Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Smorgasbord

21st Anniversary: T minus 2 days
My friend Stan, bless his heart, wanted to find me a girlfriend. Guess he'd finally gotten fed up with my two-year-long depression following my breakup with GF v1.0. A week or two before winter break, he hosted a dinner party and invited me, Karen, Suzie, and their roommate Kira. At this point in history, Karen had broken up with BF v1.0, landing her in fresh rebound territory. Stan figured this put her off limits, which left Suzie and Kira, but Kira could serve High Tea on my head (she's that tall), so that left Suzie. We played monopoly and poker after dinner. I glistened like a coked-up Robin Williams and Karen was a whip-crack herself, witty and intelligent. Suzie was Suzie (cute and bubbly) and Kira was funny as hell, but Karen had most of my interest. In my anemic language of the time -- what I told Stan, and soon after, what I told Karen -- I thought she and I were on the same wavelength. That we were psychic twins. Amazing thing is, this didn't scare her off. I'll skip most of winter break. I had a disastrous reunion with GF v1.0. You'd think after two years I could manage a let's-be-friends scene, which was all I wanted*, but I didn't give sufficient credit to my capacity for sheer unmitigated assholishness. Winter quarter: Karen and I had one class together, Physical Chemistry Lab. She sat with Kira (we were all Chemistry or Chemical Engineering majors), I sat by myself. We had a senile instructor, Professor O'Konski, who provided endless jeering entertainment. Once, for example, he drew a stick figure of two-legged creatures and four-legged creatures (I think this was meant to demonstrate some subtle point regarding reaction kinetics) and said, "Here are the cowboys, riding on their cows." I'm not kidding. I'd have had more stories from that man, save for the fact my attention was riveted not on him but on Karen. Specifically, on trying to work up the nerve to ask her out. My tongue would not work. I had no trouble calling her on the phone, nor had I any qualms about dropping in at her apartment unannounced. I found ways of getting us together, but not in a manner that would be confused with a date. No, when it came to asking her out, I was verklempt**. At the beginning of class one day, I passed her a note: "This is a gimpish way to go about it but what the hell. Would you want to go out with me?" I'd hoped she would pass the note back with a "Sure!" but no such luck. She made me wait until after class. Then she cornered me in lab, with Kira standing over her shoulder as bouncer-on-call. "Are you going to explain this note to me?" she said. "What's a gimpish thing to do?" I hooked a couple of fingers around her arm and dragged her away from Kira. "Will you go out with me?" I half-whispered. "Elaborate!" "Huh?" "When? What? Where?" But I hadn't thought that far ahead. I mean, jeez, did I have to have everything planned? So I invited her over for dinner the following Saturday night. I gave her my address. As she walked back to her lab station, she called after me: "Jeez, some people are shy." Friday night, Kira and Stan walked over to my apartment in the rain. "Kira wants to see your apartment," Stan said, but I think actually Kira wanted to check me out a bit closer. She borrowed a few books from my bookshelf, undoubtedly a ruse to see which books I had on my shelf. Fortunately, my 120 Days of Sodom and Other Writings, Encyclopedia of Serial Killers, and Autopsy, Volume 3 were safely tucked away. And, fortunately, the half-naked Billy Idol poster belonged to my roommate Russ, not me. Following a detour to Mama's BBQ for Stan, the three of us returned to Kira's apartment. Karen was there. We all played cards until 1 AM. That evening, the feeling returned -- what I called kismet yesterday. A sense of inevitability. On Sex and the City, the women hump their beaus like brain-lesioned rabbits and date for months before the subject of marriage ever comes up. Yet here I was, thinking about the future, the far future, and we hadn't even dated yet. Sure, Sex and the City is a 21st century phenom, while all this stuff with Karen, that was in the OLD days -- the 80s! Did people even have sex back then? D. *And isn't that dishonest as hell. **Fake American Yiddish, courtesy of SNL: overcome with emotion.
***
NOTE!
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3 Comments:

Blogger mm said...

Happy anniversary Doug and Karen. I'm a bit early but I'm leaving today for a funeral and won't be back to wish you well on the day.

21 years is impressive. Especially now that I've seen your "come-hither" technique (aka: the facewink)

:-)

6/29/2005 08:45:00 AM  
Blogger Douglas Hoffman said...

It helps that Karen is blind, deaf, and has no sense of smell.

Just kidding. Thanks for the wishes.

6/29/2005 09:40:00 AM  
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