Saturday, May 9, 2009

Date #8: Seven and Point Five

Date two with Seven. Yes, I decided to abandon my rule about weekdays not counting. I mean, it is more of a guideline than a rule, really, and let’s face it- if you find what you think might be something good, do you toss it away callously? My answer is no, and it is backed up by my personal philosophy that I would rather regret something I have done rather than something I haven’t. Sometimes I just gotta roll reckless.
I was supposed to have a date with another Craigslist guy on this particular day, which turned out to be a weekend day- Friday. But when number Seven called and asked if I was up for going with him and his friend to Hood River to watch some bands, I jumped. Of course, by 5:15 the other guy had not yet contacted me with what time he wanted to go out, so I figured he probably wasn’t going to anyway.

He picked me up at 7:30 with my bike. This is one of the great things about Seven. He accepts the fact that at any point, I might feel the need to leave, perhaps irrationally, and he is more than happy to bring my bike with us in case I need to do that. Seven is very supportive of this particular neurosis, a very good quality to have in a friend, to my way of thinking. He was telling me about his friend, Point Five, (Point Five wanted this name, so please do not accuse me of reducing the men I know to numbers, I am not that much of an asshole), telling me that he knows everyone in the Portland music scene, is super kind, laid back, and that you just want to give him a big hug every time you see him. Again with the hugging. I also assumed from this description that Point Five, like Seven, was a hippie.
What makes Seven a hippie, you might ask? It is an amalgamation of many things, some of which I will name here. He wears a pendant with an asteroid chip in it tied in a leather strap around his neck, he has crystals all over his home, he wears tie-dyed shirts, his hair is quite long, and, finally, instead of saying “good-bye” on the phone, he says simply, “peace”. For a long time I have had issues with hippies due to some interactions I had with some of their ilk while road tripping in California and at a Dead show in Eugene (yes, I know, the irony here is thick). My biggest issue of course is that many of my old friends in Chicago have the highly annoying habit of referring to me as a hippie, which I know is a by-product of having lived in Portland, the land of no dress code, for so long. I have to say, though, I see nothing wrong with Seven. He is kind and generous, smart and funny, and really, I am not one to judge what anyone chooses to put on his back. More than that, he is very nice to me, and really, that is a tough quality to argue with.

