In high school, I somehow found myself in Choir. Kind of like in that episode of the Simpsons where Bart goes on the sugar binge and joins the Junior Campers? Yeah, like that. Only less dynamic. ANYWAY…
So I’m in not ONLY Concert Choir (stand there and sing), but I’m ALSO in Show Choir (dance and sing, we called ourselves “The Entertainers”*jazz hands*), and in ’94 we both got accepted to an international choir competition in beautiful, exotic Anaheim California. Actually, I think the competition itself was held somewhere in South Central, but I digress.
The day of the competition, we get there a little early and me and some of my buddies are eyeing these cute girls sitting and waiting for their choir to come up. And as we are teenage boys, we slide on over next to them and start chatting and find out in short order that they are from Canada. Amusingly, when we tell them we’re from New Mexico, they ask:”Oh, did you have to change your money over, too?”
Laugh. Out. Loud.
We watch them perform and they’re pretty good and a few of them make a point of saying goodbye before they leave, most notably Cindy* and Lisa*, and we make plans to tentatively meet up at the awards ceremony at Knott’s Berry Farm.
And we do. And I talk to Cindy and Lisa for a good chunk of the night, and when the time comes to part ways, I say: “Y’know, long distance phone calls cost a lot, but do you both want to be pen pals?” Addresses are swapped, and so it begins.
Sidebar: the day we get back from this trip is the day Kurt Cobain commits suicide. I call in sick to work at the steakhouse.
So for the better part of a year, we’re swapping letters back and forth, but sooner or later Cindy and I stop. No biggie. ‘Cause Lisa and I are TOTALLY “in it to win it” as far as pen-pal longevity goes! We keep each other up to speed w/ bf’s (her) and gf (me), school, college plans, the wacky differences of being a teenager in our respective countries, and so on. We swap Xmas presents.
And, wouldn’t you know it, I start crushing. And wouldn’t you know it, I start getting that funny feeling in my tummy…
So now it’s college, and I have my first e-mail account (my mother, to this day, will NOT have a computer in her house), and that TOTALLY ups the ante as far as contact goes. And that funny feeling keeps growing. And growing. And sooner or later I start throwing around heavy romantic “undertones.” And at some point, I decide she’s special and stuff, and that I should use some of my graduation money and come visit her.
It should be noted, too, at this point that she hasn’t really responded to any of my romantic overtures…
And then in the summer of ’96 (which also marked the first time that I lived outside of my folks’ house), I do it. I go up there fully determined to let her know how I feel, and see if it sticks.
She picks me up from the airport, and we head to a bar immediately. Being 19 in Canada in summer ROCKED! But the next day, when it comes time to really hang out one on one…I realize that she’s not QUITE who I thought she was. Kind of mean, kind of…well, I hate to say it, ignorant and just generally not my speed. But this is only the first day of a 5 day stay, so I resolve to make the best of it. As the trip progresses, I find myself having more and more affinity w/ her friends and family and less w/ her. Two different friends of hers take me aside at one point and basically say “You’re awesome, and she’s awful. Why are you visiting her?!” The first time I hem and haw, the second time I just say “I don’t know.”
The trip draws to a close without much drama. Or any sort of real emotion between us, and she takes me to the airport and that’s pretty much that. At the time, I’m fine with it, but as MORE time passes, I begin to feel like I screwed up and I wasn’t “cool” enough for her. And then about 1 1/2 years later in a drunken haze (also post break up that was illustrated in previous blog), I take all of her letters and BURN. THEM. Why? I wish I could tell you. I did write her one last, kind of bitter letter. And if I could’ve taken THAT back, I would’ve…
So that’s more or less it. I haven’t talked to her since. She’s on Facebook, and I’ve thought about writing her or befriending her or something, but what’s the point? She’s married w/ kids now, and I don’t have anything I NEED to say to her. We were just kids, and my heart has been and probably always will be pinned to my sleeve. I wish her well.
But there’s no doubt that this has something to do with the way I approach romance. Absence and hearts and stuff…
This is the 2nd part of a trilogy of blogs that I think might shed some light on my emotional hobbling w/ the ladies. Part 3 involves a curse!
*names changed to blah blah blah