Date, Part Deux

Wiley finally asked me out for dinner again yesterday around noon. For that night. Remarkably last minute notice, which I know a girl is never supposed to stand for, at least in the beginning stages of a romance, but in his case I made an exception as I know it wasn’t intentional nor to be taken as an insult.

He had been extraordinarily busy this past week with the fallout from the Orlando shooting, the shenanigans taking place in Congress, and now “Brexit” and all that, so he’s pretty much been rolling nonstop every day. And I can confirm this via his Twitter feed, which at times runs at a pretty frantic pace. Even still, he remained fairly communicative when he was away last weekend and over the course of the week and was the usual mix of complimentary and flirty and our banter was the same as it ever was. He might not have initiated the majority of our exchanges or always responded immediately, but we managed to get some conversation in between his bouts of insanity at work and that has made all the difference. Because simply being busy is never really sufficient enough of an excuse for failing to make contact with someone.

As we know, “busy” is often a euphemism used to express disinterest in a kinder and gentler way. People that say they’re “too busy” and really aren’t just aren’t that into you. People that say they’re “too busy” and really are…still just aren’t that into you. While we all get slammed sometimes, at the end of the day, people make time for who and what they want to make time for. Period.

So it was flattering that Wiley was still taking care to make time to talk to me in the midst of the news frenzy. Even still, until noon yesterday I was still unsure whether a date was going to be occurring this weekend or not. The last time we I had broached the subject was Monday – he asked if I were free Friday and Saturday and I told him either would work, but it was left at that. We didn’t talk at all Tuesday, but we did talk on Wednesday and Thursday. And yet, still no mention of if we were seeing each other this weekend. I was intent on it not being ME who had to bring it up again, but I finally caved on that personal quest yesterday morning. If I didn’t like him, I wouldn’t care, but it was crunch time at this point and I needed to know how to coordinate my weekend. So what actually led to him asking were firmly worded texts I sent asking if I was going to see him or no and that I’m not thinking so because he hasn’t seemed too interested in discussing plans for the whole week.

He registered the subtle tone of irritation and told me to stand by. Not long after he told me he’s been overwhelmed due to the news cycle, asked me to accept his sincere apologies, and asked me if I’m free that night for dinner because he’d love to see me.

Well, when you put it like that…oh, alright! Forgiven, I guess. Sure…dinner. He said see he’d see what kind of reservation he could get could get; half an hour later he said he’d pick me up at 8 p.m. at the metro station drop off in the town adjacent to his like last time, and asked me to wear a dress. Lovely. The rest of my afternoon at work went swimmingly now that I had something to look forward to.

When I got home I spent an inordinate amount of time struggling with outfit choices before finally deciding on a choice of dress and heels, touched up my makeup and hair, packed a bag with an outfit that Wiley was dying to see, and then called for an Uber around 7 p.m. There was no real reason for me to Uber since I knew I’d be sleeping over and thus didn’t have to worry about my alcohol intake or anything, but I was just too lazy to drive, really.

I arrived at about 5 minutes to 8. He wasn’t there yet and the air was still moist from a recent rain. Great…there goes my hair! I sought shelter and then called to let him know I was waiting. He was stuck in backed up traffic and running late. That normally wouldn’t be a big deal, except I was standing across from a cab stand in a somewhat revealing dress and pumps being ogled by every man in a 25-yard radius. Of all the times to be running late…

He didn’t get there until 8:20. I was slightly annoyed but I got over it quickly when he pulled up. I couldn’t help but to smile when I saw him. He hopped out, greeted me with a kiss, told me how gorgeous I looked, and opened my door for me. We maintained the same plan of action as the last date – he was going to drop his car off at his house and then we’d Uber to the restaurant, which was a new one that he had selected and was excited to try. He was again immediately affectionate, placing his non-driving hand on my thigh. He talked of how there were several restaurants that he had had in mind but really wanted to try this one and figured we’d hit the other ones at some point in the future.

He made another excellent restaurant pick. It’s his neck of the woods so he knows what’s what and what I like and has proven to have good taste so I think I can officially trust him in these matters from now on. The restaurant was a lovely upscale establishment in a hotel where we dined on fabulous cuisine accompanied by several rounds of cosmopolitans (me) and bourbons (he). Conversation was steady and while at some points kind of contentious (lighthearted debate), very delightful.

We arrived back to his house around 11 p.m. to partake in some wine and to talk. At the end of the last date, right as the Uber pulled up to fetch me, I had broached the subject of the Japan trip and said I’d expand on it at a later time, so I told him more about that, including some of my own blunders in the situation. One blunder in particular hit home with him because he went through a similar issue with his ex, so he seemed kind of put off by it to the point where I thought it might change things between us. But he explained that it’s not that big of a deal.

