Monday, June 29, 2009

...but it just don't work on you (Part Two)

I realized that I've been blogging primarily my success stories.  Don't fear - I've had my fair share of failures, too.  They're just brief, and don't warrant much conversation.  But here SOME of them are, in all their glory.

1) The time I took advice from my readers and tried to find people in places that hold common interest 
I went to Stone Age climbing gym with some people from work. There was a little too much testosterone in our little group, and I quickly found my eyes wandering the walls for small, feminine hands occupying the handholds.  Those posters don't lie- the climbing gym is NOT the place to distract others from the task at hand.  It requires as much focus as forearm strength. No new connections, but I'm not giving up.  I always have fun when I go there, even though I find myself shaking from fatigue in about 30 minutes if I forego the harness.  
PS- This in no way implies that I disagree with people and think I can't meet people here, or at the dog park, etc. 

2) The time I was most deluded/strategic/manipulative.
I totally went to the REI summer sale in the hopes of finding an outdoorsy man with gear. There is simply no other way to disguise it.  The hilarious part of it is that I went at the most random time - the only free time I had- and was practically the only one in the store. Surprisingly, no independently-wealthy, curly brown-haired, scruffy man looking like he fell out of the mountains of Colorado came to my assistance in buying a sleeping bag.  Go figure.  So I guilt-purchased some Shot Blocks, a collapsable doggie water/food bowl, and a camel back.   (I used them all that weekend and am VERY pleased with my purchases.  I must seek out new places to hike and camp now.)

3) The time I was told, upon suggesting we branch out of email communications and hang out sometime, that "facebook friends are forever." Ouch. 

4) The time I thought I might meet people with my head under water.
I went to Cochiti Lake for a 3 mile swim.  It rained, so not many people were there.  Nature further conspired against me and had me swimming against the wind both ways, which was more mentally than physically exhausting as I kept getting thrown off course.  Me and the lake bonded a little, though. And the view of the storm coming in over the mountains was breathtaking from the water. 

5) The time I almost got to say "Can I take your wood?"
Hiking with my girl friend in the mountains.  We are in a place we probably shouldn't be - I'm pretty sure it's government owned and not open to public hiking.  Dogs are off-leash. And we are loading our arms up with felled logs and kindling that has been suspiciously left lying around.  I really wish you had pulled over to reprimand us, Mr. Forest Ranger... sigh...
A second chance came when he passed by us again, this time we are in my car already. Despite my friend's excited urging, I did not slam the car in reverse and chase him down to ask about the wood.  Because friend, EVERYONE waves to each other when driving on dirt roads. It's just what you do. 

I have even failed myself and not done several things I still want to do:
Carlsbad caverns
Whitewater rafting (never been here in NM)
Driving range (definitely need instruction on this)
Tent rocks
Movies at civic plaza
Pretty much anything outside, anything with water, anywhere I haven't been yet... including Barelas coffee house and El Modelo, still.

Got my mojo workin' (Part One)

Ever have one of those nights where you wonder what on earth you are sending out, and if you can somehow bottle it up for later?  Pheromones? My new favorite soft t-shirt? Or maybe a smile that screams "summer of like?"  

Friday night is turning out to be Fun Night. The fact that I have work/play obligations most other nights probably has something to do with this, but Friday and I are having a terrific run.
I went to Anodyne for S's birthday.  It was nice to be somewhere familiar again, after the exploration of new places like One Up, Imbibe, and Nob Hill Bar & Grill.  (How I long for Gecko's, O'Neils, and Marble....)  but I digress.  

I parked farther away from downtown than necessary- too far for heels and walking alone, that is.  Like Jason and Odysseus before me, I found myself blindly pulling my ship (ok, car) over and parking somewhere near the courthouse, lured by eerily angelic sounds coming from one of the buildings.  Some kind of choir? I still don't know, but it was surreal and beautiful.  The moon was low, the sky shifting from dusk to night.  I had visions of my wandering into some unknown abbey, my friday night outfit lost upon the humbly spiritual beings I was certain to find inside.  A quiet man with deep, dark, careworn eyes would find me and convert me into a spiritually-accessible person, and thus would begin the most profound discovery of the summer of like.   Then I got cat-called from a passing car, and the spell was broken.  

