Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Okay, So Maybe I Won't Go As A MacBook For Halloween This Year

In two days, the countdown to my birthday will begin. On July 2nd, I will have officially survived my 30th year on Earth. 

As many of you know, I started this blog last July, right after I turned 30, as a sort of way to cope with things in my life that weren’t working and documenting the changes I saw in my world by removing bad habits from a routine I had become quite accustomed to. The idea was to write out my experiences throughout my 30th year. At the time, I was butting heads with my family, I was miserable at my job, I wasn’t in a relationship and didn’t feel like I was heading in any kind of significant direction. I didn’t have major plans for the blog or any of my writings for that matter. I just needed an outlet and didn’t feel like I had anyone I could talk to. 

Now, almost a year later, I am pleasantly surprised at what this blog has become. I never really expected to have any actual “followers” and seeing my page view hits increase steadily since day one has kept me inspired to keep writing, stay vulnerable and remain open and honest with everything that comes up for me as I work my way through my life as a 30 year old. I’ve gotten some incredible feedback from people about the relatability of what I discuss and the comfort some have found in knowing that they aren’t the only ones going through the shit. I have been told that my words have been inspiring and motivating and have even encouraged a handful of people in my life to start their own blogs as a way to sort through their own feelings. That part has really been neat! 

So... now what? 

I remember being about 25 or 26 and thinking to myself as I puffed away on a cigarette that I would never allow myself to smoke past 30. This was my way of feeling better about buying that next pack or lighting up my eighth or ninth cigarette while at the bar. 

I can also remember back to January or February of last year when I saw my 30th birthday creeping up on me and feeling like there was no way I was going to be ready to quit smoking by July. I enjoyed smoking and when I was ready to quit, I would quit. No deadline necessary. 

Then, just under one month before my 30th, I had that last cigarette sitting at a bar in the Suncoast. I was thinking of my nephew who was on the way, the promise I made to myself in my mid-twenties and overall, how unhappy I was with the decisions I had been making. Somehow, when I put out that last Parliament, I knew I was never going to light up another cigarette for the rest of my life. 

Well, not EXACTLY like that... but similarly, when I began writing this blog, I told myself I was going to make it a year long project and would wrap everything up on July 4th weekend of this year, right after I turned 31. I wasn’t really sure what would become of it, but just having an idea of an “end date” gave me the motivation to write as frequently as I could and cover as much ground as possible with stories of my past, happenings of the present and wishes for the future. 

However, when I checked my total page views for the month of April and saw that I had reached an all-time high of 1,285 views, I thought to myself “why stop now?” I love that I have people who read my blog the minute it’s posted... or when I’m out with a random group of friends and someone who I didn’t even know read my blog mentions something that I wrote. Or when my aunt comes into town that I’ve never really known before and says “I feel like I’m meeting a celebrity!” 

Yeah... now THAT’S neat. 

But then, I find the same thing happening that did last year when I knew I was ready to quit smoking. I find myself wanting to stick to what I had planned and wrap up this Sin City Seagull blog in just over a month. There are a few reasons behind this. 

First and foremost, when I was sitting on that bed last fall, looking at $20,000 cash that was being given to me to quit my job at Chili’s and pursue a writing career, I was overwhelmed and speechless. I couldn’t believe someone had so much faith in what I was doing that they were willing to put that kind of monetary support into seeing this become bigger than just a blog. When I discussed with my friend, Whitney (also a writer), what I was supposed to do with this newfound talent that was actually getting support, she told me to focus on putting together content. Write for a year, just like I said, and watch what unfolds as I do. So... that’s what I’ve been doing. 

By the time my birthday rolls around, I will probably have in the neighborhood of 75-80 blogs. And, as many of you also know, most of them aren’t exactly what you would call a “quick read”. I have close to 300 pages of rough blog drafts that could easily be fattened up with more detail, history and, most importantly, lessons in retrospect. I have close to twelve months of a crazy ride that has brought me full circle in a physical sense, but with new ideas on friendship, family, love, money, trust, work and a new faith in the universe. Well, a new faith in myself, really... 

Therefore, I’m going to give it a shot. I’m going to take all of this and start putting it into something that might be considered “publishable”. I’m not exactly sure if what I come up with will take the form of a book of essays, a non-fiction recollection of life as a single 30 year old in Las Vegas or a novel based on my life experiences. Or maybe a weird combination of all three. But, I want to give it a shot. I think I owe it to myself to see how far I can go with this. 

