27 April 2010

Baseball and the Female Mind

It's finals week, that means that next week will officially begin the summer and also that all of my friend will start coming home.  This also means my first first date in about two years is coming up.

While I was sitting in church about a month ago, my phone vibrated.  Usually I would have silenced it and looked at it after.  Well as I mentioned earlier, I haven't been getting a whole lot of texts since Hannah left, so I was too excited about getting some text message communication.  The message said, "Hey!  What does ERA mean in baseball?" It was from Brandy.  I was caught a little off-guard, I hadn't heard from Brandy probably since I got the usual "Happy Birthday" post on Facebook.  As a pitcher, I could tell her that ERA is the single most important statistic in the sport: Earned Run Average.

Now I was intrigued, how many times has a girl randomly asked me about baseball?  Baseball fans are becoming more and more difficult to find these days, and girls?  Most have to ask where on the field a Shortstop plays, or call "Runs" "Points."  Here's a girl asking me the specifics of keeping statistics, probably the most important aspect of baseball.

As our conversation progressed we decided we'd have to go to a Salt Lake Bee's game when she got back from school.  I have to admit, I consider Bee's games the perfect first date.  Sitting outside in the sun on the grass, watching the game progress.  It also is a perfect opportunity to just sit and talk for 2-3 hours or not talk at all.

Now it's all a matter of time, once a day off from work coincides with a patch of warm, sunny weather this will all go down.  At the moment I don't really know how I feel, the first date thing doesn't really bother me, I knew I'd date while Hannah was gone.  But considering past experience with Brandy I'm not getting too excited.  I know that this could be great, but I could end up hoping for a low scoring game.

23 April 2010

I am Janus

I realized that since the main focus of this blog was me waiting for Hannah I have focused, almost entirely, on Hannah.  In a totally unselfish way I've come to realize that I am also a main character in the odyssey, so I'm going to try to give myself a bit of a plug here.

I'm about 6'3", I think it's a good height, tall enough to be taller than a majority of people I know, but not so tall that it's freakish and makes me stand out.  I'm about 180-190 lbs, I feel like I'm skinny to average build, I know coaches would always tell me I should shoot for 210-215 lbs to fill out, and I'm still trying.  I have brown hair that's lighter brown when it's short to almost black when it's long, but I like to keep it short.  I have blue eyes and I was blessed with dimples, I paired these so I could tell you that most girls tell me that they, along with my height, are my best physical features.

As far as who I am and how I carry myself, people see me as an athlete, in high school I guess the clique I most fit into was with the "athletes."  I wasn't a jock, I never thought playing sports made me better than anyone, I didn't play to be cool, I had always played and it was fun.  I feel like I was reasonable popular, people from high school will recognize me even if I don't recognize them(which always makes me feel weird because I'm really good at remembering faces).  Shame to say, but I did tend to play a little dumb in high school, I was so scared of being a geek again after middle school that I tried to play it off like I didn't really care about school, but I did.

Under the surface, I'm still a really big geek, but no one I meet knows that.  I'll admit it, I'm a Trekkie, I've seen every Star Trek movie, and probably almost every episode of every TV series.  Of course I was at the latest Star Trek movie opening night in my Star Trek "red-shirt."  I've even dabbled in comic books in the past.  I think what makes me truly geeky though is that fact that I can sit with one of my geeky friends and have a 2 hour long conversation/debate about things that are completely hypothetical.

On the outside you could say I'm your average sports-watching, old-man-softball-playing, Utah guy, I won't stand out in a crowd, but I've still been told girls find me attractive.  On the inside I'm like Justin Long's character in Galaxy Quest.  I think that makes me a well-rounded person, and I think there's something to say for well-rounded people.

21 April 2010

Clark Kent

Like many boys I was really into superheroes growing up.  One thing all superheroes have in common is a secret identity.  Some superheroes like Batman, Spider-Man, Iron Man, etc. are pretty lucky when it comes to this aspect because they all wear masks.  One exception is Superman, growing up I could never understand how Superman could put on a pair of glasses and all of a sudden he was Clark Kent.  I mean, let's face it, people would still recognize you if you put on glasses or took glasses off, right?

