Tag Archives: dumb mistakes

Coffee Clutch

for David

Coffee. That’s how it starts. “Buy you a cup of coffee?” “Meet me for coffee?”

Plastic to-go cups of iced coffee on a hot summer evening, you wondering how it’s going to turn out. You know that if it goes badly, your second cup will be a decaf and you’ll go home. But, if it goes well, you’ll go home with him, so that second cup will be regular. Maybe espresso.

Coffee in steaming mugs, the two of you cocooned by shared blankets, watching the leaves fall and float from the trees in the cool autumn air.

Delicate cups of gourmet coffee in the bistro where you had your first real date; you gazing out the window as the snow piles up outside. He plunges the French press and pours. Taking a sip, he says, “I’m not feeling it.” You laugh. “Maxed out your caffeine tolerance?” you ask. “No, it’s not the coffee,” he says. “It’s you.” He pushes his chair back from the table and sets down his cup. “I thought I’d be feeling something by now, but I’m not. Sorry.” He leaves, and you stare at the widening stain on the tablecloth where his coffee sloshed out of the still-full cup.

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Crushed.

I’ve known him for years, he’s the flirty guy with the perfect teeth and a penchant for giving hugs. Big hugs. The pick-you-up, squeeze-you-tight, and swing-you-around type of hugs. The kind that are just a few moments short of being inappropriate when bestowed upon me, a woman who is nine years his senior and in a committed relationship.

So, I have to ask myself, why would a woman, nine years his elder and in a committed relationship, allow herself to be picked up and swung around by this other man? Why haven’t I told him to stop, if not after the first time, then why not the second? Or the twentieth? The answer is simple. It’s the reason most people do most everything they do. I keep letting him hug me because it feels good.

True, I have a crush on him, but who wouldn’t? It’s nothing more than that. I have a boyfriend; I certainly couldn’t date the hugger. Once, when no one else showed up to supper club, it was just the two of us for sushi, but that wasn’t a date. I did put on lipstick, but it wasn’t a date.

He hugs all of us, all of the women in supper club. But lately he’s been texting me, inviting me over to his apartment to watch football, or offering to buy me éclairs. Éclairs are absolutely my favorite pastry, he knows that. I don’t know how he first found out that I like them, but when he showed up at Carolyn’s picnic with a dozen of those Bavarian cream-filled, chocolate ganache-drizzled delights, I knew he brought them just for me. He insisted it was a coincidence, he claimed he only got them because the bakery was out of brownies, but I don’t believe it. He also said he didn’t know I was going to be at the picnic, but I don’t believe that either.

I’ve been having sex with the hugger. He doesn’t know about it. Whether I’m with my boyfriend or by myself, I think about the hugger every time I’m naked. He’s the one racing through my brain while my body soars and sighs. I don’t know when that started, but I can’t make it stop.

He texted me this morning and asked me to meet him at the bakery. I wanted to say yes, so I did. I lied to my boyfriend and told him I was meeting Carolyn, and then waited until I had pulled out of the driveway before I put on my lipstick.

When I walked into the bakery I was enveloped by the warm, musty smell of sugar. I wondered how long my coat would smell like that if I took a few steps backwards and walked out the door, if I just got in my car and drove home to my boyfriend.

The hugger was there, standing at the front of the line. As he turned and took a step toward me, I felt my heart skip and sputter, like a drop of water in hot oil. “Don’t!” I said. “You’ll lose your place in line.” He smiled and reached out to me.

“I can get back in line later,” he said, pulling me to his chest. “But what I want now is a hug.” It was a seven-second hug. I counted. Seven seconds is a wonderfully long time to be hugged, especially in a crowded bakery.

He bought a box of two éclairs and a bag of brownies, and I followed him outside to a picnic table. He sat down on the bench beside me. I ate my éclair while he told me about last week’s Cal State game, and predicted how they were going to win this afternoon. “Fourth quarter, fake punt and thirty yards to score.” He stood and extended his leg to kick at his outstretched hands. He looked strong and confident, like the MVP of a championship team. I didn’t mean to, but I sighed out loud.

He pulled his phone out of his pocket. “Kick-off is in ten,” he said. “Gotta head out.”

“Aren’t you going to eat your éclair?” I asked. Beads of condensation had puddled on the chocolate, and the cream had oozed over the sides of the pastry onto the cardboard box.

“No, I got those for you,” he said. He shook the bag of brownies. “These are for me. Are you ready to go?”

I rose to my feet but then thumped back down on the wooden bench. “But, I thought we were hanging out,” I said. He cocked his head to the side, leaned over and smiled as he brushed his hand across my cheek. I closed my eyes and lifted my face up to his. “You have chocolate on your lip,” he said, then turned toward the parking lot. I swiped at my mouth with a napkin, smearing the chocolate and my lipstick with the paper, then stood and followed him. When we got to my car, he took me in his arms, picked me up and swung me around, just like he’d done dozens of times before. He didn’t say “This was fun,” or “Let’s do this again,” or “I’ll call you.”

I don’t know why I’m so spun up about this. It’s not like I ever had a real crush on him. That would be ridiculous. I am a grown woman in a committed relationship. The hugger and I are just two people who hug and happen to like baked goods. If I had a crush on him, replaying this afternoon over and over again in my head, like I am doing right now, would make me miserably unhappy, but I’m definitely not. I’ve hardly even noticed that he hasn’t emailed me. Since I don’t have a crush on him, I’m not mortified that I sent him a selfie of me eating the second éclair and he texted back a one syllable acknowledgement. And not having a crush on him means that I’m not at all hurt that my follow up text celebrating Cal State’s win got another one-word grunt. It’s okay. He’s probably busy. It doesn’t matter. I never really liked him in the first place. I’m telling you, seriously, it’s no big deal if he never hugs me again. It’s not like I’d be crushed, or anything like that.

