Sunday, February 13, 2011
Three words every guy wants to hear
In this time of impending VD and on this, my second day of being thirty-eight, I have decided to reach back into the annals of 2010 and share a story with you. It's not quite a tale of love unrequited. Heretofore untold because, well, it's hard to fit everything in when you only blog twice a month.

It happened on a Thursday morn. I specifically remember that because the night before had been a Wednesday, and I haven't slept through an entire day since the 90's. As I trudged out to the car, my mindless morning routine was interrupted when I noticed a piece of paper on my windshield.

Quickly unfolding the loosened leaf, I read the words written in blue ink. It began, "Saw you at Kroger last night." Then came the three words every guy wants to hear (well, besides "you are hilarious"):

"You are hot."

That was followed by a phone number.

Call me old-fashioned, but is this what we've come to now? Leaving notes on cars? Whatever happened to traditional methods of meeting people, like picking up a girl in a chat room, or filling out a two-hour questionnaire and paying a monthly fee to join a dating site? Next thing you know, people will be just bumping into each other in public and striking up a conversation. And I can assure you, I am so not ready for that.

But seriously. I'm not sure what your impression of me as a love conquistador is, nor do I probably want to know. But things like this do not happen to me every day. Perhaps when I was younger. OK, so not very often then either. The closest thing I can remember was walking across the mall parking lot towards Taco Bell one day when some girls rode by and yelled, "Hubba hubba!" I wasn't sure what that meant, but I took it as a compliment and had a chicken MexiMelt.

And so a smile broke across my face as I tried to recall the previous evening at Kroger and who could have possibly left the note. I distinctly remembered an attractive girl in the sandwich meats. She was at the checkout as I was walking out, so I gave her the glance-and-smile. Of course, there was also a guy in a red shirt with a carry-cart who I oddly seemed to run into on every aisle.

I must have encountered ten or fifteen customers that evening, not to mention the employees. There was no way to know which of them had apparently waited for me in the parking lot, followed me home, then came back after I went inside and left a note on my windshield. What? It's only stalking if she's not hot and/or she's crazy.

Almost as quickly, it occurred to me that this might all be a joke. Maybe someone I knew had seen me at Kroger, tried to get my attention but I didn't see them, so they decided to have a little fun.

There was only one way to find out -- ask everyone I know who could possibly have seen me at Kroger that night. Or call the number. OK, so two ways.

I contacted everyone I could think of who both know where I live and might have been in the area. None of them had done it. Heck, half of them thought I was joking.

From there, my thoughts on who might have left the note pretty much ran the gamut. What if it turned out to be a really young girl who thought I was much younger than I am? What an awkward call that would be. Or what if it was a much older woman? There's no way that's gonna work. Do you have any idea how immature I am? Don't answer that.

The next couple of times I went to Kroger, I would look into the faces of the people I passed to see if any of them looked familiar, but none did. With each semi-attractive female I encountered, there was a feeling of "could that be her?" I think over time, my mind decided to fill in the blanks and convinced itself that sandwich-meat-girl was the one who had left the note. I thought of her often during those late October days. And then, not as much.

I even had someone offer to call the number for me just to see who answered, but I declined. If our paths were meant to cross again, I would leave it entirely up to fate.

That's been about four months ago now. So I think we can safely deduce that it was most likely not a joke.

I'm also willing to allow that it's possible I rely on serendipity a tad too much.

"May have lost this battle. Live to fight another day. Don't be fallin' in love as she's walking away..."

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Thursday, February 03, 2011
Guitar hero?
I pulled into the parking lot, got my guitar out of the back seat, and started walking towards the door in the rain. It felt like a scene out of a movie, about some drifter, playing the honky-tonk scene, who ruins his relationship with the only girl who will ever love him by drinking too much.

And in that instant, I was a guitarist.

Of course, in reality, I'm not (yet) a guitarist, I've never played a honky-tonk, I'm not really much of a drifter, and I don't (yet) drink too much. But the rest is totally me.

Otherwise, there wasn't anything too scintillating about my first guitar lesson on Tuesday. So instead, I've decided to just make some stuff up. I mean, this could have happened, theoretically. And may have happened in an alternate universe. Who can really say? Scott Bakula, maybe.

Instructor: "Good afternoon, Bone."
Bone: "Good afternoon, sensei."
Instructor: "Have a seat."
Bone (takes seat, looks around): "Thanks. Uh, where are all the bonsai?"
Instructor: "The what?"
Bone: "You know, the tiny trees."
Instructor: "Tiny trees?"
Bone: "Never mind."
Instructor: "Shall we begin?"
Bone: "Let's turn this mutha out."
Instructor: "I want to start by asking, where do you hope to be when you're done with these lessons?"
Bone: "Do the words Back To The Future and Johnny B. Goode mean anything to you?"
Instructor: "Uhhh.."
Bone: "Or how about being able to play behind my head?"
Instructor: "How about let's just see what you can do."
(Bone plays a few licks.)
Instructor: "Are you left-handed?"
Bone: "I don't think so."
Instructor: "Then here, you might want to turn this around."
Bone: "Oh. Thanks."
Instructor: "You're a little obtuse, aren't you?"
Bone: "What? No... maybe a little. But I've lost three pounds since New Year's."
Instructor: "Do you play any instruments?"
Bone: "The kazoo, naturally. And at one time or another I've owned a harmonica, guitar, set of drums and a recorder."
Instructor: "Was there a picture of Mickey Mouse on any of these instruments?"
Bone: "No... OK, the recorder... and the drums."
Instructor: "Ever taken any music classes before?"
Bone: "Oh, yes! Third grade. We learned Wheels On The Bus and Magalena Pagalena."
Instructor: "Do you have any musical talent whatsoever?"
Bone: "You know, I really thought I would be the one asking the questions."
Instructor: "Alright, well we usually begin with a few simple chords."
Bone: "Groovy!"
Instructor: "Did you just say groovy?"
Bone: "I said groovy. I meant far out."

On the way out of the lesson, Bone encounters a girl. Using skills honed through years of encountering girls yet rarely speaking to them, he determines her to be a guitar shop groupie. Cute, but clingy. And if there's one thing this drifter doesn't need--.

"Are you a guitarist?" She giggles.
"Well... ideally," Bone replies. Girls love musicians. He had been warned of this, repeatedly.
"You know, you don't have to carry your guitar with both arms. There is a handle. It's right there on the case."
"Oh... far out."

Meanwhile, back over in this space-time continuum, here's how my first lesson really went...

Five minutes learning the strings.
Ten minutes listening to instructor yammer on and on about his glory days and teaching methods.
Fifteen minutes learning how to tune the guitar.

"Alright, we're done."
I give him a what-you-talkin'-bout-Willis look.
He gives me a you-know-that-show's-been-off-the-air-twenty-five-years-look.
"All we do the first day is learn to tune it."

Well, that's a little disappointing.

I guess learning to play behind my head will come next week.

"He never ever learned to read or write so well. But he could play a guitar just like ringin' a bell..."

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