This is a story about a girl.
Things are not supposed to happen this way. I suppose that “they” say it always does. But, I was not looking for a girl.
On Valentine’s Day, I was going to go to a singles event at some restaurant in DeForest. I got done with work and decided not to go. I decided that I was really enjoying who I was and where my path had led to over the past year. I decided that I was just going to enjoy going out with my friends for a while.
In the past, I had tried telling myself that I was done looking for love. It was always one of those little tricks. Sort of like setting your clock forward 15 minutes so that you wake up for class on time. Yeah, it might work a little, but eventually you don’t fool yourself. I tried to convince myself that I was not looking for love, but always held out hope that Ms. Wonderfully Delicious would walk through the door and into my arms forever. Something like that, anyway.
The weekend after Valentine’s I was supposed to go out with my buddy Michael to a movie. His little boy was sick, though, so he canceled. I called up my friend Bob and ended going to his house and watching some college basketball. Then, we went out to the Willy Street Pub and met up with some other friends.
At first, it was a bit awkward. There were a bunch of people that I did not know. Some people were playing quarters. One guy was doing quarter bouncing tricks. Some people were playing the longest game of darts ever. I played a little bit on one of those bar game machines.
This girl started talking to me. For the life of me, I do not remember how we got started talking. But, I remember a thought going through my mind “go on, tell her, if she doesn’t like you, oh well.” So, I told her about reading science fiction.
In the previous year, I had spent a good portion of my time in my room reading. I was going through a particularly bad break up. She lived in the other bedroom. I spent much of the remaining term of the lease trying to figure a few things out about myself and reading. I remember seeing the Foundation trilogy on my father’s bookshelves when I was a child. I thought I might read that, find a connection with my father. I also started reading Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books. And, I picked up some more books by Ursula LeGuin.
The time ended up being pretty well spent. I bought my first house and laid the foundation for a getting a new job. And, I read some really good books. I ended up reading all seven books of the Foundation series, a bunch of Pratchett, and quite a few LeGuin books.
So, I think I referenced Rincewind’s comment that it wasn’t the heights he was afraid of, it was the grounds. And it turns out that she was a huge Terry Pratchett fan! So, I talked to her about the Foundation series and the development of the Gaia theory of life. And, I told her about how Ursula LeGuin was a favorite of mine. Her science fiction is not even so much like science fiction, but more of an exploration of human nature. She had never heard of her.
Eventually some other friends showed up and she disappeared. I was on cloud nine. She was playing foosball. Now, I am never one to try and pick up girls in bars. But, that little voice came into my head again. “She’s going to come back. Give her your number.”
Fortunately, I left a pen in my back pocket when I was at work. I grabbed a business card, flipped it over, wrote “Ursula LeGuin” and my phone number on the back. And, she came back over. I said “I’ve got to get going. I have to work at 8AM tomorrow, but here is that author and my phone number, if you want to talk again.”
“Oh. Well, here, let me give you my phone number.” What? So, she pulled out a receipt and gave me her number.
“I know there’s that rule about waiting 48 hours, but do you mind if I call you tomorrow?”
“Well, why don’t we go to dinner?” What? Well, okay.
“I work until six. We could go after that, if you want.” Anyway, I ended up staying there for another hour or so. Finally, I HAD to go. So, I gave her a quick kiss good night and told her that I would call the next night.
On my way to the car, I looked back to make sure no one was watching and I jumped up and clicked my heels. And, I never looked back again.