Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Anything's not possible

So I managed to get out of my late afternoon meeting at 6:30pm. I called KT to let him know that I might be able to get to the Borders. He assured me that I needn't rush. I asked if he was done with his seminar and he said "yes." He was already, as he planned, at the Row. I couldn't help wonder if he was there to buy me something for my birthday. ;)

Just as I had predicted, forty-five minutes later, I parked in the structure near C&B. I checked in with him to get my bearings. He was at the cafe upstairs and said he would meet meet near the entrance to the bookstore. I spotted him browsing the display tables and approached him with a friendly and perky "hello."

I may have been a bit too bubbly today. I tried to explain it away by explaining how happy I was to be done with work and have tomorrow off. He listed off all the restaurants along the street. He gave me the choice. I asked him to narrow down the list. He laughed and said that they were all good choices. We decided to pick a place neither of us had been to. That left the PF Chang's-like Chinese place and the new Mediterranean place.

I chose the Greek restaurant. It had wonderful high ceilings and interesting chandeliers. At first, the waitress offered us a table just across from the hostess podium. KT asked if we could get a different table. She started to explain that they were holding most of the other tables for large groups. Finally, for whatever reason, she said she could offer us a table tucked in the corner.

There was a bit of table confusion again. I started to take the inner bench seat but then I realized the table was pressed against the bench. I mentioned to KT that the table needed to be pulled back for me to sit down. KT then suggested I take the chair and he would sit on the bench. I was fine with that. I removed my coat, held it in his direction (looking at his coat sitting beside him), and asked him, "would you mind?"

KT looked up from the menu and said, "oh, no I don't mind sitting against the wall..." I had to help him realize that I was hoping he could keep my raincoat over on the bench since I couldn't hang it on my chair. He realized he tripped up on that and took care of my coat.

The conversation was a bit slow to start. We talked a little about work. I mentioned my annoyance that my 8am meeting was cancelled after 8am when I could have been sleeping. I admitted I procrastinated on building my presentation by watching old episodes of "Gilmore Girls." He recalled watching a few episodes. We also talked about "Joey," "Friends," and "Frazier." Neither of us brought up "Amazing Race."

KT went into this whole explanation about why he went to this afternoon workshop and what he learned. He mentioned how everyone in his group has a personal web page but does not know how to maintain it. He started to explain that the web address to his page is listed on his business card. I kind of interrupted and admitted I had looking at it. He expressed his dislike for his photo, both the old and the new. I told him I thought it was a good picture.

We each started browsing the menu. I was concerned that maybe he wouldn't find anything he wanted to eat. Then KT said something that caught me off guard, "don't worry about the price, since it's your birthday I'm paying for dinner."

Uh, okay, gee thanks? Is this your way of telling me we're not dating?

After we ordered, he looked down at his lap and said that he had something for me. I had noticed that he was carrying a small Borders bag. He pulled out a birthday card.

"This is for you."

"Oh, wow, thank you. That's really nice of you."

I opened the card as he watched. He started to talk as I looked at the card, apologizing because the ink inside smeared a little. The cover was rather cute - various smileys you can make with the center one being how to make a birthday smiley "*<:-)" Obviously he had bought and signed the card in the hour before I arrived. :) I hope he didn't feel rushed since I showed up early.

He wrote a message that took up the whole page. He made a cheesy joke about the weather and then told me how to find him online I ever want to IM him. He made another cheesy joke about how, "in this short time," he knows me well enough to buy me a gift card to Borders. (Cute) It was signed, "Your friend, KT" (I guess that's a pretty clear statement huh... :( ).

I did my best not to show any confusion or disappointment. I kept smiling and thanked him again. Since we were sitting, there was no reason to try and give him a hug. The conversation continued through dinner. There were times, as he talked, I'd look at his face and confirm to myself that I am attracted to him.

The bill was relatively cheap since we didn't have any appetizers or dessert. KT was having trouble calculating the tip and commented about how his niece is currently learning her addition tables. That led into us talking about elementary school.