Additionally, I really want to start venturing out into more creative writing. I had posted a test-run of a review blog I am working on told from the perspective of a four inch tall stuffed dinosaur named Moe. While I got very little feedback on the Hawaii blog I put together to test it out, I loved writing it! Unlike Sin City Seagull, which can sometimes be emotionally exhausting and heavy, it made me laugh to see the kind of personality I could give an inanimate object. Not to mention, I love traveling and trying out new things, both near and far, and this kind of writing makes that part of my life all the more interesting. I’m thinking that might, one day, be something I could put together to target a different market. Or, something that will just keep me laughing well into my golden years. 

Finally, I want to get out from behind the blog a bit... I feel like I have made huge strides as far as being able to better communicate what I am feeling with those in my life that mean the most to me. However, while I have found this remarkably easy to do behind the safety of my Mac, I still find myself holding back in person, getting defensive or hiding out for a while in the hopes that things will blow over and it won’t be so difficult to deal with. 

I find that there are still opportunities to create better relationships with my family, more focus to be put into the most meaningful friendships in my life, more chances to sit in silence with myself and listen to what my heart and head are collectively sharing with me and an endless supply of love to give to the one that finds his way through my barriers. All of these things I want to do eye to eye, not simply through the posting of pictures or the happy stories I share with everyone except the person who is the subject of my gushings. 

This is a whole new project that will take time, effort and that magic word: vulnerability. 

It makes me anxious and excited to see how this last month of blogging will turn out. I’m sure there will be times where I will need a similar outlet in which to express myself and so, of course, I’m leaving the blog available for whenever I may need it. But as a whole, I’m ready to wrap up this year and see what kind of gift I can really make out of it. 

I’m grateful to all of those who have been with me on this journey from day one as well as to those who joined at any time over the last 74 blog posts. It is YOU who have inspired me to continue on, give it my all and ultimately, follow this path into something even more exciting that I could have dreamed. 

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

~ Henry David Thoreau

Monday, May 23, 2011

If At First You Don't Succeed... Or Second... Or Third... Or...

His name isn’t Brandon. His name is Tim. 

Like so many of my past relationships, he just sort of showed up in my life one day. It could have simply been one more conversation over drinks at some bar I was at, chasing that pesky karaoke bug. 

It could easily have been one more friend request on Facebook. After all, I have 200+ friends on there now... and I haven’t dated ALL of them... 

It definitely could have been just one more silly night on Fremont. And with the way that night ended, it most certainly could have been one more failed first date. 

It might be just be another changed relationship status, filled with the same hope and promise that all the other status changes came with. My friends might be rolling their eyes or shaking their heads as they give me the obligatory “Like” on being “in a relationship” versus “single” on my profile page. Can you blame them? They’ve watched me do this for years. 

It might be just another I Love You... words I’ve said so many times in my life that people question whether or not I really know what love is. 

My brother shakes his hand, my dad is polite and my mom is friendly. After all, they’ve been through all this before. No sense in getting too excited yet, right? They didn’t really have a chance to get to know the last one before the new one showed up anyway. 

It could be just one more bout of uncontrollable laughter and connection over food and drinks. The list of commonalities is long and the spark is bright... the smiles are big and genuine and the body language is unmistakable. I see the potential for sure... because I’ve seen it before. 

It may just be one more passionate night in bed. Everything feels right... and comfortable... and dare I say... perfect. Remember feeling this way before? 

It’s just another gift. Heartfelt and thoughtful... exactly what I wanted without even knowing I wanted it. 

It’s one more photo... taken from an outstretched hand and added to all the other photos in my collection. It’s that comment from a friend “Wow, you guys look so cute together!” that reminds me of identical remarks from the past. 

It’s another group of butterflies, partying away in my belly as I get that first text in the morning or that mid-afternoon email. It’s the grin on my face as he calls me while I’m on my way to work. It’s racing out to my car at the end of a shift so that I can get as much time in with him as possible before sleep takes the conversation away for a few hours. These feelings are not foreign to me. 

So... how do I know this one is going to be any different? How do I know that I won’t find something I can’t live with? How can I be sure that I want to wake up next to this one for the rest of my life? How am I even thinking about this after a few weeks? 

Shouldn’t I be an expert on all of this by now? 

