Thursday, August 03, 2006

Non-Dating Notes

I was planning to post the post wherein I call you all a bunch of feckin’ idiots for your lousy advice today, but instead I’ll post a bit that will give you a little more ammo for when you fire back and call me a loser and a moron.

While pining over Emi-san, I began to formulate a plan. I’ll post in more detail on that later, but part of it was based on being able to separate her from the herd so I could at least ask her name. Unfortunately, she hasn’t been working lunches for a couple of weeks. On the other hand, Yamada-san’s daughter has been working alone at lunch time, giving me a better chance to approach her, now that I’ve decided to make Emi-san my priority. Irony, anyone?

Anyway, tonight I went for dinner at my favorite restaurant (your Alzheimers has reached end stage if you don’t know which one), and the gods of irony were apparently on a ganja break. Or maybe they were working overtime – reserve judgment until you read this entire sad chapter. BTW, I do recommend you read to the end because this passage contains HTML code that will reprogram your brain for permanent lizard mode and the antidote is hidden somewhere later, but I’m not saying where.

I opened the front door, stepped into the darkness and found myself facing Emi-san, cherubic as ever. Normally the staff calls out “Irasshaimase” to any patrons that enter, but Emi-san always addresses me in Americanized English with only a vague hint of an accent.

“Hi,” she said, motioning me to a seat. “How are you?”
“I’m fine,” I replied, accepting the proffered chair.

I scoped the situation. I was seated by myself at the end of the sushi bar, what I’ve come to call the fat hakujin section. A dumpy, older Japanese man occupied the nearest chair, drinking sake and joking with Yamada-san. The restaurant was nearly empty. Perfect, except that I was the only non-Japanese in the area, something I find intimidating when I’m attempting to mangle their language.

Emi-san took my drink order (“Hot tea, right?”) and then my food order in her flawless English. I prepped myself to speak Japanese to her in every possible instance, even to the point that I silently mouthed a few phrases but stopped before I had to explain to Yamada-san that I didn’t need anything and was just talking to myself. Unfortunately, thanks to her ninja waitressing skills, she was able to emerge from the shadows, deliver my food, and teleport away before my discombobulated brain could do anything but mumble scant thanks in English.

I knew I didn’t want to blow my chance to speak at least a little Japanese to her, so I made a solemn vow, the kind I absolutely will not break in any event, to not leave until I spoke a little Nihongo to the object of my desire. While waiting for her to appear again, I wondered how comfortably I could live there the rest of my life. The booth cushions are a tad thin to be effective mattresses, but at least I would be well fed for the rest of eternity. I spotted her on final approach with my salmon teriyaki, and I said “itadakimasu” when she announced my meal. I don’t think she laughed in my face, but I can’t be certain since I wasn’t able to look her in the eyes.

I sat in the corner, ate, and watched Emi-san bring sake to the Japanese man. The two joked as he grew increasingly loud (at least by Japanese standards), and I envied him for his ability to talk to her, and for the bevy of warm laughter he received in return. I began to mentally denigrate myself. What chance do I stand with this woman? I’m just another face in the crowd. I watched the Japanese man, who seemed blissfully unaware he was in the presence of a dumb redneck entertaining visions of skewering his eyeballs with chopsticks.

His face reddened and flushed with drink. I could relate. As I prepped my next Japanese phrase (totemo oishi desu – it’s very tasty), I became aware that my pulse was pounding, harder than it ever had before, worse than times tackling people while working retail security or bouncing drunks from a bar or even being in combat. I desperately wished a masked madman with an Uzi would rush into the building and hose the patrons with lead just so I could face a more comfortable situation. Another waitress took my empty plates, so I relaxed and just stuck with English. Emi-san brought my check and ice cream, but I wasn’t prepared and missed the chance to thank her for the wonderful meal. It probably wouldn’t have impressed her anyway – accepting the meal and thanking them for it afterwards are standard phrases any yahoo can find in a phrase book.

Another waitress returned my check and credit card, but forgot to bring a pen. Yes – another opportunity! I mentally practiced “Sumimasen, pen o kudasai” (excuse me, can I have a pen, please?), but the drunken Japanese man hogged Emi-san’s attention and I eventually took the check to the register to pay.

I grabbed a pen from the cup, heard dainty footfalls growing near, and turned to face Emi-san. Of course - when any of the waitresses sense something amiss, especially with a non-Japanese, Emi-san intervenes to determine the cause since she has the best people and English skills. By the time she arrived, I was already filling in the tip and signing the check, so she didn’t have to ask.

