The Girl on The Train

I have a weird social anxiety that people who know me don’t realize I have.  I need a set relationship to talk to someone.    If we’re just strangers, I can’t start a conversation.  I know that’s stupid and crazy.  I know that I’m not disturbing people by speaking to them, but if I need to know the time, I’m more likely to go into a store and buy something so I can ask the clerk than to ask a person at a bus stop.  

It’s weird in the ways it doesn’t show up.  I have no problem public speaking.  I’m more comfortable before an audience of hundreds than a single stranger.  I can do my job, which involves speaking with customers I don’t know all day long, because we have a set relationship. 

To meet new people, I generally need to lamprey onto an extrovert. 

It's an unpleasant image, I know.

 

If I have that back up, someone else to say the first word, to start the conversation, I can join in.  That’s why I need Tall or Lina in new social situations.  Once they break the ice, I can plunge into the frozen lack below, but I can’t do it myself. 

Which isn’t helping me right now, as I write this.  I’m on the C-Train with my Black Book.  If you’ve never been on a C-Train, there’s two types of cars.  One has a bunch of seats that all face one direction, like a school bus, where you stare at the head of the person across from you.  Then there’s the ones I call picnic cars.  The benches face each other like this: 

Three sets of these on either side of the train

 

It looks like you’re facing each other, and you’re going to set up a picnic between you.  All that’s missing is the table in the middle and it would be like your grandparents camping trailer.  The awkwardness right now comes from the fact that only a mostly empty train, I’m sitting here: 

I'm brunette, so I'm brown in an overhead view.

 

And this really cute blonde girl came onto the train and looked around.  There were completely empty sets of picnic seats, and she completely ignores them and heads for mine.  This obviously  means she’s into me.  The only problem was I had no extrovert here, no Tall to start up the conversation.  I’m on my way home from work, and I haven’t had a chance to drink yet, and my social anxiety kicks in.  Then it gets worse.  See, normally, when you join someone on a picnic seat, you sit opposite of them. 

Kitty corner, maximum distance from train strangers

 

But this girl doesn’t seem to know the etiquette, or is so into me she doesn’t care.  She sits here. 

As close as she can get.

 

The diagram doesn’t really do it justice.  She was trying to cuddle.  She really wanted to sit in my lap, but I had this book out, so I was writing away.  

How could this happen today!  The one day I don’t drink at work!  How am I supposed to talk to her?  I’m on my own, she came to me, she came right for me!  Does that mean we have a set relationship?  Can I do it?  Can I talk to her, dead sober, on my own? 

Of course I can!  I’m amazing!  I’m such a cool guy!  I’m internet famous, with literally dozens of readers on my blog everyday!  I talk to hundreds of people every week, so why can’t I set a relationship, instead of walking into a predefined one?  In fact, there is one here!  This cute girl defined the relationship as cool writer guy on the train and cute girl who wants him!  There’s no way she thought it would be normal to come sit right next to me!  This is Canada, and we have nothing but open space, so she obviously wanted to get all up in mine so I would get all up in her. 

Then she pulled out this: 

I don't know if it was actually Spanish

 

A foreign language dictionary.  Great, she just doesn’t know our customs. 

Or she’s learning a foreign langauge…. 

Now I’m trying to lean over without her noticing, figuring out what language it is.  I can tell by the type of book what it is, but I can’t see if it’s German, or French, or Japanese.  Those are my ins.  I have enough of those languages that it counts as a set relationship, whether she’s a tourist or a student.  

Fuck, woman, just let me see your book! 

This is getting ridiculous.  Why am I still writing?  Why can’t I talk to her?  For fuck’s sake, it doesn’t matter what language the dictionary is!  Hell, I could just ask her.  Just say “What language is that?”  I’ll be able to tell if she speaks it or if she’s studying it when I ask.  If it’s one of my languages, I’m golden. 

I tried it, just now, but it quickly became a cough. 

Now she seems weirded out.  Why don’t I have a flask on me?  Just a quick shot, just a little buzz that I can blame if I screw up!  Why is this happening to me. 

Fuck, Tall, where are you?  Why aren’t you here?  If I text you, does that count?  Do I have the power to talk to the girl then? 

It’s hard to balance the book and text.  I elbowed her a little.  Not inappropriately.  Now Tall isn’t texting back.  WHERE ARE YOU WHEN I NEED YOU? 

Why is this going so badly?  Why can’t I handle this?  This is a normal thing!  Normal people do it all the time.  We’ve been sitting together for twenty minutes now.  Is it too late?  Why don’t I just talk to her?  Why am I still blogging. 

We’re downtown now.  She’s getting off at the first stop. 

Thank God that’s over. 

Wait a second … 

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Joey would have you believe he’s suave with women, as he’s surrounded by beautiful girls all the time.  Women constantly fall in love with him on the train.  He’s usually not interested in them.  This girl was special, but that’s not a good thing.

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Finding Home

Nique is rarely around.  She’s in Chicago most of the time, learning to be a doctor.  When she comes home, she usually doesn’t have a lot of time.  She has too much doctor learning stuff to do, so she can’t be away for long, and it’s too expensive to come home from school often.  When she is home, she needs to see family, friends, and spend some alone time with Ren, who she’s been dating for several years.

