Monday, November 28, 2005

It's been an eventful and purposeful few days. I accepted the Arizona VISTA job; my old boss from Chicago came through like a champ with the reference; the man who's going to be my new boss, Steve Martin (not the famous actor and writer but a very funny guy nonetheless)told me that not only would I get a moving allowance, they would pay me 48 cents per mile driven AND I could ship my things at Americorps' expense (Thanks, federal programs! What else can I get for free? Oh, health insurance? For little me? Why goodness gracious!).

Also, the woman from the Philadelphia program, for whom my respect grows and grows, called and was genuinely nice about my change of heart. For some reason I was worried. And then I got an email from a friend of a friend who lives in Tempe and that was very encouraging.

Mom and I looked at a big map of Arizona today and fantasized about how great it's going to be. Maybe I'll finally get to see the Grand Canyon. It's not that far. She was reminiscing about the trip she took with Dad through that part of the country and told me about the time they got stranded in a snowstorm in Colorado Springs when their Mercedes convertible broke down.

On Friday I was dragging myself around and finally decided to go out. I ended up in a storefront in York where they teach swing dance lessons for an hour then dance until midnight. So I learned some basic steps but there were many more women than men so I learned the leading parts, which made it tricky during the dancing later when I had to stop using arm muscles or trying to control things. It's more fun to be the woman, though, because of all the spins and turns. Lucky me, the most fun partner I had, a perky middle-aged guy who scats to the music while he dances, introduced me to his friend. I'm going to call the friend Barney, short for Barnacle, because he is one.

Barney and I got along so well with the witty repartee and insightful conversation that we were unable to dance together effectively. So we sat and conversed, then went to dinner and conversed, and at the end of dinner there was kissing and pants were on fire, but with nowhere really to go and his friend waiting, the one night stand I was hoping for was impossible. So we parted and I went to meet Lauren at a smoky bar where a famous dj was playing rave music from 1995 and I had a great night.

The next day I got very little sleep, worked in the cafe a little, and held a very small meeting about New Year's, then called Barney, then drove an hour to meet Barney, then went with Barney and friend to another swing dance. This one was in a high school gym, which didn't bug me much except for the school smell and the crappy audio. By this time Barney had decided that we were enough of an item that he was allowed to keep his hand in my back pocket sometimes, as well as stick his hand out behind him while walking ahead of me like he wanted me to hold it, kind of the gesture you make to a small child who is lagging. Okay, I thought, I'll go along with this, because my pants are on fire. And we had a good time, learning to dance, throwing little deflated kickballs into the basketball hoops, spinning and spinning, making out sloppily in the hallway until we got caught by Barney's buddy, who is a decent Christian man. I don't know exactly when the tide turned for me. It could have been when Barney invited me to his church and acted like he had just assumed we would be spending EVERY FREE DAY together. Or maybe it was when he agonized over whether or not it was moral to have sex at this point, since Aristotle wrote that the basest, most low-down dirty short-lived unfulfilling relationships are based on pleasure, and the true friend cares about his friend, and only has sex when absolutely necessary, and he read me the relevant passage with the sincerest look on his face, and I just wanted to look away from that little head-tilt and the penetrating stare that said: Are you the one? Are you good enough to be...my wife?

So I may be a sex pig but at least I'm not going to go changing into a perfect angel for somebody else.

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