For some reason, as he walked onto the booth at the conference at The Capella last year (did he mention it? This is where he had the suite for a night.), late as is usual, he saw her, and *pling!*, he instantly liked the cut of her jib, as they say. Trim-buttocked, self-possesed, and with a professional (not another nurse for god's sake!) attitude, AND (he later found out) she laughs at his jokes! It is rare indeed that on first sight E@L is so taken with anyone who was not wrapping herself rhythmically around a chrome pole. Seriously, he has high standards about non-hookers. Stop laughing in the back there.
The sensation of attraction, so unusual for him, so strong, was enough to make him think he ought to do something serious about this declining, crumbling Roman ruin aspect of his existence, his love life. For once in his, um, life.
E@L managed to get her number with a deft little manouevre when, in yet another flat-spot, booth-traffic wise, they were all comparing phones. E@L had his new Samsung and was showing off the Android interface. She liked to play sudoku it seemed, so her showed her the app. Everyone else was bored instantly and they moved away. He then asked her to check something else out on the phone. It was the contact app, which he had opened and already entered her name. The cursor was ticking over in the mobile phone link. She smiled and entered her number. E@L then moved away and sent her a few jokey little texts. She responded and smiled across. Man, he was flying here. He was smokin'! He might even get to know a real girl, up close, personal and without any cash payment at the end, for once in many moons.
This was unusual behaviour on E@L's part already, and he wondered to himself if he wasn't turning a significant corner in his human development. Very rarely, as in never, does E@L take a girl's number, nor give her his. Such an exchange of electronic fluids (moving electrons, right, flow like water, right?) might mean there is a hope of anyone seeing anyone again, might mean someone could mistake this for the possibility of it developing further, of E@L risking something, of E@L putting some emotions out there, at risk. He is Love Risk averse, surely this has sunk in your tiny minds already? So, can we keep it a simple, cold, clear impersonal transaction, thanks? Just you, me, and several million potential babies drowning in spermicidal latex and/or saliva.
This does not always work as a tactic, as sometimes he DOES want to contact someone again. ("Er, hello? It's me, yeah the
So, after taking her number, E@L waited the requisite number of days before calling, as in calling with a txt. But she couldn't make it for coffee. Again, when E@L txt'd, on the weekend, she still couldn't make it for a coffee or indeed any other type of drink Saturday OR Sunday (at Church?). She gave no hints, like jokes or anything, that she might actually have been interested, just matter of fact, "Sorry I am not able to." Two refusals, two negatory responses. E@L knows when he is licked, but just make certain he does know it, E@L confirmed this assumption with his buddy, the master-dater Indy (remember him?), and therefore he let the potentially life-saving, personally enriching, emotionally fulfilling, free sex, female friend thing slide.
The rest of her work colleagues teased E@L mercilessly when they found out that he had been interested in her (he had told them of course at the exhibition already, and like they didn't see him drooling like a buffoon whenever she was near) and this has served only to convince him to keep his distance, as he is pathetic, so completely pathetic. They all got together at the Beerfest (last year's not this current debacle) a few weeks later and both E@L and his erstwhile friend were so embarrassed by all this teasing that had been going on that they didn't talk at all. She didn't even look at him in fact. No doubt they thought they were being funny with this silly behaviour as well.
Adults can be so childish.
The other week, at the same meeting at which E@L had first made his wizard-like phone move a year before, they caught up again. This time the exhibition was at Suntec, so no sake parties this time boys and girls.
They were on the same booth again, he with his new company's new machine, she with some stuff you just don't want to ask about if the words "uterine biopsy" don't take your fancy. He said an hello to her and a few other small pleasantries, but nothing more, keeping his tone equal with her colleagues as with her, pretending that all that guff is water under the bridge now. For most of the first day, E@L had not hassled her, until when things were quiet, unlike most of the time when booth traffic was merely dead, she made a surprise move on him and came across to his area (like, um, three steps). She light-heartedly slapped her hand on the machine and, with a big smile that almost looked unforced, asked E@L to tell her about out this new-fangled gadget. Which he did. In jovial, light-hearted detail, but sticking to the actual topic. She then moved away. Funny that. E@L didn't get it at the time. She didn't come back. They didn't talk again. He didn't even think about it.
It just struck E@L today, about 2pm Bangkok time, what is it now, a month later, here on this plane to Chiang Mai, that something else might have been on her mind rather than genuine interest in the ergonomic marvels and technological breakthroughs in our new piece of plastic and tin.
E@L groaned, as his entire body imploded, and sank into his seat. He wished he could melt away. And then he leapt up and ran like a madman, at least after he undid his buckle by lifting this lever, towards the front of the plane, forcing staff to hold him down and tazer him many, many times to the testicles, where he most deserved it. Still he tried to push through them, tried to break open the door - OK a few hundred chinese and American tourists die as well, but hey, we are talking severe embarrassment here!
Far. King. Iddy. Ot.
Of course she wasn't interested in the machine. Why the fuck would she be suddenly interested in some stupid machine? This was a test and E@L had failed. Game Over man. She was trying to start up a conversation with E@L about anything *other* than this frackin' ultrasound equipment. She was testing him to see exactly how stupid, immature and thick-headed E@L really is. Very is the answer. Whether he was your typical male or not, in other words. We all can't be Proust. The slight raising of an eyebrow will only send us off in search of lost eyebrow tweezers, not into 3000 pages of emotional analysis! If you want to tell a man something, hit us on the head with a TV remote or post a sign in front of the telly with superglue. And you'd better make that VERY opaque paper.
She was trying, last ditch eh, to break the ice and make the new first move in getting to know E@L better. She wanted to find out if *he* was still interested in seeing more of her, to coin a phrase. Surely E@L, having been spoken about in glowing terms by her apologetic colleagues could not really that much of a dunderhead, that much of a man-child, so socially incompetent and naive, too shy to make another attempt to get closer to her, too shy to have an innocent (or not) chat like any normal human being as to miss this brilliant chance when it is offered, finally, surely? But instead of reading the approach as something serious, up relatively close, nice and personal, E@L took it objectively at face value. Sales pitch, not for himself, but the frackin' equipment.
Somebody hit him upside the head. Please. Harder. Again.
Perhaps she genuinely was busy last year. Perhaps last year she was in a relationship and couldn't otherwise see him. But there's no perhaps about one thing: E@L is an idiot.
He never ceases to amaze himself with this incompetence with women, young and old. Should he call her up when he gets back to town, or is it too late? As in WAY too late? Hmmph. No, don't! Of course it's too late, his bolt of incompetence has been well and truly shot.
Anyway, E@L wouldn't hold any respect her now if he found that she had not given up on him completely in utter disgust at his idiocy.
*there's a cartoon I want to use again, but I can't remember where I last posted it... Oh never mind.