Like the jerk I am, I always emotionally manipulate her into allocating more of her visiting time to me than is fair, or appropriate.

Ren and I have been hanging out long enough that he’s seen through my clever tricks, so for Nique’s most recent visit, he acted as her personal assistant, controlling all communication between her and I, ensuring I didn’t steal 72 of her 144 hours in Calgary.

Well played, Ren.

They decided to have dinner with me, Tall, Kodie and Shawn on a Tuesday.  They asked me where I wanted to go, and of course I told them the Palomino Smokehouse and Social Club.  It’s where I always want to go.  This isn’t a review, because that’s an excuse to go back yet again.  I mean, they’ll be getting 5 stars.  I mean, look at this –

Down there, at the bottom...

They never took down the furniture store façade.  That’s awesome!  The whole place is so Renegade Folk that it nearly puts me to shame.

But this is not the review.  That’s for later.

As usual, I had an awesome time while there.  I didn’t have enough time to get from work to the gym, home, and back to the bar in time for supper, so I brought an extra change of clothes and went to Palomino’s from the gym, getting there twenty minutes early.

I sat at the bar, enjoying a Corona.  The bartender and I chatted a bit, and we both knew every word to every song that came on the radio.  We both sang along, not loudly, not karaoke style, but it created this sense of belonging.

Kodie, Shawn, and Tall showed up just as the sun came out.  We took a seat on the patio, and Ren and Nique arrived moments later.  We talked about old times and new plans, and all the hoops Nique still needed to jump through to be a doctor.

The specifics really don’t matter.  We laughed, ate until we were stuffed, and drank to a happy buzz.  One thing I’ve found in my adult life, especially in Calgary, is I rarely have what I would call a home feeling.  There hasn’t been a consistent place where I’ve felt completely at ease, not since I left to live in Japan.

I am comfortable at my place, but there’s no sense of permanence in my apartment.  I doubt I’ll live there this time next year.  I feel like a stranger at Loubagga’s, mostly because I don’t know his girlfriend as well as I should.  Matt, Tall and Lina all have houses, but I always feel like a special guest in those places.  They’re happy to have me, but it’s a given that I’ll be leaving.

But somehow, on the back patio of a downtown bar, I felt like we could stay forever.  I was at complete ease with good friends.  There was nothing we needed that we didn’t have, nothing pressing, nothing missing.

It was so damn near perfect, I couldn’t even tell you what was missing.

If You’re Wondering

I’m an English Geek, and because of that, the possibilities in this Weezer Song appeal to me.

Basically, I hear something different every time.  I assume some of you will also be amused by this:

  • If you’re wondering if I want you to, I want you to.
  • If you’re wondering if I want you to, I want you too.
  • If you’re wondering if I want you to, I want you two.
  • If you’re wondering if I want you too, I want you to.
  • If you’re wondering if I want you too, I want you too
  • If you’re wondering if I want you too, I want you two.
  • If you’re wondering if I want you two, I want you to.
  • If you’re wondering if I want you two, I want you too.
  • If you’re wondering if I want you two, I want you two.

 

While I assume only other English Geeks, like Lina, will be amused by the above, let me simplify it for you:

  • If you’re wondering if I want you to do that, I want you to do that.  So go ahead and do that.
  • If you’re wondering if I want you to do that, I want you as well. Some make less sense than others.
  • If you’re wondering if I want you to do that, I want you both.  Some are about threesomes.
  • If you’re wondering if I want you as well, I want you to do that.  I’m enigmatic and seductive.
  • If you’re wondering if I want you as well, I want you as well.  So we’re gonna get it on.
  • If you’re wondering if I want you as well, I want you both.  So we’re gonna get it on with your hot roommate.
  • If you’re wondering if I want you both, I want you to do that.  Because there’s a chance I’m not into the threesome…or so I’d have you believe.
  • If you’re wondering if I want you both, I want you as well.  Because I assume you both want me.
  • If you’re wondering if I want you both, I want you both.  Threesomes are cool.
Published in: on May 13, 2010 at 12:35 pm  Comments (2)  
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LOOK OUT A BEAR

LOOK OUT A BEAR!

Today at work, I got bored.  So I drew this bear.  Then I started sending it to people in emails that said things like “LEONARD LOOK OUT A BEAR!”

Then they would open it and see the bear.  Funny, no?

I want this thing to go viral.  So feel free to copy this bear, and send it to your friends, and warn them to look out.  It’s available above, or through my Deviant Art.  Trust me, everyone loves and fears this bear.

It’s under creative commons licence.  That means you can do whatever you want with it, as long as you don’t charge people.  So if you want to make it better, feel free.  If you want to make a T-Shirt, I’ve reserved those rights for the time being.

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I love creative commons.  Since I put his up at midnight, Lina sent me this:

LOOK OUT A PANDA BEAR!

 

And Leonrd sent me this:

BEAR LOOKOUT A ROBOT!