“Oh,” she said. “Just need to sign the check, I see?”
“Salmon teriyaki is good, isn’t it?”
Hai, totemo oishii desu. “Yes.” Shit.
“Yes, it’s one of my favorites too. Well, have a nice night.”
Kombanwa. Sumimasen, o-namae wa nan desu ka? “Thanks, you too.”
“I’ll see you later,” she said with a smile and walked away.

I stepped from the building into the waning but still oppressive heat. As I walked to my car, head bowed, I found myself surrounded by a host of angels singing “Loser. Loooser. Loooooooooser.” It’s times like these that I know I won’t be going to Hell. Satan would be dreadfully embarrassed to have me on his front lawn. “Boys, I tell ya, this place is going straight to…well, you get the idea.”

Time for a night of beer therapy and the Sims, where I can get a little action even if it is because I created the characters and can delete them from existence if they don’t perform on queue. Tomorrow is another day, another dollar, another chance to feck it all up once again.

Besides, some women find manners and painful shyness to be endearing, right? (Say yes, bitches, or I’ll grind your bones to make my tofu.) Or should I do a complete reversal and go with the old “I’m Rick James, bitch – show me your titties” approach? Thrill me with your acumen.

More will be revealed…


Angie said...

You're making this too hard. You've got this woman on such a pedastal that you're afraid to even talk to her. How do you know she doesn't do something completely annoying like talk during movies or pick goo from under her toes nails while watching TV? Chuck the J-talk and try English. Form the basis with her and then impress her with your mastery of her language. Ask her for suggestions on anything J-cultural to do in town (that will let her know your interests). may proceed with calling me an idiot

Kira said...

...or I can just come in with a machine gun, threaten her, you can save her life while I "escape," and you can live happily ever after. I'm willing to do that for ya, Grant. You just have to promise not to kill me. Hmmm. I doubt you can safely promise me that. Never mind!

acte gratuit said...

You frighten me.

acte gratuit said...

So does the picture of "Kira"

messiah said...

i can't chant loser - i'm intimidated by women i find attractive. get tongue tied and just stare & drool like an idiot.

i think you made out better than i ever did in situations like that.

somehow i wound up dating, and married for 11 years. it'll work out - you'll score your little asian hottie.

SJ said...

Some angels you have mine simply sneer.

Anonymous said...

yeh wat 'angie' said, pedastal bad bad. Judging on this post you're a loser and a moron.

Just kidding, you totally asked for it!

Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

Angie said it. Just talk to her...and then, when you two get a bit closer, tell her you're learning the she's be pleased for you to try it out on her.

And honestly? Manners are always a good thing but the painful shyness wears on a woman after a while...I mean, maybe I'm a tad old fashioned but I always preferred the guy to make the first move.

Kerry said...

LMAO...... yeah, don't go for the Rick James approach. I'm having a feeling that WON'T work ;) I say just march yourself right back in there and ask her out!!!

Tony said...

My uncle said it best "Most men are afraid of a good looking woman".
Stick with it. Don't do anything stupid. Relax. Try a real conversation in English that has to do with something other than your meal or your "other head". Once she sees your genuinely interested in her things will move along too quickly.

Tracy Lynn said...

That was so sweet, I had to evacuate the diabetics from the building.

You aren't a loser, this time. Just a normal guy, you dubbah.

Keep trying. Something's bound to happen.

Nobius said...

Are you one of the guys into "high maintenace" women/and or relationships?


patti_cake said...

I have ALWAYS thought shyness was endearing.
Here you had me all mesmerized and feeling warm & fuzzy pulling for ya and then ya had to go with the "rick james.. titties.." quoet and I almost pissed in my chair. Thanks Grant.

Grant said...

angie - actually, I have this much trouble speaking to all women I find attractive and don't already know.

kira - why don't you just capture her for real and turn her over to me?

absit - yes, Kira's cleavage is intimidating.

messiah - thanks for the encouragement.

sj - they must die.

fatty - you're such a girl.

pq - you're such a woman.

kerry - and you too.

tony - by move quickly, I assume you're referring to the restraining order.

tracy - just do a line of insulin and you'll be fine.

nobius - I'm definitely into low maintenance. Emi-san seems like a LM model.

patti_cake - I'll change my template to include an ad for Depends. :p

Tai said...

Who's Rick James??

Grant said...

tai - surely you jest, you uncouth Cannuck. BTW, I got one of your fecking quarters somehow. Vending machines won't take the heathen thing, so I ended up throwing it away.

Liz said...

The last part of this post is probably one of the best things I have seen you write. Sorry for your agony, but it was very entertaining.

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