Taking Chances on Missing People

I’ve had a lot of time to myself lately. Which means, a lot of time to think and feel. Dangerous, right? Right. It’s also meant a lot of time to write, albeit it very intermittent due to pain (I haven’t been able to peck out more than about 150 words in one sitting – torture for a writer). I have six posts sitting in my drafts folder in various stages of appropriateness for public consumption.

A little over two weeks ago, I wrote a post about missing people – three specific individuals in my life. It was a thinly veiled way of passive aggressively attempting to get their attention without actually putting myself out there and being vulnerable. If any of them read it, they would know without a doubt I was talking about them. I let it sit in my drafts rather than hit the “Publish” button.

And then I thought and felt, as I’ve been known to do. Which is when I realized that if I really missed these people as much as I had written that I did – if I truly craved them back in my life – then publishing a melodramatic blog post wasn’t the solution. If I missed them, I had to let them know directly. No more fear of whether they actually missed me too or had instead forgotten I ever existed in their lives. No more excuses of “Well, if they wanted to talk to me, they’d call.” After all, couldn’t they be thinking the same about me? Didn’t that make me a hypocrite?

When enough time passes, that initial contact can be awkward. Whether it’s been three weeks, nine months or more than a year. Maybe you’ve spent all your time thinking about them; or maybe for the most part, you forgot them too. But then something pops up in your mind or in your day-to-day activities that reminds you of them – a song, a scent, an inside joke that no one else will ever understand – and you physically ache because of the hole in your life that they used to fill.

Since that revelation, I took the chance on two of those three people. I rehearsed what I would say (because of all the thinking and the feeling) and then before I could turn back and put it off another day, I let my thumb hit that contact in my iPhone and held my breath and felt sick to my stomach waiting for the voice on the other end.

Obviously, what I rehearsed in my head (or, um, out loud alone in my house – shut up…) never made it out of my mouth. Because as soon as I heard their voices, I couldn’t stop smiling, much less get out a proper sentence. After the slightly awkward beginnings, the rest of the conversation flowed like we’d spent no time out of each others’ lives.

I took a chance on missing people. I took a blind leap that if they meant so much to me that I was aching to have them back, there had to be a pretty decent chance I meant that much to them too.

And I’m so glad I took those two jumps. It was terrifying to think of; I could have had my heart (not to mention ego) splattered on the jagged rocks of being ignored, of being forgotten. But instead, I was caught in the comforting arms of “I’ve missed you too,” and “I’ve been thinking about you, but wasn’t sure if it had been too long. Thank you for taking the initiative to call.”

Nothing good ever came out of everyone being afraid, of everyone hiding from possible rejection. Someone has to take the chance, to make the move. Why not let it be you? If it means enough to keep you up at night, it means enough to make the call. Worst case scenario: you don’t hear back or get the response you wanted. But maybe you’ll get some closure, or at least a good night’s sleep knowing you didn’t just let it slip by.

As for me and that third person… I still haven’t taken the chance on calling them. Maybe soon.

Let’s Get Weddy (AKA #TeamBride #060912)

After almost a year of intense anticipation, last month I finally got to stand next to one of my best friends while she married the man of her dreams. And while she is the only person who can really validate whether I have actually accomplished this item on my Single Girl’s Checklist, I think it’s pretty safe to say I (and the other bridesmaids) did:

#41: Be an awesome bridesmaid.

Like I said, Claire is really the only person who can truly say whether I attained the “awesome” status in the weeks leading up to and on her big day. But if the following are included in the criteria, I think #TeamBride #060912 crushed it:

