If we have just started dating, and I am insisting we take it so very, very slow, and you agree to that, and I have told you that I am getting my hair cut by the girl and friend who used to style my hair in D.C., and how cool and coincidental it is that she is living here, and how wonderful it is to have her here in this South Florida realm that is at once becoming familiar as much as it still remains a mystery, at least have the common courtesy to say my hair looks nice. Because then I will think you noticed something nice about me before the evening went so horribly wrong when everything I said provoked an argument. Which I guess boils down to my wanting to take it slow. Or maybe not. Maybe I am just annoying as hell.
If you are the valet and I have just walked away from my untouched dinner at a restaurant overlooking the ocean on a night when the moon is full and the view is outstanding and that alone makes it so sad that I walked away from my untouched meal, and I mention to you, in an effort to keep from crying by laughing a little, that I am having a pretty horrible moment on a pretty tough date, and I ask if maybe one of you has a cigarette I could bum, don’t look at me with a stupid stare and say, “I don’t smoke. And it’s a smoke-free place so you can’t buy any here, either.” Because then I will think you are either clueless, humorless, or void of any feeling whatsoever. Which I guess boils down to your thinking ill of girls who smoke cigarettes when in crisis. Or maybe not. Maybe I am just annoying as hell while you wait to park someone else’s car.
If you are my good friend and former neighbor, and I call you at 9 p.m. on a night when I am supposed to be out with a nice guy on a nice date, and you don’t answer when I call twice in a row because you have left your phone inside your apartment while you are outside chatting with our former mutual neighbors, please know that it is never a good sign to receive such calls at 9 p.m., and please try to call me back as soon as possible. Because then I will feel like I have the kind of friends I used to have in D.C., and I will feel so much better about the horrible moments on the tough date because I will now know this far more important thing about having a real friend in the midst of so many who are not. Or maybe not. Or maybe so. Because you called the second you saw the “missed call” messages on your phone, without even listening to my voicemail, which is why I immediately felt less in crisis and more in control of my spinning feelings. I will never underestimate the power of a great girlfriend.
If you are a weather forecaster, and you are broadcasting to me early Sunday morning that I should start making preparations for the possibility of being in the direct line of tropical-storm-could-be-a-hurricane-but-depends-on-the-track Faye, thank you for not making me feel so stupid that I was out early yesterday morning before any watches were posted, buying 10 gallons of water, 6 bottles of wine (um, for the 10% discount, of course), and 1 big bag of dog food. Because after years of watching my D.C. brethren react to a week-out forecast of one flake of snow by clearing the grocery shelves of milk, bread, eggs and toilet paper, I despise being part of a panic-buy crowd. Which is why I felt a little silly doing all that yesterday. Or maybe not. Maybe that just means I am prepared and that instead of having to stand in long checkout lines today, I can go to the beach before I have to go to work.
If you are me, you are beginning to think that you are just beginning to get a little of your act together down here in South Florida. Which you hope means you aren’t as scared of Faye as you feel you are. Or maybe not. Maybe fear of Faye is healthy, just as healthy as it was to call it a night in the middle of a tough date, and to end the night by reaching out to a girlfriend instead of drinking multiple glasses of wine, smoking half a pack of cigarettes, or texting a boy with whom you should never communicate again. Because I didn’t even consider doing any of the latter. Finally.