For the record, I wore the stone-washed Old Navy's.
I just couldn't wear the jeans with the hole in them. If this had been a second or a third meeting, I probably would have, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it the very first time.
We met in neutral territory, a parking garage not far from my building. 5k Guy had brought his dog and was walking her in a grassy patch behind the place where I get my morning coffee. She was wearing a pink snap-on collar and I kind of melted that he was secure enough to stand among a collar rack and purchase a pink one for her.
He pointed out where his car was parked at the far end of the garage and I drove over to the spot. He had taped to the cement wall a large paper sign that read "Tire changing lessons
$5 $1 Free!" I wondered if he just happened to have a printed sign like that because the paper was too large to fit in a personal printer.
We got right to business, mainly because I was nervous and didn't know how to act around this guy I had only met once in a group setting. I busied myself with getting the tire and jack out of my trunk. He walked over with colored instructions printed off the Internet on how to change a tire. I thought Wow, he did some preparation for this and maybe I wasn't imposing on him like I had half-convinced myself. He got under my car and showed me where to place my jack, and then it was up to me.
He unfolded a camping chair and took a seat, "I'm sorry I can't help you, but you really need to know how to do this on your own." He made small talk as I panted while I jacked up the car. Because I was wearing a tank top, I had stupidly decided that hair down was the way to go and cover up the skin on my shoulders. Only it's the South in the beginning of summer, so it's humid and muggy and once again my ironed hair is frizzing and my face is turning maroon cause it's hard to breathe with this much humidity. The summer storms aren't far away.
He taught me the importance of loosening the bolts before jacking up the car, even though it's not really applicable because my car is front-wheel drive. He gave me pointers like standing on the lug-nut wrench to break them free. He applauded my intelligence because I knew enough physics to stand on the very end of the wrench when a few didn't budge.
He handed me latex gloves to handle the tires with to keep my hands clean. "I'm sorry they are so big for you, but they are the only ones I have at home," he explained. I started to think he really did put some forethought into this.
I thought I would be done after I drove around the garage on my spare, but he made me jack up the car again to put the full-size tire back on. "Just because you did it once, doesn't make you an expert," he laughed after I goofed in the order of breaking free the lug nuts and begin taking them off before I jacked the car up again.
I handed him my camera and told him he had to take a picture of me changing the tire so I could document completing my list. A took a few but my batteries died and then he grabbed his own from his car and continued to click away. After I got the full-sized tire back on, he finally came over and did the final tightening of the lug nuts. "Yeah, I have to drive on that," I laughed.
I looked at my phone. It took me 40 minutes, meaning we only had about 20 minutes until he had to dash off to his next destination. He tried helping me put everything back in my car, but by this point I was so used to doing everything by myself that I didn't really let him.
"Do you still have time for lunch?" I asked.
"Hold on, we're not done yet." He went into the back of his car and fumbled through a folder. He pulled out a certificate he made me.
I jumped up and down and clapped at the sight of it. A certificate! It had my name on it and it certified my achievement of learning to change a tire and it had the date on it. He really put a lot of thought into this. He took something so simple and mundane and turned it into something special. He made me a certificate and my name was spelled right on it. I don't think I have ever had someone in my life who put so much thought into something. Then he put his camera on self-timer mode and we stood in front of my car while he shook my hand and handed me my certificate like I was getting the keys to the city.
For lunch, he chose a pizza place that was in the same area. Actually it was a place Christopher always talked about how good it was and how he wanted to go, but we never went because I didn't want to pay for the both of us. So I'm here with another guy. He asked if I had any preferences and I said no. He asked if I like leftovers and I said yes, so he ordered a medium pesto pizza with chicken and I inwardly smiled because I didn't have to do all the work. He took charge.
The conversation was easy for two people who didn't know each other very well. We talked mainly about our dogs and shared stories about them. We talked a bit about college and our respective experiences. Then he brought up my list and asked me what my inspiration was. He said it was such a great idea and he really applauds people for being proactive and doing what they always said they were going to do. I wondered if my list got me this non-date thing. He continued with all the ones he would love to help me out with and expressed disappointment that I didn't meet up with him at the 5k. I had posted on Facebook a link to a discounted zipline tour for the summer and he said he was interested, but never committed if he was going to go or not. "Katie is going," he said. I thought it was weird because first of all, I didn't know he knew Katie and secondly he couldn't go because she was going? Like because it would be a group thing? Or maybe he doesn't like her? Or?
We were the only people in the restaurant and we had blown by his timeline by a half an hour and he was definitely going to be late to meet his friend. He called out to the waitress to split the check and I was disappointed. I'm perfectly okay with carrying my own weight, but I was emotionally disappointed because the non-date thing was officially a non-date thing. We walked out to our cars and he immediately got his dog out of the car. I didn't want to follow him, so I just headed to mine and he waved goodbye as he walked his dog to the grass for one last potty-break before their next adventure. No wink, no hug, no awkward shoulder touching. That was it.
I sat in the car blankly. What the hell was that? Who would put so much effort into something if he just wanted to establish a friendship? My best friends in the world wouldn't do that much. He said during lunch we wanted to do more list things with me. We didn't talk about anything controversial, so if I said anything to turn it sour, it would either have to be revealing that my parents are divorced or that I don't have a thyroid. I can't imagine it really being either one of those.
I guess I will just have to wait a couple of weeks and see if he contacts me again. He has most of the pictures in his camera, so I hope he does so I can at least get copies.
The worst part is now that I spent some time with him and he's made me a sign and a certificate, I like him. I think he's really great for making things so special for me. My heart is kind of torn because I know I'm just going to spend this summer pining for him and it's just going to break when I get drunk and profess my feelings for him and he tells me I'm a nice girl. Ugh, nothing has changed.