Of course, eventually, we started getting physical and after a little while he requested I go put on the outfit that he had specifically asked me to bring – my schoolgirl outfit. He doesn’t appear to be interested in the bondage aspect of BDSM, but he’s definitely into dominance and control and being the one in charge. So he was especially revved up about the schoolgirl idea and so I brought it for him and went to don it when he instructed me to. His eyes lit up like a kid in a candy store once he saw me in it. And from there it was on. Splendid sex. More wine. Then bedtime.

We woke up around 10 a.m. today. I was faintly hungover and very hungry, so I asked if he wanted to do brunch. He started rattling off a list of things he had to do today which basically boiled down to a resounding no, but he did offer to cook me breakfast before he took me back to the metro station.

He fixed me an jarlsberg cheese and tomato omelet with a side of turkey sausage. He opted for blueberries and yogurt and turkey sausage, compounded with my own serving of turkey sausage which I had no appetite for after eating the scrumptious omelet. Breakfast was accompanied by normal conversation tinged with bouts of political debate. It appears that his cat has really taken a liking to me, as he sat by me most of the time and even turned over on his back at one point, which Wiley noticed first and pointed out to me. A cat showing it’s stomach to you is the ultimate symbol of cat acceptance. I almost got teary eyed. (Not really.) I think that should score me points at least.

Omelet
Yummy!

After we ate and he was cleaning up, I found myself in the midst of a deja vu sequence as I once again had to gather my various items of clothing from the living room and around his bedroom. We got dressed and were soon out the door.

Here’s the part where I overanalayze everything because I like this guy at this point: I kind of felt like something was “off” this morning. Like, he wasn’t as “into it.” I don’t know. Like, in the car ride back he didn’t readily reach his hand to touch me or hold hands as he’s done without fail in the past. I reached and pulled it over at one point and he took the hint and let it lay as normal, but I had to initiate it. I just felt like he wasn’t being as affectionate over the course of the morning in general. Then, as we were pulling into the drop off, he asked if the Uber was there yet, which seemed like he was being very hurried with trying to get rid of me as I thought I could at least wait until he pulled in to order the Uber and therefore have some time to talk a bit before it came, like last time. Ubers are a dime a dozen in the area and never more than minutes away. Was it that serious?

It all certainly could’ve been my own self-consciousness and imagination…reading too much into things now that I’m starting to care. It seemed like he had a lot on his plate for the day so he could’ve just genuinely been distracted and not so much hurrying to get me out of his hair as just hurrying in general. In any case, I wanted an opportunity to at least attempt to clear the air about the vibe I was getting. I figured that probably necessitated a conversation more than the estimated 3-minute Uber arrival time, so when I went to order one I only acted like I did and told him it would take 8 or so minutes.

I forget exactly how the conversation went – it wasn’t anything super seriously toned or deep – but I asked if everything was alright because he seemed weird. He again alluded to all the things he had on his agenda for the day and then commented that I was the one who seemed a little off – he couldn’t find a better word than “skittish” – regarding his reaction to what I told him transpired between Reed and I. He said I’d brought it up a few times as if I was afraid it was a deal breaker, and reiterated that he wasn’t judging me off of it, it just hit home because of  his ex. I explained that I guess I just felt unsure about having laid some of my cards on the table maybe too soon that don’t cast me in such a favorable light, but I just believe in being objective/honest about my own shortcomings that contributed to any undesirable situation involving exes or what have you. He said he got that and would rather have the honesty than anything else. Okay…well that was settled. We then somehow got around to expressing our like for one another. Well that’s a lot better. He did comment that he was looking to take things slowly though. Fine with me.

So then it just became a matter of trying to pin him down for a third date. I went to the Uber app under the guise of “checking” on it and actually ordered one this time…4 minutes away. Perfect. Wiley never had a clue. We’d already discussed our 4th of July weekends and he has pre-existing plans for next weekend. I’m off work Thursday and Friday this week and asked if one of those 2 nights would work instead but he said he’s going to be going to a lake house with friends on Thursday. So next weekend is out, basically. That leaves the following weekend of July 9 when he did say he would be free, so once again it’ll be 2 weeks until I see him again, apparently. It’s imperative that we get some time in that following weekend though because the Democratic and Republic national conventions will be coming up shortly thereafter so he will be doing some extensive traveling for work. So that’s what it is with that.