Published in: on May 8, 2010 at 12:01 am  Comments (4)  
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Late Late Breakfast Show

For the sake of honesty, I should admit this is more of an advertisement than a review.  I have something of a relationship with the Late Late Breakfast Show. 

Late Late Breakfast Show

A few years back, Lina came up to Calgary because some friends of ours from university were doing sketch comedy in The Late Late Breakfast Show.  I wanted to hang out with Lina, so I agreed to come along.  I didn’t have high expectations, but I figured I could at least support my friends. 

But there’s the key; my friends were heavily involved in the show.  These people made me laugh in conversation, so give them some practice and some props and they were killing me.  With laughter, not props. 

Lina came up for the next couple of shows, and I went with her each time.  We tried to hang out with Amos and Gavin, but when you do a show, the cast bonds.  If you go for drinks with a group of actors after a performance, prepare to be left out of conversations and inside jokes.  They’ve worked their asses off together, and they’ve bonded in ways your lazy ass can’t be expected to understand.  Lina and I were often talking in the corner when we headed out with the cast. 

As time went on, I started really becoming a fan of the show, to the point where if all my friends quit, and the show went on, I would still go see it.  Some of the sketches, like “Cheese,” “Jacked,” “Sad Hearts,” and “Pat Quinn’s Dracula” really grew on me.  As is the way of life, eventually there came a show Lina was unable to attend.  So I brought Kodie.  I kept bringing people, and the show was fine with expanding the audience. 

I had reached official hanger-on status when I went drinking with some of the performers, and it wasn’t because they were going out after the show and I was tagging along.  I was just invited.  They were brainstorming, and I kept throwing in my two cents.  I made them laugh, and advanced some of the ideas.  When I went to the next show, about a month later, a couple of my ideas and lines had survived through the writing and rehearsal process and were there in the show. 

I fucking loved it. 

A little while later, Amos became my roommate.  Living with an actor, you’re going to run lines, and if you live with a writer, you’re bound to read over their work.  It’s just a fact.  They will make you.  By default, I was more involved in the shows, just by virtue of who I lived with. 

One day, Amos told me “Oh, you’ve got comp tickets to the next show.” 

“What?  Why?” 

“Contributors get comps.  We’re doing A.I.D.-sy” 

A.I.D.-sy was a sketch that came out of a conversation Amos and I had a month earlier.  We joked around about what would happen if someone told you they had A.I.D.S. and you had trouble distinguishing it from the hiccups. 

I’m a classy guy.  A classy guy who loves free tickets! 

By the next show, I submitted scripts and collected comp tickets.  I believe in working collectively, and that the actors know their craft.  After I submit the written work, they are free to alter it.  The cast found a much better ending for “Action Boner” than I could. 

There’s a show this week, from Wednesday to Saturday (more info here).  I wrote three things for this one; “Bigfoots,” “Capes,” and “Behind the Couch.”  If you’re reading this, you’re probably been tricked into thinking I’m funny.  If you want to see what real professionals can do with my words, come and check it out.  Or, if you’re like me, and enjoy things that are funnier than the shit that asshole Joey writes, enjoy all of the show but these three bits.  I’ll be at the 8 p.m. show on Friday. 

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  Performance is at the Bird and Stone Theatre, located in the basement of the church at 204, 16th Ave NW Calgary.  Shows run from Wednesday April 28th to Saturday May 1st, at 8pm nightly, with additional 10 p.m. shows on Friday and Saturday.

Naming Convention

While I plan to post a few things over the next week, there’s one meta-thing I need to get out of the way; how I’m going to refer to people.  There are some people who appear in my life regularly who I will likely need to talk about to tell you about my life.  It’s one thing for me to give up my privacy, but other people may be more protective of theirs.  Some people are willing to be famous as I become super popular.  Kodie is fine with me just calling him Kodie.

Other people would prefer to use standardized nicknames.  Lina and Nique are going this route.

If I write out the entirety of someone’s name, or a full nickname, I have first received their permission to refer to them as such.  I also give them the right to ask to have it removed at anytime.

But things will happen: I’ll deal with people who I want to talk about, but I won’t have their permission to call them by name or handle in the blog.  It may be I didn’t think about it.  It may be I want to talk about them with or without their permission.  In these cases, I will refer to them by an initial and a number, such as S1 or X1.  I don’t plan to explain how I chose the name, but I do plan to keep updating this file.  It will have a quick overview of who each of these initials are.

The Kodies, you’ll get to know them without reminders.

Below is a list of used initials

A2 – Leonard’s Best Friend, lord of the iPhone

A3 – Leonard’s friend, cute girl who I sometimes hit on unsucessfully

B1 – Shawn’s friend, often at the same social events as me

K1 – Friend and fellow English teacher in Japan.  World class drinker, master of the Blue Smirnoff.

K2 – High school friend and champion drinker

R1 -Leonard’s friend

S1 – Neighbor and co-worker.  She sometimes throws late night shot parties.  A hugging friend.

S2 – Coworker and photographer.  Not a hugging friend.

T1 – My boss, who has the unenviable job of trying to wrestle productivty out of my mania

W1 – Co-worker

Published in: on April 5, 2010 at 12:39 pm  Comments (14)  
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