1. As I step into the elevator to the only guy in there: “Hey! Nice tie!”
Guy’s confused response: “Huh? Oh. Thanks.”
Awkward elevator ride ensues.
2. On the phone to woman in H.R. in New York office whom I’ve never met: “Wow, you’ve got a great voice. You should be in radio.”
Her response: “You are so sweet. You know, I used to be a cabaret singer.”
We talked about that for three minutes before she told me where I could find the personnel transfer form (I’m not transferring out, someone is transferring into my department).
3. To the guy at dry cleaners (not Ramon): “I love your watch, man. Is that a Rolex?”
His response: “Thanks, no, it’s a TAG Heuer.”
I listened to him talk about all the features but I kept thinking does anyone really ever use the timer and stopwatch features on a watch when you can just use the ones on your phone?
All in all, Monday was pretty successful. Still, it’s hard to pull off not looking like a psychopath complimenting someone’s tie in a closed elevator.
I saw Bao Guy (Scott) at lunch yesterday and decided to count him as one of my compliments for the day (I know, he’s not really a stranger, but I saw him, so what the hell).
“Hey, what’s up, man. I saw that video. You were great in it.” He actually was pretty funny in it, even if the video itself looked like it was shot by a retarded monkey with cerebral palsy.
He really appreciated the compliment. And guess what? He invited me to a party at the director’s house this weekend. I played it cool, but I was actually pretty stoked. I just hope the director isn’t the one mixing the drinks.
1. To the guy at the ticket booth in the garage: “Hey, great song. Who’s that you’re listening to?” Turns out it was Shakira. Don’t get me wrong, I know who Shakira is, but I have to honestly say I’ve never heard a single thing she’s done.
2. To the (heavy) woman picking out apples at Whole Foods: “Hey, I love your earrings.” Her response was basically, “Are you talking to me?” but after the initial shock of a stranger talking to her, she smiled and said, “Thanks.” I wish I could convey how blown away she was by this simple little thing.
Pretty much everyone who drives a Ferrari is an asshole.
So I decided to kill two birds with one stone and compliment a Ferrari driver on how nice his car is. I rolled down my window and yelled, “Hey, man, sweet ride!”
He just looked over at me, checked me for sincerity, then just nodded. A little hint of a self-satisfied smirk. But mostly just the nod. Like, “I know. But thanks for saying so anyway.”
The light turned green and he peeled out, as required by the unwritten rule of the road that says the nicer car goes first.
I have mixed feelings about this one. I drove off wondering whether it was wrong to fuel his pathetic but fragile ego like that.
It finally happened. Just as I was leaving for the day the elevator door opened and there she was. And she was alone. I was caught off guard for a moment but I immediately realized I only had an elevator ride down to the lobby to make this happen so I just got in, let the door close, and said, “Hi, I’m Fletcher.”
I glanced a bit in her direction, but more or less stayed looking forward (i.e., practically no eye contact).
And apparently when someone introduces themselves, it’s a normal human reaction to respond in kind.
She said, “Michelle.”
“I’ve seen you before.” Stating the obvious but it’s a start.
“Yeah, I work at […].”
I told her where I worked.
Ding. We reached the lobby.
“Well, have a great weekend,” I said casually.
And that was it.
Possibly the shortest, most insignificant conversation ever, but it felt amazing! You know why? Because first of all, I did what I said I was going to do and took control of my destiny. Second, now I know her name, so the next time we see each other, we won’t be strangers. It won’t be weird to talk.
On the drive home, I wondered why this was such a huge thing. I mean, isn’t communication like this the most basic human skill? How did we lose this ability to talk to people?
I went to that party at Scott’s friend’s apartment in North Hollywood. First of all, what a dump. How do people live there? I live in Brentwood where it’s literally ten degrees cooler, and by the way, it’s not much more expensive.
Anyway, the party was at this director’s apartment. I use the term “director” loosely, as he has “directed” one short film starring Scott, and it’s about a guy who stops a mugging/rape only to find out in the end that it’s really just a cat and I guess he imagined everything else. I won’t go into detail about how bad the film is.
The party was mostly actors and I will say that actors are a pretty attractive bunch. There were a lot of cute girls there. I didn’t know anyone other than Scott so I made a beeline for him. He introduced me as his “lawyer friend” and I had to keep correcting him since I am a banker, not a lawyer. But he was already too drunk to make the mental note and continued calling me a lawyer.
I met a few people through Scott, including one really hot “actress” named Marny. I met a few other people on my own, asking a lot of open-ending questions. The one thing I learned was that it’s hard to make it big as an actor. That’s all anyone talked about. Auditions, callbacks, getting an agent. I saw “Swingers” a long time ago and it was exactly like that. I think when people found out I couldn’t help them they kind of lost interest.
So I went back to Marny and listened to her talk about a screenplay she’s writing about two women who rob banks and kill other women’s cheating boyfriends (real subtle). To be honest, it made absolutely no sense but I listened and nodded thoughtfully. This went on for a long time. Before I knew it, the party was breaking up and she was just finishing the story.
I figured maybe I’d get her number and call her sometime but suddenly, she says, “You want to go somewhere else?”