Is it really as simple as just going with the flow and letting things unfold naturally? That sounds like the right thing to do... but because every relationship I am in is better than the one before, every breakup hurts a little more each time. 

I know myself, though... the hopeless romantic (Love) who lives inside the body of an analyzer (Logic) won’t let me run away from something that might just be “it”. She knows the risks, she’s been down the road many times and somehow, she always convinces Logic that even though it may not work out, imagine if it did. Because one day, it will. Something about that statement always has enough gravity to quiet all the questions and concerns that Logic comes up with. 

So yes, I’m fully aware that all of these amazing things that Tim brings to my life might just be another trip down the road of “what could be”, with less than favorable results. I have to think this way because of past experience... but what I don’t have to do is assume that this relationship will turn out like all the others. 

The older I get, the harder time I have arguing with the Universe. It has been proven time and time again why certain people and situations were put in front of me. Learning to surrender to what the Universe gives me based on what I ask for is a practice I’m getting fairly good at. 

So, this might be just another happy couple, getting ready for Date Night... or... it might be something I’ve been seeking for a very long time. 

Why would I risk losing that based on my own history? That would be way too logical. 

In this race, Love has pulled ahead... and she is way overdue for a win.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

"And You Know, He's Got Emotional Problems, Man." "You Mean... Beyond Pacifism?"

We sat in the park on an unusually chilly May day in Las Vegas and watched as my nephew did all he could to hold himself up on his own. We took turns laughing as he slowly fell backwards, to the side and forward, all the while flailing his arms about and desperately reaching for more food. 

I know most people say that the baby in their family is the cutest but in my case, it’s absolutely true. 

It had been a while since my mom and I had hung out and had lunch. On this particular day, we decided to ditch the restaurant scene and do a picnic near the house. I was having one of those days where I just needed my mommy. As always, she was happy to oblige. 

My energy was exceptionally low following a rather strange weekend. Things were a little abnormal on Friday when I went to karaoke to hang out with some friends. I was a little nervous about bringing Brandon around because I knew Steven and many of our mutual friends were going to be there that night. However, even before Brandon showed up, I was catching an unusual vibe from people. I can’t really put my finger on it... but the warm and fuzzy feeling I used to get from hanging out with this particular group of friends was missing that night. 

I figured it was because of everything that had happened between me and Steven combined with my most recent blog. There is a good chance it was in my head, but I definitely felt that things were different. I tried to shake it off and just have a good time. 

It’s always difficult when a relationship ends and one person moves on just a bit faster than the other. While it’s not always the case, typically I’m the one in that fast lane. Especially if I was the one who initiated the breakup to begin with. 

Last week, things seemed to be moving in a really positive direction between me and Steven. He had started a blog and his first three entries were really interesting. His jobs were going well and he even had some financial success at video poker. His energy seemed high and our interactions were moving beyond cordial into... nice. It was a good feeling. 

Friday night started out being more of the same. He told me he was anxious to meet Brandon and we were enjoying pleasant conversation. In retrospect, I should’ve made a bigger effort to keep the chatter on a friendly level without allowing it to venture into places of questioning and introspection. But... I’ve never been very good at small talk. 

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before but I’m not the best at receiving feedback. Certain environments and settings make me even less open to what someone might have to say that I would consider... less than favorable. 

Steven wanted to know why, when I blog, I always include what other people do and say without outlining the parts I play in certain arguments, disagreements, situations, etc. I think he thought I try to make myself out to look like a hero while pointing out what everyone else is doing to fuck things up. At least, this is how I took it. 

Things just started to unravel from there. The subject of me moving on to another relationship so quickly was mentioned and my wall started to go up. I began to get defensive and upset, especially upon hearing that Justin had tried to reassure Steven by telling him that I was a “serial dater” and jumping from relationship to relationship is just what I do. 

“Am I wrong?” 
“No, you’re not wrong --” 
“Am I wrong?” 
“You’re not wrong, Walter... you’re just an asshole” 
“... okay then.” 
~ Walter and The Dude, The Big Lebowski 

“This sounds like a conversation that you need to have with Tina. She’s been this way as long as I’ve known her and it’s just how she chooses to live her life. If you have issues with it, talk to her about it.” ~ The imaginary Justin in my head. 

