I Am The Stupidest Man Alive
I have just started work at my new job, Jan. 1996. I don't know where to go for my lunch so I end up going to this new corporate style deli that has just opened. There is an extraordinarily beautiful girl behind the counter. I buy a plain bagel. I go there nearly every day for the next year, until she quits or is fired or something. We speak a total of 24 non-bagel related words to each other. She says she likes my hair long, and my heart soars. I never see her again.
I am on a plane to San Diego, California, to attend the country's biggest comic book convention. Three rows ahead of me sits a beautiful redheaded girl. The back of her neck draws my eye for the duration of the flight. As I deboard in San Diego, it becomes obvious to me that she is continuing on to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. I walk up to her and tell her that she has been breaking my heart all day. By coincidence, she is on my return flight to Seattle a week later, tanned and happy. I don't say anything to her this time.
I ride the bus home with a girl named R. who lives three blocks away from me. We walk together. Four years later, she tells me that I should have asked her out, then. She has a boyfriend, now.
I am on the subway platform with T, M, and R. (a different R.) There is a girl and a guy to our right. She gives me a long, slow look. "Thor, that girl just gave you the look," M. says. She (the girl) is with an absolutely disgusting man. The girl has a big nose, which automatically makes me like her, and she speaks with an accent I can't place. The man is balsing, and is wearing leather shoes with no socks. We get on the train. The man tries to make the girl take an orange Tic Tac. She refuses, but eventually gives in. I sit next to the man and mock his movements. He refuses to notice. R. later tells me the girl is in one of her classes at Columbia. "So what," I say. "I didn't like her."
I am in the fourth grade. A. comes up to me. She says "Thor, I like you." "Really?" I say. "No," she says. I don't say anything.
I am in the third grade. A. (a different A.) comes around the corner of my street. I am coming back from the library, which is four blocks away. My arms are full of books. She hits me in the face and calls me a nerd. I have never talked to her. I don't understand. My books fall into somebody's yard. Several months later, I get what I remember as my first erection looking at her. I don't understand.
I am on a ferry with J. We ride to Bremerton and back, kissing and looking out over the black water.
I have snuck out of my house at night and am going to a friend's. I run into three girls, M, M, and J. They invite me to wander around with them. I beg off, claiming that I am expected somewhere. I soon develop a crush on M. that lasts for the better part of a year. This night returns, again and again, in my memory.
I am in the sixth grade. S. tells me to come see B. out in the hallway. B. tells me she likes me and asks me to "go with her." It takes me nine days to tell her yes, and by then it is of course too late.
I am in the sixth grade. Our science class is undertaking a unit on atomic properties. In a lesson on atomic bonding, the teacher is writing the names of boys and girls, paired off, on her overhead projector to demonstrate covalency. She writes my name next to B's. I lean over and wipe my name off.