  • Checking to be sure the bride’s undergarments did not show through the wedding dress.
  • Preventing the bride’s former co-worker from walking in on her naked. Yeah, that would’ve been awkward.
  • Crying at the rehearsal. You know, just to be sure I could do it right…
  • Bonding with the groom in a hallway at the rehearsal dinner, including finally getting the gossip about how their relationship got started (and then sharing said gossip with the rest of the bridal party).
  • Giving an emotional and funny toast at the rehearsal dinner, when no one else was toasting. To a group of virtual strangers.
  • Throwing out a That’s What She Said joke with her dad’s cousin at the table. And he was the first one to laugh.
  • Practicing slow-dancing with my fellow bridesmaid/bff at the rehearsal dinner.
  • Unwrapping hundreds of sparklers for the grand exit on the big day at 11 pm the night before.
  • Totally embarrassing myself, a fellow bridesmaid and the bride in front of her parents by showing a slideshow of our lives together over the past six years. The parents were not intended to be present for this.
  • Creating a sobworthy slideshow of the bride and groom for the cocktail hour.
  • Keeping tabs on the bride’s mom and dad and their emotions throughout the weekend.
  • Taking a massive picnic lunch to the hair salon. And tweeting about it. A lot.
  • Bonding with the groomsmen in our holding pen before the ceremony about who even knows what.
  • Freaking out when the best man almost dropped the rings down a vent – it has to happen at every wedding, right?!
  • Sitting on itty bitty pre-school chairs in the church basement.
  • NOT tripping while walking down the aisle.
  • NOT fainting even with shaking legs throughout the ceremony.
  • Sobbing the second you see the bride at the end of the aisle, on her dad’s arm, beginning to sob.
  • Making eye contact with the mother of the bride at that moment, making her realize the bride is crying, and prolonging the trickle effect of the tears.
  • Quoting Friends in the middle of the ceremony (ahem, Kirsten…)
  • Climbing hills at an apple orchard in dresses and heels for amazing photography opportunities.
  • Getting the dancing started at the reception.
  • Forcing the father of the bride to come dance with all four bridesmaids – a moment he was supposedly mortified by, but could not stop talking about or smiling about.
  • Ripping the slit in the back of your dress to a very dangerous level while lunging for the bouquet, because, you know, you’re single with no prospects and clearly ready for that step in life…
  • Forgetting to take even one photograph on the wedding day because you are completely absorbed in the love, happiness and joy of the moment and can’t imagine being concerned about documenting it.
  • Crying the next morning, when saying goodbye to the bride’s parents, who insist on making you breakfast, force leftover cake and tiramisu on you, and tell you that they love you and consider you to be daughters.
  • Being unable to stop smiling for several days afterward because your heart is so full of love still.
  • And, of course, there was the shower and bachelorette weekend…but portions of that are never to be spoken of again, like any good bachelorette party ;)

Even thinking about it now, almost a month later, I am still so full of joy for Claire and Kyle, and so honored to have played such an important part in their day. Wedding weekend withdrawal set in less than 6 hours after I got home, and I’m not sure it’s subsided yet.

Bridesmaids and our bride at the bridal luncheon the day before the wedding.

To my fellow bridesmaids – we did it! To my beloved bride – thanks for making me part of your day. Now… who’s next, ladies??

Forever and Today

It’s been another spell of writer’s block for me – it happens every time. Every time new people fess up to reading. Whether through a comment, a “like” on Facebook, a well-thought out private message that leads to a lengthy discussion of the post and the societal implications in general, or in passing over champagne and cake at a wedding… it freaks me out. Good friend, complete stranger, college acquaintance I’m seeing for the first time in three years or someone I’ve met once… it’s intimidating. Obviously, I write because I love to write. And I publish it to the blog because I want people to read it. But it still makes me stop short every time I learn that someone else has been reading. I feel an increased sense of pressure, I feel anxious to write more, better.

And ya know what? Sometimes I’m just not feeling all that poignant. Sometimes I want to tweet about my lunch or apply song lyrics to my life or have a gossip session with my best friends about the latest male of interest. Sometimes I don’t want to relate it all back to something other people can relate to.

And that’s fine.

But then there are times when I realize that the things I’m going through – the emotions I either suppress or express, the worries, concerns and doubts, the things that make me smile and the things that make me cry – are things we all can relate to. I hear it from my friends and I read about it elsewhere.

I’ve learned lately a lot more about the male mind than I previously knew. And about the male heart, for that matter. The menfolk have always been a bit of a mystery to me. I’ve had male friends over the years who would occasionally open up and share their thoughts and feelings with me (mostly under the influence of alcohol), but for the most part, we never broached these topics.

All these years that I’ve tortured myself about whoever my latest crush was (uhhh starting in like 4th grade when I thought Bradley G was the man I was meant to marry), I always thought that guys had it so easy. Surely they didn’t get all riled up about these matters! They didn’t care about whether the person they were interested in knew they existed. They knew how to approach her, how to move forward in the dating scenario. Check yes or no, it was as simple as that! And if she checked no, they moved on. No heartbreak, no worry that they’re not good enough, no nights spent alone wanting to do nothing but eat Ben & Jerry’s and watch a romcom.