The real Justin just isn’t that passive. When I confronted him and asked him why he couldn’t be in my corner, he said that I shouldn’t ask him to take sides. Maybe I should’ve been the one buying him beers that night. 

So, now I’m righteous and “bat shit crazy”. Sigh... should friendship really be this hard? 

For the record, I’m not perfect. I make mistakes all the time. For all I know, this blog could be a mistake. I say the wrong things and don’t always approach subjects in the best way possible. I can be aggressive and closed off all at the same time. But in each moment, I do what I feel is the appropriate thing for me to do. It doesn’t make me right... it makes me committed to my intention. 

My intentions with this blog and the actions that I take on a daily basis have a bigger purpose. I don’t write what I write to spread dirt or hurt people’s feelings. I think a lot of people out there go through the same trials that I do and I try to create a place that people can go and relate to the everyday things that pop up in our lives. I ask for feedback and invite conversation about other people’s experiences in similar situations. Ironically enough, my ultimate goal is to create connection. Perhaps I’m just on the scenic route... 

With heavy and burdensome energy, I shared most of this with my mom as we sat and entertained (and were entertained by) my adorable nephew. She told me I have to remember that I don’t do things the way a lot of people do. It’s always been my way to go down a different road. She reminded me that people probably don’t like being read about, especially if it’s in an unfavorable light. She suggested I think about making more name changes in the future just to keep things from getting too personal. 

And then we took my nephew to the playground and pushed him on the swing. Such a simple and mellow afternoon with no pressure, no judgment and a reminder of the big picture. 

“Next to [Jim], you are the second most mentally tough person I know. You just have to get a little tougher. You have to continue being as supportive as you are without enabling people. And you have to keep writing.”  ~ Jeremy 

I know I worry too much. I know I say things that people don’t like. I know I do things that people question. I know I’m different. 

I also know that these are the things I love about myself. If we can’t embrace all of the positive AND negative things that make up our personality, we end up becoming either delusional or depressed. 

Besides... I can’t be right ALL the time. That would just be boring.

Friday, May 13, 2011

"So The Combination Is... One, Two, Three, Four, Five?"

“You have to be willing to give up the life you planned to have the life that’s waiting for you.” 

I came across this quote in a magazine I was reading the other day. It was one of those sayings that made me stop in my tracks and think to myself “this is exactly what I needed to hear in the exact moment I needed to hear it.” 

I am a planner. It’s what I’ve always been. My brain works years in advance, painting pictures of what I want my future to look like. I often catch myself living in a world that has been completely made up out of my own hopes and dreams and forgetting what I actually did on any given day here in the present. 

While I do feel as if I have made some significant progess in this arena, I still find myself very attached to how things should “look” in my life. I feel that if I’m not spending every second of every day working toward a series of goals, then at the end of it all, I’ll be left with nothing. 

This works for a while. I get very motivated and put together a weekly schedule. I outline all the things I plan on doing in the upcoming week. I prepare a day by day itinerary and often even block out the times I’m going to do everything. Here is an example of what I might write on my little white board in my room: 

Monday (Workday) 
9am: Breakfast and clean house 
10:30am: Gym (40 minutes Spin, 20 minutes Abs) 
12:00pm: Lunch and write blog 
3:00pm: Work on music download project 
5:00pm: Head to work (wear bar clothes) 
11:00pm: Cameo at karaoke? 

Tuesday (Off work) 
10:00am: Breakfast and laundry 
12:00pm: Gym (30 minutes cardio, 30 minutes upper body weights) 
2:00pm: Work on “friends wall” (Walmart to print pictures) 
4:00pm: Catch up on reading (SI, Shape, Dan Brown) 
6:00pm: Work on Moe’s Review Blog 
8:00pm: Drinks with friends 

Wednesday (Off work) 
9:00am: Breakfast 
10:00am: Gym (60 minutes cardio) 
11:30am: Work on Suite101 dating blog 
1:00pm: Work on music download project 
2:00pm: Online networking, catch up on unread blogs 
4:00pm: Grocery store 
6:00pm: Head to bowling 
9:30pm: Respond to emails 

Thursday (Workday) 
9:00am: Breakfast 
10:00am: Gym (30 minutes cardio, 30 minutes lower body workout) 
12:00pm: Lunch and write blog, catch up on Facebook stuff 
4:00pm: Work (Restaurant clothes)
10:00pm: Draft House for karaoke? 

Friday (Workday) 
10:00am: Breakfast 
11:00am: 60-90 minute outdoor walk 
1:00pm: Lunch and catch up on reading (SI) 
3:00pm: Work on music download project 
5:00pm Work (Cocktail clothes)
Midnight: 3Toms for karaoke or sleep (depending on work) 

Get the picture? 

And this is when I really have nothing going on. Actually, that’s probably the worst time for me... when all I have is time to do whatever I want. I start to feel like I need to be making some kind of significant progress throughout the entire day. I actually block out time to exercise, work and to be social. It seems like if I don’t, I just can’t seem to get things accomplished to my satisfaction. 

Suddenly, last week happened. 

Originally, when I took the job at Roadrunner, I was looking forward to doing something a lot more relaxed than what I did at Chili’s. I let Chili’s really become part of who I was. I did not want the same thing to happen again. In fact, what I enjoy so much about serving and bartending is the fact that when the shift is over, I don’t take the job home with me. I go to work, clock in, handle my shit and clock out. Enough said. 

Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple. I work in an environment where anyone can do my job. Well, I guess what I mean is that it’s one of those professions that anyone off the street can get. Therefore, the caliber of people that you might have working in a particular restaurant ranges from the highly motivated and trustworthy to the lazy and pill popping youth of our generation. Since I am on the former part of this scale, I often find myself in a position where I need to step up and take on a little bit more than I would like to. More hours, more days, more responsibility. I was even training the new girl last week... and I’m the other new girl!! 

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy being someone that can be counted on. It’s in my nature and it’s nice to be needed. However, too much time at work takes time away from all of the other things I want to be doing. As always, it’s the balance I constantly seek and seems to forever elude me... 

I have also, much to the surprise of some given my last blog, decided to pursue something with Brandon. Peeing incident or not, I like the guy! I can definitely feel myself taking a bit of a different approach as the idea of dating someone younger than me again has me slightly more withdrawn than usual. 

As is common with new relationships, my daily timetable has become somewhat erratic, especially given the fact that we work opposite schedules; him with fairly standard bankers hours and me holding down a typical service professional lifestyle. Out late, up late. We are at that very early stage where we are hungry to learn as much as we can about the other person because every discovery seems to be cooler than the one before. As a result, sleep has also been a bit elusive... 

Furthermore, I got a call from Jeremy last week that he had discovered a very lucrative gambling promotion that he wanted to get me in on. For obvious reasons, details can’t be shared, but what matters is that it required me to be available for the first six hours of my day all this week. 

On top of everything else, my bed hasn’t been made in two weeks, my bathroom is in desperate need of a date with Scrubbing Bubbles and Bailey glares at me with disdain every time I finally remember to clean out her litter box. 

I suppose this is life’s way of trying to find it’s own balance since I basically spent the last seven months doing whatever I wanted. 

“You have to be willing to give up the life you planned to have the life that’s waiting for you.” 

So, when I ran across this quote the other day, it landed for me pretty heavily. I’ve been so busy the past two weeks simply trying to keep up with life that I haven’t had time to worry about how much weight I’ve gained by not hitting the gym or what my next step is for becoming a spin instructor. I haven’t thought about which website I want to use to launch my new review blog or how I’m going to wrap up my Suite 101 online dating blog series. My new ipod for my music download project is still in it’s original case sitting on my counter. I think my current count for magazines left unread on my table is up to double digits (note to self - subscription for Sports Illustrated: Worst. Idea. Ever. Every article is interesting and so, so long and time consuming - I haven’t even read the one about where Cam Newton might go... ) 

As of yesterday morning, I had officially approached Ludicrous Speed. 

And yet, something in my mind felt different. Normally, I would be completely consumed and stressed out with all of the things that I wasn’t getting accomplished. I would beat up on myself for not taking the time to work out. I would feel like I didn’t make any headway on my writing goals. I would feel light years behind all of those people that took the spin class with me a few weeks ago and might already be doing auditions to teach a class. I would feel like a slob for climbing into an unmade bed for the tenth time in a row. 

Somehow, though... these things aren’t really weighing on my mind. 

I think it’s healthy to have a plan. But I’m not convinced that it’s healthy for someone like me to feel the need to follow it to the minute every day. Sure, I feel like I accomplished something... but my accomplishment may simply be crossing off the multitude of tasks that I assigned for myself that day. While I find this to have a certain degree of rewarding emotions, I’m not sure if it’s really the kind of “living” that is most substantial. I mean, should my day look a little more like this? 

7:30am: Kiss Brandon goodbye as he leaves for work 
8:00am: Have amazing dream about getting face painted while traveling in India 
10:30am: Lay in bed and check in on Facebook and see what friends are up to 
11:00am: Feed Bailey and make my own delicious and healthy breakfast 
12:00pm: Check in with mom and plan lunch because you miss her 
12:30pm: Respond to emails and do Internet-y stuff 
1:00pm: Write blog about how being a planner might not always work for me 
3:30pm: Get ready for work 
5:00pm: Go to work, enjoy my time, do a good job and work hard for my money 
12:00am: Cameo at karaoke to see friends that I truly dig 
3:00am: Go home, get some sleep and embrace how good it feels to be falling in love 

Does this schedule lessen my accomplishments as a human compared to what’s on my whiteboard? 

Be. Do. Have. 

This is a mantra that I remember from my leadership program. The idea is that if you are BEing the person you want to be and DOing the things you want to do, you will HAVE all of the things you have ever wanted. 

So often, I think we do this backwards. 

If only I had the perfect relationship, things would be different... 

If only I had enough money, I could take that trip I wanted.. 

If only I had more friends, I wouldn’t feel so alone... 

If only I had the American Dream, I could finally be happy... 

It’s like I need to HAVE something in order to DO what I want and ultimately BE happy. Spending some time reflecting on last week, I am starting to see how I’ve been thinking about this all wrong. 

Because last week didn’t turn out at ALL like I planned! However, I was able to spend some good quality time with Jeremy (and make some good money in the process), I had some great success at work (also resulting in nice moolah) and I took whatever time I could to get to know someone new that I really enjoy. I also connected with many of my friends and even had a heart to heart with the members of my bowling team that resulted in bringing us a little closer together off the lanes. 

I didn’t really exercise last week, I didn’t get any writing projects done and I did not clean my house. But, I was a good person and made good decisions. I went to sleep with a smile on my face and woke up with the feeling of joy and satisfaction surrounding me. 

Things have started to mellow from my crazy past ten days. I’m not sure what next week will bring but I think I’ve definitely learned something about myself that I will take to heart from this point on. 

Tasks will always be there, waiting to be accomplished. It’s “life” that will go on without me if I don’t take the time to enjoy it. 

Seems so easy, doesn't it? 

2:45pm: Hit “publish” and feel really good about myself, my life and my accomplishments.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

I Guess She Picked The Wrong Day To Pack Only One Pair Of Shoes

I sat across from my friend Ben as we waited for our breakfasts to arrive. While there were plenty of thoughts circling around in my head, putting food in my stomach to counteract a potential hangover was my immediate priority. 

As the waitress (who was only on her 2nd day and a little too happy and excitable for me, given my condition) dropped off our large platters of irish-inspired breakfast food, I looked at Ben and said “Well, what would you do if you were me?” 

He knew I wasn’t talking about whether to start with the eggs or dive straight into the potatoes. 

“I certainly wouldn’t date him.” 

I knew that would be the response. I took a big bite of food and almost heard my stomach cheer out loud. 

“Do you think I should get back together with Steven?” 

Ben chewed and shrugged. He swallowed his mouthful and said in his matter of fact kind of way: “Well, he didn’t pee in your friend’s suitcase.” 

End scene. 


A lot of tourists don’t give Fremont Street and the whole downtown Vegas thing the respect I think it deserves. They would rather pay $14.00 for their Mandarin and Soda at some pretentious club on the strip that probably charged them a ridiculous cover to begin with and has no room to offer on the dance floor anyway. Not that it would matter because the music is most likely terrible and you spend your time having to avoid the lit cigarette that is being held without caution by douchebag #1 as he is trying to talk douchebag #2 into playing wingman for some some girl who thinks she is Rihanna just because she was able to squeeze herself into a size 2 for the night. Needless to say, it’s not a scene I enjoy. 

Therefore, when my friends want to have a “Vegas night”, and party it up, we usually opt for getting a room at either the Golden Nugget or Fitzgerald’s and spending our time bar hopping on Fremont Street. There are a few things that are very rewarding about this experience: first, the drinks are a lot cheaper. Second, the bars downtown do close eventually, so you don’t find yourself wandering around at four in the morning, in a drunken haze, trying to find just “one more drink” before you completely lose your mind. We like to start early, drink steadily until one or two and then stumble back to our rooms and call it a night. 

Cory is the one that got me started on Fremont. Whenever he has friends visiting from out of town, he always tells them to put one night aside to experience this little treasure that is considered East Fremont. We often start at Hennessey’s, an Irish style pub, hit Hogs & Heifers, a well-known biker bar where I inevitably end up dancing on the bar and finish the night with either a nightcap at Downtown, The Griffin or the new piano bar that offers karaoke to those who are brave enough to sing without a monitor. 

The thing with Fremont is that it is quite easy to get caught up in all the craziness of the night, especially when you know you aren’t driving and there are ten other people enjoying the libations of the evening with you. I’ve spent a few nights with my friends in the ladies room, helping to keep their hair from dangling in the toilet as they relieve themselves of the last three shots they probably shouldn’t have had. For some reason, there seems to be more mixing of drinks on Fremont and the hangovers are exceptionally bad. The boys get rowdy and a few times, we’ve just completely lost a member of our group for the night. 

For all these reasons, we decided to be a little more aware of ourselves this past Tuesday night when a bunch of us went downtown to celebrate Cory’s 30th birthday. Even on his Facebook invitation, he was very adamant about not having any shots. We all wanted to have a good time without worrying about... having too good of a time I suppose. I think Cory just wanted to make sure he remembered the majority of the night this time around. 

Two of my girlfriends and I got a room at the Golden Nugget. We checked in around 3:30pm and headed straight to the pool to get a little relaxation time in before the hopping commenced. Cory was doing dinner with his family at 6:00pm and the plan was to meet at Hogs and Heifers around 8:00pm to officially begin the festivities. 

I was also a little extra excited that day as I had a bit of a side project going... 

Last Friday, I hit a bar I’d never been to before for karaoke. A friend of some friends of mine was having a birthday party there and it seemed like it might be a good time. It was, of course. Some of my favorite karaoke people were there, the beer was cheap and the crowd was lively. Good times. 

That’s when I met “Brandon”. Not many people get special names on here - that is a privilege reserved for the professional gamblers in my life and those who I’m about to share extremely embarrassing information for all to see. 

Brandon and I share a love of Jagermeister (Don’t judge... I’ve had relationships begin on less than that). We sat at the bar, enjoyed a shot together and continued to chat it up until I knew it was time for me to get some shuteye before I let the night run away from me. I remember saying goodbye and giving him my card in case he wanted to check out my blog, but otherwise, I did assume it was just going to be another brief interaction with a nice guy. 

So I smiled the next day when I checked my Facebook and I had a message from him. We went back and forth a bit, I accepted his friend request and we continued to discuss our thoughts on the UFC fight that was taking place that night. He sent me his phone number and the texts began. 

First and foremost, dude was funny. As in, I kept randomly laughing out loud during family fight night because of some random text he had sent about something. I did what we girls do these days and spent some time stalking him on Facebook. Through his pictures and posted information, I saw that he used to be in a band, worked for a very respectable car company and was going to be 26 years old in August. 

Really? Another 25 year old? I was wondering how this happened but, as I mentioned to Beau at work the other day - when you hang out in an establishment designed to attract a mid-20s crowd, that’s what you get. 

No, it’s not a huge gap and it certainly isn’t a deal breaker for me. It just raises some questions about being on similar pages physically and emotionally, that’s all. But, then again, we’re just texting. No reason to get caught up in anything yet. 

Well, 400 text messages later, we decided that perhaps we should hang out. 

So there I was, at the Golden Nugget, getting dressed for the night and making plans to meet up with the girls and Cory later on. In the meantime, I was going to head over to Hennessey’s for a Black and Tan and see what this guy was really all about. 

There were three things I noticed within the first five minutes of him showing up: he has some pretty rad tattoos, his dark brown eyes are extremely intense and a bit mesmerizing, and his energy level is literally through the roof. In fact, for just a moment, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to keep up with him. I’m definitely more on the mellow and laid back side and he was going a mile a minute. It was exciting, though, and what was more interesting was the fact that he had intelligent things to say. The conversation flowed easily and he was never really at a loss for words. Before I knew it, we had already been at Hennessey’s for two and a half hours and needed to head over to Hogs & Heifers to meet the rest of my friends. 

I wouldn’t really say the rest of the night was a blur - there was just a lot going on. Our mutual friend, Ben, showed up which helped ease some of the pressure that Brandon may have been feeling after meeting so many of my friends on our first time really hanging out together. Luckily, my friends are super cool and very accepting and everything went along quite swimmingly. We drank, laughed and eventually, started moving from bar to bar. 

Towards the end of the night, the three of us decided to split off and mellow out at The Griffin. Ben was definitely tapped on the drinking as he started to doze a bit while on those cozy fireplace couches. Brandon and I continued to chat and flirt and I determined that neither one of them was in any condition to be driving and brought them back up to the room so they could pass out safely. 

This all seemed harmless enough, but sometimes in my inebriated state, I tend to lose track of my consideration for others who may not be experiencing the same kind of drunken euphoria that I am. So, even though laying on the bed laughing and whispering to Brandon while Ben cracked jokes from the floor and threw the Bible at us seemed fun and innocuous, I became startled when one of my girlfriends harshly called out to us how annoying we were being. Forgetting that my friends were looking for more of a relaxing time that night, the three of us quickly shut up and fell asleep. 

Why it couldn’t end there, I will never know... 

I have no idea what time it was - I just knew that it was early. I didn’t even know what was going on really... I heard some shuffling around and then what sounded like water being poured onto the carpet. Before my brain could register what was going on, my other girl friend started shouting loudly “HEY! GUY! YOU ARE PEEING ON MY SUITCASE!” 

Please, God... let me be dreaming. 

Nope. Wide awake. And there he was - peeing on my friend’s shoes. 

He snapped out of his sleep walking daze and came back to lay down, not really even sure at that time what he had done. That was when I realized that it was my new friend, Brandon and not Ben who had just finished making this massive faux pas. I was frozen with humiliation and horror. My friend got up and began cleaning up her shoes. I didn’t know what to do. I laid there like an idiot and felt like the biggest asshole ever. When she was finished, she went back to bed. It was then that Brandon got up and decided that it would probably be a good idea to leave. So he did. 

Back to breakfast. 

I knew Ben was right. However, there was still that part of me that is compassionate to the fact that shit happens - especially when large amounts of alcohol are involved. If nothing else, I was kind of intrigued by Brandon’s story about what the hell he was thinking. And I knew at the very least, all of this was going to make a pretty funny blog (although I’m sure my friend and her shoes don’t agree....) 

After breakfast, I dropped Ben off at his car and sent a text to Brandon. He had left in such a hurry that he had forgotten to take his glasses. So, we agreed to meet so I could return them and give him an opportunity to at least apologize. I knew he felt ashamed, embarrassed and humiliated and I just can’t see allowing anyone to feel that way longer than absolutely necessary. 

When I saw him, I honestly couldn’t help but smile. It’s like coming home and seeing that the puppy knocked over the plant and was hiding in the corner because he knew he was in for it. What was I supposed to do? Call him names? Yell at him? Make him feel worse than he already did? No, I decided to take a different approach. 

I hugged him. 

I can’t tell you why. I know it’s probably not what I should have done. I probably shouldn’t have spent the next three hours talking and laughing with him either. And I definitely shouldn’t have invited him to come watch me bowl. And I KNOW it was crazy to have him over afterwards so I could listen to him play the guitar. 

And it’s crazier than all get out to have made plans to see him again. 

I’m not bothered enough by being single to think that I’m doing any of this out of pure desperation or the need for attention. I actually kind of don’t want to like this guy. You’d think that would be easy given his behavior that night/morning. Of course I see that as a red flag. And do you think I can bring him around my two friends again anytime soon?? Do I really need more than just that reason to never see him again? 

As you can imagine, Logic is not happy with me right now. 

Maybe I’m just getting soft... maybe I’m losing a little bit of my edge as I get older... maybe I just like a good story. 

Whatever it is, I can’t say I’m okay with it... but something inside is telling me to ride it out for a minute. There is no question in my mind that I want to be friends with this guy. Even with “The Incident” in his corner, there are still enough other things that are intriguing enough about him that blowing the whole thing off doesn’t feel right either. 

Sorry, girls... next time, I’ll be sure to pony up my own $50.00 so it is my shoes that get peed on.  

Geez.. I am an asshole, aren’t I?