A few months ago I got an eye exam.  Now, I've been wearing corrective lenses since I was about ten in the form of contacts.  This time, however, the optometrist noticed that I had a wandering vein in my eye that was getting dangerously close to my lens.  Apparently this can be caused by a lack of oxygen to your eye as a result of wearing contacts.  Since, one day, I plan to get LASIK the doctor told me I should greatly limit the amount of time I wear contacts from now on.  So for the first time in my life I have started wearing glasses.

I can't believe how many people I grew up with or went through school with don't recognize me when I see them at work, school, or where ever.  People I had classes with and talked to only a few years ago in high school say they've "never seen me before." but I guess that could be true in more ways than one.

19 April 2010

Don't feed the Sharks!

Hannah has made it very clear that she is quite disappointed in me.  I have not attended church since she left(just like she predicted). 

In my defense, I'm afraid.  I moved into this house literally right before Hannah left.  All of my roommates go to different meetings.  I'm left with either the family ward or the singles ward.  Well that's an easy choice.  I live in "the most famous singles ward in Salt Lake County!" or so I'm told.  I'm afraid first because I know they'll make me speak.  Second, because I've never gone to a singles ward more than once.  Finally, I'm afraid because I"m not exactly what you'd call a spiritual juggernaut.  I didn't serve a mission, not because of drugs, sex, or criminal behavior, but because I didn't feel it was for me.  Strike one.  My testimony, as far as some would consider, is shaky at best, but it works for me, I really used to struggle with it, but I've found something to hold to.  Nevertheless, Strike two.  Being down in the count like this I worry of two things.  One, I'll be seen as the ward project and people will be trying to fix me, or I'll be the fresh meat, I like to pursue, not be pursued.  Or, Two, I'll be the outcast, sit in the back, go, listen, ponder, and leave.  The second isn't actually all that bad, but I hope for some middle ground.

I knew this would happen, Hannah was always more spiritual than me, I've known that.  She's the type of girl who cries when she bears her testimony; I haven't even gone up to the mic in years.  I've always struggled with faith, I'm a rational, logical thinker, it takes all of my courage to leap without looking.  Don't get me wrong, I love the church and it's leaders, but it seems like I only have bursts of spirituality surrounded by long periods of a balancing act between science and religion, but I'm working on it.

I've always admired Hannah for her spiritual strength, I mean, she really knows.  I know she'll help me, she can always show me the other perspective.  She's the Wilson to my House.

Back to the topic, I will really, really, really try to make it to church next week, even if it is unthinkably early.

17 April 2010

My Life's Dating

Well I figured since I've already referred to some of them, and will most likely do so again, I'd give an outline of my life's dating experience so far.  Here goes, from first to present.

Miranda- I'm not 100% sure she belongs in this group because I don't think we actually "dated" but we did hang out every weekend for about six months.  Miranda was a grade above me and also went to a different high school in town, that pretty much made me a legend with my buddies who couldn't believe that I, out of all of us, was "dating" a senior.  I felt a little bit like I'm sure 'Squints' with Wendy Peffercorn in "The Sandlot."  We met in a class we were both taking off-campus.  We first started hanging out because she needed a "wing man" not in the normal sense of helping to pick up on chicks/dudes but more as a guy deterrent.  Pretty lame, I know, but I was 16 and a half, and did I mention she was a senior?  Over time we became close, really to the point that it was a given that we were going to hang out each weekend.  The best thing about Miranda was that she was completely spontaneous, she would do just about anything.  We borrowed shopping cart and rode them down a hill, attempted the "Gallon Challenge," and would drive around wearing bike helmets, an activity we called "helmetting".  Since all through middle school I had been a rather huge nerd, being with Miranda did wonders to bring me out of my shell.  I took Miranda to my first dance, and I have to say even to this day it was my favorite of them all, it was really nice to be with a girl you could just have fun with.  Unfortunately, nothing ever really progressed and at the end of the school year she was leaving to attend BYU-I and that was that.