I’m learning that’s not true. From the dates I’ve gone on recently to conversations with guy friends – I’m learning they’re just as clueless and tortured sometimes. They get invested in the potential relationship – in the “what if”s and the “what next”s and drive themselves crazy with overanalysis too. Which, honestly, makes me feel so much better about this thing called Life.

Because now I know… we’re all on even ground here. We’re all trying to put our best selves out there, fearing that our best is never enough. We’re all trying to find someone to share our interests, our beliefs, our passions and hey, if it all goes well, our lives. We’re all a little awkward in the beginning – we’re not sure how aggressive to be, whether we’ll come off as self-confident or a self-centered ass. We’re not sure how to get around inconvenient circumstances – timing, distance, not seeing eye to eye on a make-or-break topic. We’re not sure how much texting is too much – or not enough. What says “available” versus what says “pathetic, no-life loser.” And hell, for our generation, we have no earthly idea how to talk on the phone or date in the traditional sense of dating.

When our parents were growing up – it was kind of the same. Our moms sat around staring at the phone waiting for it to ring with Mr. Could-Be-Right on the other end. Their hearts would jump into their throats when it rang and their stomachs would suddenly have butterflies.

Isn’t that what we do now with our iPhones? Only it’s worse. Our phones are with us basically 24/7. We check it…and check it again. And again. Our hearts stop when we get a text – until we see it’s “just” our best friend. But rather than the sound of a voice making you blush, it’s an emoticon or a carefully crafted (and probably heavily edited) witty reply. And we’ve added this other complexity to it. Because now, we can see tweets. Facebook statuses. Foursquare check-ins. Instagram posts. We can tell when the object of our affection has been active in this world of communications – and yet they’re not communicating with us.

So that makes us – all of us, male or female, don’t even lie – make up these crazy scenarios in our heads. We make up excuses for them, sob stories for ourselves. We ride this emotional rollercoaster through all the peaks and valleys until we are ready to hurl our artfully Instagrammed lunch over the side.

And then that text message comes and your stomach feels ill in another way. The butterflies are back and even though you want to stand your ground and play the game, you want to respond even more.

It would be so much easier if we would all stop playing the damn game. If you feel a connection with someone, a feeling when you’re with them or talking to them that you want to explore as a possible relationship, go for it. Be honest. State your intentions. Say, “I like you. Can I take you out sometime?”

That goes for us too, ladies. We can say that too – it’s not up to the men all the time. It’s not like going on a date means it’s forever – hell, going out for a year doesn’t mean it’s forever. But you’ll never find that forever if you don’t start with today.

There’s Something About…Singlehood

I’ve been a little bit overwhelmed with the number of “likes” I’ve gotten on my last few posts, both on WordPress and on Facebook. And the number of comments on Facebook from long-lost acquaintances about their online dating success stories.

Especially since these posts were going to lead up to the story of how I quit online dating.

Again.

And, so I thought, for good.

Maybe what I actually have taken away from this though is that it can work. Just maybe not so much through the free dating websites. Most of the people who have had success did it through the paid sites: eHarmony, Match, Chemistry. The ones that, at least as they advertise it, use actual science and statistics to match you. Not so much through the freebies. So maybe I’m not 100% done with the online dating scene.

But for now, I’m kind of enjoying this other aspect of being a single lady (Beyonce style): Meeting and flirting with men.

Y’all, this might seem so simple and ridiculous to some of you. But this is something I have very rarely in my life experienced. At least the enjoyable kind of flirting. I’ve been hit on, yes, but until recently, it was never by men I had an interest in. Always the creepers. Always. So, yes, I’m enjoying this “new” part of my life.

There’s just something fun and freeing about spotting the cute guy across the room at a party. About him starting a conversation with you. About talking to him and feeling sparks when he brushes your hand while passing you a jello shot (OK, so I didn’t say it was all romance). About smiles across the room and laughter and dancing and singing to “Call Me Maybe,” with undertones of those insanely absurd lyrics being kind of fitting. About an arm around your waist.

