You know how people often emerge from a life-changing catastrophe to say that they are now a better, kinder, more decent human as a result? Yeah. I can't. I'm apparently just as unpleasant as I ever was. Case in point:
I went out the other night to my first solo event in about two years. I was a bit nervous, me being out of practice with the social skills and all, but it turned out to be total fun. I was glad to see that I can still fake a little confidence-while-walking-into-a-room-alone maneuver. Nice. That one has served me well for years, and I’m glad I haven’t lost it. Because once you fake your confidence on the way in, it just kind of stays with you for the night. I’m definitely not a work-myself-up-to-it kind of social person who enters quietly, sits around, gets my bearings and then gets social. I either have to enter the party balls-out or just stay home. So I’ve got that going for me, which is nice (to quote Bill Murray).
When I arrived at the event there was a rather lovely looking man there already. I did the obligatory ring check to see if he was married or single. I introduced myself and started chatting with him and a couple of other people. As this was going on I was wondering why such a cute and seemingly charming man should still be single at the age of 38. (I know, I sound like someone's grandmother, don't I?) But seriously: some cute girl or guy should have snapped him up by now.
And then dinner/discussion time arrived, and it all became clear. Number One: Table manners or the lack thereof. It was an instantaneous turn-off. Here's this cute, successful, charming guy. Eating with two hands, licking his fingers, grabbing chips out of the bowl as if he's on Survivor and the person who gets the most in one handful wins the Immunity Challenge. I had to avert my eyes it was so distressing to see. And the lack of grace. Generally at a group meal you pass stuff around. When this guy got the plate, he took his food then put the plate down next to himself. So you'd have to say "Can you please pass the burger buns?" in order to get any dinner. I was imagining myself out at a restaurant with this guy on a first date and just recoiling in horror at watching Mr. Creosote masticate turkey burger with his mouth open.
Number Two: This event was a discussion group, so there was reading involved prior to attending. Now, if I hadn't really read I'd have kept my cakehole shut and interjected, "Yes, I agree" at various points to look participatory. Our formerly-cute friend over here apparently saw a lack of knowledge of the topic as no impediment to joining the discussion. He'd make pronouncements like, "The man's personal assistant, Charlie..." and someone would say, "Oh, was it Charlie? I thought it was Archie..." And he'd firmly say, "No. It's Charlie. Of course it's Charlie." Turns out it was Archie. This happened no fewer than 5 times, even involving a discussion of whether a particular book was set in Turkey or Iraq. Hellloooooo?!
So as I was supposed to be discussing this book and its sociopolitical ramifications, I'm instead sitting there in the yenta part of my brain enumerating all the things that make this man completely undateable. And then it also hits me: here I am, my first foray into real humanity in probably two years, out in a blaze of glory and gratitude for my great good fortune at having lived through a stem cell transplant to be here when I know I'd otherwise have been in the ground--and I'm nitpicking some poor shmo's table manners and Q score as it relates to dating.
There were times during the past year when I wasn't feeling well or having a particularly bad day, when I'd tell myself that I'd never be judgmental again, that I'd have a new appreciation for Life's Rich Pageant and all its contestants. That I'd find "meaning" in surviving a transplant. HA HA HA HA!! Apparently what I meant was, "I'll find meaning in doing mental feasibility studies of other people's dating suitability when I should really just be savoring the fact that I'm sitting there at all."
I probably should call my donor and give her a little buyer's remorse, huh?