Anodyne was blissfully casual.  For most of the night, I was the lone girl at a table of 6 guys, but that's my comfort zone- I come from a male-laden family.  I quickly introduced myself to Mike, the only one I didn't know.  Then the texts started coming.  I have a new roommate for a month. He is from Austin (so we'll call him 'A'), doing a rotation here, and is fun and down for hanging out.  A: Could I come to a party?  P: Could I come to Nob Hill? Decisions, decisions...for now, love the one(s) you're with. Make friends of your acquaintances. Ask questions. Laugh.  And then one of them will offer to walk you to your car, the location of which you may or may not remember, only that it sounds pretty over there. He will also ask for your phone number.  Yes, it was that easy.

Relocated to Nob Hill B&G - I am quickly becoming a fan of their Friday night dj. Met up with A & P. Sailed in at 1:00am, just in time for last call, when the lights blaze on and people have a few precious moments to extricate themselves from any pending bad decisions. It usually doesn't work.  (PS: Really? Department store dressing room lighting at 1 am?? You couldn't wait till 1:40? Come ON!!)

I saw Matt there - I met him a little over a week ago.  He's a fun, goofy dancer- world, please take note- you can never have too many of these.  He invited me to a pool/dance party, and was incidentally also the only person that night who did not seem to think I was being vague/sarcastic about accepting the connection.  (My mojo may have been working, but my verbal communication skills were apparently way off.)  

I also met L.  I will admit that the "wrong" things tend to impress me.  To be specific, the absence of game.  In my mind, it equals the absence of bs.  The briefer, the better.  L and I exchanged a fleeting glance across the room, but apparently it was enough.  The magic of 1 am, perhaps??  He came over, asked if he could steal me away (at this point, I was talking/dancing with 3 male friends---can we say confidence?) and when he did, informed me that if it was okay, he would be approaching me soon to dance with me.  Although he didn't really dance, he did come back. This time he informed me that I would be giving him my phone number, so he could ask me out and cook me dinner.  I like dinner.  I also like not having to answer questions about what I do, etc. (Name this movie: "I don't really like talking about my flair.") Ok, so maybe it still is game. But at least it's my kind of game.

The next day, L invited me to his baseball game and out afterwards.  I couldn't make it out, but I did manage to put the ball field on my running route and stop by.  To his "1 am" credit, he recognized me in my play clothes, splotchy and sweaty, and still came over to chat when he wasn't at bat.  He also sounded willing to take me to a driving range... but dinner has yet to be scheduled.  

Sunday, June 21, 2009

breaking through the flocculent layer

I received an appropriate gift today.  A book entitled “The Year of Yes” by Maria Headley. This woman blows my sol out of the water. For an entire year, she goes on a date with everyone – regardless of looks, gender, etc. - who asks her out.  I can’t wait to read it.  Like me, she does it more out of a need to change her own views than to find a mate (or so I gathered from my 30 second perusal of the back cover.)  

It’s gotten me thinking. I feel I may have misrepresented myself and the summer of like a little. I don’t think friendships blossom out of force.  I don’t have high hopes of finding a new best friend, or a boyfriend.  I don’t think I come across as particularly shy or awkward. I realize that bars have their….limitations. And I’m not manically running through the streets of Albuquerque asking out everyone I see.  I’m just trying to have fun at all costs, do as many new things as possible, and meet people along the way. In short, I’m trying to live my life in Albuquerque the way I live it when I’m on vacation: fearlessly. 

Why all the disclaimers? Well, for one thing, they’ve been on my mind for a while. And I’m finding out that more people than I realize have found out about this little blog…and know who I am.  Which reminds me: my new friend Chris is devilishly handsome, kind and charming. (Happy?) And SS- you're downright suspicious. Lucky for you, you're friends with the Amazing M. Love, Breakfast. :)

Not much progress on new things or people this week.  I house-sat again in the south valley over the weekend, which translates to 2 days of riverside seclusion. And the Bill Murray marathon on AMC.  Friday night was amazing- I multi-tasked the CRAP out of it.  I went to a dinner party with old friends that I hadn’t had the pleasure of seeing for a while….and had the newfound pleasure of bringing a date- my new friend B (from Imbibe). 

After dinner, we went very briefly to Gecko’s, where B & I met D & C.  We left shortly afterwards to meet up with Chris and his entourage (B was looking to leave town in a blaze of boogie glory), so we didn’t get to talk much. But you guys were nice and funny, and kind enough to let us share your table, so…thanks? Perhaps we’ll bump into each other again.

