Monday, November 29, 2010

Great Expectations

I have a problem with daydreams.

As soon as I get a whiff of something that could be potentially enjoyable, I whip up a spectacular scenario and just marinate in it for a few days.

So what, right? But it's bad. My fake expectation is grounded in so little reality that I am usually always so disappointed I lapse into brief social comas. Here's a metaphor for how wide the gap is:

Let's say I turned on the divine seductress within for 1o minutes and secured myself the best kind of date: casual drinks at some spunky local watering hole. So far, so good. Then, when I'm at the office revamping the lede for the piece on January's "Foodie Finds," my currently reality will slip away in a mist, and just like the movies, I launch myself into a first date of epic proportions.

I'll probably be wearing a navy sleeveless well fitted dress with a deep v-neck. My hair will look exceptional, yet casual, and my height will be a good 5 inches higher thanks to fall's new platform mary-jane. I smell better than Elizabeth Taylor will ever smell, and look 5 pounds thinner.

My date is handsome, busy, has great, hulkish shoulders and sits by politely while I discuss my favorite authors. We get a bit drunk on expertly mixed wells, eat very little, and have conversation rhythm that all the blazer and dress clad couples envy; they shoot looks of jealousy over the platters of exotic french fries and fancy mayo. We're the Norman Rockwell of dates. We sparkle.

I am so exuberant about my fantasy date (which by now I have reconciled will be an outline for the actual event) I hum happily to myself while trying to find the perfect adjective for a cilantro chutney. I come up with "smooth." My vocabulary is affected.

Then, reality hits. The waterhole is spunky, yet booze soaked. There is beer on my shirt and hulky shoulders is late. The french fries are domestic, and the conversation is about about as interesting as my analysis of Jersey Shore after a second shot of Jameson. "Pauly D is hilarious! OH YEAH!"

The worst is watching a fallen hero. In my daydream he was charismatic and humble, brutish but shockingly funny, and nice as a button. In real life he is just drunk. And drooling. And doing a Van Zant impression that looks more like a seizure. We don't sparkle, We reek. Of whiskey, bad decisions, and my souring disillusion.

This is what I do, again and again: set myself up for a rather spectacular fail. Could anything ever be as good as the Norman Rockwell date? No! I don't think my own birth was as cool as that. Why do I insist on great expectations?

Though, every once and again, these expectations allow me to be blown away by the unexpected. A walk in a park, a view that makes you cry, champagne in pajamas, takeout and football, catching the last 15 minutes of happy hour with an old friend...these are the moments that even my daydreams can't touch because they are so honest and simple, free of outlines or guidelines or 15 dollar well drinks.

This is a new sort of contentment, one that cannot be replicated in fantasy or used as a premonition. It is the redemption to what had fallen, the soft light of sun after a piss storm.

So while I am busy banging my head against a wall watching my sloshed date writhe on the floor during the climax of his air guitar solo, the universe is getting ready to suprise me with a real life daydream, free of expectations, but full of everything great.

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