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Crash Course In Love

I’ve become accustomed to going to the grocery store without a trace of the deli man to be seen. Nine times out of ten, I don’t see him at all, which suits me just fine since I realized my behavior could be misinterpreted.

It was a rough day, figuring out that my disorganized (schizophrenic) memory-based shopping habit could look like stalking. I cried, actually. For days. I would never, ever stalk a person. It literally hurts me to hurt other people and doing something when uninvited has a pretty good chance of hurting other people. It would hurt me if it was happening to me.

If a person was watching me and my habits with an intention to do something I didn’t consent to, such as continuing to watch me and my habits, I would be very upset by it. We have a language for a reason. JUST SAY HELLO. Strangers are friends waiting to happen.

I’m the kind of person who would hand my card to the guy I’m interested in and just wait. If they never spoke to me, fine. If they did, well. That would be cause for celebration. Especially if it involved some heavy flirting so I know I’m barking up the right tree. Woof.

Anyway, I just got used to never seeing him again. Then I went to the store later than usual and I nearly ran him over with my cart. It was a small cart, so it probably wouldn’t hurt so badly, but the point is we nearly collided, y’all. (That’s where this entry’s title is from. Hyuk.)

I gotta level with you: I barely know what he looks like because every time he could look at me, I take off like Penelope (the cat who earns the adoration of Pepe Le Pew by existing. Wouldn’t that be nice, my friends? Being adored for existing?)

Unlike Penelope, I don’t run away because I don’t want him to notice me. I run away because I’m shy. I figured out ways to circumvent appearing to be shy all my life but they flee in his mere vicinity. My capacity to rationalize dies. I think this is what they call a crush but the word crush is so… violent. I’ll settle for saying I’m an ardent admirer.

I role-play meeting him all the time, honestly, and now that I’ve nearly hit him with a cart, I keep wondering if it would be poor taste to ask him if he needed C.P.R. afterward. I might win the creepy girl award with a question like that, but on the other hand… fortune favors the bold!

The worst he can say is, “No.” and run away, I figure. Maybe call it harassment, but I learned something about harassment: you have to tell them they are harassing you in case they don’t know they’re harassing you. And then you have to wait for them to do it a second time to nail them for it. So technically, asking a man who ran into my cart if he needs C.P.R. could be comedy done in poor taste. I mostly just hope he says yes, so I have an excuse to hand him my card.

He didn’t run into my cart. I deftly maneuvered around him and made a bee line to the sushi, which is what I really wanted yesterday. As I passed him on his left, he turned toward me. I saw him turning, this huge hunk of a man, and my heart was in my throat suddenly, beating erratically.

I can’t control this and I wish I could to some degree, but you know… I’ve never felt this way before about anyone. Not ever. So I’m kind of just observing it like the freaky little scientist girl I am on the inside, taking notes about my physical symptoms (as you can see) as I experience near encounters with someone I’d call the sexiest man on the planet.

It’s not that he has the most pleasing anything to me, aside from that oh-so-shiny soul of his. I have discovered that I am happier choosing a mate (partner, really) based on their personality and then finding things to admire about them. You might think I’d change my tune if I ever brushed elbows with a celebrity, but I don’t think so… they’re vain, in a word. They won’t suffer my pudgy midsection and my barbaric eating habits like an everyday foodie would. I hope he’s a foodie, anyway. If he’s not, he’s in the wrong profession.

I remember going out on a double date once with my bestie and his wife and he looked up and called me out on my shenanigans: I had picked up my pork chop by the bone and was tearing into it barbarically, completely forgetting etiquette. He thought it was epic, honestly, but as soon as he drew attention to me doing it, I shied away because I’m shy! I forgot I was in public somehow. Probably because I was stoned out of my mind to manage my gut pain and my date drove me to dinner. (I don’t drive if I’m too tired, stoned, or in any way lacking in sobriety. It’s highly irresponsible to operate a machine capable of death and suicide while under the influence of anything that makes you feel differently. that includes medication, y’all.)

My date was very gentlemanly, too; I was impressed he opened his passenger car door for me and then shut it behind me after I took my sweet time getting in.


Anyway, I digressed. I’d rather have this beautiful — okay I’ve been told beautiful isn’t the right descriptor for a man, but dammit, he’s beautiful. Shut up about gender norms already. I’m so against them. We’re all equal and beautiful comes before handsome in the dictionary, it’s French, and I have a history with the word, mkay?

What history?

Damn it, we’re digressing from the topic at hand. FINE… when I was in second grade, I was struggling to read because my parents hadn’t taught me to read themselves. I was placed in the “red group” in elementary school that year, which meant struggling. All the kids who could already read were in the “blue group” and they tormented me occasionally.

This kid named Mike Staff shows me a word one day and asks me what it is, because you know, being in the red group means I’m stupid. The word is “beautiful.” So I sounded it out in my head… “bee-ah-yute-if-full.” And I asked myself, what word does that sound like that I already know? It’s impossible it’s a word I’ve not already heard. It sounds like beautiful, yo.