Uber arrived shortly thereafter. Wiley got out and escorted me to it and kissed me goodbye. I texted him moments after pulling off pursuant to the Uber driver commenting on how we were kissing like we “were happy” and then making a catty remark about my choice in men. Wiley responded with a laugh and other choice words and that is the last I have heard from him. I think I’m going to lay off for a bit and let him come to me. If he comes to me. We will see how this plays out over the next couple of weeks.

I guess I’m just worried that I didn’t give the best impression of myself last night. Maybe I was too candid with him about the Reed situation. Or maybe I drank too much. Well the latter is a definite. I had 4 cosmopolitans at dinner being as they tasted like Kool-Aid. They definitely weren’t the strongest, but then I had several glasses of wine at Wiley’s and got pretty tipsy. Not stumbling drunk, but pretty buzzed to the point where some parts of our sexcapades are fuzzy although I do remember most of it.

Still, I don’t want to come off as a lush although I sort of am, especially when I’m in a safe environment and don’t have to contend with driving a vehicle. But I definitely overdid it last night. When we got back to his house, while I knew sex was inevitable, I just wanted the opportunity to connect through conversation and to enjoy his company a bit more before we got physical, so I used the wine drinking as a way to make myself occupied and thus to stall the sexual activity for a little bit. Maybe next time I’ll try that with water instead…

This was also the first time he’s seen me without makeup, as, with having to pack the schoolgirl outfit I also took the opportunity to throw some makeup remover pads in because I don’t like going to sleep with makeup on my face and didn’t want to risk smearing his white sheets with it. After we finished last night I took off a lot, but not all, of my makeup. So this morning was the first time he has seen me not all glammed up. But when I remarked in the car that I felt like I looked a hot mess, he made an incredulous expression and said I look “gorgeous,” so I’m not sure I have a lot to worry about in that regard.

The worst part of everything is that I only realized when we were around the corner from the metro station that I forgot my leftover food in his refrigerator. Thus died my dreams of chowing down on day-old lobster fra diavolo and asparagus at home. HELL.

Ugh. Whatever. The moral of the story is: Pretty much, dating is stupid because the initial stage is like a constant job interview and then even if or when you are “hired,” you’re on perpetual probationary status and can be let go at any time. I hate it. Nothing makes me more self-conscious about myself than it does, especially when I start liking someone.

Japan – Day 2.5

Day 2

I woke up in the middle of the night at the Cross Hotel Osaka and quickly found, to my chagrin, that going back to sleep was not in my immediate future. This is where the drastic time difference started to wreak havoc. Though it was 2 a.m. in Japan, my body was obviously still significantly attached to the time zone it knew and loved at home, where it was 1 p.m.

Hmm…what to do, what to do…

My first inclination was that Reed might like some play time, but when I tried to wake him up he grumpily pushed me away and said he was trying to sleep. Well okay then, jackass.

Screw that. Intent on not doing anything further to annoy Reed as well as not squandering one solitary moment of my trip, I opted to venture out to do some exploring on my own. I wasn’t quite sure what the scene was like outside, or what time everything closed down or whatever, but I could sense that the Osaka night wasn’t quite finished through the limited information I could take in from the hotel window. So I figured what the hey…I’m only wandering alone out in the middle of the night in a foreign country – what could go wrong? I hurriedly put on some clothes and freshened myself up to get this party started. I’m not even sure if Reed registered that I was on my way out or not, and wasn’t really interested in letting him know.

I walked out of the hotel to find the streets of Osaka still alive and kicking. I stood out front for a little bit to take in my surroundings. I had no idea what my plan was or where to even attempt to go. I just had a vague idea in my head of walking off some of my restlessness. But before I could even take a step, I noticed a guy coming over to me. He said a greeting (I guess) that I didn’t understand and then continued with other unknown utterances in Japanese while I stood there tilting my head like a confused puppy and giving him a blank look. He quickly caught on to the fact that I had no idea what the hell he was talking about and pulled out his phone to utilize Google Translate. Oh, the wonders of modern technology! He wanted to know if I wanted to go to a bar. Sure! He indicated that I follow him, and though I was mildly nervous about following some strange man to an unknown location, I did it anyway because I’m just stupid adventurous like that.

As we navigated the crowded side streets and started taking various turns, I make a point to pay strict attention to our path. The potential perils of gallivanting off somewhere with a stranger in the middle of the night are obvious enough, but on top of that I also happen to have a terrible sense of direction.  While there was always a minuscule chance that I’d end up vanishing and/or murdered, I was much more worried about just simply not being able to find my way back to the hotel. To kill several birds with one stone, I started sending texts to Reed to document my trail.

LateNightJourney
The guy who did not kidnap me.

