from awesome to awkward - a beginner's guide
So, when you hear the word 'awesome,' what do you think of?
Me? You think of me? You're entirely too nice to me sometimes, Internet!
I'll tell you what I think of. I think of zombies (and you...definitely you). Zombies are awesome. I know what you're thinking. "Aren't you the girl who has problems with Bigfoot?" The answer is yes. So much so that I felt it would be gratuitous to insert the NINE posts I've written outlining said Bigfoot phobia. However, I love zombies like I love cake, meaning I drool over all things zombie-related. They're like giant, helpless babies.
I've also written of zombies SIXTEEN times, but I won't link those, either, because really, are you going to flit off and read 25 other rambly posts of mine? That's what I thought.
In addition to zombies, I also think Dairy Queen Blizzards are awesome. Last night, I got a hankerin' for a delicious Reece's peanut butter cup Blizzard, so I raced over the the DQ (five minutes before close!) and ordered a treat for me and my Tool Man. That in itself is awesome. Even more awesome? Having a coworker from the bookstore who ALSO MANAGES MY LOCAL DQ! "These two are on me, insert real name here!" she said. "Really? Are you sure?" I asked. Then I thanked her and sped away before she could change her mind. Nearly 1o bucks (that price, btw? not awesome) in free Blizzard? Why, yes, Dave Ramsey, I knew you'd approve!
So those are the things on my awesome list.
Want to know what I find not all that awesome?
Making small talk with a former paramour for more than an hour while our kids run around the playground.
Let me set the scene -
Last night, the boys and I figured we'd delay dinner and use the last hour of springtime sunlight to go shoot baskets at the elementary school playground. It was a delight to chase my boys around the pebble covered cement court, and to amaze my oldest basketball-loving son with my keen ability to still be able to sink a ball from outside the key. When he told me that was where I was shooting from, I just nodded my head and acted cool. I have no idea all this basketball talk.
Anyway, about 20 minutes into our games, a car came barreling around the corner, parked near our court, and out lumbered a father and his young son, who was cupping his own basketball. From the discreet vantage point behind my giant sunglasses, I thought the father looked a bit familiar, my head spinning with thoughts that "Hmmm...I think I know that flat butt and the way he seems to be pushing his glasses back up the bridge of his nose with his thumb."
And then I muttered "Crap..."
I did, indeed, know that flat butt and the thumb-attacks-glasses maneuver because I'd dated this man who still employed both traits 15 years ago. The fact that he looks EXACTLY the same (whereas I look more stunning and polished)(and oh, hahahaha...yeah, right...) as he did when we dated for a year was also a big giveaway.
Then we made eye contact (though I kept my giant sunglasses on as hope he'd not immediately recognize me, a plan I destroyed a bit later, which you'll see if you keep reading) and I'm pretty sure he muttered "Crap..." also. Though it was hard to tell for sure. He never was a great conversationalist.
So, I thought I'd come here today and offer you all tips on how to avoid this type of not awesome situation should you ever find yourself in it. You may want to take notes. Here we go:
- If you wish to try and get through this experience anonymously and pretend you and the person you used to get naked with years ago actually do not know each other, do not saddle your firstborn child with your maiden name. Additionally, do not habitually yell or call for said firstborn child saddled with your maiden name while the person you used to get naked with, the one you don't want realizing who you are, is standing less than 30 feet away. Trust me. It's a dead giveaway.
- Wave and/or nod your head politely when said former flame has his suspicions confirmed for him because you've now said your maiden name 14 or 538 times.
- Grit your teeth in the form of a smile and mutter hushed warnings to your kids when your former flame's kid suggest he and your two sons play a game of pick-up ball together. Sigh and throw your arms up in the air in exasperation if your kids do not listen to you and take off running to play with said kid. Pretend you're swatting away at bugs when former flame spies you throwing your arms in the air (and perhaps kicking at rocks).
- Have a short-list of conversation topics you can pull from when you find yourself standing next to your former boyfriend or girlfriend. Do not choose from the following suggestions:
"Remember that time when I was over at your apartment and we watched 'Ghost' and you leaned over and whispered you wanted to recreate the 'Unchained Melody' scene where Demi and Patrick are at the potter's wheel, but with your penis, and I laughed?"
"What about the time when we were driving home from a dinner date and you asked me what the worst thing I'd ever done was, and I looked at your sweet, innocent, snow-white face and told you I once shot a man in Reno just to watch him die, and I thought I was so clever, but you kind of looked shocked, then said, 'Huh. Well, the worst thing I've ever done was cheat on a math test in sixth grade.' Yeah. That was good times."
"Wait! I've got another one! Remember that time when you told me I had beautiful eyes and pulled me in really close and I hardly knew you and I was, I'll admit it, kind of scared, so I just rolled said beautiful eyes at you?"
- If you give said former paramour an opportunity to speak - and you likely will, because all the talking you've been doing up to this point has meant you've been breathing a lot and breathing a lot means you've had to press your stomach out rather than suck it in (it's been 15 years. A lot changes in 15 years...which you'll soon notice...) in hopes that your former amour will have spent all the time you were babbling thinking how mad he is that he could have had you and not the sad existence his life has turned into - don't be surprised (or indignant) if he says the following:
"You know what was a good time? That time I called you while you were on vacation and we talked for quite a bit, and then you told me you'd met someone else and thought perhaps that you and I should break up. I think your exact words were, 'You're a really nice guy, and you're so sweet. I'm sure there's a girl out there who would really enjoy spending time with you. I'm just not sure I'm that girl, and I don't want to keep you from her.'"(sidebar - this is totally true. I am not particularly proud, but seriously, this dude was soft white Wonderbread boring, and I'd met my not-yet-a Tool Man Tool Man and thought he hung the moon, even though he was sporting a pedophile mustache, the memory of which just made me cringe...)
- Catch your breath. Yeah. You'll have to stick that stomach out again a bit, but get your breath, suck it back in, and then, blow a giant thought balloon atop your head where you see the two of you standing against the brick school wall, much as you're doing that very moment in real life, and have your thought version of yourself get all sassy, rolling her arms down the length of her body and saying, "Mmmmmhhhmmmm....all this coulda been yours, baby!"
- Don't appear flustered when, after you pop said thought balloon atop your head, you remember you didn't put any make-up on today and your roots? Your roots are so dark scientists want to study them in hopes of proving their hypothesis that your head is where the space-time continuum originates.
- Stand around in a silence that grows increasingly uncomfortable. Break up the quiet by sporadically alerting your kids they have 10 more minutes to play or inquiring about the nice weather.
- Finally, and quite literally in this case, take your ball and go home.
Yeah. Good times. Good, good times.
When I'd gotten the boys loaded into the mini, I turned around to them and asked if they'd seen the man I was talking to, the father of the boy they'd been playing basketball with. "Years ago, before I met your Dad, I dated him," I said. "Can you believe that!?" My oldest son, who thinks the whole idea dating is gross, just chuckled. My youngest piped up and said he was glad I didn't marry him, "because I like our Dad."
Me, too, I assured him. He's pretty awesome.
Not as awesome as zombies, though...