Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Opening Day

I love baseball season. It's not just the game itself. It's the fact that opening day feels like the official start to Spring. It's getting warmer outside. The sun's still shining at crazy hours like 7pm. It's just great.

Have you ever been to a Major League Baseball game? I've been to a few. My first time was an Orioles game in Baltimore. I remember walking into Camden Yards and thinking how small the field seemed. There was nothing really special about the game itself that day. Just having that first memory of a professional baseball game is enough. That week, my dad and I followed up that game with a trip to see the Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, and Phillies. Five games in five days. I'll never do it again, but it was a lot of fun.

I've also seen the Atlanta Braves play down at Turner Field. This one's about a girl. Couldn't have this "single guy" entry and not have something about a girl, right? It was just before my senior year of college and I had had a yen for this girl for awhile. I called her up in mid-June and asked about the possibility of a friend and myself staying with her on the way to Atlanta, 'cause we were going to see a Braves game. I never had any intention of anyone else going, this was manipulation first class. She said we could stay, as long as she got to go too. See, she's a huge Braves fan. Knowing this, I used it to my advantage. "Sorry, just have the two tickets... Oh no, Dean Dan can't go... hmm... who can take his ticket?" I baited the hook. And she bit.

So I drove down and stayed with her family. The next morning, we left bright and early. A three hour car ride with this girl that I was crazy about. Next was a three hour baseball game in the hot Atlanta sun. And then a three hour return trip to her house. The ride back was very uncomfortable. Nothing tense between us... I was just crispy from the exposure to the sun. I had every intention of telling her how I felt about her. That I thought of her in a "more than friends" kind of way. But it never happened. I chickened out as usual. She eventually figured it out and after the obligatory six month awkward period, we remained friends. Do I look back fondly on that uneventful baseball game? Absolutely. Because regardless of whether or not my feelings for her were ever reciprocated, I got to spend an amazing day with an amazing girl, who pretty much embodies everything I ever thought I wanted in a woman. She's like the metaphor for all the women who would never go out with me in college.

Bottom line: I like baseball.

Monday, March 28, 2005

No Pressure

Do you ever get to a point in your life where you're comfortable with who you are? 'Cause I think I have. And then this happens.

The other day, I'm standing in the kitchen talking with my dad and he tells me I need a girlfriend. I laughed and asked why. He then said 'cause I need a wife. All of this because I need to have kids. And now we're down to it. Grandkids.

My father is a man of declining health. He is the reason that I would vote for any candidate promising real health care reform. I mean real reform, not just a campaign speech that would get votes. I think I'd need a guarantee. About 7 years ago, dad had quad bypass surgery and was deemed disabled and unable to continue working for the railroad. However, he was never granted full disability. Flash forward a few years... my mother divorces him, leaving him without any health insurance whatsoever. Thus, despite the fact that he is a diabetic with an obvious heart problem, he refuses to visit a doctor under most circumstances. Wouldn't you if you had no way to pay for it?

Last summer, he finally reached a point where he needed to see a doctor and my sister and I forced him to go. After spending two weeks in the hospital (a bill which cannot be paid), he came home with a permanent oxygen apparatus tethering him to the house. Why do I go into this detail after the "I need a girlfriend" story? Because I think the reasoning behind this sudden interest in my love life is his fear of not being able to see his own grandchildren.

I don't like to think about my dad in terms of his health. But it's always there, looming in the back of my mind. I know that things are not great for him, but he has seemed to be okay recently. Why the sudden urge to have grandkids? Do I need to feel this pressure? And now I can't help but worry about my dad and his state of mind.

So maybe I should start dating. I figure the first step toward this process would be gaining the ability to meet women. For example, I usually make a Sheetz run on my way to work every night. I grab a newspaper and a Coke, pay and leave. So often I will see gorgeous women in there, probably from the local college that's just up the road. They're standing in there alone with no rings on that important left handed finger. And do I speak up? No.