They didn’t go through because I didn’t have cellular service, but they were at least saved into the text message for me to either refer to on my way back, assuming I am alive, or for the authorities to retrace my steps. I also took a picture of this person from behind for good measure. In hindsight, none of that would’ve helped in the least bit in the event of my demise because everything was stuck in my phone and I’m sure that would’ve disappeared along with me, but it felt proactive and intelligent at the time.

We didn’t end up too far from the hotel. It was probably 7 or so minutes before he leads me into a building and upstairs into a nearly empty bar. We commandeer a table and he gestures to me about a drink. I respond in the affirmative and soon after am presented with some random beer. Then we commence mostly staring at each other quizzically and trying to make small talk through his phone.He asks me a question about sex with a Japanese man – I think to ask me if I’ve ever been with one. I couldn’t be sure if that was his way of trying to hit on me or if he was just asking matter-of-factly. He didn’t press either way. I thought it was odd but I wasn’t majorly uncomfortable.

Several moments later a few more guys came out of the woodwork – people who work there that he knows, I surmised. I wasn’t really sure if the bar was open or closed or what its status was, but in either case it was only us there so they sat around to chill as well. Some of them knew more English than others, but communication was still tricky and stilted.

But no worries, because if there is one thing that Japanese people love, it’s karaoke. And soon enough we had a jam session in our midst. And just like that, I’m having the time of my life in a bar in Osaka, Japan, at 3 a.m., drinking and listening to Japanese men who can barely speak English sing round after round of American pop and rock songs. Absolute magnificence. A definite once-in-a-lifetime experience. Notable renditions included Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You and Bon Jovi’s Livin’ On a Prayer. You truly have not lived until you have heard Japanese men singing these songs.

It was probably a little after 4 a.m. by the time I started to feel like I should wrap things up. I excused myself to the restroom and then came back and indicated somehow that I ready to get my tab and roll. My tab came to 18,000 or so yen, or $160ish American dollars. YIKES! Between the drinks and the karaoke rounds I sang, those bastards got me. Take THAT, stupid American tourist! But whatevs. I had a good time and I really hadn’t spent any real money yet, so it was worth it. I paid, wished everyone a good night, and left to try to find my way back to the hotel.

Back outside it was still dark, but the sky was at the beginning stages of lightening. The streets had cleared out for the most part, but they weren’t completely desolate. I felt maybe the slightest bit more intimidated being totally alone, but I didn’t have any problems. Between my memory and my notes, I didn’t have too much trouble getting back to the hotel.

What a delightful random adventure that was.

Reed was still asleep when I got back to the room. He probably had never even known I left. I still wasn’t tired at this point, and as dawn was now upon us I figured I’d just go on ahead and start readying myself for the day, starting with the marvelous shower room.

ShowerRoom
The marvelous shower room.

Day 3

The Case of the Missing Phone

You never really know what it is to suffer until you drunkenly accidentally leave your cell phone in the back of an Uber. (First world problems.)

That was to be my unfortunate fate on Friday night after hanging out with a girlfriend and getting a tad bit inebriated. I woke up Saturday morning to a missing phone that I surmised I must’ve left behind in the Uber I took home.

I have a program I can use to track my phone (thank you, Lookout Security!), but it was going straight to voicemail at this point when people tried calling it so obviously the battery was dead. I proceeded to try to track it anyway, but as expected, the site was having problems picking up a signal.

Trying to resolve this issue with Uber was like pulling teeth because it can only be done via email and while customer service is fairly quick to respond, it was a hefty delay in them being able to get in contact with the driver, which became frustrating. I was 95% sure my phone was left in the Uber because I would’ve needed it at least up until the time I ordered the Uber to go home in the first place.  There was a 5% chance I may have left it at the bar, but I didn’t think so.

The problem was that Uber was giving me the runaround about being able to reach the driver to actually confirm whether it was in fact in his car or not. I guess he wasn’t working at the time. Meanwhile, I can’t really be sure if I in fact DID leave it in the Uber, although I’m quite sure I did, or sure that even if I did leave it there, that it wasn’t kidnapped by a subsequent rider.

Lookout actually got a signal from it and sent me an email around 4:15 p.m. on Saturday to tell me they had it “near” a certain address in a town about 20 minutes away. My first thought was maybe that’s the Uber driver’s residence or something, but when I looked up the homeowners on Facebook  – an innocuous looking married couple  (I am an expert stalker, thanks) – the husband was definitely not the driver. So then I thought maybe they had taken the same Uber after me and picked my phone up for safe keeping or something?? I don’t know, but I was desparate. I relayed this information to Uber and asked if by chance they could tell me if the driver lived in the town in question at least, but they didn’t answer. I mean, I guess that makes senses in terms of the driver’s privacy, but I didn’t really care about that at the moment.