Chris and crew did not disappoint. They were like a theme party gone out of the house, and I’m a sucker for costumes. I didn’t really delve into meaningful conversation with anyone new, but why should I? I was out with two people that are direct products of the Summer of Like. I put on my my my my my boogie shoes, and had a good night. Club soda and all.  (Once, I put a shot of Jameson’s in it, too.)



Tuesday, June 16, 2009

on second thought...

Hello! since my last disgruntled post of the Summer of Like, I fostered a puppy and got it adopted (hooray! hurray!) I went to a modern dance show - wild dancing west, week 2. I danced until I dripped sweat at Burt's Tiki Lounge on a Thursday night for the first time. I also went to Sophia's place for breakfast for the first time- yummy yummy blue corn pancakes. I asked out no one. And had a restful week.

Sunday I had a revelation. Without going into too much detail, I realized that I don't think I am interested in dating. It really IS the Summer of Like...and Nothing Else.
Briefly: "So you are trying to meet as many people as possible."
"But you don't want to kiss any of them"
"Yes. I mean no. I mean, I'm pretty sure kissing's a surefire way to complicate potential friendships."
"Ok then."
So. Kind of a baptism-by-fire means to a realization, but time-appropriate nonetheless.

Today, Tuesday, was different. I went out to Imbibe by myself. Sans wingman, sans mutual acquaintance. I will be brutally honest here- I had nothing but low expectations for Imbibe- any place that is voted the #1 "place to be seen" is usually not for me. I went there only because it was 9pm on a Tuesday, within walking distance (if I wear comfy shoes, which I did not - OUCH!) and it has a rooftop bar. I walked upstairs - it was pretty dead, for the most part- and saw my blonde counterpart sitting at a fire table. Alone. Trendy yet nerdy. Eager eyes.

B is from Portland, visiting family. And is totally my new BFF. And I HATE the term BFF. I asked if I could share a table with her, and she replied "Please. I was hoping someone would join me." We quickly barreled into the kind of divulgences afforded only by two women who are certain they will never see each other again. One drink later, we are having a blast. Two drinks in, we are joined by three men (my last post has taught me to use aliases or initials again.) :)

So, in one night, as far as I'm concerned, I've met my 2 people/week minimum. B and I are going to try and get together for lunch before she leaves town on Saturday. We'll see what happens with bachelor # 2. By the time I left Imbibe (12am) the downstairs had become the place that, personally, my nightmares are made of. Crowded, tan, lots of skin, and wayyyyyyy to trendy for a Tuesday night. And yet the night provided an amazing connection. I can always count on Albuquerque for such conundrums.

Non-sequitor post script: I am convinced that 1:00 am on a "tuesday" (technically wednesday) is the best time to watch Flashdance.
Okay cyberspace- I’m asking for your help…but I’m not sure what the question is exactly.
I am going through the terrible two’s of the summer of like. Friday night, I went out – grudgingly- to Monte Vista Fire Station. I got there late, drank some club soda, and left early.

Sunday, I literally had to drag myself out of the house. I decided to go to a coffee shop to read and maybe make a new friend. Instead, I ended up having to leave within 15 minutes because someone made me feel completely uncomfortable- and it takes A LOT to make me feel uncomfortable. Like, pull out your cell phone and cross the street unsafe-uncomfortable.

Which, by the way, didn’t work – this person FOLLOWED me – and I had to use the Bumblebee’s Batcave to escape. (Awesome find- you go downstairs and come out in the back parking lot- I highly recommend it for anyone needing to make a secret exit.)

Later Sunday evening I met my friend Heather at Sadie’s…more club soda. I didn’t have the heart to suggest a friend-date with Matt, the bartender. Besides feeling that it is tacky to ask some out who’s working for your tips, my friend Heather was already aggressively playing Yenta to our mutual embarrassment. The least I could do was not add to it. For the record, if anyone working at Sadie’s is reading this – Matt and Martha both rock. They know how to treat their regulars….and their regulars’ friends.

Here’s the problem: I LIKE being alone sometimes. And I’m a pretty busy girl who’s trying to cut down on alcohol and spend less money. Not to mention I’m exhausted. Even this blog is hard – I’m sick of talking about me!! (What do YOU want me to talk about?) So far, I haven’t even pushed myself and asked anyone out without the help of a mutual friend. In short, I’ve had it easy for 2 weeks and I’m still tired!

