On derailing and writing – in Italy

January 10, 2008

Thank you, Marlboro Man

January 10, 2008

Post Date Date Post

January 10, 2008
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I realized last night that I do a strange thing when I’m trying to get to know someone. I imagine them in all sorts of random life occurrences as if they’re some character in a series of young adult books: Guy Goes to the Beach, or Guy Takes a Road Trip, or the more telling Guy Attends a Funeral.

I take what I know about the character in question and apply it to the imaginary event. How would they act? What would they say? What would I think? I realize two hours with a person provides little indication of how they would behave at, say, their first Boston College Football Game, but I surmise none-the-less because I am a. a girl and b. a freak.

The someone in question is a guy I went to dinner with last night. A lovely dinner at a fantastic restaurant that had really good lighting. He asked me to dinner, picked the restaurant, and called to politely confirm the evening before. So far Guy Goes on a Date was looking promising.

I started my story-writing about an hour into our date. Guy was talking about his favorite movies (explain to me why all men love Rudy and I will die a satisfied woman) and I was thinking…

What would Guy be like at my family’s beach house? How would Guy handle my college friends? If Guy and I decided to go on a weekend trip, where would he want to go?

I came up with what I think are some fairly accurate assessments based on small hints he dropped (he hates the beach) and more embedded clues (he likes wine and the country, we would therefore go on a wine tasting weekend to the country).

Guy came out okay in the series of stories I got through after three hours, two cocktails, and a really delicious butternut squash risotto. I gather he could handle a bit of flea market shopping, would get along with most of my sisters, and would enjoy traveling to far away places like Bali (my latest fantasy). Then I found a surprising semblance of vodka-induced reason: What about Guy and Jessie Go Get Coffee Somewhere After Dinner.
Nope. Not really interested. I don’t think we’d have a ton more to talk about, plus the conversation we were having was turning political and some strong differences of opinion were clearly on the horizon.

Lesson learned? Fairly tale writing is for Sunday mornings at the corner café. Dating is for actually focusing on the person across the table long enough to decide whether you want to see them tomorrow, not on a hike through the rainforest next summer.

He was sweet, very sweet actually. But I figure I’ll know when something is really right when I stop zoning out and writing happy endings because I’m too wrapped up in the conversation across the table.

Cue Jessie Learns a Lesson music.

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