So what do I do? I drive to the house, of course. I ring the bell and the wife answers the door and I apologize for bothering her and the odd circumstance, but does she know if anyone in her house has a random cell phone? She looked at me like I had 3 heads and answered in the negative. I smiled and thanked her and did a prompt about-face. My bad.

So clearly the Lookout GPS is not exactly accurate, but it did give an error margin of 20 meters or so and unfortunately this happened to be a community of townhouses. So while my phone was not actually at the poor little hassled housewife’s address proper, it was probably in fact somewhere in that neighborhood. I briefly toyed with the idea of knocking on a cluster of doors, but I wasn’t quite ready to stoop to that level of obnoxiousness.

So alas, I returned home still phoneless and frustrated, starting to resign myself to the fact that I’ll just have to have my phone company replace my phone through my insurance plan, which would cost me a deductible but still be cheaper than buying a new one. I wasn’t particularly worried about pictures because I back them up constantly through Dropbox and thus rarely even keep pictures on the phone itself as I can just access them through the Dropbox app, but I knew there was some stuff that was stored on the phone itself and thus would be irretrievably lost and a pain to reproduce. Like my calendar information, to-do lists, etc.

Oh well. No one’s fault but my own.

I woke up Sunday morning to Lookout advising me that they had tracked my phone around 10:30 p.m. the night before to ANOTHER town about 35 minutes away from me this time. So my phone was on the move, it seemed. But getting farther away. Not good. I was still holding out hope that it was actually in the Uber itself and that some random person had not found it and taken it. I emailed Uber my findings and concerns in an exasperated tone, explaining how the chances of recovery fade for as long as they cannot get in touch with their own employee and he possibly starts driving and accepting more rides which exposes my phone to people that might be tempted to pilfer it if they find it in lieu of him.

Lo and behold, I was able to breathe a sign of relief when they wrote back a little while later and told me the driver had in fact recovered my phone. They asked where I lived; I gave them my address but added in that  I’d be willing to meet him wherever. They wrote back that he had my address, but also gave me a contact number for him to make arrangements. At this point it was later in the day and pouring rain and I was relieved at least that I knew where it was so I figured I’d just wait until the next day to call him somehow and make arrangements to get my phone back. I’d already gone over 40 hours without it, I could survive another half a day.

How pleased was I when, 2 hours later, my doorbell rings, and it’s the driver with my phone. My precious baby! He insisted it wasn’t necessary, but I gave him 20 bucks. He came all the way back to my house to return my phone in rather nasty weather. It would’ve cost me more than 20 bucks plus a fair amount of time, effort, and inconvenience to replace my phone, so it was more than worth it to me.

CRISIS AVERTED.

I am glad I got my phone back, of course, but it wasn’t the worst thing in the world being out of touch. I wasn’t dare going to try to attempt any outings without a cell phone, so I stayed close to home all weekend and got the chance to partake in an interesting series on Netflix – Slasher. Rather gruesome, but intriguing and spooky and a storyline that seems all over the place at some points but ends up making sense in the end. I liked it.

In other news, this morning I ran in a Memorial Day 5K. I allegedly ran 3.1  miles in 25-something minutes, which I have to doubt the validity of being as running is not at all my forte. But I’ll take it. It was all for a good cause. Elliot ran in it too. I don’t think I’ve seen him in person since St. Patty’s Day. We’ve texted here and there since all our near-drama or whatever to call it, but his response rate is still severely lacking. Even still, we were able to have friendly conversation in the midst of other people, which is the way it should be.

Aaaaaaaaand, I reset my Tinder account. Starting fresh. I had accumulated upwards of 710 matches yet obviously I’d not gotten anywhere substantial with any one of them, so what’s the point? Reed and I were still matched on there. Unfortunately, I felt the need to wistfully peruse our 9-month old conversation and that made me reluctant to even reset my account for some reason – like I wanted to remain connected to him somehow. For what, I don’t know. I highly doubt he’s even active on there, being as of a few months ago it appeared he was back with his homely red-headed Marine ex-girlfriend. He probably deleted the app from his phone but doesn’t realize that you have to actually delete your account BEFORE you delete the app, otherwise your profile will still show up even if you don’t have the app on your phone.

But I managed. I reset it. Goodbye, Reed. We haven’t spoken since November, so, I had nothing to look forward to there anyway. Just memories of a hopeful era that has long-since been incinerated to ashes. I did take screenshots though. UGH.