The other night I was leaving the gym. It was late and I must have been more tired than I realized, because as I was backing my lil’ Cobalt out of its parking spot I somehow failed to notice a pickup truck the size of an aircraft carrier about 10 feet behind me until I heard a crunch.
Because I was raised by better people than me, I did the right thing and left a note on the truck’s windshield with my number. Said if the driver needed any info or had any damage to call me (it looked fine to me, but it was dark and I was tired and hungry and not entirely committed to giving his grill an exhaustive close-up).
The next morning, we had the following text exchange:
HIM 6:41 a.m.
Hey just got your note and wasn’t able to read it til I got to work and had already read it after leaving my truck. Another words I read it when I wasn’t near my truck. Didn’t see it yet where did it get hit?
ME: 7:46 a.m.
When I was backing out my rear right bumper bumped the grill on your driver side.
OK, this is the part where I confess a lifelong dispassion for anything having to do with cars, tools, hardware, etc. I just. Don’t. Give. A. Fuck. Every time I walk into a Home Depot (or Pergament, back in the day), a part of me dies. I feel slowed, saddened. I don’t know why. It’s not like I don’t enjoy problem-solving. Improvising solutions to problems is one of life’s great pleasures. But even when I have a simple-to-assemble piece of furniture — a bookshelf, for example — and explicit directions, it always comes out slanty. It totally works. You just have to be willing to accept it looks like I made it. That’s just the kind of prism I am. As a person, as a writer, even just walking down a hallway – if I don’t consciously stick to a straight line, I’ll drift from the right side of the hall to the left, then drift back to the right. Maybe the post-concussion stuff is behind that? I don’t know. Whatever: when I told him I hit his “grill,” that came after I spent 10 minutes in my mind and on Google trying to establish the difference between a “fender,” a “bumper,” and a “grill.” I was Googling things like “What do you call the front of a car not the engine but the front part between the engine and the wheels?”
Anyway, it seemed like a normal everyday exchange of messages between strangers. Then…
HIM 9:05 a.m.
Ok I’ll have to see it just curious you a man or a woman?
Are you serious? I mean, OK, I get it. I have a dick. It’s absurd how easy they are to turn on. If you don’t have a dick, you can never truly fathom the kinds of situations men can grow aroused in. At every given moment on this planet there are literally billions of simultaneous erections, and I’d guess over 50% of them involve thoughts the man behind the blood rush would rather die than confess.
I wondered why he wondered. If I was a woman, would he try to take advantage of me, assuming I knew so little about cars he could trick me (which, ironically, was true)? Would he claim we needed to meet in-person, to suss out whether I was fuckable? MY CAR HIT YOUR CAR. WHERE DOES GENDER FACTOR INTO THAT EQUATION? Still, I’m never above playing games.
ME 9:15 a.m.
Yes I am.
HIM 9:17 a.m.
Yes lol which one? Man or woman lol just so ik who I’m speaking with
First of all, language pet peeve: there is no use abbreviating words if the syllable count remains the same. Like when people say “NYC,” that’s often poseur-ish to my ears. What, you don’t have time for the quadsyllabic “New York City?” You really in such a hurry that cutting that to three syllables suddenly opens up your schedule? “I know” and “ik” are both two syllables; hell, you’re only saving 3 characters in your text. I will not miscegenate with the ik’s of this Earth.
Secondly, if I was a woman, I can’t imagine a bigger turn-off than a man hiding his blatant interest by pussyfooting behind “lol.” Jesus Christ, son. If I’m a woman, win me over, damnit! Show me there’s something there worth looking into! Make me feel like you’re powerful, capable of breaking down my door and whisking me to paradise! Ask me my name, what I was doing in the parking lot, whether my car’s OK (“I can take a look at your car if you want” is transparent, but not without its charms). If you want to know “who” you’re speaking with, those are the types of questions you ask. If you want to know “what” you’re speaking with, you will never get in my non-existent panties.
ME 9:19 a.m.
I’m just curious why you’re curious. Is it a different discussion if I’m one or the other? Which are you?
HIM: 9:29 a.m.
Male lol and no difference lol
AGAIN WITH THE LOLs!!!
HIM 9:30 a.m.
The handwriting looks like a chick’s lol
I read that and I laughed and I laughed and I laughed…