I haven't written for the past couple of weeks because work has been really busy, and I haven't really gone anywhere out of the ordinary or seen anything very unusual. A friend pointed out that I could just tell an old story instead, but I feel like I have to have some kind of inspiration to just start rattling off this one time when I blah blah whatever, you know?
Fortunately (or not), inspiration struck yesterday: the Huffington Post published this story about how Amazon.com says that I live in America's most romantic city. A friend and I were discussing the dubiousness of that claim, and all of a sudden she came out with, "Hey, whatever happened with you and the toilet paper guy? Did you ever talk to him again?"
"Who?" I asked casually, hoping I would not have to tell that story.
"You know, the guy where you needed a lot of toilet paper."
"OK, the way you say that makes it sound really gross and horrible. The toilet paper is barely even a part of that story."
My friend rolled her eyes at my sneering tone, so I gave a weighty sigh, and began to explain that, yes, I had spoken to him again after our Dinner of Disaster, but only once, because there was a terrible incident and we never spoke again.
For those who don't remember and/or didn't click the links above, there was this guy I liked. We kept running into each other, sometimes while shopping for toilet paper, and engaging in light flirting and finally decided that hey, we should totally go to dinner. Then, when we got to dinner, we turned out to be completely incompatible. The final nail in the compatibility coffin came when he haughtily explained that, "I don't even have a TV. I read books and better myself."
For the record, I don't care if you own a TV or not. Maybe you watch everything on your computer. Maybe you're poor, and can't afford a TV or cable. (For the price Comcast is charging me for basic cable, the Real Housewives of Some City should actually show up at my apartment in person and berate each other while I watch and offer pointers.) Maybe all of your funiture is pointed at a fireplace instead. I don't care that you don't own a TV, but I do take offense when you try to present it as some kind of noble life choice that allows you to smugly judge everyone else who does own a TV and, God forbid, actually watches it.
You didn't cure cancer, or save a runaway schoolbus full of deaf orphans from crashing into an aquarium filled with endangered baby seals.
All you did was not drive to the nearest big box store and purchase a television.
I am not impressed.
Oh, and you read? So do I, actually. I'll even promise to be impressed with the fact that you read books and better yourself just as soon as your book total for the year beats the number of books that I read while laying on the couch, WATCHING TV.
I didn't say any of this, of course. Instead, I just seethed all the way through the rest of dinner, and continued to seethe about it for a couple of weeks afterward. Somewhere in my head I started taking it as a personal criticism, convinced that he had implied that I was somehow deficient because I did have a TV, and I just got seethier and seethier and all ragey and combative and then I ran into him at McKay's and everything went to hell.
And it was totally my fault.
I came around the corner, and there he was, and I was like, "YOU!" because as soon as I saw him I felt judged and belittled and enraged, and he was like, "Oh, hey. What are you doing here?" and I was like, "Oh, well, I heard from a friend that all those TV shows I like used to be books before they used to be on TV, so I thought maybe I'd give them a try and, you know, better myself."
It was like someone reached inside of me and turned my hateful-bitch-o-meter all the way up into the red zone. He gave this little kind of pinched face smile, and right there we almost could have maybe saved things, but then he said, "You know, maybe we sort of got off on the wrong foot..."
And that's when it happened.
You know how people who have been through traumatic events have trigger words, or noises, or smells, or whatever that sets them off? And it spirals into a panic attack or a flashback and they can't control it? Something like that happened to me in that second, too, where I was all angry and fired up and defensive, except instead of connecting to some horrible trauma in my past, it somehow connected to the part of my brain that stores and retrieves movie quotes, and the words shot out of my mouth like Cady Heron's word vomit in Mean Girls. He stumbled into, "Maybe we sort of got off on the wrong foot..."
And I blurted, "That's all you got is two wrong feet in ugly fucking shoes!"
Julia Roberts, Erin Brockovich, 2000, Universal Studios.
A movie that I saw many, many times.
So, yeah, I dropped an F-bomb in McKay's over a perceived insult that probably wasn't intended toward me but was instead a commentary on American society in general. It was horribly inappropriate, and completely disproportionate to what he'd said, and we both realized it as we stared at each other in the aisle of my local used bookstore. He finally did a little fidgety thing and said, "I... guess I'll see you around," or something like that.
And we never spoke again.
I explained all of this to my friend yesterday, and she asked why I never just apologized, but I'm kind of a little ashamed at how horrible I was. On the other hand, I find the story a little humorous, because yes, I was a total dick, but so was he. He spent a good five minutes of that dinner prattling about how awful Facebook is and how terrible blogging is and how social media is a waste of time and how much better he is than everyone else because he doesn't even own a TV and, really, maybe he deserved that a little bit.
So, I'm sorry, but also not sorry.
And I'm not apologizing for watching TV.