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Friday, March 6, 2009

Ten-der is the Night

Well, crocker-stalkers, we’ve reached double digits! Woohoo! Day 10! Double digits reminds me of the phenomenon of hallucinated polydactyly that I experience every now and then when people are standing at a distance, or on t.v. This means that, often enough to describe it as a personal phenomenon, I see people as having and extra finger on one or both of their hands. Sometimes it’s people in real life, mostly it’s people on t.v. Both times, and every time, I begin ferverishly counting digits on each hand to see if the answer is:

1. WHOA this person has 12 fingers!


2. Wow, I really do that enough that it weirds me out and is wholly inexplicable.

Guess how many times number one has been correct? [Hint: you don’t need any fingers to count].
I was thrilled to find that another college friend experienced the same thing – constantly miscounting fingers and toes of strangers and those projected through mainstream media.

Once we knew that this was a shared mental defect, it was even better when we’d do it at the same time, and confirm with one another, “Yep, definitely thought that was six.” This mental lapse was justifiably baffling to college peers, and remains baffling, yet very active, within me today.

I sometimes wonder if this would have been like, an evolutionary advantage at some point, to be able to identify those with a few more digits. Then, unable to posit any foreseeable scenario in which that would have benefit to survival (more not-yet-opposable thumbs?), I resign myself to the truth – a few wires are loose in the old noggin’ up top.

I am currently experiencing two simultaneous bits of reminiscence:

1. Excessive fullness from peanut m&ms
2. Analyzing a friend date with a girl

1. m&ms

I have a very vivid memory of being too full from peanut m&ms and having a touch-and-go car ride home as a result of my excessive m&m consumption. When I was young, my mom was in a bowling league. The kids used to hang out in a play room while the moms went bowling. I probably get my love of Lebowski from mom now that I think of it. I do remember being intensely impressed by her two-tone suede bowling shoes, and what seemed to be the rollicking good time happening in the lanes, the area in which the young were not allowed to tread. The area beyond the hard plastic curve of seats with attached ash trays.

Somehow, on this particular day, despite having been fed amply and cared for extensively, I convinced my mom that some peanut m&ms from the snack bar were in order.

Fast forward to me in the back seat of a very sunny, hot Oldsmobile (the first of three my parents owned) with an empty m&m bag grasped by my five-digited hand and a queasy feeling rumbling in the tummy. I had to lie down. But I made it home.

The same thing happened just now. I purchased a bag of “Tear n’ Share” sized m&ms (the artist-formerly-known-as-king-size), and then teared and shared with myself.
I mean, I am Verrrrry generous in my sharing. With myself.
They’re all gone. They were delicious.

But now I’ve got a few too many swirling colored candy coatings rolling around in my stomach, trying to figure out if the peanuts are something they should mingle with politely or not. Let’s hope my love will conquer all on this one – meaning m&m love will outstrip reasonable amounts of candy consumption and I’ll go to bed without any trouble. I’m sure that will be the case. I’ve been practicing this since I was four.

2. Friend dates, blind and otherwise I must say, it’s hard to make new friends unless you and another person are involved in the same social sphere, work group, or some sort of activity that makes you spend many repeated hours together (tax evasion?) during which your actual foibles, likes, and dislikes can become apparent and undergo extensive evaluation over time which would allow for an estimation of status as “friend material” or “no thanks…I can’t stand your nailbiting, incessant discussion of your cats, (Found?) [ref day 6], and love of Mountain Dew.”

Barring that evaluation period, you don’t know WHAT you’re in for, but you’re committing to go in for it at least once on the friend date.

Being set up with a friend, no matter how awesome they may be, in my experience, produces the same anxious result as a blind date. You don’t know what this other person actually thinks, likes, puts on their ice cream sundae, or in some cases, looks like. The same dominant anxiety of “what if this person hates me” followed quickly by “what if this person sucks” that would exist on a regular old romantic date strikes fear in the depths of my m&m-laden being as soon as i arrive at the pre-determined location. And the same sort of irrational thinking that would take place on a date with romantic implications strikes me: what if I forget what she looks like- is that her? , what if I’m not dressed well enough, what if this is just awkward, what if I get stood up? What if I don’t’ get stood up and that’s worse because we have nothing to talk about!?!

As anyone following this blog for more than a paragraph should have already determined, I have some insecurities. So when I say “irrational thinking” above, I really mean mild panic, even when it’s like, someone to whom I’ve said “Oh my gosh we should hang out!”, and gone about the trouble of getting their digits (all, 10-12 of them) to then make that happen.

I can easily recall three friend dates, and none of them were disasters, yet fear prevails. Tonight, as in the other friend date instances, I came home thinking “That was fun! We should hang out, she seems nice.”
With all the stress involved for semi-neurotic, omni-deulsional folks like myself in simple things like “talking to others,” I must admit I’m shocked that someone with a psych PhD and a statistics background, or an associates degree and a nose for preying on the insecurities of others (John Basedow, I’m looking at you here…), hasn’t gone ahead and made the equivalent of an e-harmony quiz for a friend-match website. F-harmony maybe.

Questions to determine friendship compatibility, F-harmony, test module 10:

1. Your ideal Friday night involves:

a. Cosmos with the girls!

b. Cosmos with Carl Sagan

c. Take-in of take-out, followed by tantric tivo

d. Crying alone in the dark

e. I will respond a., but I really mean c. or d., depending on how much wine I’ve had

f. TGIFriday’s. The new Guy Fieri menu tantalizes at every course! Let’s just say he’s poppered my cherry. And YES it was beer battered

2. Your new friend needs a ride to the airport. You respond by:

a. Saying “I’d love to take you, it’ll be a great chance to catch up”

b. Immediately scheduling car maintenance that conflicts with that time slot

c. Emailing to say you may be out of town on business this weekend, which actually means Cosmos with
Carl Sagan

d. Assiduously avoiding said friend’s email address, phone number, general area of town, and facebook page until the date of the ride request has passed

e. Sending a link to the bus schedule and encouraging her to “Get green! This is the 2000s!”

3. Your new friend invites you to a larger social gathering with her core friends. Your reaction is:

a. Spend all day thinking of a clever evite response and then post your bravado in the “Hot to Trot” "yes" section of the invitation and promise to bring a low-cal dip

b. Spend all day NOT opening the evite so she’ll know that you just haven’t seen it yet, not that you’re thinking of a clever response, and about whether or not you want to go

c. Claim your car’s maintenance problem is acting up again, and respond “cooling my jets” in the "maybe" column, leaving the decision for later

d. Spend all day thinking of clever evite response, post it, then spend the next 2 weeks agonizing over whether other possible new friends think highly of your evite response and will accept you into the fold

e. Procure the largest bag of peanut m&ms you can get your hands on (finger count optional) and immediately consume them

If anyone with the credentials or social skills to round out this survey would like more input for socially inept diagnostics, let me know. I’m here! Let’s just agree to never meet in person.


  1. i particularly like this one, because you basically set me up on a friend date with g'day sue... and it worked out really well (i think? still have bouts of unwarranted insecurity, of course). you're like the platonic student-loan matchmaker.

  2. you can call me Sallie-Mae go-lightly