Friday, January 25, 2013

Loring Park Episode #22: I Knew You Were Trouble When You Walked In

If I learned anything from the One Direction fanfic I obsessively read last weekend, it's that you need to tell this Kevin guy how you feel NOW. There's never going to be a good time! If you don't, he may run off to London on a photography internship like Harry and you're all alone and depressed in your flat because you just assumed he didn't want to be with you! And then Niall will be forced to come over and drag you out of your pile of Lean Pocket wrappers.
                                          -The irrepressible James, who better be in the same city as me by the time we're  40

I was going to tell him. Life got in the way.

Yes, boys and girls, we are naming this episode after a Taylor Swift song. If you want to decide that now is when Loring Park jumped the shark, so be it. This might be the episode in which I win an Emmy, but I don't want to jinx it.

I wasn't going to go to the club on the night that started this downward spiral. I was attending The Reapies, which is the Minnesota stand-up version of the Emmys. Even though I wasn't nominated, I knew it would be fun to go and see all my comedian acquaintances, and my friend Sina agreed to be my date for the evening. I bought a Jag bomb for my friend Josh Florhaug, who was celebrating his birthday. The show was to start at 8, but because of the Vikings/Packers game, it didn't start until ten. I almost didn't make it because I cut my chin while shaving and it refused to clot. You can see just a speck of it in this picture, taken by the talented Ricky Noren:

The first half of the show was delightful, and I really do feel I'm on some weird wavelength between open-miker and professional. It made me want to work harder and do more, and I felt lucky to be in a room with so many talented people. But I was not lucky enough to have a seat, and Sina left at around 11, and at around the midnight halftime mark, I was debating if I wanted to leave or not. And by leaving, I was preparing to go to bed, not go to The Saloon. There were many reasons to choose bed over clubbing. I had seen on Facebook that Liam had been at LUSH since 8 PM, and therefore I knew that he would be two sheets to the wind by the time I arrived anywhere. I was tired! My feet hurt! I had to work the next day! I had also been invited out by a nice boy from Iowa whom I met on a previous Sunday Funday, and I explained to him that I didn't know if I was doing anything after the Reapies.

"R u out?" Joey texted.
"Comedy thing is at halftime," I wrote back.
"Kevin is here fyi," Joey wrote. "And he needs a place to stay."

Kevin could not have stayed at my place, because my apartment was a disaster (as is often the case). Besides, I did not want to be that girl who jumps at the chance to run into the boy she likes. It is not organic. It is manipulating the situation. I walked upstairs and talked to the hilarious Carolyn Blomberg. I regret to mention that, much like I did with my karaoke outing with Jenn Schaal, we spent only a little bit of time talking about comedy and most of it talking about Kevin, because I am 14 years old that way. I decided to go to the damn Saloon, but first I had to drive my car home and cab it.

Joey was texting me to hurry. When I prepared to walk into my apartment, there was a cab available to take me, but I had to go back inside to check how I looked, because I wasn't sure I was pretty enough. This added another 20 minutes before my arrival. Along with even going to The Saloon that night, that is another split-decision moment that I will always question. I look at the picture above, and while I know I am not Channing Tatum, I also realize that I looked fine, dammit. I do not know what I was so afraid of.

I got there around 12:30, and ran into JARED! I didn't even know he was there! This led to relief because then I didn't even need to worry about Kevin. By this point, I knew where he was, but first I ordered Absolut on the rocks from Danny, because I was nervous. I finally saw him at a different bar. He was in a red T-shirt and was talking with Joey, Liam, and Quinn. Because I am 12, I talked to Joey first, and then Liam (who was pretty far gone), and then Quinn, and then Kevin. I was going to handle this like an adult.

"JAKEY!" he yelled. "Good to see you!"
"Itsgoodtoseeyoutookevin," I articulately replied.
"My niece asked about you!" he said. "So did my mom. She said she loves your expressions."
"Oh," I said, staring at Joey the entire time. "Thatisverysweet."

I have not introduced readers to Quinn yet. He has been there since early fall. He has not been written about because he is quiet. I first met him at a Sunday brunch as a friend of Markie's, and he often goes to LUSH with us on Wednesdays. He smiles a lot and does not say much. He is 23 and lives in my neighborhood. I had yet to have a personal one-on-one conversation, but, save for a time at LUSH when I (perhaps rudely) asked for a ride home and he agreed to one and then later texted Joey that he was backing out of it, I've never had beef with him. If you asked me my opinion, I would say he is a good kid.