Satisfied now? That kid sucked but he never asked me another word the entire school year because he figured out being in the red group didn’t mean you were stupid like he originally thought. In other words, he ate his shorts. I love making people eat their shorts so I do it all the time by playing stupid until they think they can pull one over on me. And then my almost criminal inner mastermind comes out and is all like, “Splendid!” tapping all her fingers together slowly à la Mr. Burns. And then she takes you by your hair like a red-headed step child and schools you.

Now, as it were, we were talking about my insane attraction to a man I’ve seen maybe two dozen times. We’ve made eye contact far less than that, too, because he’s a diligent worker. I’ll tell you what: knowing he’s diligent puts him above the idea of ever meeting Brad Pitt and turning that celebrity’s head. (Also that guy is 20 years older than me. Ewww. But he’s the iconic heart throb of the time I actually watched movies. Also, Mr. Pitt, love your movies. You’re a good actor and I appreciate that very much. I know you must also be diligent but I cannot compete with Ms. Jolie’s tatas. I accept defeat now.)

Being diligent means the deli man works dutifully. Working dutifully means he pays attention to details. I am one of the most nuanced human beings I know. I’ve gotta be. I tell people what I want from them and they fail 100% of the time. It’s not fucking rocket science. “Would you rub my shoulders, please?” is not something you can misinterpret (and is also nothing I ask for, it’s just a random example to explain to you that I’m speaking plain English and people suck balls.)

Anyway, if this guy works either hard or smart — diligent can mean either or both — I can totally respect that. I’m a diligent person and I want my mate to be like me because I’ve engineered myself to be as close to the perfect mate I can conceptualize. All I’ve got to do is run into the deli man and he’ll just fall into my arms, right?

Well, probably not, but a girl can fantasize. (What’s that? I should fall into his arms? What did I just tell you about gender norms?!) (I’m on a roll, what can I say! A sushi roll. That’s where this story is going.)

I don’t know what I’d do if I collide with this tall and sturdy individual. I’d probably stammer, hem, and haw. “Uhh… I’m sorry, are you okay? I totally couldn’t stop in time.” Oh wait, that’s what people say when they rear-end cars.

I could take the PlayStation Discworld approach, but it’s so niche… “Did you get the number of that donkey cart?” (I love you, Mr. Eric Idle! You a funny man! Keep up the good work!)

It’s most probably that I would simply look concerned and stare in silence. Although a little part of me wants to say, “You should definitely watch where you’re going, kid.”

It’s like my one and only chance to give him my card, though.

Reiki master. Tribal shaman. Healer.

I feel like a cliche. Like an ambulance chaser. “Let me run you over in order to give you my card, hoss.”

With my luck, he’s married with three kids. That seems like the kind of luck people have when it takes more than half a year to make verbal contact as a follow up of some amazing eye contact. It was amazing, too. If I was still a smoker, I’d need a cigarette, let me tell you. (Too soon?)

His eyes met mine from way across the room. He was the only thing moving in the back of the store over there… Something had told me to look up. I assume it was God, waving a neon sign. “Beautiful soul right here!” That’s what the sign would say if God had a neon sign and hands to wave it around with. (How much do those things weigh? I’m curious…) It’s like the flashing marquee arrow pointing directly at his noggin. Like a deer in headlights, I just stared. I’m like a magpie… anything shiny gets my attention and keeps it for ages. I blame my A.D.H.D.

I saw a soul as shiny as that one time, though I’d forgotten. I’m sad to say it stirred up my P.T.S.D. on some subconscious level. Then this joker standing fifty feet away from me looks over his left shoulder and looks straight at me like he knew I was there the whole time.

God told me he just does that a lot, which is kind of funny to think about. How often does he find a woman staring at him when he does it? I hope almost never. I want to be the only one in his entire history! I’m greedy, in a word. I want this man all to myself for the rest of time. I mean, so long as he’s willing to be mine for the rest of all time. I’m into consent, it’s like a kink of mine.

And if he doesn’t want to be fawned over like he’s the contemporary Brad Pitt of my world, well, okay. Fine, be that way! I’ll find someone else for the job. I’ll be sad first, of course. Buy myself a pint of non-dairy ice cream since I’m already at the store where this joker works and then eat it all by myself watching rom-coms as I break up with the potential I saw in him.

The potential to be a love beast, that is. The potential to watch movies together. The potential to share a meal together. The potential to have a conversation. The potential to play Borderlands 3 together. Maybe even Katamari.

The potential to hold my hand and kiss me all over and take me places I’ve never been before. Namely, his bed. But only after marriage because I’ve played this game before.

