It's 2002 and I haven't even heard of the pickup community. It's a shame because there is just about nothing I need more.
I get on my plane, headed back to Austin. It's a late flight and there aren't too many people on it. I have a whole row to myself. I'm not paying attention, and before I know it we're airborne.
The cabin lights are off, but some people have their reading lights on, creating small islands of light in the darkness of the plane. The island in front of my is inhabited by two girls.
I can't see them, but I can hear them. I take voyeuristic pleasure in sitting in my dark row, listening to the girls talk in front of me. They're ballet dancers and they're talking about their dance class.
After a few minutes the novelty of their conversation wears off and I fire up my computer. I have to work on my gambling spreadsheet and figure out who owes me money. Professional gambling is less glamorous than it sounds, and this is the epitome of dullness.
Finally we land in Austin. I join the people in the stupid rush to stand up, even though the door is still closed. We stand halfway in the aisle, halfway in front of the seat, necks craned at an unnatural angle to avoid the overhead bins.
I start instant messaging friends from my phone, one of the original Sidekicks. One of the girls from the row in front of me is standing up and facing me. I can feel her looking at me. I want to say something, but have no idea what.
"What is that thing?"
I look up. She's beautiful. Time to be smooth. Suave. Confident.
"Oh... umm... it's... well... it's like a phone. But I can get on the internet too."
Nope. That's not smooth, suave or confident. I jerk my head back down and stare at the screen. She's looking at me, expecting me to talk to her. What can I say? Probably best to avoid talking to her.
It seems like an eternity passes, but the cabin door finally opens and we pour out of the plane. I start walking, pulling my carry on suitcase behind me.
She's following me. I just know it. But why?
I walk a little faster. No need for any awkwardness. I have no idea how to talk to girls, especially strange beautiful ones.
I think she's still following me.
I glance casually to the left to check the reflection in the big windows looking out over the tarmac. It's almost midnight so they've turned into mirrors in the dark.
She is following me.
I pick up the pace.
I hear the wheels from her luggage. Ka chunk. Ka chunk. They're getting faster.
My pace is now close to a power walk. If I go any faster I'm going to have to start jogging. She's gaining on me. What does she want?
I suddenly slow down and she pulls up beside me and glances over.
I look straight ahead.
I act as if I hadn't noticed her, "Oh, Hi."
She introduces herself. I introduce myself. We walk from the far end of the airport all the way to baggage claim. I've calmed down a bit and am actually making decent conversation. I say a few funny things and she laughs.
"Did you check bags?" She asks.
"Oh, yeah. One."
"I'll wait with you."
We chat some more while I wait for my bag. Things might be going well, but I can't tell. I'm focused 100% inside my head, trying to psyche myself up.
"Ask for her number. You've got to do it. This is your chance. You've never asked a girl for her number. She's really hot. I mean REALLY hot. Just do it."
I realize that I have no idea what we're talking about. I'm just mumbling yes or no without paying any conscious attention to the conversation.
My bag comes. Time is running out. I slowly walk to the sliding glass doors. The wave of Austin heat hits me.
"So. What are you doing tonight?"
What a weird question. Why would she care what I'm doing tonight?
"Oh, probably just some work. I have a lot of stuff to ... " OH! That's WHY! IDIOT! "... to do... umm..."
"Oh, ok. Yeah, I should probably get some sleep."
"CAN I HAVE YOUR NUMBER?"
I blurt it out with the confidence of a tit mouse.
She gives me her number. I mentally jump kick myself in the face a few times for not realizing that she wanted to hang out with me that night. I go home and think about her.
After three grueling swinger-inspired days of waiting, I finally call her.
"Hey, do you want to go out with me to have dinner on Friday?"
"I'd love to."
Oh, the date? During dinner when I found out that she'd gone on a date with Jay-Z I refused to stop talking about it, which was very lame and annoying. Then she refused to answer my calls.
She told me that she wanted to talk to me the whole flight, but she kept turning around and looking over the seat at me and I didn't notice her.