I'm not sure what it is. I guess that being in the presence of a woman that I'm attracted to is like being exposed to kryptonite. And in this case, we'll just say that my power is the ability to string together thoughts and phrases into coherent sentences. Usually what does come out is some kind of gibberish that only small children and possibly raccoons can understand. Any suggestions? That's what the comments section is for. Please, share.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Waxing Nostalgic

Do you ever wish you could go back and do it all over again? It really doesn't matter when or what. Is there a point in your life that you would like to go back to, having the knowledge that you have today, and do something different?

I asked myself this question today as I drove by my high school. I graduated back in '98 and I haven't looked back. I hated high school. I was nobody in high school. I had no identity. I was an average student who didn't play sports and had very few friends. I suppose more people thought of me than I know, but for the most part, I was unpopular among the "in-crowd."

I take some of that back. I didn't hate high school. I just loved college so much more that looking back high school seemed miserable. But as I drove by Patrick Henry High and saw the construction of the new super high school building I was reminded of days gone by. Simpler times when my 11th grade decades project seemed like it would end me. I found myself being flooded by memories, good and bad.

So what would I do differently? For starters I'd have tried a lot harder in my classes. At some point in high school I realized that I could pass with C's without trying. Maybe if I'd have put forth some kind of effort I'd have gotten A's.

Next, I would definitely have a lot more confidence in a lot of areas of my life. College showed me who I am as a person. I found my identity. I didn't peak in high school like a lot of people tend to do. No, I never became an athlete or a super-genius. But I became comfortable with who I am. I'd like to be the person I am now, but back as a freshman in high school. That would invariably lead to differences in the way I handle myself and the people around me.

Third, would I ask out that girl? You know the one I'm talking about. The one that gets placed up on the pedestal. The one that movies immortalize as the girl that the geeky guy had a crush on for 4 years but never developed the nerve to do anything about it. I definitely had one of those. I haven't seen her since graduation, but every now and then I wonder where her life has led her today. Maybe I'll come back to her sometime. I think she may deserve her own entry.

I never answered my last question. Would I ask her out? Probably not. Look at the title of my blog. "The Single Guy." I mean, here I am 7 years after high school and still single. This means that even the person I am now would not have the guts to ask out the crush girl from the 9th through 12th grades.

The point of all of this is to say that yes, I would do things differently. For the most part. But honestly who wants to go through all of that again? Growing up was hard enough the first time. Who wants to learn those lessons all over again. I know I certainly don't want to take driver's ed. again. However, I could avoid that accident I had junior year. Yeah, stuff like that would be nice.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Be Mine

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

This really isn't a favorite day for me. I've never had a "valentine" before. That could probably account for why I'm not a fan of the day and take a very cynical approach to it. I've always argued that St. Valentine's Day is a holiday created by the Hallmark's and Russell Stover's of the world. It seems to be one of those days when guys are expected to one-up themselves from the year before. The men who remember that this day holds a magical meaning with their women folk tend to worry that they won't be able to come up with that great, romantic idea that's gonna top the chocolate and flowers they gave last year. The way I see it, the first Valentine's Day in a relationship has gotta be the easiest one. Every year after that gets progressively more difficult.