I was like, sure. So we went to some bar and had a few drinks. Then, when I really thought the night was over (it was like 4 am), she says, “Do you want to come back to my place?”
To be honest, I was shocked. I was literally speaking only 5% of the time. How can that be interesting enough to invite me back to her place? But I guess she just really likes people who listen.
We went back to her place and well, you know. Sunday morning was kind of awkward but I kissed her goodbye and said I’d call her.
All day yesterday I was thinking about two things: (1) should I call this girl? I mean, I didn’t really find her interesting. But she was very attractive and I think I’ve earned a meaningless physical relationship. On the other hand, where is this going to go? It’s going to end badly if it even begins, so why be an asshole and pretend to like her? On the other, other hand, I did say I’d call her…
The second thing I kept thinking about was Elevator Girl. I mean Michelle.
I called her. Not like I’ve got anything else going on romantically. And hey, maybe we’ll hit it off. You never know. We’re going to go out Friday night on a real date. I’m going to stay positive about this.
Sleeping with Marny made me forget all about my lunch with Paul on Saturday. He’s been following my exploits on the blog and I think he’s come around to thinking this is pretty cool.
“Hey, you’re new. I haven’t seen you here before.”
She said she started a few weeks ago so I asked where she worked before that. In less than two minutes I found out she was a fit model. I’d never heard of this, but apparently it means she’s a perfect size 4 for a particular brand of jeans so they use her to make more size 4 patterns. You could say she’s the Platonic size 4.
She went off to put in our order and I looked at Paul feeling smug. He had just watched the whole time and was pretty impressed by the whole conversation.
When she came back, I asked some more questions, but this time she only gave me one or two-word answers. Not sure why I suddenly lost my rapport with her, I tried again when she brought out our food.
She looked at me kind of annoyed and said, “Look, no offense, but I don’t date customers and I’m super busy today so…”
I turned red, she took off, and Paul laughed at me. Was it my hubris that had gotten the better of me? Or did I break the rule about seeming too creepy? Or is it just waitresses who are buzz kills?
Friday night was weird. I picked Marny up in Hollywood and then drove all the way back to Brentwood for dinner. I should have just said meet me at the restaurant and saved myself 90 minutes but I was trying to make this a real date, and call me old fashioned but I think that includes pick-up service.
Marny looked great. She really is an attractive girl. She’s a little younger than me, 24 I think she said, and she has long, straight, blonde hair. Plus, she’s pretty tall. I’m only 5’9″ and she was almost as tall as me. And she’s very thin. I guess you have to be if you want to make it as an actress.
Anyway, we talked in the car about her typical day. She works as a receptionist for a producer and he lets her go on auditions whenever she wants. She had one audition on Thursday for a new sitcom that she thinks went well.
At dinner, she was talking about all the plays she’s done and her scene studies or something. I noticed the menu had been poorly formatted where the prices didn’t line up. Usually this is because someone used the space bar to line it up manually instead of the tab key and I tried a gambit of telling the waiter.
“Any questions about the menu?”
“Yes, I have a question. Did you ever notice that the prices don’t line up?”
I explained my theory about the space bar and the waiter seemed to be very sympathetic. He said he does freelance graphic design and he’d never make that mistake. But no one ever noticed it before and I wondered whether a graphic designer really could have missed something as obvious as that.
Anyway, I thought it was funny, the waiter did, too, but Marny just stared at me like I was crazy. Like, I was Rain Man or something.
The rest of the night I just focused on listening to Marny talk incessantly about acting. I asked other questions, like where she grew up and stuff, but it always came back to acting. I don’t want to sound like an elitist dick here, but “intellectually curious” would not be how you would describe Marny.
I took her to a jazz club after dinner. (Again, I wanted this to be a real date and I planned something special.) The weird thing was that I was glad not to have to listen to her anymore, but at one point, she held my hand and rested her head on my shoulder.
That kind of freaked me out. Again, it’s weird because we already had sex. But the intimacy of her holding my hand felt so… premature. I was really uncomfortable.
The other weird thing is that I thought the date was kind of blah. She had made a pretty mediocre impression on me. We didn’t really connect. She didn’t like my musings on tabs vs. spaces and I knew right then and there that we’d never have a future together. I didn’t want her to be my girlfriend. I didn’t even want to go out with her again.
But outside the jazz club, she kissed me. We made out for a while. And then I took her back to my place and we, you know.
So Saturday, I felt like shit. I think she really likes me. Probably because I’m such a good fucking listener now. But I can’t keep leading her on. It’s not right. I’m not 22 and capable of meaningless relationships anymore. Maybe this is what growing up is all about. I want more. I don’t want to just hook up. I want someone where there’s an end game. I feel like I’m one of those women from a bad romantic comedy. But it’s true, I want someone who I look forward to spending time with.
Still, there’s something intoxicating about having someone be more into you than you are her. And a totally hot girl, too. Intoxicating is definitely the right word. It feels like the beginning stages of addiction. (Educated guess only.) I know I need to end it before it goes too far.
Oh, and by the way, we already made plans for a third date for Wednesday.