There’s something about meeting a guy at the bar during your friend’s bachelorette party. So what if she pointed at you and screamed, “SHE’S SINGLE!” to every guy that approached your group? There’s something about the awkward laughter you share after that remark. About the color rising to your cheeks because you’re simultaneously mortified at that statement, but grateful that he knows your status. About teasing him for double-fisting Coors Light (or what I not-so-affectionately call “water”). About finding out he has cousins who live right up the street from you, when you’re 5 hours from home. About the walk from the bar to the late-night food joint when you lag behind your group of friends because you want to keep talking to him. About staying in the parking lot sharing life stories and people watching while our respective groups of friends are inside ordering burgers and bribing the owners to use the restroom that is apparently reserved only for brides-to-be. About that moment when your arms brush and you can feel the heat linger for a couple minutes. About not being able to break eye contact because you think he’ll disappear if you do.

There’s something about a man telling you that you’re “perfect” and “amazing” and “beautiful” and you just don’t know it, and you begin to wonder if they’re about to burst into song a la One Direction. It doesn’t matter if it’s a line or not (or if they really are listening to teeny bopper boy bands and reciting lyrics), because it makes you smile and blush and feel great. And isn’t that how you should always feel?

Perfect. Amazing. Beautiful.

So, until I find that one guy who can make me feel like that always, I’ll take a few here and there telling me that for a couple hours at a time. It doesn’t matter if it turns out that he has a girlfriend (OK, so that one kind of mattered) or suddenly becomes the silent, socially awkward guy in the corner. For that little bit of time that you had his attention, that you innocently flirted – even though somewhere in the back of your romcom-infested mind you thought it might go somewhere – it didn’t matter that it wasn’t going anywhere. You were having fun. And I’m learning that’s a huge part of being single in your mid-20s. (Cue the “holy crap, I’m 25″ freakout that I still get two months later.)

This conversation happened with Audrey, one of my best friends and someone who knows me better than most people in my life, this weekend while we were…well, stalking people on Facebook. (Hey, you do it too. We just come by it honestly.)

Me: Everyone is getting married. EVERYONE.
Audrey: Well. Not everyone.
Me: But we don’t need to be!
Audrey: Right. We’re single and loving it! [approx. 5-second pause] Or, you know, single….

On that note, cheers to being single… and at least trying to love it.

The Coveted Second Date

When I left you in suspense (I’m sure you couldn’t sleep…), I had set up a second date with Bachelor #2 after a promising first date.

Date #2:

Unfortunately, even though I had given him like five days to come up with a date idea, all he could come up with again was “dinner.” And he couldn’t even choose where.

Because it was a gorgeous Sunday afternoon, I decided on a place we could sit outside to eat. But I was still disheartened at his lack of creativity in date planning. I didn’t want something magical, but come on, try a little bit, man.

Also unfortunately, date #2 is where this non-love story ends.

I have no idea what happened in the six days between these dates, but apparently his personality got swept out to sea without hope of rescue. (Did I mention he works for the beach patrol? I didn’t, did I? That’s a funnier joke if you know that. Pretend I told you that already.)

When we met up, I had to initiate the awkward “hello” hug. I had to tell the hostess everything. I felt like the man in this situation. Conversation was fragmented at best, and entirely uninteresting. Story after story about beach patrol. I get it, you hang out with The Hoff. (See? That’s funny-ish now.) Moving on.

Once our meals came, conversation stopped entirely. The only thing he said: “How’s your sandwich?” I’m sorry, am I on a date with the waiter?

That coupled with the fact that he is a horribly messy eater and had food all over his face, so I was kind of done about halfway through my [actually pretty good, thanks for asking] sandwich. As I watched him eat, I kept thinking in the back of my mind, “There is no way I ever want to kiss that…”

I think most would agree that’s a pretty telling reaction on a second date.

Then there was this moment… We were finished our meals. The waitress cleared our plates, asked if we wanted dessert, and then brought us the check. Immediately, he picked the check up. I thought this meant he was going to pay for it, which was nice in my opinion. I don’t necessarily expect it — on our first date, I paid for my meal because it was more expensive than his and I thought it was the polite thing to do. But I was secretly happy he had picked up this check to pay. Until…

Him: “So, did you bring any cash?”

Me: *blink. blink.* “Um, yeah, sure.”

I look at the bill, see how much my meal was and give him enough cash to cover my meal and my portion of the tip. It’s fine, no big deal. Until…

He pockets my cash, including the tip money, and pays for both our meals on his credit card.