Nicole- This one lasted one date and one dance.  Towards the end of my Junior year of high school I met Nicole in health class, she thought it was cool I was on the baseball team, I thought it was cool she knew that. I also liked the fact that she was tall, at 5'10" she's still the tallest girl I've ever dated.  Well our first "date" consisted of getting some food at like Del Taco or something, then meeting with two other couples to watch Top Gun.  Then about three weeks later we were going to go to my second dance, Prom.  Long story short, I get a text in class the Thursday before the Saturday of prom from Nicole informing me that she didn't plan to seriously date anyone while in high school so we couldn't date(a concept you'll find, later, that I should've stuck to myself), but we could still go to the dance.  I know I should've canceled out but I had already rented the Tux and bought the tickets, and how would I find another date in 2.5 days?  So we went, probably the most memorable, and expensive, dances I ever went to.  Let's just leave it at saying Nicole was very ditsy, which I don't find attractive in the least bit, and by the end of the night I was enjoying getting to know another guy in our groups date... No, it wasn't like that, it was his cousin!  Yeah, one of those...

Ashley- Ugh... Honestly, I'd rather not, but she's a rather large piece of this puzzle.  Ashley and I dated the summer after my Junior year and all through my senior year(way too long).  She was a grade below me, and probably the first girl that showed genuine interest in me(First lesson learned: Not a good reason to start dating someone).  She was completely full of herself, not that I could see that then.  She was not a good influence on my life at all, in fact, I could probably go back and show how every bad choice, mistake, and regret in my life to this point is linked back to dating her.  One good thing did come of it all though, this is how I met Hannah.  Ashley and Hannah were friends, maybe friends of friends, and every now and then we'd see each other, but that's how we met.  Anyway, Ashley was the type of girl who couldn't handle a good looking guy giving attention to anyone else when she was around, she even scared off most of my girl friends including girls I was friends with because we were Pioneer Trek siblings, it was all pretty silly.  She also proved that guilty people always accuse the innocent of their own crimes.  She always thought I was "cheating" even though I never would, I mean, what's so hard about breaking up with someone if you really want to be with some one else instead right?  Well of course she thought this because she was doing it herself, luckily for me I'm a nice enough guy that people, even her friends, had my back and let me know.  I forgave her the first time, probably because I still had extreme "Ugly Duckling Syndrome," even though I had grown up I still pictured myself as that nerdy, gawky kid from middle school  I will say that Ashley almost single-handedly taught me what to look for and what to watch out for in future girl interests.  Also, I learned I should've listened to my parents about steady dating in high school, you're only left with regrets and a list of girls you wish you would've asked out but didn't.

Brooke-  This one is actually a sad story.  Brooke was my first rebound, which is sad because she was a really nice girl, also I really liked her parents, they were great.  We dated for about 2 or 3 months and when we finally kissed there was just... nothing.  What do you do in that situation?  We kissed for the first time and I didn't feel anything, no happiness, no excitement.  Luckily I was moving up north for college around this time so I tried to use that to let her down easy.  This is why I refuse to rebound, I still feel bad.

Liz- Liz was one of those great dating experiences that you really learn some life lessons from.  However, I'll probably always consider Liz "the one who got away."  Liz and I met my second day after moving into the dorms, and it was like that scene out of Wayne's World, where Garth sees the blonde woman, everyone else goes out of focus and "Dream Weaver" starts playing.  She and her roommates lived right above us and since one of my roommates was the RA of our building they came down to say hi and play some fooseball.  She was there to play tennis and I was there to play baseball, athletic chicks are amazing.  This was probably the most frustrating girl experience of my life.  I tried the entire first semester to get to dating her, but it just never materialized.  Sure I made some mistakes along the way, but it was one of those times where you're trying so hard not to mess it up that you DO mess it up.  It was one of those classic movie experiences where I'm just fighting to get out of the friend zone without destroying a relationship if I fail.  Well one night, the weekend before finals my roommate and I got into this impromptu game of keep away with Liz and one of her roommates, of course Liz was covering me.  Well this went on for about an hour and a half then we all went back to our rooms to go to bed.  I couldn't sleep a wink, my heart was pounding, so got up and went for a walk, I probably walked about 5-7 miles that night just thinking about what I was going to do.  So the next day after church I straight up asked Liz if she wanted to go ice skating after finals at the Gallivan center.  I didn't call it a date or anything, and she accepted.  Of course it wasn't for another 4 months that we finally kissed, but after that point we dated for almost a year.  It was probably the first time I was ever actually "in love" with someone, but it was also the first time I ever got dumped.  I don't really hold anything against her, to be honest, I would've dumped me too.  My life got a little out of control, my priorities got skewed, eventually I just wasn't the same person who pursued and dated her.  It was a tough lesson for me to learn, and I'd be lying if I said I don't think about her and miss those days.  But I think that's just the way it is the first time you're in love, and probably the first time you get dumped as well.