A few years ago I actually had a date on Valentine's Day. Okay, she wasn't really a date. She's just a friend, and she was engaged at the time. Her fiancee lived on the other side of the state while she was finishing college. So she had no choice but to spend Valentine's Day (which is like Christmas to this girl) with the next best thing: me. The initial idea was that she needed a man's opinion as she picked out some sort of dress that would impress the fiancee when she was able to get home the following weekend. In return for my expert advice, she would pay for my dinner. Aaron's rule #8: Never turn down free food off-campus. So of course I went along with this scheme. We went from shop to shop where I watched as she tried on numerous dresses. That part did not suck. With each outfit she would ask, "What do you think?" To which I would very helpfully respond, "It's okay." This led her to not buying a dress that night. Aaron's rule #9: Ladies should not take a guy shopping if they want a real opinion. After the two hours of obligatory dressing room loitering, we made it to the restaurant. The lights were dimmed and there were candles on the table, making the regular college hot spot into a romantic venue. We were seated and as we looked over the menu we were made very aware of a party of 12-year-old girls directly across from our table. I didn't catch all of their preteen jargon, but I gathered they were there for a birthday. The birthday girl's mother told them to keep quiet saying that we were trying to have a romantic dinner. So my good friend Shannon, being the loud and brutally honest person she is, let everyone in the mall know that we're just friends. This is the part where I got to embarass her. Not missing a beat, I looked up and, tears streaming, said, "What do you mean we're just friends???" Oh, the humiliation. And on her favorite day of the year. I wanted to feel sorry for her, but I was laughing too hard.

That's the Valentine's Day story that I'll never get tired of telling. By the way, did anyone else notice that today's initials are "VD?" Just an observation.

So, any romantic plans today? Me, I'll be sitting at home, probably watching Couples Fear Factor. Maybe after that I'll throw When Harry Met Sally into the DVD player and grab a pint of Ben & Jerry's. Face it, it's a lot cheaper than naming a star after someone.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

It's Been Awhile

Have you missed me? Does anyone actually read this? I didn't think so. For the two of you who might actually stumble upon this blog, I apologize for my lack of posts for the last 6ish weeks. I forgot my login name for a long time. Then tonight I had an epiphany and, well, here I am. I won't fill in the boring details of the last month of my life, just a couple of the highlights.

Okay, in my first post I mentioned the possibility of a blind date. Well, it never happened. At first, the girl wanted to pray about it. I can respect this. I too believe that prayer is a very important part of one's life. After a couple weeks, I heard that she would be cool with some kind of group activity. So I told my co-worker who was trying to set this up to set it up, I would be cool with whatever. Again, never happened. So I'm thinking there's no future for this blind date thing. Maybe another time, another place, a different set-up.

More recently, I called up an old friend to go see a movie. This didn't happen either. I should give the back story. This young woman, who shall remain nameless for the time being, is someone that in my early college years I had strong feelings for. I met her while interning with my church youth group one summer. She was hanging out with my sister (who is only 2 years younger than myself). Therefore, one would assume that they were the same age. So I did what any normal red-blooded American teenager would do, I flirted with her. You could say that I turned on the old charm. And she flirted back. It wasn't until a couple weeks after our initial introduction that I found out that she was about 6 years behind me in school. So when I say young woman I mean young. She was just one of those girls who looked and acted mature beyond her years. Way beyond her years. Obviously nothing happened between us. We had a long conversation about who felt what and how wrong and impossible a relationship would be. And the issue dropped. We have remained friends. Okay, not close friends, but the kind who are still able to find something to talk about when we do talk.

Back to the present. There was this movie coming out that I really wanted to see. I'll admit it's not the manliest of movies for guys to see, which is why I desperately wanted someone of the fairer sex to go with. I had planned on visiting the old college town and getting a group together to see this flick, but there was a weather problem. Snow, ice... it was pretty... but very dangerous. So I was stuck here at home, with no one to see the movie. Again, I'm the single guy, so any of my friends who would want to see that movie, would want to go with their significant others. So I call up this young friend from a past life. She's 19 now, don't panic. Besides, those old feelings are long gone. I asked her to go see the movie, she was interested, we tried to set up a date, but the day of, she was called into work at the last minute. She said she'd call later in the week when we were both off work. Did I hear from her? Take a wild guess. No, I didn't. I tried calling, left a voice mail... no call backs. Maybe I smell bad or something. You really can't tell something like that over a voice message though, can you?

So I went to see Phantom of the Opera with my sister. Could that be why I can't get a date? Is it the movies I choose to see? Boogeyman's coming out this weekend. Maybe I can get the young'n to see that one with me. It's rated PG-13, so I think she can get in. Again, I stress, she's 19!