*GAMEBOY & THAI GASTRONOMY

While quirks and questions outweighed things I liked, it didn’t seem like reason enough to end it. I figured I’d date him until he did something that was reproachable and warranted a breakup or until we fell madly in love and got married. He was okay, so I decided I could cook him dinner.

——————————————————————————————————————————

In the spring of 2003, I was living the Hopeless Romantic life. Joe Millionaire and The Bachelorette catered to my thirst for love. I would watch both regularly on my T-VCR. It was the days when those AOL dialup discs were everywhere, enabling us to get online for free. It was also a time when many didn’t multi-task like watch TV and surf the internet simultaneously, neither did I. Like many things at that time, Yahoo Personals was also free. I did my searches before or after these two shows.yahoo personals Yahoo Personals did what it promised; it provided prospective people that could be The One. Overall many people were leery of online dating, probably because of the newness of it. Despite people still relying on traditional dating modalities, there was still a good assortment of potential future boyfriends.

I guess this is the benefit of living in a city as large as Los Angeles.

Among the assortment, I met Gameboy, a Scientologist. He was witty and smart (enough). It wasn’t until a couple dates, I learned he liked Halo, a military first-person shooter game. I’m  not sure what the object is besides shoot stuff. Gameboy loved inviting friends over for a multiplayer Halo Party. This was before flat screens TVs were readily available; most TVs still had a picture tube, which made them bulky. People would load their TVs and gaming consoles into their cars and schlep across town to play video games. I suppose it was more interactive than staying at home and logging on at a specified time, but barely. All the effort to play video games seemed ridiculous. I would have been okay if he didn’t invite me, but since he extended an invitation, I thought I had to accept. While it was interactive for them, it certainly wasn’t an interactive date. Gameboy made a half-hearted offer for me to play. I declined; I was already getting motion sick, besides I didn’t want to make him lose. I didn’t care if it was a dating faux pas, I turned down future Halo Parties.

microsoft-previewed-a-new-halo-game-out-next-year

While Gameboy’s love of first person shooter games is the thing I remember most, it was our first date that won me over. We went for Thai food in Pasadena. Similar to what I did with the Redheaded Italian, I met Gameboy at the restaurant. It was raining in Los Angeles, but we braved the big spring storm. (As I came to learn, to the local population, driving in rain is a big deal and shows you like a person.)

Gameboy didn’t change the plan like the Redheaded Italian. I didn’t need to translate like I did with Mucho Gusto. And, as far as I knew, he didn’t take comicbooks like Comicbook Crook. We drove our own vehicles to the restaurant and had a conversation in English while we waited for our dinner to arrive. It was perfect. Then the restaurant lost power.

He wished for a Mini Maglite. I hadn’t been out of college for a year and was still giddy on TV production advice I received, “If you want to work in TV production, the two things you should always have are a Mini Maglite and an 8 inch crescent wrench.”

I have both in my purse.

I rummaged in my purse and pulled out the Mini Maglite. Gameboy was pleasantly shocked. Then, he disassembled it, turning it into a candle.

maglite_candle

It was unique and romantic. I was enraptured by his ingenuity. (I didn’t know at the time, that this is a well-known feature of the Mini Maglite.)

The first date was great. The subsequent dates, not so much. Prior to the Halo Party, parts of future dates included watching him play video games with his roommate. I thought I could learn to love the quirk.

His gaming was chronic.

While quirks and questions outweighed things I liked, it didn’t seem like reason enough to end it. He didn’t care I attended church regularly and I didn’t care he had separated from the church of Scientology and that his parents and sister still attended. The me of today would see that lack of compatibility is reason enough, but again, I was an unskilled dater. I figured I’d date him until he did something that was reproachable and warranted a breakup or until we fell madly in love and got married.

He was okay, so I decided I could cook him dinner.

During dinner, somehow Gameboy and I started talking about a future family. It wasn’t our family per say; it was an amorphous family. Since he had disconnected from the church of Scientology, I didn’t think twice about letting him know what I thought about the religion he was raised with.

“If I have kids, under no uncertain terms,will I raise them with Scientology. Further, I can’t get behind a religion that started based off a bet some science fiction writer made.”

To my surprise, his hackles went up. “L. Ron. Hubbard is a great man. I don’t care that he used to write Science Fiction; his writing helped develop a lot of concepts that are important to Scientology. I might not currently practice, but it’s important to my family. I want to raise my kids with the same religion that made me me. Besides, if it’s so bad, why do so many people practice it?”

He left shortly after dessert. We hugged each other goodnight. He said he’d call, but he didn’t. I didn’t even need to break up with him. I just had to offend him.

I was so excited about my first Thai iced tea from our memorable first date, I wanted to recreate the memory. In lieu of a pre-dinner cocktail, I  made Thai iced tea. I’ve tried different recipes since then, but my favorite is from  Thai Table.

