Pete concludes, “. . . but I’m socially awkward.”
“No you aren’t. I saw you at that party.”
Even though I’m sure Ted knew he was exaggerating, I heard him tell a friend, “She’s the most social person ever,” and I’m afraid I’m about to disappoint him.
I agreed to meet up with some people, sports people. I thought they’d be boys, so I wore a really low-cut top. Impressively low. Shows off my chest (and by chest, maybe I mean ribcage) nicely; I can’t turn certain ways or slouch.
My chair is hard and pulled up to the table and in the way of everyone going to the bathroom. And I shouldn’t have worn this slutty shirt. It’s two boys, but two girls.
Girl on the right is sweet and lovely and sincere. Girl on the left types into her blackberry until she pops her head up to interject something with lots of finger-pointing and proving-wrong. She’s abrasive and an interrupter.
“This is the opposite of engaging,” I want to coach her, “If even Ted is losing interest in your fantasy baseball team, you need to think of something better.”
“I, however, am interesting,’ I want to announce. “Everyone loves to talk about my fabulous life.”
Instead I start to close up and shut down. I can’t do it-- I’m happy to take command of a conversation, but I can’t compete for it. I try to look like I care who was the first-round draft pick in 1997, but I’m really making up a nasty back-story. It’s a story about an awkward high school girl who thinks learning about sports will make boys like her. But even after she moves to New York and makes it her life, she ends up sad and lonely and wearing capri pants.
I only feel a little guilty, and Ted keeps giving me sympathetic looks. He gets us out of there as soon as can be hoped.
I want to explain to him. Apologize. He knows I’m better than this.
“Come here a sec,” he stops on the sidewalk, tugs my arm, and pulls me close to him. “You’re a champ.”
And he knows that one day I’m going to want him to do something, something awful, and he’s not going to have a choice about it.