Post-Game Wrap-Up

First of all, the game was pretty exciting. I didn’t mind watching at all, though I couldn’t care less who won. No one at the party was a super-fan so we didn’t have any problems with guys in face-paint going berserk when some dude dropped the ball.

Twenty-two guests showed up. Scott, Gunther, Gordo, Polly, and some other obvious candidates, plus the dry cleaner Ramon and believe it or not, letter carrier Hung. The Whole Foods contingent came en masse, and the fun thing was, a lot of people brought a friend or two, so there were new people to meet.

One of the best things about the party was that it was such a weird mix of people that practically no one (besides me) knew more than a small percentage. So everyone was meeting a lot of new people. But hands down, my favorite new person is Astrid the check-out girl’s boyfriend Cesar. He works in marketing, but mostly for appliance manufacturers. His job is to “humanize” appliances by making boring features seem more intelligent. Example: He pointed to my toaster oven. It had a setting called, “Bagel.” He asked me, “What do you think that does?”

I had never really thought about it, but I did use it every time I want to toast a bagel. I said, “I don’t know, some kind of sensor makes the toaster heat penetrate a thicker dough of a bagel?”

He said, “That’s what I do. I make you think the toaster is smart. ‘Bagel’ setting increases the toast time by 10%. That’s it.”*

Turns out, there are only two things that are adjustable on the toast setting. Power and time. You can make the power go from 10% to 100% and you can adjust the time it toasts. That’s it. Putting a button on the front that says “Belgian Waffles” doesn’t change the fact that there’s only those two variables.

I love this guy.**

Anyway, the party was a big hit. Everyone had fun. It was good seeing Scott again. And Gunther even got along with his ex Monica. (I should have mentioned that things didn’t work out with 19-year-old aspiring TV personality Marta. It didn’t long. I think they broke up in December.) I’m not sure, but I think Gunther and Monica may have left together. So maybe if that’s back on, I can add matchmaker to my resume.

* Bagel setting also makes only the top element heat because it assumes you sliced your bagel and placed both sides face up, unlike the normal toast setting which toasts on both the upper and lower element simultaneously. But I already knew that part.

** I will post another entry about the rest of our conversation. I just love it when I learn something that never occurred to me but is so obvious when someone tells you.

Gathering the Troops

This week has been fun trying to invite people to my Superbowl party. The first and only rule is: no emails as it kind of defeats the whole purpose.

I don’t have a Rolodex of everyone I’ve met in the last 18 months but that’s okay. It’s an excuse to track people down and talk to them.

So first, I called the people I know well enough to have phone numbers for. Gunther obviously. And his stupid friend Gordo. I also called Monica but she wasn’t home and I left a message. I called Scott and we caught up for a bit. He’s been auditioning a lot and has a new girlfriend. I invited people from work like Janet, but not Neil and Kyle because they’re just co-workers not strangers I talk to.

I ran into Polly and she’s coming. And my new friend Luke from the pet store.

Tracking down the rest has been a challenge. I left a note for Maria the cleaning lady but I’d be surprised if she showed up. I also left a note for letter carrier Hung and Pedro the newspaper guy.

But I visited Ramon the dry cleaner in person. He was actually very helpful in explaining who was playing and the backstory for the game. I also invited the Cheese Guy and Check-out Girl in person because I was Whole Foods anyway and it was easy. The check-out girl (with the nose ring) is named Astrid and I made sure to invite her in front of Michelle so she didn’t think I was asking her out. She asked if she could bring a friend and I said the more the merrier.

All in all, I invited a couple dozen people and I have no idea how many will actually show up. But I’m buying a lot of beer and a couple party subs from Bay Cities so hopefully it will be a decent turnout.

Chloe, Meet Michelle

The party at Scott’s place was fun, until Michelle showed up!

I had no idea she had become friends with that director friend of Scott’s independently and got invited, so it was a pretty big surprise to see her there. Of course, she was there with her fiance, Dan, and something about seeing them together really set me off. Chloe could tell something was up because she pulled me aside and asked, “How do you know each other?’

What could I say? “Oh, she’s the woman I’m in love with who’s getting married to some other guy?” Instead, I said, “We work in the same building.”

Michelle waited until Chloe was in the bathroom to corner me and I guess she was drunk because she kept going on and on about “How come we don’t talk anymore?” I was like, “I think the frequency went down significantly after you got engaged!”

She said, “Remember when we kissed?” Yeah, like I’d forget that.

I said, “What are you doing?”

She said, “I don’t know.”

Nothing happened between us, but it made me see her in a new light. She was acting kind of stupid and it made her really unattractive to me. She made me promise that we’d talk more. Emails, lunches, that kind of stuff. I said I would.

Chloe came back and interrupted us. I left Michelle and asked Chloe if she wanted to go get something to eat (it was one a.m.). She sensed the subtext and said sure.