THAI ICED TEA

INGREDIENTS 

  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk
  • 1-2 tablespoons Thai tea to taste

STEP-BY-STEP DIRECTIONS
1. Add sugar and sweet condensed milk to a glass or cup.
2. Put one tablespoon of Thai tea  in a tea sock or lose tea bag.
3. Place the tea  directly above the glass.
4. Pour hot water over tea.
5. Set the tea aside.
6. Steep for 5 minutes and remove.
7. Stir until the sugar and sweet condensed milk are dissolved.
8. Add ice and top the tea with milk.

Thai Iced Tea

AN OVER-ACHIEVER’S PRE-GAMING

Lacking experience in balancing dating, friends, school and co-curriculars, I didn’t see my friendships unraveling, not to mention, the perfect senior year. Looking back on it, I was a bit myopic.

When my parents were my age, they were living in married student housing. I didn’t expect to be married, but when dreaming of senior year of college, I did not expect my year to start the way it did.

I lost the majority of my small group of friends due to my commitment to school work, to “be the perfect girlfriend” to Comicbook Crook and my deep allegiance to select TV organizations. Interestingly, it is this involvement that kept my friendships within the TV community going. It is also through one of these organizations that I became acquainted with future roommate, SuperFoods. In the spring of my junior year, A&E invited me to join her and some other girls to request a suite of six single rooms. We were accepted.

Senior year. It’s not how I pictured it. Not only did I dump my first real boyfriend, my dancing partner left me for a college in Seattle, WA. Without Bedroom Eyes, who was I going to dance with?

Dance - 2 Gettin w it

 

I entered senior year, with no boyfriend, no dancing partner and living in a suite with virtual strangers.

In an instant all these problems were dwarfed.

Senior year was punctuated with the September Eleventh attacks.

It was Tuesday at 9:15am and I was brushing my teeth in preparation for my 10am sketch comedy class. I could hear my TV across the narrow hall. For some reason, Good Morning America was still on; I went to investigate. The reporters were trying to make sense of everything. Charlie Gibson was talking with Don Dahler, who was calling in from his cell. Dahler, a seasoned war correspondent was always rock steady. He was not rock steady that morning— The panic in his voice scared me more than not knowing what was going on. I was held captive by my television, listening to the conversation between him and Gibson. I needed to stay. I couldn’t stay. My studious nature went into over-drive and I went to class. When I arrived, we were trying to wrap our heads around a plane accidentally flying into the World Trade Center. As classmates trickled in there was another plane crash….

 

… And then another.

 

Classes were canceled.

Soon, the entire school, commuters and residents alike were in the commissary and dormitories. We gathered around each other, eating ridiculous amounts of the comfort food the kitchen was cooking for us. . .  mac n cheese, tuna melts, ice cream.

The only thing that could silence a city so quickly would be a national tragedy.

This was it.

I walked through Boston in a haze with my suitemates and their friends. I have never experienced anything so quiet and hollow. The haunting silence loomed over the city from which American Airlines Flight #11 and United Airlines Flight #175 departed.

 

Senior year… It’s not how I pictured it. When a plane flew close to the ground, I ducked and covered almost all the time.

 

I was terrified.

 

I remained steadfast in my hyper-academic focus, but when tensions started to ease, SuperFoods insisted I have fun—

“It is your Senior year, you don’t want to study all the time.”

I have always studied all the time. I’ve done this since I started getting homework in the third grade.

But, I liked the taste of irreverence SuperFoods and her friends provided. Over the next year, her friends became my friends too. SuperFoods gave me a solid goal— DANCING. I studied harder during the week so I could have more balance and fun on the weekend. During senior year I gave Friday or Saturday to SuperFoods and the other evening was reserved for studying.

We tried to be normal carefree college kids. In the early months after 9-11-01, things weren’t normal. Nerves were exposed. People drank and danced in a fog. It was masquerade. No matter where you were, it seemed each evening ended with Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the U.S.A.. During one of these excursions we went to The Purple Shamrock. A guy I was dancing with had a connection to the bartender; I could have anything I wanted.

Purple Shamrock

May I have some water please?

I told a group member where I was going. I learned a very important lesson that night— Assess how drunk your friends are and tell the most responsible one where you’re going.

I was at the bar talking with this guy and enjoying my water. I looked up and didn’t see my friends. I declined an escort home and resolved to walk back to the dorms by myself. I made it to the street, and SuperFoods and Mermaid Linden were there to rescue me. Thank goodness responsible R.A. Mermaid Linden had decided to join us that night. When she did a head count and saw I wasn’t there, she brought the group back to retrieve me. SuperFoods told me I should’ve never trusted that other girl. Going forward, I never allowed us to go back to The Purple Shamrock and if I had to leave the safety of the group, I made sure I told SuperFoods where I was going.