I’m in it to win. Once I figure out the game I’m playing and all the rules, I use them to my utmost advantage and I fucking win. And I’m not sorry, either. I want to win at love. Everyone wants to win at love, or they wouldn’t be trying to find it in every nook and cranny (or is it every iPad and Nook?) It’s an integral concept to the human experience: Love.

Now, God told me I am the angel of love. I wish I knew what that meant, but I don’t. What I do know is this one thing: this whole idea of try-it-before-you-buy-it isn’t working for us. Not a single one of us at all. We keep getting fucked up, running blindly into the wall of conditional love that everyone and their brother offers unfettered. They don’t love you. They love who you could be. (Sir Deli Man, be yourself! I love you just the way you are and I don’t even know you yet, mkay?)

And that’s true love, right there. Deciding to accept any flaw. Deciding to commit before you even have a clue of what’s under the hood. (I’m hoping for a six cylinder engine, by the way!) I’ve already decided if he’ll be kind to me, I’ll be kind to him. For as long as he wants. I hope that’s forever, but I get it. There’s always a better model out there. I actually offer true love to all people, not just the guy I have the hots for, but they don’t give it back.

I posit there is no better model than the one you see in the mirror. Not out of narcissism or vanity. You have to live with yourself forever. Your soul is immortal. Your flaws are going to be with you until you break the bad habits that form them. Flaws are just collections of bad habits. Start today by disrupting a bad habit and see what happens.

I’ll use smoking as an example: instead of lighting up, do a hand stand or walk around the block. Drink a glass of water. Anything to delay it. Hell, get yourself a hookah. Talk about delayed gratification. The delayed gratification will break the cycle of smoking.

It will only work if you truly wish to quit, mind you. I quit smoking for good the seventh try. (And if you tried more than seven times and you still didn’t kick it, let me tell you: you’re awesome. You’re doing great. You’re still trying. I know you can do it!)

Yeah, it’s hard. You know why? You can have cravings up to years later! Keep that nicotine gum handy for at least six months. Chew only the nicotine gum; get rid of those cancer sticks. The gratification of a cigarette is too close to being instantaneous! Get a pumpkin hookah from the internets or a smoke shop near you and some Al Fakhar shisha and some quick start charcoal. (And you’ll need tongs, foil, water, and a lighter. I think you’ve got the lighter covered. See that? You’re already partially prepared!)

I smoked for half my life before I quit, just so you know. My parents give it as an excuse. “I’ve been doing it longer than you’ve been alive!” So? It’d be all the more impressive if you quit, like an adult, saving yourself over $200.00 a month on your fixed income, yo. Hell, I’d be impressed if you just tried to quit after smoking four fifths of your life, silly ancient people.

I want to see him again, you know. That guy in the deli who probably has a beautiful wife, three dogs, and a kid. If he does, by the way, I hope they last. Forever. Because I’m on the side of true love. (And dogs! WOOF!) And if they truly love each other, then who am I to interfere? I’m no one. I’d be a shit stain if I tried to break them up after God-knows-how-long with that much baggage. I mean, lovely family.

But you know… God did show me that neon sign. An arrow pointing right at this S.O.B. I didn’t even care to look at people in the store at all, ever, until that moment. My eyes are only for food, my friends. I live to eat and I eat to live both. Woof.

The real question is, why would God show me some guy already tied up and twisted into knots by someone else? He wouldn’t, not if he’s the kind of God everyone says he is, all full of love and forgiveness and benevolence. But if he is that kind of God… why me? I’m an atheist! Why would he care about li’l ol’ me?

I call bullshit on the endless benevolent lovingkindness, by the way. I am more apt to believe in a God that kills indiscriminately for injustices so that the rest of you have to be good girls and boys. I decided in my youth that I get one life so I better make it count. I had better be on my best behavior. I should do the most good I possibly can for the greatest number of souls.

I hope this means that neon sign isn’t a trick to get me to harass a dude that God made me stalk. Yeah, that’s why I cried for days. It happened. I mean, I didn’t sit outside in the parking lot waiting for him; I never have and I never will. I will admit God told me he goes to and from work on foot, so I did pay attention to pedestrians in winter time when we had snow up to our arm pits. I would have given anyone a ride home because it was bitter cold bullshit. It didn’t have to be the man of my hour. We had more than five feet of snow on the ground for a substantial part of winter.

I never saw him, obviously, or this tale wouldn’t be all about how I nearly ran into him today in the store or how he nearly ran into me. Right before this crash course was set, I found myself admiring him, you know? I’ve noticed he has more than a soul by this point. He has a body. (Shocking, I KNOW!)

Now, I don’t know what other ladies like in bodies, but I have recently learned what I like.

(I feel like such a lecherous scoundrel suddenly, talking about a man I’ve never met and how lascivious his rugged form is to me.)

(Here’s my shy. It’s happening right now. DON’T LOOK!)

Okay, I might be ready.


I’m not ready.

I don’t have consent.

“Here’s looking at you, kid.”

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