We didn’t actually go get something to eat, but we did go back to my place and we finally did it. I know most readers are thinking, “Wait, you guys haven’t done it yet?” We hadn’t. But now we have. I’m not going to go into that level of detail as to why.

But I was wondering if Chloe felt threatened. Michelle gets a rise out of me, even if it’s a negative emotion. It seemed like something about it made her need to “lock me in.” I’m not complaining but the whole thing makes my head hurt.

TAD

Guess who just moved in and is living with me now?

Wrong, not Chloe. Wrong again, not my old roommate Scott. I am now the proud owner of one mangy mutt named The Artful Dodger, or “Tad” as he likes to be called.

Time was running short on Tad and I decided I wanted to do this. Chloe did not exert any pressure on me. She even gracefully ignored my prior lie about them not letting pets in my apartment complex. (She said, “I knew it was a fib but I didn’t want to talk you into anything you didn’t want to do.” P.S. Who says “fib”?)

I took him home yesterday and the good news is he’s mostly already trained. My apartment is obviously new to him so there were some first day accidents but I think Tad is smart and he’ll get the hang of it. My only real fear is what he’s going to do all day long when I’m at the office. Chloe says he’ll be fine as long as I get him exercise in the morning and when I get home.

Getting Tad was a little tricky emotionally. It’s not like Tad is Chloe’s dog, too, but still, I think it will be weird if Chloe and I don’t work out and Tad never sees her again. Still, things are really moving quickly with Chloe and Tad is really bringing us closer together. I hardly ever think about Michelle anymore.

Game Over

I got an email from Michelle this morning saying she needed to talk to me about something.

So we met up for lunch and I’m not going to draw this out, she told me she’s engaged.

I know. What the fuck?! Right?

Apparently Sports Agent Dan was on-again, off-again, and I guess on-again, and that whole bullshit about “taking things slow” was total bullshit because she said yes.

What the fuck?!

She showed me the ring (who cares). I felt sick. She said, “I was hoping you’d be happy for me.” And do you know what I said?

I said, “Well, I’m not.”

That pretty much ended lunch. I took off and I haven’t been able to do any work since.

I thought she was just casually dating because THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID SHE WAS DOING! But I guess somewhere along the way, she fell in love with this douchebag and now they’re getting married. Well if she loves Dan so much, what was that whole kiss about back on Valentine’s Day? I am a wreck right now.

What the fuck?!

Kicking a Man When He’s Down…

First off, let me just say that I haven’t been in a fist-fight since 8th grade when Neil Jackaway insulted my mother and I hauled off and punched him in the face (that fight was deemed a “draw” by my peers at the time).

But when you hang out with Scott, crazy shit happens.

After reconnecting with him after the whole TV fiasco and seeing him at his party, we made plans to go shoot pool with his friends last night. Charlie was there, as were some other actors who’ve never been in anything I’ve ever heard of.

Anyway, we were minding our own business, having some beers, and shooting pool, when I kept noticing at the table next to us was this asshole trying to pick up these two girls who were clearly not into him. The guy kept saying how they weren’t holding the cue right and he’d offer to show them. The girls were exactly kicking him in the balls, but you could tell them wanted to be left alone.

We all noticed this and were joking about how the guy couldn’t take a hint, when Steve–who was the biggest of Scott’s friends and was in a Carl’s Jr. commercial once–just goes over there and says, “Dude, why don’t you chill out and leave them alone.”

The immediately gets in Steve’s face and says, “Fuck off, douche bag.”

Steve laughs and turns to us, like “Can you believe this guy?” Then he says to the guy, “Asshole, take a hint. They are not interested in your cheesy-ass pick-up lines and Salvation Army clothes, so why don’t you get in your broken-down Camaro and go back to Van Nuys.”

We all laughed. Then the guy grabbed a pool cue and smacked Steve over the head with it. Seriously.

The rest was kind of a blur. We all jumped in there and then out of nowhere all the sudden he’s got friends and we’re all fighting. Some guy punched me in the face. I punched him in the face. Some other guys who were even bigger came in and broke everything up. It was all over in like ten seconds.

The manager kicked us all out and Scott wisely convinced Steve not to start things up again in the parking lot. So we went back to Scott’s place and retold versions of the fight over and over again from each guy’s point of view, and talked about how cool it was kicking those guys’ asses, and how they were all a bunch of pussies, and how if we’d been allowed to fight for longer, they’d have been really sorry.

But mostly I was just thinking about how much my face hurt.

Three Strikes

Lately I’ve felt like I’ve come such a long way being able to talk to strangers that I’ve almost perfected the art.

Such hubris always presages the fall and sure enough I bit it big time Saturday night.

