I went out to dinner with E.P.A.L.Y.G., my old co-worker (last mentioned in this post), today. I put my number on a note I'd left for all the parents to see at The Job, and she called me earlier this week wanting to catch up. So we talked for about 40 minutes, then made dinner plans. It was nice --- she's great fun to talk to --- but (somewhat disappointingly for me) strictly a friend-type interaction. Well, that's cool too. She was interested in going to Hangout later, but couldn't because she was leaving early next morning for a long weekend vacation. We made tentative movie plans.
I've visited The Job twice since leaving, and each time this co-worker's mournful, longing looks toward me made me rather uncomfortable. Pursuit and escape, the social dance. It's sort of sad, thinking about all those unfulfilled hopes, mine and so many others'.
After that, I joined Friar and Palfrey at the Green Margarita (a place first mentioned in this post) for a, well, green margarita. And later, Friar and I went to the Hangout. I've been going to bed and getting up early lately, gearing up for the unrelenting daily grind that starts next week, but this time I stayed until 3:00 a.m. or so. A last night of irresponsibility for a while, I guess.
There was a guy there, a short, scruffy, dopey-looking, sort of lumpy fellow, hanging out with a very good-looking girl. I'd seen and exchanged nods with the guy before, but don't know him. I learned that (a) he and the girl have been hanging out for a year, and (b) according to the Friar, he's in his early 20s and a virgin. As the Hangout slowly emptied, he was talking (in a subdued and respectful way) about how he finally had a shot at going home with the girl this night. She wasn't drunk, and she was sort of flirting with him in a subdued way.
I don't know what I felt, exactly, watching this kid fumbling around, sort of dropping the conversational ball every now and then and finally wandering away from the girl even after she made it pretty clear that, whether she wanted to sleep with him or not, she saw something special in him. The Friar and I told him to get the hell out of the damn bar and go home with the girl already and see what happened. But he didn't, saying he didn't want to force her into anything and other excuses of the kind. When I left, he was sitting in one corner of the Hangout, talking to Tall, while the girl was being chatted up by AL (this guy).
Hell, that dopey-looking kid still probably understands social relations better than I did when I was 22. Or maybe even now.