Previously in Cerebral Fitness: http://mrcecil.wordpress.com/2011/02/02/cerebral-fitness-dedication-preface-chapter-one-partially/
…. The skeptic in me always wins out.
Working in a computer lab is a funny thing these days. Your normal patron is savvy and already knows the ins and outs of the computer world and for the most part just wants to be left alone so they can harvest a fake farm or watch TV shows on the internet. Basically I’m there to give them a log in password or reboot the computer or show them where the USB input is. No one really needs me. This leads to a sedentary existence which may seem great but gets old quick.
My whole life was a somewhat boring go round. Not that I didn’t have stuff going on, because I did, just nothing of interest to you. I had my own apartment, I worked two jobs, I had a pet (cat), and I enjoyed video games, drinking, and the love of a good woman. Or a woman. That last one was negotiable.
And then, just like in a movie preview, she breezed into the door, slow motion, cue Hall and Oates “You Make My Dreams Come True” (unless it’s too expensive to reference them, in which case we’ll cue “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” or something else in the public domain that I don’t have to pay for). The preview would show me toiling away at my mundane existence, the narrator’s voice would indeed let you know, “Johnny led a mundane existence, until the day she walked through the door.” Bam. That’s when the music comes in. Cue montage of us playing in the park and tickling on the sofa. This slice of life love story will warm your heart, jaded America (you too Tokyo!).
So anyway, as you may have noticed, my name is Johnny. I didn’t change my name to protect my innocence, because I’m not innocent, far from it. I had originally given myself a pseudonym but that didn’t pan out. I’ll explain later. So I decided that I gotta be me. It was at that point that I also decided that I would talk directly at you like I’m doing now. A better way to be self deprecating, performing a pre-emptive strike on any criticism you may launch my way. Hell, it worked in high school.
So she would come in from time to time at the lab, but it wasn’t like the first time. In that I mean we didn’t have these saccharine sweet back and forth’s where everything flowed freely, we would, but not yet. Right now we took a strange step backwards where we didn’t know where the other person stood, due to our skittishness over making the first move.
Also, for all I knew, she had a boyfriend. I mean, most girls do. Often times the best you can do is catch a girl on the tail end of a bad relationship and endear yourself to her until it fizzles out. I suppose talking to her would’ve helped but that didn’t happen, instead we watched each other across a crowded room (Shut up, crowded rooms exist, so keep your cliché comments in your pocket).
I woke up one morning with a calm. I don’t normally wake up calm, I am designed to be slightly on edge (and dissatisfied) at all times. Yet something told me today was going to be different. I got ready for work at a slow even pace, arrived five minutes early (a first), and settled into my chair for a half day of internet skimming. For some reason, she wasn’t on my mind when I heard her voice.
“Can I ask you something?”
I looked up and a wide grin automatically emerged, “Is it because of the pin?” I was wearing a pin that said “Ask Me!” which was the college’s way of making us helpful in any way to the student body, never mind the fact I was always asked a ridiculous financial aid question or something I would have no possible way of knowing.
“No, this is purely serendipitous.”
“Everything about you is serendipitous,” which by the way, my friends, was my first deliberate attempt at flirtation, “but go ahead.”
“Are you familiar with the folk singer Bob Dylan?”
“I’m not sure…oh! Robert Dylan! Is that who you mean?”
“Yes,” she said, pretending she was not amused by me. Faker. “I have two tickets to go see him and my boyfriend does not want to go.”
Time out. Yes, she was inviting me to see the famous folk singer, and slip in that she has a boyfriend. So basically, she raised mixed signals to an art form. I was undaunted though, I was awash with calm let me remind you. I made a split second decision. It was almost as if throwing a boyfriend wrench into the works motivated me. It was decided, I had made the choice, I was going to pursuit this girl until she was mine.
Some guy walked up to the counter doing his personal version of cool, looked at me and scoffed, amused with himself, he asked, “Hey, Ask Me!, is that your name?”
I had heard this one before, so much so that I had a canned response for it that never got a laugh. I looked at him and really oversold it, “Yes, it’s my name, it’s Asian, the exclamation point is silent.”
She laughed. He looked at her and gave her a look that said so many things. The basic “Hey, baby” yes, but also the “Can you believe this joker, why don’t you talk to a real man?” and maybe just a hint of the “I can charm any woman, and you are in my cross hairs”. She seemed to like it, or was shyly embarrassed by it. Either way, that twinge of violent jealousy, the one that would emerge time and time again, was born in that instance. That, what you just read, was it’s origin story. Not exactly the beginning of a super man (Copyright averted!) but it’ll have to do.
“I would love to go,” I said, with a calm that cloaked my rage perfectly, “I mean, you were asking me to go with you, right?”
Danny Woodruff, which was his name based on the sign in sheet, slowly drifted away. She smiled but kept wanting to look back at him. I continued to over analyze every time her eyes changed direction. I had spent my life avoiding girls that played games or played hard to get. Either you want to get gotten or you don’t.
“Yes silly, I was asking you.” And she touched my hand. First contact. I swallowed my heart down my throat and back into position, my face turned red like a cartoon character, and I said something stupid, I’m guessing. I blacked out.
By the time I got home I was in an advanced state of euphoria that even the speeding ticket I accrued did not bring me down. I went straight over to the couch and laid down with my cat so I could close my eyes and relive every moment, perhaps even tweak a few things, blow up Danny Woodruff’s head with the power of my mind, stuff like that. It wasn’t to be though, because the phone rang almost instantly. I answered.
“Hey, what are you doing?”
“Nothing,” I answered, “Can I call you back? I was sleeping.
“Sure,” she said, “Call me when you wake up.”
“OK. Bye.” As I was hanging up I heard her faint, weak goodbye. I hated my girlfriend. Did I mention I had a girlfriend? Because I totally did.