Friday, May 29, 2009

The Spider and the Fly

Close your eyes.

Picture a playground at an elementary school.

Now picture a huge, wide, gently-sloping, climbing net with the top end attached to the middle of the jungle gym and the other attached to poles and stopping just a few inches from the ground.

Got that?

Now imagine 20 or so giggly girls, about 8 or 9 years old, sitting as close to the top of the net as they can get and looking at the solitary boy, sitting at the bottom of the net, looking up at the girls.

I was one of those giggly girls, though not nearly as giggly or outgoing as I grew to be (I was actually a pretty quiet child, believe it or not). All these years later, I don't know how it started, but we ended up playing a version of the Spider and the Fly. The boy - I don't remember his name but can picture his face as if it had happened yesterday - was the Spider, the girls were the Flies. We'll call him John...because I like it as an alias.

The game boiled down to John choosing which girl he liked the most by eliminating the ones he didn't.

"The girl I like the most has blonde hair", he'd announce, and all the non-blondes had to leave the web. I was a natural blonde, fyi.

"The girl I like the most is not wearing a skirt", and those unfortunate girls with skirts left the web. I wore pants.

"The girl I like the most has freckles." Oh what a great time to have brown spots all over my face!

A few at a time, or sometimes one by one, John narrowed the field, finally leaving just two girls in his web. Unbelievably, I was one of them. Every time he made his declaration, I'd look at what I was wearing, check my hair for braids, color, bangs, etc, and generally make sure I could stay in the web.

I don't remember who was the other final Fly in the web with me, but I remember how we huddled close together at the top of the net...ahem...I mean, web... and nervously giggled while we waited for John's final pronouncement.

Maybe that's what the final two Miss America (or American Idol or ANTM) contestants feel like as they wait to hear who has won. Huh.

I knew I wouldn't be the Chosen One. I was taller than all the girls my age and most of the boys, an awkward situation. And yet, I didn't stick out but tended to settle nicely into the background. Sometimes I wondered if anyone would ever remember me because I was just average, nothing remarkable, not too quiet/smart/funny/troublesome/etc. I had friends but I wasn't one of the girls that boys noticed...I didn't realize at the time that most boys don't notice girls that way at that age.

John either took his time deciding which of us he liked most or he was nervous to finally make his choice irrevocably known to the rest of the grade (by this time, our game had garnered a lot of attention from non-playing girls and boys) but either way, it seemed like an eternity before he finally made his last pick.

"The girl I like the most is wearing a butterfly barrette."

Can you believe that to this day I remember that final sentence? Okay, I can't. All I remember is the shock and pleasure at realizing that I was the girl he liked most. He had chosen me! The loser...I mean, non-winner...whatever...left the web, and John climbed up to where I sat in amazement. We ended up spending the rest of recess sitting on the net together, holding hands, and talking.

Or something like that. I don't really remember what happened afterward. Quite honestly, the most powerful memory I have of this event is the feeling of being liked the most, of being picked from a bevy of cute, nice girls as the most cute and nice. I was the Fly the Spider wanted to catch!

More than 20 years later, this memory still makes me smile. It was the first time I realized that a boy could find me attractive. It boosted my confidence, helped me out of my shell a bit, and well, set the foundation for me becoming a bit of a flirt (reformed, currently).

Whenever I start to get bummed that there doesn't seem to be a Spider who likes me most, I try to remember that Spiders have different tastes and that somewhere out there is a Spider who likes curvy, blue-eyed, freckled, (currently) blonde Flies. 'Til our paths meet, I guess I'll just sit in this comfy web and enjoy the view.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Better Hearing Month

I'm so glad it's Wednesday afternoon - late afternoon - almost time to go home!

May is National Better Hearing Month, and to celebrate, my work had an Open House yesterday and today. We offered free hearing screenings, food, prizes, and a chance to see the inside of your ears. Aren't you sad that you missed it???

The whole thing was my idea, and for the past few weeks I've been busy getting everything organized. I really wanted to give the Open House a shot at success, so I contacted my friend at the radio station and set up a remote broadcast at our office for yesterday afternoon from 11am to 2pm. My boss wasn't thrilled; partly because he hates spending money on marketing and partly because he didn't want to talk on the radio. We got a really good deal on the broadcast, though, and I told him he'd only have to talk once since we had only three times to talk (once an hour) and we'd take turns. We've never advertised on the radio before, so it was definitely a gamble, a risk that I prayed would pay off.