Most of the time, I forget that I’m doing the summer of like. Saturday morning I went with my dog to the downtown growers market. It was nice just to stroll by and…well, “window” shop. I experienced something new, I had fun, at least 10 people told me my dog was gorgeous… does it matter that I didn’t ask someone to be my new friend?

My goal this week is to get it together. I CAN do it all. My work out schedule has suffered under this new social regime. I’m trying to be a foster mom to a new puppy- that requires time. Work is picking up. My #1 hobby is also picking up. Thankfully, I’m a multi-tasker at heart; I’m crossing my fingers that my usual functional-only-when-stretched-to-the-limits time management skills will kick in soon, and then I will kick ass.

In the meantime…conversation starters? Free places to hang out and meet people? Advice? Encouragement?? How can I make a blog all about me be not so much…..all about me?

Thanks, ~sol

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Rationalizations and Rule breaking

Sorry it has been so long since my last update on the Summer of Like.  As predicted, I've already encountered some problems.  First, I broke rule #2.  There were some extenuating circumstances- I've been housesitting in the south valley, and have fallen into a deep void of large, flat screen HD cable TV, and 2 lush acres of gardens and orchards right on the river...can you blame me for wanting to stay in? I also had 2 out-of-town visitors last week, and it seemed rude to leave my friends/family during lunch/dinner to chat up strangers (excuses, excuses.)

Oh- big change to the rules- I'm totally asking women out. Limiting myself to male friends was silly to say the least.

 But onto the good news: week 2.  Friday night I went to salsa under the stars and met up with Chris (from last week.)  I also ran into my friend James and got to dance with him and his gang for a few songs. What an amazing venue!! I'm definitely going back one of these weeks (and I'll bring cash for the bar!)  Later we went to Nob Hill Bar and Grill where I ran into James again, as well as M- and this time we were blessed with a great DJ...and very strict bouncers.  I've never been scolded at a bar for kneeling on a chair!  I was having tons of fun, and kind of forgot to find someone new to introduce myself to.  BUT I did re-introduce myself to R. Like M, R did some training in my office a while back, only I was out of town for about 3.5 of the 4 weeks, so he's practically a stranger, right?  AND...I kind of forgot about the "informed consent" rule. But how important is that one when you technically already know the person? 

Funny thing about going out: you can become better acquainted with your acquaintances. 

Anyway, I think the biggest success took place Saturday morning.  I had an amazing morning and made a new friend in the Bosque bike path. 20 miles, plus breakfast with the girls at Java Joe's in between.  I've been a bike-a-phobe for years, and now I've converted. Talk about the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Day One!

Last night I kicked off the Summer of Like.  I headed out to One Up (downtown) with my favorite wingman, S.  It was a different scene than I expected - someone was having a birthday party, so most of the people there knew each other.  I introduced myself first and foremost to the cucumber margarita. Big Success. :) I'm typically a wine or irish whiskey girl, but the cocktail menu was just too interesting to pass up.  The light and fresh cucumber margarita was a great summer drink. While at the bar catching up with S., I was thrilled to notice that I also knew one of the party crew- M.  M works in my building, and did some training at my workplace about a month ago.  He is amazing, has roughly 300 people clamoring to hang out with him at every moment, and I admit I'm one of them.  But the man only has so much time, so...enter wingman #2! M did a great job introducing me all around.  Before long, I was having knee slide contests on the dance floor and salsa dancing to truly terrible techno. (Sorry DJ, but you had several requests for 80s, funk, hip-hop, ANYTHING with lyrics, but you just didn't listen.)  
The most difficult part of the night was the "informed consent" clause.  Casually working "so I'm doing this thing where I ask someone out everywhere I go....want to do something? And can I write about it later?" into a conversation isn't easy to do.  Ultimately, this was executed mid-salsa spin. Chris was the birthday boy last night, and he's been looking for girls to dance with at Salsa Under the Stars.  I gave him my number, and figured I had about a 50/50 chance of him remembering me after he made it through the night.
Imagine my surprise when he called this morning and invited me to breakfast with him and the after party crew!  Ordinarily, going out to eat as a stranger among a group of friends would not be high on my to-do list, but this is the Summer of Like!  The eggs were good, and the conversation way better than the America's Next Top Model marathon.  All in all, a great kick-off to my crazy experiment.  Hopefully there'll be some salsa dancing in my future.