I missed Bedroom Eyes, his friendship and the rhythm we had on the floor. I carried his teachings with me. When SuperFoods, friends, et al would go out, I danced to the feel of the music. Guys. Girls. I didn’t care who I was dancing with as long as I was dancing. And, if I fancied the guy I was dancing with, I would break out the eyes. The first guy I did that to kissed me! Holy smokes, I was not prepared. But, I kinda liked it. When I felt comfortable with my dance partner, The Eyes became my signature move. I turned down each invite to “continue the party somewhere else.” The only person I ever went home with was SuperFoods.

I was regaining the confidence Comicbook Crook stripped from me and getting confidence that was akin to a better version of me.

Before a night of dancing, the girls would come over and pre-game.  I had pushed myself so hard during the week, I was usually exhausted. My gaming started around 9pm.

It was coffee.

 

FAIL-SAFE PRE-GAMING RECIPE

You know that coffee pot that you’re not supposed to have in the dormitories? Yeah, that one.Mr. Coffee

  1. Brew yourself a full pot (two 10oz mugs).
  2. Have half a mug doctored however you want.
  3. Take a 20 minute power nap.
  4. Wake up and pound the rest of the now tepid/cold beverage.
  5. Splash some water on your face.
  6. Microwave the second mug of coffee.
 Doctor to your liking.
  7. Start drinking.
  8. Brush and style your hair.
  9. Apply makeup while finishing your coffee.
  10. Put on your club clothes.
  11. Grab money, keys and all necessary forms of I.D. (Due to my height and baby face I had to carry several as nobody believed I was over 21.)
  12. Go out.Coffee adbd Makeup

*A SECOND FIRST KISS

Junior High is the worst period of everyone’s life. If anyone tells you, “I loved junior high;” punch them. They’re lying. To make this terrible benchmark of my young life worse, Health Class was morose. You’d think teaching health topics like, “good nutrition” or “ advances in the medicine” would be a priority. Not a chance. For three years straight, it was all about Sexual Transmitted Diseases. We watched movies like “Captain Condom” and learned how to catch/not catch herpes, gonorrhea, chlamydia, hepatitis (A, B, & C), Bacterial Vaginosis, HPV, syphilis, crabs, scabies, Trichomoniasis, HIV/AIDS. (Contracting some of the disorders is as easy as sitting on a toilet seat.) If we were lucky, we got a reprieve and learned about teen pregnancy and alcoholism.

2-21-14 Captain Condom

Welcome to Health Class in the early ‘90s.

I had my second first kiss during this time.

When I was 14 (and in the eighth grade) my friend Evie invited me to go camping with her. I was dismayed when I arrived and found out “camping” meant going with her on her weekend visitation to see her dad at the trailer park.

2-21-14 Trailer Park

We barely saw him.

She hung out with five highly-unsupervised boys and the chosen activity was Truth or Dare. Dares involved, up the shirt (sometimes under/over shirt), down the pants, kissing, French kissing, and any sex act the boys could think of. It never involved eating something nasty or doing something crazy. My kissing experience was limited to Robbie Nelson when I was eight. Aside from my extreme shyness, I only knew Evie and this heightened my anxiety about not knowing how to kiss on the lips. What if I did it wrong? What if they laughed at me? I don’t know these boys; do I really want my first kiss to be with someone I don’t know? I was near tears. I refused the first kissing Dare, but was told I couldn’t pass. I refused any kind of Dare that involved some derivation of sex. (They were okay with it, but it didn’t stop them from giving me the dare again a couple turns later.)

It was a cards-on-the-table kind of game and we performed the dares in front of each other. I did kiss incorrectly. And, they did laugh. My “friend” recited her step-by-step kissing manual. It I was beyond miserable and hated every moment of the weekend. I was “busy” for every future “camping” trip.

Even though all I did that very terrible weekend was awkward junior high making out, with the heavy-handed dose of sex-education we received in school, I was convinced I contracted something, or worse, was pregnant. I wasn’t thinking clearly; I hadn’t even had my first period. Let alone have sex. It took time for me to rationalize myself out of the panic:, but I eventually breathed a sigh of relief after deducing I dodged the teen pregnancy bullet. Later, I learned one important fact in Health Class, “you’d have to drink a 5 gallon bucket of saliva from an infected person to get an STD.” I’m not sure how scientific that statement is, but I breathed a little easier.

Between Health Class and that weekend, it no wonder why my fear of boys was reinforced. And made me keep a good distance for years to come.

Sexless STDs:

Drink a 5 gallon bucket of saliva from an infected person.

2-21-14 5 gallon bucket