The first time to talk on the radio came and both my boss and coworker were busy, so John*, the DJ, had me go out to the van to talk about what was going on, what we were doing, etc. Frankly, I was nervous. I'd never talked on the radio before and am pretty good at making myself sound foolish - not a good combination! John and I chatted while the last song played and I grilled him about what was going to happen; would he be asking me questions, how long should I make my answers, how would I know when to shut up, etc. He laughed and said I'd do fine.

Did I mention that John was H-O-T? Oh baby.

The song ended and John introduced where he was and asked me my name. I replied, tempted for half a milli-second to lie, I don't know why. See what I mean about my propensity for being silly? He asked me questions about the Open House and our office, and I answered fairly intelligently. I made him laugh a couple times - I couldn't control myself! - but overall I felt really good about how well I did. I was pleased that I'd gotten my turn over with and could relax the rest of the time.

My boss talked next and hated it. He sounded a little funny, frankly. You could tell he was nervous. Poor guy. Teehee.

The third time, my coworker was talking to her son and daughter-in-law, so John pulled me out to talk again. I was sad that my coworker wouldn't get the chance, but she grinned an evil grin that said, Haha, I don't have to do it! I worried about repeating myself, but John said it is good to say things over and over again. This time, I was a little sillier AND I talked a tad too much so we had to hurry to end in time AND we still got cut off at the very end. I apologized but John said it happens a lot. He told me I have a great radio voice and that if I ever want to quit my job I could do well in the radio business. I thanked him, and then floated back to the office - compliments do that to me. Especially from hot guys.

Turns out, we got more than three opportunities to talk on the radio. The fourth time, my coworker ended up getting to do it. She was fabulous! She is the queen of one-liners and sounded like a natural. The last hour, I got to talk two more times, making my grand total a whopping 4 times! I enjoyed it a lot, even though I think I sounded like a doofus, albeit a friendly, cheerful doofus! I'm thrilled that we got to broadcast 6 times instead of just 3 - more bang for our buck. Woohoo!

I felt a little like a celebrity; a small-time celebrity with less than 1 minute of "fame", but a celebrity nonetheless. *smile* Friends and family called and texted to tell me they'd heard me on the radio. When I introduced myself to people coming in for the Open House, they'd smile and say they'd heard me talk on the radio. We had a great turn-out and most of the people said they came because they heard about it on the radio. My boss finally admitted at the end of the day that using the radio had been a good idea afterall. Vindicated.

Okay, let's talk about John. He's married but has only been so for a few months. He dated his now-wife for a few months before that, so before that he was single! A single, attractive, age-appropriate guy had been living in my area for years and I never met him! Tragic, absolutely tragic. How many others like him (except still single) are out there that I'm not meeting? John and I discussed the fact that I'm still single and that he remained single for so long. He said we could have dated and had a lot of fun, though, he said, he's probably "too wild" for me since I'm Mormon. We could have dated!!! Not that we necessarily would have ended up together, but it would have been nice to see, and it was sweet of him to imply that he could have been interested in dating me. And really, the frustration I feel isn't because I "lost my chance with him", because frankly there never was a chance; the true frustration is due to not knowing any guys in my area I could be interested in but suspecting that some might exist and I just don't know it. Does that make sense? Sigh. I asked John where all the single guys over 30 hang out - because it would be helpful to find out - he laughed and said he has no idea. You're a ton of help, I joked. A little insider information could have been very useful.

So, I ask myself, at one point do I stop relying on "timing" and "Fate/Divine Intervention" and start actively trying to meet guys who I'd be interesting in dating? And, how does one go about actively meeting local guys; they don't come into my office (my ex doesn't count), I don't meet them at church, and I don't go to school or to bars. What's a girl to do?

Anyhoo, this post has taken an interesting turn, so I'm going to return to the topic on hand. The Open House was more successful than any of our previous Better Hearing Month ideas and I'm proud of how well we pulled it off. It's such a relief that it's almost over - one more hour - and that there was a steady stream of people when the radio station was here. Seriously, that was my biggest worry - that John would show up and think we were big losers because no one came to our Open House.

It was so successful that we're planning on doing it again next year. A few things we learned this time:

1. I bought too much food. I didn't want to run out, but I could have fed a third-world country with all the stuff I bought.

2. One day is better than two. Not that people haven't shown up today, but not enough to make it necessary to have the open house two days.

3. The radio brought in people. Woohoo!

I wonder if I'll be around next year. I guess we'll see! :)

* Name has been changed because I didn't ask him if I could blog about him. :)