Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Hazards of Writing Fiction for a Living

I make up stories for a living. It's a good gig, all things considered. I mean, a lot of lawyers lie for a living too, but they have to wear suits and bill 80 hours a day, and I get to do most of mine in my pajamas with the TV on in the background.

But one of the problems with what I do is that it puts me in a constant state of observing life with an eye towards 'the story'. And occasionally, it backfires.

Now at the moment, I am single. I had not really considered that upon leaving full time employment, that there were not, in fact, a whole lot of straight single men wandering aimlessly around my apartment on any given day. So meeting guys is, to say the least, difficult. After 6 years and enough money to have bought pretty much everything on my current set of Amazon Wish Lists (yes, I have four, and no, do not judge me. But do feel free to send me presents!), I have officially given up on online dating. I am relying almost entirely on fix-ups and fate, which means that I am mostly dating myself. And while I’m excellent company, I wouldn't exactly mind adding someone else into the equation.

I thought this was the day.

I had lunch with a good friend, a local chef who I’m going to be working on a cookbook with. We ate a languorous late lunch with a really lovely bottle of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. We laughed, made some notes, and scheduled a next meeting. I hailed a cab to take me to the building where I had left my car. And when I got in, I sat on something uncomfortable. A Palm Treo. Not MY Palm Treo.

I put the treasure in my purse, arrived at my destination, and retrieved my car. En route home, my pulse quickened.

This was it.

This was the way it happens.

I will call the first name on the call back list, explain that I have someone's phone, and give my number. A voice like honey over gravel will call me back, thank me for saving his life, and take my address. And then a tall, handsome, salt and pepper gent with a confident bearing will arrive at my house, tell me I am amazing and offer to take me to dinner to thank me for my Good Samaritan ways. We will talk easily until the restaurant closes, head somewhere for a night cap, and fall madly in love. For his birthday I will order a cake in the shape of a Palm Treo. He'll propose on the corner of Michigan Avenue and Washington, where I got in the cab. At our wedding we will toast Yellow Cab number 1472, and driver Alharardin Al-Jabar for bringing us together.

I pressed re-dial, and got a gentleman named Robert, who announced that he was a colleague of the phone owner at Rush University Medical now I know that not only is my inamorata a doctor, but a professor type as well. He praises my good nature, takes my number, and promises to get the info to my future hubby.

I head home, chuffed. The phone rings. A voice like honey over gravel thanks me for saving his life, takes my address, and announces he will be by around 6. He jokes that he would call me from the car to tell me when he was close, but I have his phone. Sigh.

I primp. Not excessively, but I spruce up. Change clothes, add some makeup, tweak the hair, floss.

At six-fifteen I hear the gate unlatch. I look out the window. The gentleman heading up my walkway is tallish, cuteish, salt and peppery. I take a deep breath.

The bell rings. I go to answer it. He smiles broadly and hands me a small gift bag. "For you. For renewing my faith in people." As he hands the sage green bag to me, I catch out of the corner of my eye a glinting sparkle.

Of his wedding ring.

F**kety f**k f**k F**K!

He left and I came inside to unwrap my consolation prize.

A pound of chocolate covered raisins. A pound of Swedish Fish. A pound of salted cashews. Three of my favorite food groups.

So now, not only don’t I get a husband, I get to sit in my living room entirely without willpower and simply increase the size of my ample butt.

It is so hard to remember that I am not, in fact, a character in a romantic comedy.

Guess it is back to me and Law and Order reruns.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I'm commenting on an old post, however, I wish I had my faith renewed in people. As I was walking home yesterday, I found a wallet on the ground. I just saw the SUV pull away and was unable to stop her. I tracked her down within 15 minutes and returned the wallet to her before she even realized it was gone. What do I get "thanks!" Now I know that a "good deed is its own reward..." but seriously an effusive thanks? Thanks a pantsfull.