So Craig and I went back to his place. It was a cute cottage style house, in the heart of one of our adorable little lake towns. He had bought it after his divorce was finalized, and was in the process of fixing it up. We had a couple of margaritas (combined with the Bourne movie, God help me) on his deck and then decided to see if this little plan of ours was going to work.
And it did. Surprisingly, very very well. Craig was great. Nothing freaky, nothing scary, just plain old good times. He said, "Thank you, craigslist" at the end, and for some reason that struck me as hilarious. Thank you craigslist, indeed.
So Craig and I had the beginnings of a mutually beneficial summer romance on our hands. We ended up talking and texting a little more than you'd think two people with a strict "no relationship" policy would do, but other than that, it was just the low-key diversion I was looking for.
This was back in the day when all of the kids would go to Big Daddy's house on his weekends, and stay there. These days it's rare if all four go, and if they do, chances are really good that one or more will end up standing in my kitchen telling me our food sucks. I don't mind..for real. But back then, I did have the luxury of guaranteed time off. Time to do bad things. Time to try and get my groove back and exhale and all that other "I steal phrases from established authors" stuff.
But I digress. So Craig had called me and let me know that he'd planned an all day thing on one of "our" weekends...and wanted to know if that was ok with me. I was starting to worry that this was headed in the direction of Full Blown Relationship, and as much as I was enjoying Craig and his benefit, I was starting to feel...cagey? I don't know if that's the right word to describe it, but I was getting that old familiar trapped feeling.
I said that an all day thing sounded great, and since it was a total surprise (he said to wear something "comfortable", that's it) I was actually starting to get excited. No one had ever planned a surprise date for me. This was nice.
The big day rolled up, and we met at a Park and Ride station near my house. We decided to drive together, in his mini-van. When we got into the van, he had a little gift for me. He had made me a mix tape, bless his heart. Actually a mix cd, but mix tape sounds so sweet and old school. We both had a mutual love for the band Wilco, and Craig had put down several of their tracks that we liked. Damn you, Craig. You're not supposed to be this nice. I like my victims to give me a reason to shun them. This was going to be hard.
So...we were on our way to the All Day Date. We ended up at the heart of the riverside district here in our city, a super charming little section of town where the city meets a small town, with the mighty Mississippi roaring in the background. And then we walked into a strange little shop, a place I had never seen before. A place where they offered up unique tours of this darling stretch of city....
On Segways. Yes, I had never seen one up close before. But that day, not only did I get to see one up close, I rode on one. For a few hours. Helmet and all.
Craig had signed us up for a Segway tour of the quaint riverside neighborhood. Just like Gilligan's doomed group, it was a three hour tour. Repeat after me: a three hour tour.
I was terrified. Why? I don't know, maybe it was the fact that we had to sign a waiver in case we died, maybe it was the fact that any activity which requires a helmet automatically strikes fear in a mother's heart. And maybe, just maybe, it was due to the fact that for all of my "mellow mama" vibes I try to give off, at heart I am a tightly-wound control freak. And standing atop a motorized, two-wheeled death machine didn't exactly mesh with this freak's way of doing things.
I survived. But I did learn a couple things. Thing one: It's impossible to look anywhere near cute or hot whilst riding a Segway. There's the helmet, for one thing. Granted, some women can look adorable in helmets. Not me. My head is big to begin with...put a helmet on this melon and I look like a fat Nancy Reagan. Thing two: While riding a Segway, it's impossible to unclench your butt. Seriously. And if you haven't ever noticed this before, a clenched butt is not attractive. I don't care what kind of Charmin ass you're sporting. Go ahead, try it in a mirror. I'll wait.
This was one of those experiences where you quite literally count the seconds until it's over. When our tour finally ended (and buns unclenched), I wanted to jump down and kiss the ground. Frazzled is what I was. Luckily for me, Craig had planned the rest of the day, and it included dinner, drinks and listening to a jazz band play on a patio. By the time we walked back to his van I had regained the feeling in my ass and was starting to look forward to his big bed, the sweet lake breeze and giving my thanks to the craisglist gods all over again.
Later that night, after the magic happened, we were laying there on his big comfy bed, warm wind blowing through the room, just talking. Craig starting giving me a back rub, which was nice, even though I have issues with back rubs. Don't get me started...I am like a giant crazy onion, with layer upon layer of psycho.
Anyway. So he's rubbing my back, and moving farther down than most back-rubbers go. Like down to my hiney. Nothing weird yet, just sort of loitering in the general area. And then he asked me the $64,000.00 question.
Again with the anal. I protested mightily, gave my reasons for not humming along to that particular tune. Told him all of my issues with it. And he backed off. But told me, "I'm going to change your mind." And just like that, I felt the cockles of my heart start to chill up again.
What is the big deal? Why is this such a deal breaker for me? Who knows. Freud would have a field day with me, no doubt. Maybe I put up obstacles in the road to happiness on purpose...maybe I'm still convinced that I don't deserve to find Mr. Right. Or maybe I am just that scared of turning into a shart machine. I don't know yet. I do know that despite our unconventional beginning, Craig and I did have potential. I liked this one, and sometimes I wonder if I intentionally sabotage everything with promise when it comes to my love life.
A question for the ages, no doubt. There are just a few more victims of mine to reminisce about...The Mullet Man, Le Artiste' and last but not least, John McCain. One of those three came dangerously close to becoming Mr. Happy Hausfrau.
Pins and needles, right? Humor me.