Fools in Love – Part III

man-disembarking-taxi-looking-away-young-33888642“Never let a fool kiss you, or a kiss fool you.” -Joey Adams

My week started off with a bang. On Monday, my friend and colleague Bethany invited me to join her for lunch, along with a few other young coworkers who were in town from our Calgary and New Orleans offices. I was previously acquainted with all but one: an intense and enthusiastic 23-year-old from Canada named Vernon.

I ended up seated next to Vernon at the burger joint where we ate, and he was immediately fascinated by me. I was just trying to be welcoming and friendly, but Vernon’s initial comment to me (and then to the group) was, “You’re a genuinely happy person, aren’t you? You’re effervescent!”

Bethany and I just laughed. She has heard all of my grumblings at work and witnessed my post-breakup depression firsthand. But Vernon wasn’t deterred. He asked me about my home life. “You grew up in a stable home, didn’t you?”

“Yes…”

“I can tell. You’re so emotionally grounded and serene.”

Trying to take the focus off of myself, I asked Vernon about his home life. His parents immigrated from China and divorced shortly thereafter. He’s a self-proclaimed “heathen agnostic.” So we talked about faith – just Vernon and I – while the rest of the table gossiped about the personal lives of company leadership.

When I explained my perspective on God, Vernon looked deeply into my eyes, searching. Then his own eyes widened in realization, and he said with surprise, “You really believe that, don’t you?”

“Well, yeah.” I smiled.

Vernon was in workshops all week, but he insisted that we see each other again before he went back to Canada, so I agreed to join him with a group at karaoke on Thursday night after work. But on Thursday night, miscommunication abounded, and we ended up missing each other by a few minutes.

On Friday morning – Vernon’s last day in town – he sent me an email communicating his disappointment. “I was looking forward to seeing you again all week,” he wrote, adding that I am “stunningly beautiful” and we should continue to chat via Skype when he’s back in Canada.

Vernon wanted to meet for lunch, but he was working downtown, and I was at our West office for the day. He asked if I would be willing to drive downtown for lunch, but I declined, partly because it’s a forty-minute drive, partly because I had other work to do, and partly because I was starting to get uncomfortable with his fascination.

So Vernon took a cab to see me. He was determined to spend more time with me, even if that meant the inconvenience of a roundtrip $50 cab fare.

Once he arrived, I gave him the tour of the facility, introducing him to various colleagues; then we sat down to close out his visit over afternoon coffee. We talked a bit more about faith, which I was happy to do, but other than that, I tried to keep the conversation light. I failed.

This kid is intense and intent on getting what he wants. He asked me to cancel my weekend plans and told me he’d fly back on Monday so we could spend the weekend together. I declined. He asked again, leaning forward and explaining to me in a low voice that when men are fascinated by something, they want to conquer it.

I think I know what that means, and I am now definitely not interested in canceling my weekend plans. I am not a game to be played, a flower to be plucked or a fortress to be conquered. Learn some respect.

Authentically Aurora

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Telephone Pictionary

Girls NightIf it’s been too long since you’ve laughed so hard you cried, it might be time for a round of Telephone Pictionary.

For the uninitiated, Telephone Pictionary is a game with no objective (which I usually hate), no winners (or everyone is a winner – lame) and very flexible rules (something that normally results in eye twitching for me). But it’s a pretty fantastic game with the right group of people. And this weekend, we had the RIGHT GROUP OF PEOPLE!

To celebrate my birthday, all of my closest girl friends got together for dinner and game night. Jo Ann was sweet enough to host at her house, and instead of baking me a cake, she baked cupcakes and sugar cookies for us to decorate, catering to my artistic nature (so sweet)!

Melanie, Bethany and Ashley were all there, too, along with several other friends from various parts of my life. It’s always interesting when different circles collide. In this instance, the results were absolutely hilarious.

Telephone Pictionary Rules: Essentially, everyone starts with a stack of paper and a pen. Each person writes a word or phrase on their stop sheet of paper; then the group will simultaneously pass their stack clockwise. The next person reads the word or phrase on the stack of paper, moves the top sheet to the back, and draws a picture that represents the initial word or phrase. The group will continue this pattern, alternating words and pictures, until the stack gets back to the original owner, who will then share (with uproarious laughter) the way the message got derailed as it made its way around the circle.

With friends from work and church, engineers and artists, thirty-something moms and girls in their early twenties, the communication breakdown in nearly every round of Telephone Pictionary made us laugh so hard we cried. Enjoy my personal favorite:

Bday1

Bday2

Bday3

Bonus: During our final round, someone wrote about my upcoming sailing trip with Bryan. This might be the best picture ever:

Bday4

Hopefully it doesn’t come true. Becoming shark bait isn’t on my bucket list of thirty things to do before I turn thirty. ❤

Authentically Aurora

Cannoli and Meatballs

Cannoli girlsBethany is my sanity at the office. She’s a few years younger than I am, but apart from our age difference (well, and 6″ height difference), we’re basically twins.

Bethany and I got similar degrees from the same university, are long-haired brunettes, Christians, and are both well-spoken perfectionists who work in the same department at the same company. We even shared an office for six months when she first started. Now we sit in cubicles next to each other, and I’m relieved we do because some days she is the only good thing about my work day.

Last week Bethany suggested a new place for lunch – some hole-in-the-wall Italian place. Our new workaholic boss had scheduled a meeting over the lunch hour, so in our effort to grab some quick sustenance before the meeting, we ended up arriving before the restaurant opened.

I call it a restaurant, but it was more of a storefront in a pseudo indoor strip shopping  center; like something you’d see at a mall food court. Some cute guy stepped up to the register and offered to take our orders at 11:01, so Bethany placed an order for spaghetti.

“What kind of sauce do you want on it?” asked the broad-shouldered cashier, gesturing to the list of sauce options.

“Just the regular sauce,” said Bethany with a wave of her hand.

The cashier quirked an eyebrow and replied with a sideways smile, “There’s nothing regular here.”

“Okay, I’ll take…” Bethany quickly scanned the menu. “Joey’s marinara.” As she made her sauce selection, Bethany glanced at the name stitched into the buff cashier’s apron. “Oh… And you’re Joey! Hi.”

We all laughed. Sure enough, it was the owner himself taking our orders (and wearing his apron rather well). As Joey turned to me, I smiled involuntarily. He immediately commented, “You have such a pretty smile. What can I get for you?”

My heart fluttered. Surprised at myself, I placed an order for a Caprese salad with turkey meatballs… and Joey’s marinara sauce.

When we sat down, Bethany commented to me, “I usually find interactions like that creepy, but he’s actually genuinely charming.” I completely agreed.

I kept glancing over at Joey as he moved about the kitchen. He had a nice bulk to him; I like bigger guys who are broad-shouldered but trim. I usually dislike Brooklyn accents, but Joey’s suited him. He’s a classic New York Italian.

When our orders were ready, instead of calling out our numbers like he did for everyone else, Joey came to our table and delivered our food himself. Later, he stopped by again with two cannolis. “You two are so sweet, I want to make sure you stay that way.” Lines like that shouldn’t work on me, but it totally did when Joey said it with his playful smile and larger-than-life personality.

Bethany asked Joey how we could get on their mailing list to be kept aware of specials (last week’s was his mother’s traditional chicken parmesan recipe). He brought out two customer survey cards, and I wrote, “Great customer service. Fantastic food. I’ll definitely be back!”

When Bethany finished writing, we glanced at each other’s cards and burst out laughing. She’d written, “Good service, Great food. We’ll be back!” We are two peas in a pod. Or perhaps two meatballs in a sub…?

Authentically Aurora