I actually went to a party at Scott’s new place (we’re friends again). I went alone, which would have been really weird a year ago, but now my experience talking to people has made me so much more comfortable going places alone. Anyway, I was having a pretty good time catching up with Scott and meeting some of his friends. Then I decided that it was time to talk to women.

I haven’t spoken to Jennifer since last weekend but in my mind I feel like that is totally over. And though I did have lunch with Michelle on Friday, she’s still seeing that loser, so I felt like I had the green light to try to meet someone new.

I had noticed a cute girl with long blond hair. I waited for her to stop talking to her friend then I went up to her. I said, “Hi. I’m Fletcher.” Usually that’s about as much as I say in these situations. Any more and it seems like a line, or material, or just rehearsed. Not natural = lame. Anyway, she said her name was Kylie.

I asked her how she knew Scott. She said she didn’t, she knew Charlie, that actor guy who hooked up with the waitress from Q’s in the bathroom. Anyway, Kylie and I talked for a while. (Some people have written in asking how these conversation go, or more specifically, how they get started, and that’s about it. Hi. How do you know X? Not very complicated, but that’s what’s so non-threatening about it.)

I had talked to Kylie for about forty minutes when I asked if she’d like to go out some time. She smiles and says, “Sorry, you seem nice, but you’re not my type.” I laughed, “What’s your type?” and she said, “Don’t take it personally. I just usually go for like really good looking guys.”

I stopped smiling. “Oh. Okay, well, nice talking to you.” She actually tried to apologize for how that came out, but I said it was fine. But when I went back to get another drink, I was really upset. What an ego crusher!

I was ruined for the rest of the night. I tried to talk to two other girls but everything came out wrong. Awkward. Desperate. One of them said, “I’m here with someone” thirty seconds into the conversation. The other said, “I’m getting a drink, I’ll be right back,” and never came back.

Now maybe if I were a really good looking guy…

Rocker Slut

So I went to hear Jennifer’s band play again Friday night. They sucked worse than before but I put up with it for obvious reasons.

Then, after the show, I went backstage and there was Jennifer making out with some dude.

Needless to say I was pretty stunned. I mean, we’ve only been going out for a few weeks, and it’s not like we’re exclusive or anything, but I did expect that we’d be exclusive on the nights we were on a date!

The oddest and most whack-job thing was her reaction. She did stop making out with the guy, but then she just said, “Oh, hey, this is Rob,” like they were caught in the middle of doing her taxes. (Rob, it turns out, is the bass player, who I later learned Jennifer “sometimes hooks up with.”) I was just so stunned I actually shook his hand.

After I came to my senses, I told Jennifer I was taking off. I drove home planning on never talking to her again. We didn’t talk on Saturday but then she called me on Sunday and said, “What happened to you? Why did you take off like that?” But she did finally show some sense of reality when she added, “Are you mad at me or something?”

I explained that making out with Rob was not cool. At least when we were out together. She laughed it off, “That’s why you’re mad? Please, I was drunk.”

Am I crazy? Okay, maybe they weren’t boning, but still. This chick is nuts, right?

Mystery Box

I got home tonight and there was a UPS call tag on my mailbox which means there was a package left for me at the apartment complex office.

So I headed over there and saw a giant box waiting for me. I opened it up right there in the office because it was too big to take back to my apartment by myself. And lo and behind, inside was a new TV.

At first I assumed it was a mistake. Wrong apartment. I get #337’s mail all the time (I’m #377). But then I noticed that the box was addressed to me by name.

Gunther helped me get the TV back to my apartment. I stared at it for like ten minutes trying to figure out if this was some early birthday present from my parents or something. Then I finally decided to check the packing slip. Yes, it was addressed to me, as the shipping address. But the billing name and address was Scott’s.

The motherfucker bought me a new TV. I don’t know why this wasn’t the obvious go-to explanation in my head. After all, he did break my old TV. But I guess I just forgot all about it. I haven’t spoken to him since he moved out and I just assumed I’d never hear from him again.

So Scott did the right thing. I’m going to call him to thank him. Maybe we can go out and grab a beer or something.

Lunch with Old Guy

Yesterday I went to the mall to have lunch and it was packed. There were no tables anywhere so I made a big move: I asked if I could sit down with some old guy eating by himself.

The old me never would have done this in a million years. I would have just taken my sushi back to the office. But I was hungry and I wasn’t going to eat standing up.

Naturally, I starting talking to the guy. He was a lawyer, one of the founding partners of a medium sized firm in Century City. He’s retired now, but still goes into the office just to “keep an eye on things.” We got to talking and I told him about Scott and the TV. Not exactly asking for a legal opinion, just wondering what he thought I should do.

And the guy said, “Let it go.” I couldn’t believe that was his advice, but he gave me a whole speech about life being too short, how litigation makes you tired, etc.

So I guess maybe I’ll just let it go.