to being me that's unlikely to come up: I don't normally go to fast food places, but if if I must, I'll pick somewhere I can order by number. Numbers are my friends. "I'll have a number three with a Sprite" I'll say while wondering what a number three will be. It's hard to go wrong with a number like three. A questionable item will be placed later in the overhead menu, thus giving it a higher number. The basics are what most people are looking for. They're at the top of the menu with a lower number. Lower numbers are the ones for me. With a low number, I'll avoid the embarrassment of asking for a six from a menu with five items. Trust me, that sucks.
I've reached the end of the hallway that leads from the restrooms to the dining room where we were seated. Turn right. From here, my table should be straight ahead of me.
But it isn't.
The mind races: "Was there a room between the restrooms and the dining room we're sitting in? Am I at the wrong place? Is there another dining room? We entered Huber's from the street, walked through a long room with a bar off to the left and many small tables, then around a corner and into this room with booths. Yes, yes... we wanted a booth. Those look like booths - I must be in the right room, but I don't see the people I came in with, nor do I see any empty booths - not that they'd leave while I was in the restroom."
Timing is everything.
When approaching a group of people that may or may not be the right group of people, there's a very slim grace period. Recognize the mistake soon enough & it's easy to turn away unnoticed. Recognize it too late and look like a fool. Or worse. Make the wrong decision and walk away from the people you're looking for.
That's how it works.
You probably don't have this problem of course. Lucky you. Don't get me wrong... I know you've got problems too - but that's fodder for your own damn blog. This space is mine.
I walk up to the booth I'd swear we were seated at, but I don't recognize anyone. I turn away, quickly scanning the booths in the distance off to my right. I head off that way, leaning in to each booth slightly more closely than I should - still recognizing no one.
Fuck fuck fuck.
"Does the room continue around the corner?" I don't know... let's go see.
It's dark back there, but as I approach I realize it's a wall. FUCK. Looking around again. Fuck. I have no idea where to go at this point. And really, there's nowhere TO go at this point, other than to backtrack, which means leaning in a little too closely to those booths again until I find the right one.
This one? FUCK.
This one? FUCK!
Oh come on, let it be this one... FU --- oh wait - is that them?
I did my best as I pretended to confidently slide back into the booth and rejoin the three people I was with, but they had - of course - spotted me searching.
They always spot me before I spot them.
Maybe some day, I'll explain the reason why.
This was a joy to read, because I could feel your emotions so clearly. Thank you for letting me in, even if only for part of the way.::::: | February 18, 2005 10:40 PM