WHAT?!

To make it worse, he left a really crappy tip. Only 15%. I never tip 15% unless it was horrible service. I had put in 18% for my share of the bill. He essentially just made a profit off our date!

Oh, and what was did this extravagant meal I ordered cost that he couldn’t afford? A whopping $7. SEVEN. DOLLARS.

I later polled several men about this occurrence and got the same reaction every time. They all said there is no way they would ever ask a girl they were on a second date with to pay for her own $7 sandwich, and they would certainly not pocket her money. In fact, they all yelled at me for giving him money on our first date, saying they would have refused to take it. (Why I’m not dating these men, I’m not sure.)

He probably used my money to buy his late-night Taco Bell meal that weekend. Yes, he talked at length about that before dinner too.

Once again, he did not walk me to my car. A guy who went on and on in his profile about chivalry not being dead. I beg to differ, sir.

Bottom line here is that none of these little things alone would have been deal-breakers. But all of it combined with the fact that there was somehow no chemistry on this second date… it wasn’t gonna happen.

I continued to receive texts from him throughout the next week. I was cordial in response to a couple. Finally, after he sent me a text on Cinco de Mayo offering me virtual margaritas (yes, really) that I didn’t respond to, he got the hint. Maybe if he’d virtually offered me my money back, I would have.

After that date, I met my best friend for frozen yogurt and dropped $100 on things I didn’t need at Target. So, you know, what girls do after bad dates.

And got some advice from Kirsten (and Jay-Z): “On to the next one.”

Online Dating Round Two: Bachelor #2

After the brotherly love date, I learned a few lessons.

Lessons learned

I realized I needed to be more discerning with the men I started talking to. Chances are if I wasn’t super attracted to the pictures they chose to represent themselves on a dating website, I wasn’t going to be attracted to them in person. Because, let’s be honest, we all put the best of the best up. That’s not to say there can’t be chemistry there with someone I’m not immediately physically attracted to. But it helps.

So I started getting some guts. I started initiating contact with guys on the site who might be  considered a little “out of my league.” Some replied. Most didn’t. Which is fine. But ya gotta aim high, right?

I had also decided that I needed to meet these men in person sooner rather than later. The longer you talk, the more invested you get and the higher your hopes get. It’s natural. So I vowed that the next time, I would not get too invested.

Anyway, on to Bachelor #2.

This guy showed up as someone who rated me very high, although he didn’t send me a message, so I checked out his profile. All visitors are visible unless you browse anonymously, so he could see that I went to his profile and vice versa. I saw that he looked at my profile again. Still no message. So I bit the bullet and sent him one.

We started talking. We set up a dinner meeting for a Sunday. That morning, it was awfully rainy and not supposed to stop until late at night. The thought of changing out of sweatpants and venturing into the monsoon made me want to cry. I flaked out and canceled on him. Totally That Girl, I know. But that’s my prerogative, right? We rescheduled for that Tuesday.

Date #1:

The day of the date, I wasn’t nervous at all, so that was progress. But I wasn’t excited either. I kept telling friends, “I have no expectations,” and I really didn’t. I was going to meet him and whatever happened, would happen. I hadn’t gotten invested yet. We hadn’t taken the communication offline, so we hadn’t been talking as much, which helped.

We met for dinner and I was pleasantly surprised. He was attractive. Conversation was comfortable. I developed the faintest flutter of a butterfly. By the end of the meal, we had mentioned the possibility of hanging out again several times. He lost a couple points by not walking me to my car even though it was after dark and by just going for a handshake rather than a hug. (I’m a big hugger.) But it had still been a nice time and I was going home happy.

I got home, settled in to watch New Girl and group iMessaged my best friends about the date. (That’s what everyone does, right?) Right as New Girl ended, my phone dinged with a text from him. When I opened it, I didn’t even know what to do. (NO, this isn’t going THERE. Thank goodness.) It said something along the lines of:

“Just got back from a date. I actually think there are some possibilities there, but I’m not getting my hopes up like last time.”

Um. Clearly not meant for me. I didn’t know what to do, so I did what any girl does – text your best friends for advice. I asked three of them what I should do and I had settled on not responding. He would already be embarrassed enough, I didn’t want to make it worse for him. An hour later, I got another text from him:

“Um wow. That was not supposed to go to you. That’s my epic fail of the day. I had a nice time. Good night.”