"Jakey," Joey whispered. "Kevin has been on Quinn all night."
"Well, so?" I asked. "We're all grown-ups." I was on my second straight vodka drink after that.
"Yeah, but Quinn doesn't even like him that way," Joey said. "He's been texting me 'help' all night."

But what was I to do? Quinn and Kevin kept walking off in various parts of the bar, and I didn't want to seem like a stalker. Jared and I brushed by them a few times, and I had some more conversation with Kevin, but nothing deep, nothing I will remember (I also talked to the boy from Iowa while staring a hole through Quinn). By 1:30, it was inevitable that Quinn and Kevin were going home together, and I honestly was fine with it, because my apartment was really messy. Jared asked if he could stay over and we watched the first hour of Julie & Julia. Because Kevin wore red, I played "White Houses" by Vanessa Carlton over and over. Nothing has changed since college. I am still sexually naive and pining over the unattainable.

And he's so funny in his bright red shirt
We were all in love and we all got hurt

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Loring Park Episode #21: Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot?

Previously on Loring Park: Jakey and Kevin ventured to a famous party house. Jakey has a crush on everyone. But mostly Kevin. Oh, brother.

I spent the last three New Year's Eves (such awful grammar) in downtown hotels. Now that I live downtown, it's the last place I wanted to be. Luckily, I was invited to a New Year's Eve party at the same house that hosted the Daisy Dukes Party I randomly attended. I would be less nervous this time because I knew in advance that Liam, Chuck and Peter would be there, and I could have alcohol.

I was still a nervous wreck the entire day of the party. Kevin texted me at 5:30 asking if I wanted to come over earlier to watch a movie, but I decided that I had to Nair my arms and make sure that I was immaculate-looking. I managed to leave my house at 9 (like I had promised). I tried to buy mixers at Walgreens, but they absolutely failed and I could not get good mixers! In my defense, Kevin had asked for Five Alive and I don't even know what that is.

My anxiety is in reverse with him. Were this a normal friendship (I say the word "friendship" because "relationship" sounds far too serious and adult), I would feel more comfort the more we hang out. Instead, it is the opposite. The more I see him, the more I feel nauseous and anxious, and it's because I like him, more than the way I like the bar crushes, but I can't tell him that, because timing is everything, and I certainly couldn't say it on the way to the New Year's Eve party. What if he didn't feel the same way? Talk about an awkward car ride home the next morning.

Lost in my thoughts, I drove past his house on accident and then took forever to turn around because somebody was tailgating me and I panicked. Suburban drivers are mean, you guys. I finally got to his driveway and into his house. He was wearing a blue button-down and that damned pouka shell necklace. THAT DAMNED POUKA SHELL. It is as ridiculous as it is appealing.

"Try this on," he smiled, and he handed me a cream puffer jacket that I thought was a bit big on me. "That looks good. My mom brought it for me for Christmas but my arms are too long for it, so she said I should see if it fits you."

"Okay," I said through gritted teeth. "We should go. We don't want to be late to the party."

"It's good to see you," he said on the way there, tousling my hair, but not even that calmed my anxiety. It made it worse, actually, and then I got lost before we got to the freeway. I was beyond tense. I was obsessed with my butt, and who would be at this party, and then I was angry at myself for being anxious. This had nothing to do with the fact that we had already seen each other naked. There were going to be boys who look like models at this shindig. Boys born in the '90s who had positive, sunny attitudes and weren't constantly on edge.

“Buddy, are you sure you’re okay?” he asked

“Yes,” I said through clenched teeth. “I just hate driving. I’ll be okay when we get there.”

“Are you …. I don’t believe you, but okay,” he said.

Maybe there is when I should have said something. I convince myself that I don't want a relationship, or something monogomous, because I know I am too inexperienced for such a thing and have no clue as to what I am doing. That being said, I clearly have feelings for him, ones that are stronger than a simple crush, but I can't verbalize them. Instead I cope by listening to Lana del Ray and eating EZ-Cheese.

"I get lost all the time," I managed to say. "I hate driving. I am always running late. I'm on edge 24/7. Next year I will be a grown-up."

"Who says it has to be next year?" he smiled. "You've got three and a half hours left of 2012 to be an adult. You can do it."