Now that brings us back to Hannah.  She'll get her own entry later.

15 April 2010

The Yearning

Before Hannah had left I did some research on this "waiting for a missionary" thing.  Unfortunately I quickly found out that I don't know anyone who pulled it off.  That was kind of a bummer, I mean my older sister came closest to anyone I knew by getting married about two weeks after her missionary got home "just to see."  However, my sister and I don't exactly have the kind of relationship where we can talk about our feelings openly with each other, our age gap placed me right between the younger-brother-you-can-hangout-with and the cute-little-brother ranges, which made me just plain annoying.  On top of that my sister and brother-in-law were pretty much fated to be together, I mean how do you get set up on blind dates with the same guy by two unrelated people?

Well, anyway, I wanted some insight into this experience I was about to have so I had an idea about what to expect.  I figured the best way to find out how to succeed was to ask other people why they failed and avoid all those things.  All the girls I asked seemed to say similar things, mostly I got, "I got to the point where I 'needed' someone."  I've never been the kind of person to "need" someone, in the past I've averaged about nine months between a break up and the next first date.  It's not that I dwell on the past relationship(except for the one with Liz, but I think the first time you're dumped is a unique experience.) or that I'm relieved to be 'free' again.  I'd say it's more of a cross between wanting to avoid a rebound and taking the opportunity to grow and mature independent of another person.

Now it's only been three weeks, Hannah left the MTC for Vancouver today(Wow, it's already been three weeks?) and I'm already starting to feel what can only be described as The Yearning.  I wouldn't say it's a 'need' it's more of a feeling intense want.  I think what has made this separation so hard is that I know both parties would be together otherwise, unlike a normal break up.  This feeling is strongest when I'm out around girls, especially while I'm at work since at my place of employment are many girls who are on the same career path Hannah was.  On the other hand, I don't really yearn when I'm just at the house hanging out, maybe that's a good excuse for me to become a hermit for the next 17.25 months.

Unless I can think of anything better and more exciting(which will be tough! haha) I might give a little insight into me next time, it may help since I know I'll probably refer to past events a lot over the remaining months, kind of like a glossary.

09 April 2010

Mail Call

First off, I'd like to say that mail is an incredibly inefficient form of communication.  As soon as I drop my letter to Hannah in the mail slot I can think of about 20 things I forgot to write about.  They'll have to wait until next week when I'll most likely forget another 20 items.

I received my first letter from Hannah today, being just over a week this is the second longest I've ever gone without talking to her in almost exactly two years now.

Remember in movies like The Patriot, Pride and Prejudice, and other similar period pieces how the characters race out to meet the postman?  I can totally understand that feeling now.  Today was tortuous, I knew the letter was coming today, I waited and waited and waited... Finally I had to leave for work, I had waited until the latest possible moment that I could still get to work on time and it still wasn't here.  Of course as I'm on my way down the street from the house I live in I see the mail truck, 4 houses away, of course...

So there I am at work, fate saw fit to make today an unnaturally slow day at work, just teasing me, making this the longest 8.5 hours of my life so far.  Finally I clock out and book it home, walk right past my roommates watching a movie in the next room, grab the letter addressed to me in Hannah's recognizable handwriting.  You know girls handwriting, there's nothing obviously female about it, but you can always tell whether a guy or girl was the author, I think it has something to do with the curves of the letters being curvier or something.  Anyway, I grab that letter and make a break for my room downstairs, luckily without any distraction from the boys.  As I'm walking through the door I'm already tearing the envelope so that I have the pages out and in my hand before I even get to my desk.

Four Pages!  Yes!  I read it twice, just 'cause.  Then the rush is over.  I feel exactly like I did after reading the epilogue of the last Harry Potter, "I read it, it's over, now what?"  I'm talking about Highest heights to lowest low in a second flat.  Well, I'll start writing my response.  Only 7 days until the next letter.