I found it adorably vulnerable, given that he had told me about his last experience with a girl he was really into who dropped off the face of the earth. I sent him a text reassuring him it was fine, and saying that, yeah, I thought there could be a possibility there as well.

It was brought up by others that this could have been an act, that he sent it “accidentally” but really on purpose. I don’t think that was the case, but if so… well-played, sir.

Long story short, we set up another date within the week…

And yes, I’m going to leave you in suspense there, because this is already over 700 words long…

Online Dating Round Two: Bachelor #1

So after the online date from hell last August, I kind of fled the online scene for a while. I was getting in the swing of my job, and then winter hit and I went into full-on hibernation mode. After an uncharacteristically bitter Valentine’s Day, I decided it was time to get back in the game. Spring was coming around and I wanted to be social again and I wasn’t coming up with any other miraculous ideas to meet men, so I created another profile. With a different name to avoid the creepers from before. Apparently suffering from a case of amnesia regarding the total weirdos who are on free dating websites.

I had my fair share of weirdos again this time. But I’ll get to that later. Because there actually were some less horrific results from this foray into the online dating world than last time. One lucky gent even made it to a second date. That’s right, a second date.

Let’s start with Bachelor #1.

This was back in late February or early March. I don’t even remember what we started talking about, but our conversation was great. I think I initiated the contact (this becomes a theme…) but he reciprocated with interest. One weekend he was in Atlantic City with a bunch of his buddies, and we were still messaging fast and furious on the website, talking about everything under the sun. Unfortunately, I had to be the one who took the next step in moving it “offline,” by dropping not-so-subtle hints that I wanted to meet him for a drink.

It ended up being over two weeks I think before we were able to meet because of conflicting schedules (or his hesitation to meet?). In that time, we continued texting and it was nice.

I was nervous as hell the day we were supposed to meet – a Monday, I think. I remember it randomly snowing that afternoon and being freezing and super windy. I got home from work and changed and went to meet him. I was going to do a routine drive-by of the restaurant to see if anyone was waiting outside when my phone alerted me to a text from him. “I’m standing out front.” I re-routed and went to park. As I walked up, the nerves were gone instantly.

Good, right? Wrong. The nerves were gone because I could tell immediately that I was not even remotely attracted to him. Bummer.

We actually had a really nice time – we had drinks and shared an appetizer and talked for about two hours. I really liked him. As a friend. It felt like I was hanging out with a big brother figure rather than a date.

He was a total gentleman, paid for the drinks and food, and walked me to my car afterward. We hugged, he suggested we do it again some time, I said thank you for the beers and the crab dip. I drove home knowing I wouldn’t see him again.

I woke up to a text at 6 the next morning from him. And three more during the course of the day. Apparently he was much more taken with me than I was with him.

I felt bad about it – I really did – but I didn’t want to go on another date with him. While we had a lot in common, there was enough that we didn’t have in common. He was a bit too…wholesome for me, I think. He was against gay marriage and believes whole-heartedly that homosexuality is a sin. He whispered the words “rap music,” and while I love me some country and Top 40 music, I occasionally like to bust out the white girl rap moves, which I gathered might frighten him. And then there was the inquisition about my longest previous relationship. Which then led to questions about my thoughts on marriage. Really? On a first date? Slow down, killer.

I wish I could have forged a friendship with him, but given the circumstances, I don’t think it could have worked. We both went into this, on a dating site, knowing that we were looking for a romantic relationship. He was still interested in that after the fact. The “I’d prefer we just remained friends” conversation was one I did not have the guts to initiate.

It was less than perfect, but it wasn’t exactly a disaster either. The next day, all my friends who knew about it asked me how it went. My response was the same for all of them: “He was a very nice guy.” It was really all I needed to say.

I learned a lot from that date with him. I learned that while emotional/verbal/intellectual attraction is huge, that physical attraction still needs to be there for me. And I learned that that isn’t always a shallow thing to say.

About a month ago, I was going through my old messages on there and noticed that his username was greyed out, meaning he is no longer active on the site. I hope that he found a lucky girl who matched everything he was looking for. A girl who felt those butterflies and that spark I so desperately wanted to feel with him. He deserves that.

And hell, so do I.