So, we go to Point Five’s house, as he is driving to Hood River and we are traveling with him in his car, which is a Range Rover with Bob Marley, Grateful Dead, and Rastafarian decals on its windows. Point Five is a big man with a kind face and an easy smile. Yes, I know that sounds trite, but it’s true, so cram it. He has a big full beard and long hair, and when he greets me, he looks right into my eyes and smiles. Not many people do that when they meet you; due to shyness or angst or arrogance, people will often times barely smile or even look at you when they first meet you. A good strong handshake and a smile go a long way in my book, and Point Five had both. I was just glad he didn’t want to hug me.
So we all start to get in the car and Seven asks if I want to sit in the front with Point Five. He calls me “Sarita”. This kills me. I love it when he speaks Spanish to me. It drives me absolutely crazy. I reply that I am fine, but he doesn’t seem comfortable with it. He says he feels bad because of the fact that I would be out of the loop of the car conversation for much of the ride, but I assure him that I would not say I was fine if I wasn’t. So we start driving, and Seven starts telling Point Five about his mother’s visit which just ended. Evidently, his mother asked him “when he was going to cut his hair short and look like a real man should”. She also wants him to take his daughter to church. Seven’s mom is big in the church, and Seven, having been raised in it, is not. Point Five commiserates, saying his mom has been hounding him to visit for a while, and he has been putting it off for as long as he possibly can. Unfortunately, I can’t really add anything to this conversation because my mom is dead, and volunteering this information usually ends whatever conversation I am having if I mention it. I have tried on several occasions with many different people, and the result is always the same: everyone says they are sorry, looks at me with “sad for you” eyes, and the subject is changed. So I sit and listen as they talk about their plans for the summer, the music festivals they have gone to and are going to go to, and Point Five talks about surveying the land in the Gorge for his job, in one particular case leading all the engineers he works with though the woods, casually mentioning the Poison Oak they are walking next to, and scaring the crap out of them.
Eventually, we get to a gas station so Point Five can fuel up. When he does, he opens the door to the back seat opposite me, pulls out a little plastic contraption, looks up with a little smile on his face and says to me “Have to take my anti-anxiety pills”. Mr. laid-back hippie dude has anxiety problems.
As we continue driving, Seven points out Bonneville Dam to me and laughs, then tells Point Five about the social experiment I am conducting and my date with Grampa Tom. This is when Point Five asks to be called as such, to which I am more than willing to oblige. That’s just good copy.
We arrive at the bar roughly an hour later and before we go in Seven gives me a long hug. While Seven is not a big man, when he hugs me, I feel like we fit; his hugs are warm, comforting, and his big shoulders and muscular arms make me feel safe. As we walk in, I am delighted to see that I will receive a stamp on my hand for the entry fee Seven is paying for me. I look at it, trying to figure out what it is. I can’t tell, but it looks vaguely like a squiggly paisley design, which is a technical art term and too complex to explain here. Seven gets us some beers and we stand in front of the stage, holding hands and watching the bands warm up. Much to my surprise, they are both bluegrass. Actually, I am not surprised at all as I know this is the kind of music Seven likes, which is too bad, because it is a similarity he shares with my wasband. But, live music is live music, and the bands warming up sound very good. Seven is right about Point Five; he seems to know almost everyone at the bar, and demonstrates this by hugging almost every one of them. Evidently Point Five does not have a personal space bubble to contend with. I briefly consider suggesting one to him in order to perhaps alleviate the anxiety problem he faces, but I quickly dismiss it as I just met the guy and with my luck it is probably an aspect of his life which soothes him. I would hate to think that I might be responsible for pushing some poor schmuck over the edge by suggesting a personal space bubble.
The music starts and everyone starts dancing, Seven and Point Five included. Thankfully, Seven has rhythm. It is such a relief to date someone who has rhythm; it means you are able to forgo the awkward conversation where you tell him his lack of rhythm doesn’t matter to you, which is a lie, or worse, where you have to be the one to tell him he has no rhythm whatsoever. Point Five is a bit of a different matter; it is not that he doesn’t have rhythm; it is that he is a twirler. Yes, a twirler. These are the people at concerts (usually Dead shows) who dance well, but not to the rhythm of the music, and while their moves are impressive on a certain level, as was Point Five’s, it is hard to tell if they are dancing to the music or their own inner soundtrack. So, good, there we all are, Seven and Point Five cutting a rug, and me kind of moving back and forth a bit, but not really doing anything approximating what you could call dancing. I was people watching, and I was pretty much transfixed by this stunning young couple dancing together. The guy was dressed in a cream and light brown suit-like outfit and wore a fedora which he used as a prop in his extravagant dance moves. The woman was dressed in a very feminine, demure blouse and skirt and wore a wide headband on her head. She was much less confident than he, but her timidity was quite appealing, and I found myself in love with them; dreaming into them an amazing and exciting life which kept them riding the crest of a wave of superiority. Sometimes it is nice to not know people; you experience much less disappointment that way and they can be exactly who you want them to.
This date was proving my theory that it is best to always keep your options open. I had had a perfectly dreadful week, my “best friend” dumped me, work sucked, and my wasband had once again told me how horrible I was. I had no idea I would end up at a bar in Hood River listening to music with a cool guy even that very morning, but here I was, dancing with a super cute hippie in a bar and drinking beer and laughing about random silly things. Seven was still new to me, and I could dream into him all of the great things I wanted. Even if he turns out to be less than ideal, I am sure that this is one thing I have done that I won’t regret, even if it ends badly.


  1. good one, you had me laughing a bit

  2. "Sometimes it is nice to not know people; you experience much less disappointment that way and they can be exactly who you want them to." This is the most profoundly true sentence you have ever penned...period. I feel the exact same way