Yikes! Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. This hardly ever poses a problem for me, as I tend not to have someone to celebrate it with. This year is different. Allow me to backtrack:
A day or two prior to Valentine’s Day last year, I hit it off with a very lovely didgeridoo player. Let me explain. Back in December, I had attended my first didgeridoo gathering. There she was, by the outdoor fire, merrily honking away. I honked back, I’m not making this up.
We talked. She asked me what I did for a living. “If I tell you,” I replied, “I will have to kill you.” I was stalling for time. I couldn’t just say, I’m crazy and I write about being crazy.
“I - uh - am a writer,” I began. “I - uh - write about mental illness. I - uh - have a depression and bipolar website. I - uh - have a blog.”
There, I had barely revealed my name and already she knew I was crazy. No hope in hell she would be interested to me. i didn’t ask for her number.
Now here it was, two months later, different gathering, different fire. We found ourselves hovering around one another the entire evening. This time, I was smart enough to get her number. You know, uh, in case we wanted to practice didgeridoo together.
I planned on calling her Tuesday. On Monday, I discovered one of my revenue streams was about to dry up. This meant that I spent the next two days contemplating my future eating out of dumpsters. I could just imagine myself giving her a call:
“Hi, I’m the crazy didgeridoo guy. I’m a little short on funds right now, but I’ve got this Subway coupon that hasn't expired and the Coke is on me. You doing anything on Saturday?”
On Wednesday - the day after Valentine’s Day - I was sort of pulling out of my funk. Time to give her a call. Her voicemail picked up. Crap! What do I say?
There is this very strange social custom that has to do with men taking the lead in initiating relationships. Not only that, we must do it displaying the same confidence as Custer checking out the neighborhood at Little Big Horn. Who made this rule? Keep in mind that as a species, we are too afraid to even ask for directions. So here I was, having to deliver a unrehearsed soliloquy, without so much as an empathetic prompt. Maybe it would have been different had her message gone something like this:
“Hello, Handsome. If you are the fascinating crazy guy I met at the didgeridoo gathering, yes, of course I would love to go out with you. Just say something wholly inarticulate and clumsy, which I will interpret as endearing and funny, and I will get right back to you.”
Thank heaven I can’t recall the message I left. But, then to my horror, I realized I couldn’t remember if I said I would call her the next evening or whether I had left off with the suggestion that she get back to me. What was the etiquette for leaving messages, anyway? What if I called again and she thought I was stalking her? What if I didn’t call and she thought I was being a cad?