The one funny story he told me about himself was about when he was in first grade. He seemed a bit embarrassed and commented how surprised he was to be telling me this. There was some group competition. A girl, who's full name he still remembers, kept bragging her group was better. Of course, kids aren't good at processing emotions, so you might guess what a six-year-old boy does.

"I punched her."

"What? In the face?"

"No, in the stomach."

"Where were you guys? Standing away from the rest of the class?"

"No, they were all there. She was crying. When the teacher came over and asked what happened, everyone pointed at me. My parents still remember this because I had to give them the note from my teacher explaining that I'd hit a girl."

Kids are so funny. He was feeling a bit embarrassed, but I'm glad that we can talk like this. I tried to reciprocate with a silly story of my own, but nothing immediately came to mind. Later, I would tell him about how I broke into my own house three different times because I didn't have a house key. I also talked about getting back at the neighborhood hoodlums by planting nails in the yard to sabotage the kids who rode their bikes through our yard.

When we decided to leave the restaurant he was very gentlemanly. He straightened out my rain coat and helped me put it on. I haven't had someone hold up my raincoat for me in a looooong time. So nice.

We ended up doing a little loop around the shops along the street. Everything had just closed as it was 9pm. We stopped in front of the window of a Japanese stationery store. They had cute little erasers on display in the window. I told him how my one plan for my birthday is to watch David Letterman all week. I know it sounds strange, but we have the same birtday. And for whatever reason, I've taken to watching his shows just for that fateful week. It's also because I left everyone one behind last year and spent my birthday in NYC with my best friend. We had the best time being total toursits - standing in line for rush tickets to "Spamalot," getting 3rd row, center seats for "The Late Show," visiting the Empire State Building, eating dessert at Serendipity 3, visiting the museums, and having lunch at Jean George. That was the best.

We ended spending the rest of the evening sitting in side-by-side club chairs at Borders. The convesation turned more to relationships. We joked about miscommunication between the sexes. He learned a little bit more about my brother and his fiance. I felt like we'd reach a new comfort level. (Maybe I just didn't care any more since "friends" was now established.)

I told him that I used to page at the local library during high school. I described about how I could direct people to almost an exact shelf because I knew the books so well. Talking about books we shared thought about what we used to read as kids - Encyclopedia Brown, Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume ("Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing"), Newberry Award winners like "A Wrinkle in Time." We wondered if kids still get storytime like we did in 4th grade.

I think the subject of finding old friends came up. I jumped at the chance to tell him that he could figure out his friend's age. He seemed very surprised and curious. I explained to him that you can use people searches that will give you some information. I laid out the few details I got from him about Larry and indicated it was enough to find him. I added that I hoped he didn't think I was scary or crazy. He didn't say anything. He was too interested in learning his friend is 37. Apparently several of them have discussed and tried to guess Larry's age. He asked something, and I admitted to looking him up as well and myself.

"Was it correct?"

Pause as I collected my thoughts, "Pretty much. It showed my parents but it also listed some people whose names I didn't recognize."

"Does it show addresses and phone numbers?"

"No, you have to pay for that. I only look at the free information. You could get that stuff if the person is listed in the phone book, but it requires more work."

"Did it show my sister?"

"Yes, but not your brother or mine. I think because they don't have a credit history yet, they can't be identified."

"Credit history..."

He didn't ask, but I explained that I check up sometimes on guys I meet. I relayed the story about this guy who fibbed about his age. I established this was a couple years ago and the guy was listed as 45, not the 42 he implied. KT seemed surprised at the age difference in general but could understand why the guy might have felt a need to pad a bit.

Around 10pm, KT noted the time and we called it a night. He walked me to my car. It was quiet walk during the last 500 yards. As we came up my car, his phone rang (ugh). He pulled it out of his pocket, looked at the caller, and sent the call to voicemail. That disrupted any chance of us having a conversation. I waited a moment to see if KT would say anything. I probably got antsy again because I started to thank him for dinner and a fun evening. I tried to stand a little closer to him. The second I my thank you wrapped up, I noticed his left foot step back as if to turn away. I knew there'd be no hug. I let him walk away after we said "good night." I felt like he was running away. Maybe he was tired, maybe he was nervous, maybe he'd had enough.

No comments: