My first girlfriend in college talked a lot about feelings. This was new to me. I grew up in the geekiest house of boys rural Texas had ever seen. What feelings could we have talked about? "The way you always kill off my eighth-level magic user hurts me, Dungeon Master," or "Mom, Dad, my French horn lessons have empowered me to explore my creative side"? We weren't "feelings" people.
So it was always with great trepidation that I ever spoke with my first college girlfriend. It didn't help that she would often continue our conversations even while she excused herself to pee in the small bathroom of her dormitory suite. She'd pee with the door open, cutting off the flow whenever she spoke, and I never heard a word she said over the voice in my own head yelling, "Leave! Leave now, while she's occupied!" But I never did. I stayed out of fear of a woman who could stop peeing at will. (It wasn't until many years later that I learned all women could do that. Oh, Internet, if only you had existed in the 80's.)
Since I didn't have much experience talking about my feelings, I ran out of them fairly quickly, so I ended up making up a lot of crap to tell this woman, this never-tiring seeker of emotion, [insert blogging metaphor here] and over the months I began to buy into it myself, slowly reconfiguring myself from small-town dork to The Most Interesting Person You Will Ever Meet [continue blogging metaphor here], a title that sounded so cool, I held onto it far longer than I should have.
It was while I held that title that I stopped a couple of burglars from robbing my future-wife's apartment.
Actually, I didn't exactly stop them; they stopped themselves. All I did was walk in and surprise them. If they had wanted to, they could have easily continued robbing the apartment even with me there, especially since I greeted the first guy with a pleasant, "Hi!" thinking he was the apartment's super, or a repairman who had perhaps been hired to rifle through the place and take away the expensive pieces. By the time the second guy came out of the back room holding a TV set, I realized something was up and my friendly "hi" turned into an octave-higher "hey!" to which the two men, realizing I was clearly not someone with whom to be trifled, left out the back door.
The whole scene took no more than a half-minute from beginning to end, but in the ten minutes it took for the police to arrive, I replayed it over seven thousand times in my head, coming up with over seven thousand possible actions I could have performed, each one a significant improvement over squeaking "Hey!" (Action Number 107: Look closely at the perpetrators. That way, the police report would not have read, "Witness describes the two suspects as males of indeterminate height, indeterminate build, and indeterminate race." After taking my statement, I had the distinct impression that the responding officer wanted to close his notebook and pummel me with it.)
After the police left, I didn't know what to do. The apartment wasn't mine; I had just stopped by to say "hi" (not "hey!") on my way to a supermarket a few blocks away. Its occupant, the woman who would later become my wife, was not home, nor did I know where she was. But the real problem was that she didn't like me, hadn't ever since my transformation into The Most Interesting Person You Will Ever Meet, and I didn't know what she'd think, coming home to find me sitting in the middle of her ransacked apartment, holding the phone number of a police officer who wanted to speak with her just as soon as she had made a list of what was missing or damaged. Logic said she'd be happy to see me, considering I'd prevented more of her stuff from getting stolen, but logic was not something that I inspired in most people those days. But since the back door was busted I couldn't just leave, so I made myself as comfortable as I could. And by that, I mean I drank all of her sangria.
Sharon's apartment always had a huge bottle of sangria, a jug of it really, sitting in her fridge. Always. It was an affectation of hers, a delightfully fruity affectation. And since the nobody had stolen her glasses, and the TV was sitting on its side in the hallway, I spent the afternoon with that jug, reliving the day's events, and reimagining myself ever more the hero with each glass.
Sangria (Sharon's recipe)
1 jug of red wine
Pour in the juice of two lemons and three oranges, tossing in the rinds as you go. Add two diced apples, one sliced lime, and a third of a cup of sugar. Chill overnight. Mix with Sprite or club soda and serve over ice.