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You’ll Do

Men pick women because they think they won’t change, but they do.
Women pick men because they hope that they’ll change, but they don’t.

wp-1460243538729.jpgHere is my lunch today. Looks good, yes? It should. I forced it in to submission and made it what I wanted it to be. I wanted mexcian for lunch. Specifically, tacos. But I didn’t have taco stuff, I had lentil dal and palak paneer leftovers.

So, I made do. Forced by an immediate need, I looked around and did the best I could with what I could get my hands on at the time.

I added Penzey’s Southwest seasoning to that lackluster stew-like filling. I put it in a taco shell. I topped it with cheese and nuked it until it was all melty. I had some cabbage, which is kind of like lettuce. I had plain yogurt, which is kind of like sour cream.

In the end, it tasted pretty good. Nothing you’d take home to meet your parents, but fit the bill.

Clearly, I thought about an ex-boyfriend while I made lunch today. So much potential. I got him to go to college. I bought him a suit and tie. I taught him how to play chess and balance a checking account. But, in the end, he was, although good hearted and doting, still a country bumpkin whose idea of breakfast was two king sized Reeses, a Mountain Dew Big Gulp, and a couple of Marlboro lights.

Today I know better than to date a man for his potential. Because, my friends, men never change. But in a pinch, they’ll do.

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stories are everywhere

for example, my life today:

We had a blizzard.  Mid-storm my neighbor shoveled his front walk. He left his shovel outside overnight and it was buried by morning, so he borrowed my shovel and dug out not only his walk but mine, too.  There’s a story in there.

My cat might be bulimic. She ate kibble and puked and then ate more kibble and puked again three times within 25 minutes this morning. A few more adjectives and that story is good to go.

I decided to paint my nails Carolina blue for the Super Bowl, although I  have no allegiance to either team – light blue nail polish was all I had in the closet. But now I see that the color is gray, not blue, so I’m worried what that says about me as a football fan and what my friends will think. Further, the minute I got wet polish on all ten of my nails I had to pee like a fiend. That story writes itself.

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catch and release

I need a job.  Right now they call me “Budget Analyst,” which is seemingly what government contractors call the lady who orders toner and sets up the auto-attendant for the voicemail system. I should be working with food.

I’m looking for a job.  I’d like to be called “Director” or “Manager” or “The Lady Who Seemingly Knows What She’s Doing.” Any kind of start-up that calls itself hotel, restaurant, catering company, food truck, anything. I want to be working with food. I’m not picky.

I got a job.  They call me “Director of Food and Nutrition,” which is seemingly what public schools call the “Lunch Lady.” I am working with food. I should have been more picky.

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it was then

It was Wednesday, yes, it was Wednesday and I can only bear to speak of it now – it was Wednesday and on my way to lunch I approached a set of double glass doors, and as I was headed out, a gentleman was headed in, and as he stepped back to hold the door for me, it was then, as I looked up into the eyes of the most handsome man I have ever seen, it was then, my friends, it was then, that I tripped and stumbled and bounced the right half of my body off the adjoining glass door. And it is there that my story ends.

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Bitches Be Crazy

2015-10-20 20.49.40This is what it looks like when you make chocolate chip cookies on the Georgie. It would be a waste of energy (Washington Gas) to heat up the whole oven for just two cookies, and it’s too much energy (oh, my aching back) to climb up to the shelf and get the toaster oven, so I made cookies on the Georgie.

I swear my friend J told me she did this before with good results. But that was in the late nineties, when we got all “holistic,” ate quinoa, went off our meds, and did things like make cookies on the Georgie. “Bitches be crazy” comes to mind.

Last night I shared my cookies and some stories I wrote with my neighbor. I turned my head to look out the window while he read, but I could see the reflection of his face in the glass. He smiled some. He shook his head some. More shaking than smiling. When he finished the last story, he tapped the papers together and looked at me. “Is this true?” he asked.

“Well,” I said, “I change the names and sometimes add things here and there, but mostly it’s true.”

“No, I mean the way the women act. Don’t they have any self-esteem? They keep chasing after guys, well, pretty much the same guy – the one who is the least interested in them. They’re totally disconnected from reality. In every single one of these stories they have a chance to learn something, to change, but they don’t. They just blow it all off with some crap about true love and keep right on making themselves miserable. What the hell?”

I folded my hands in my lap, lifted my chin, and took a deep breath. “Yes,” I said. “It’s the curse of being a romantic.” My neighbor groaned. “That’s bullshit and you know it,” he said.

“Let’s say you’re right,” I replied. “Let’s say there is no such thing as true love. Can’t you pursue it anyway? There are plenty of people looking for the Loch Ness monster, Atlantis, buried Aztec treasure. What if dating is your hobby? What does it hurt if you keep playing the game? When the game involves phone calls, and dresses, and dinners and heartache? It’s exhilarating. It feels. It’s fun.”

“Did you say fun?” my neighbor asked.

“Yes, and entertaining, too. How else could Harlequin and Hollywood stay in business? Women love this stuff.”

“Women. Well that explains it. Bitches be crazy.”

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