Thursday, February 19, 2015

During a set break one evening, as we convened at a courtside bench to take some water, I explained to King Calm why Pacific Rim was more memorable than it had any right to be. It wasn’t the script, nor the ho-hum characters, that outlasted the credits. It was this idea of piloting an unwieldy husk into harrowing places. I frankly think of my body in kindred terms, especially when I steer this craft of meat into awkward situations.

These aren’t necessarily bad-awkward situations, either. More often than not, they’re the kind of awkward that leads to self-improvement, and I’ve realized online dating affords far more than a marketplace of flesh. Indeed, its crucible creates unique circumstances you couldn’t possibly manufacture on your own. My goal, at this juncture, is to dive headfirst into such circumstances–at a frequency that will allow for noticeable improvement.

If I were to trace the trajectory of how I like to approach situations, I’d peg my mid-20s as being oddly enamored with skill acquisition, where experiences were simply delivery mechanisms for learning stuff: firing guns, cooking spaghetti at scale, golfing, Krav Maga (to protect myself from the dangers of suburban living), quitting Krav Maga, etc. The people, the experiences themselves–inconsequential. Then, I realized this framework was, at best, turning me into an idiot savant. Or, more to the point, a Renaissance idiot savant.

In a kind of penance, I swung to the opposite end of the spectrum in my late-20s, savoring each experience and seeking sociability. But this, too, wouldn’t last. I’m introverted, and I’ve made my peace with this. Today, I sit somewhere between these two limits. I appreciate experiences for what they are, but I also take stock of the skills I’m honing. On the Good Ship Dating, this translates into how to read body language. How to work a room. How to talk about yourself. How to react to advice given, even when it’s unbidden. How to recover. Just the other day, I had a conversation wend, improbably, to power drilling, and it took every ounce of willpower to avoid a horrifically inappropriate joke. How to exert some self-restraint–if you’re keeping score.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

I’m in a different place tonight. I don’t mean this in some deep metaphysical sense, either, so much as the fact that I’m literally sitting in a different apartment, on a different side of the tollway, with my possessions largely unpacked in the wake of an uncannily smooth moving experience. It is quiet here to the point where time itself seems to dilate, such is the focus afforded, and that’s amazing.

There are restaurants, a cupcake shop, a Cinemark, a fountain, a library, and even some greenery, all within walking distance. When the decisions you’re tasked with making on a lazy, sunny Saturday involve lunch menu comparisons, followed by whether you should order food before or after the later matinee showing of a movie, it feels like you’ve landed in the very cradle of first-world problems.

The building itself seems to hail from an earlier, simpler era. Recycling? Let nature and untold millennia worry about separating glass from paper, because all trash goes down one chute. Computer nook? These floor plans can’t be bothered. “But where should I put my desktop?” I wondered aloud while surveying my options. “Uh, maybe back in 2007,” remarked the Professor, unhelpfully.

It is the kind of place where you can wield a WD-40 in one hand, screwdriver in the other, and feel like you’re crushing it in home improvement. I’ve got to knock out now to prep for– Well, I’ll just have to tell you next week when we discuss how online dating, brunch, and Pacific Rim intersect in ways you’d never guess.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The best place to begin, after so long a silence, is– Well, there really isn’t an optimal starting point, so we’ll stake our claim here, in the middle of things. What brought me back, as always, was need, plain and simple. I can feel parts of my brain atrophying, and that won’t do. I wish I could tell you I write out of passion, or even vanity, but I don’t want to know who’s reading this site, ever, and I much prefer to yoke this skill to the cold mantle of practicality, rather than loftier pursuits.

But it’s what kept me away from here that’s likely of more interest to you. Workload has amped up significantly in the past few weeks, for one thing, and that’s good in an economy like this, given my proclivities for food and shelter. Speaking of shelter, I’ve been gearing up for a move to nicer, more urban digs, and the prospect of living in a community that doesn’t resemble a landfill on a weekly basis has me fairly pumped.

Through some manner of witchcraft, too, I’m five pounds away from college weight. I’ve noticed the gym has been largely free of people driven to healthier lifestyles by some arbitrary turn of the Gregorian calendar, which gives me the run of the place. When you’re the only person in the room, you feed off the collective sloth of others. It’s what keeps you full, dark as it may be.

And then, of course, there’s Night Crow. We’ve shared some amazing moments, along with a certifiably mortifying one, and my biggest takeaway is to keep mum on my dating life and better honor the tenets of omertà. All part of the learning process, I suppose. I told her that, were I ever to meet my younger self in some kind of time rift, I’d probably punch myself in the face, and she agreed–about doing likewise to her face, I mean, not mine. Were that rift to open up right now? “Hey, I’m almost as lithe as you are,” I’d say to myself, “but I’m a lot better. Also, I need to punch you right in the fucking face.”

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