Tuesday, February 27, 2007

COLUMN: Funny Valentine

"Romance Ain't Easy," the song goes. And now I've got proof. I've (gulp) met a girl. And, of course, since fate hates me, it couldn't have happened at a worse possible time.

A mutual friend had been trying to set the two of us up for ages, but me being the world class chicken that I am, I balked at every opportunity. Finally my friend had enough of me hemming and hawing around, so she brought this girl down to the club I spin at. And you know what? She's great. She jumped into the DJ booth and requested the Dave Clark Five. I mean, how cool is THAT? She's funny, she's cute, AND a fellow music nerd to boot.

Only one small problem: By the time I finally met her, she had already moved to Chicago and was just back in town visiting. Worse yet, she was literally hours away from moving again... this time to CHINA, where she had an amazing opportunity to teach for half a year. This wasn't just bad timing, Fate was Ashton Kutcher and I was getting Punk'd.

So basically we've spent the past 6 months e-flirting and running through phone cards like mad. Last month, she finally got back to Chicago, and we're just taking it slow and seeing what happens. Neither one of us is in the market for a white picket fence or china patterns. She's got a life, I've got a life, and we're okay with that. All I know is that when our schedules jive and we DO get to hang out, we have a GREAT time together, and what else can a person ask for?

Well, Fate, I'll tell you what else I can ask for: that all of this DIDN'T go down in February, because nothing can wreck a fledling pseudo-relationship quite like the happy nightmare of Valentine's Day.

So what does one DO in a scenario like this? I didn't want to ignore the holiday completely, but this was a hairy situation. I mean, red roses would be COMPLETELY out of the question, right? Roses say, "Yo, baby, I loves you" in a deep Barry White voice kinda way. Roses say commitment. Roses say relationship. I needed something that said, "Hey, I kinda dig you and stuff."

Ergo, I opted for tulips. Not exactly a brainstorm, but a fairly respectable flower nonetheless. In fairness, I won't say WHICH floral delivery website I went to, but let's just pretend they're called something like, oh, Freaking Terrible Deliveries. And, in the sake of saving ink, let's just abbreviate it to FTD.com.

Everything went smooth at first. I found a nice arrangement and placed the order. Then? Nothing. The website froze. No denial, no confirmation, just... nothing. Swell.

Finally, I reset my computer and tried it again. Same thing happened. Their website locked up my browser with no explanation and no flowers. I went to bed and vowed to try it again the next day.

The next morning was Valentine's Eve. I fell out of bed, stumbled to my computer, and opened my e-mail.

"Your order has been confirmed."
"Your order has been confirmed."
"Your order has been confirmed."
"Your order has been confirmed."

FOUR? Noooooooo! One order says I'm a caring and cool dude. FOUR orders says "Howdy, I'm Shane, I'll be your psycho for the afternoon! Please be my creepy Valentine!" This couldn't happen. I had to call right away and cancel the duplicate orders.

"Thanks for calling FTD," the recording said. "Due to the unusually busy time of the year, no one is available to assist you. Please try your call later." Click.

WHAT? It's the busiest week of the year for floral delivery, so let's respond by GIVING UP? You don't hire more staff? Are all of the Happy Valentines of the world dependent on a haggard woman named Glenda, running one switchboard for the entire shebang?

I e-mailed FTD's customer service department with a plea. I was greeted with an auto-reply telling me that they'd take happily care of my problem... within 48 hours. So... that was it, then. It was a fun and flirtateous romp while it lasted, but this girl was hours away from Attack of the Room-o'-Tulips and I was on the fast train to Dumpsville. She might even be ALLERGIC to tulips for all I knew!

I had no options but to wait, teeth clenched, through Valentine's morning. Then I got an e-mail: "You got me flowers?!?!"

I had to do it. I called her up: "Flowers! They're so pretty! Thank you so much!"

"No problem," I said. "Umm, hey, just out of curiosity, how many flowers did I get you?"

Turns out that the folks at FTD.com must have gotten my desperation e-mail, as only ONE order showed up. Still, I had to come clean and make the awkward explanation, "Sooo... if you happen to get any, umm, MORE flowers today, it's, uh, NOT because I'm crazy, 'kay?"

Once I told the story, happily she laughed about it. She's got a great laugh. And as long as its still fun, we're gonna keep flirting away. So you know what, Fate, I WON this round. Sure, you're gonna come back next week and destroy my life as per usual, but this time, I kicked your butt. Maybe romance is easier than I thought, or maybe I just owe Fate a favor.


qc_in_the_diaspora said...

shane, you sound like a sweetie-pie, and i dig your narrative skillz. congrats on sending the flowers!

Emilene said...

Ah, young love! Very cute story! There is definitely a delicate balance between "attentive suitor" and "creepy creepazoid". Well done!

The GUCC said...

Killer story man!

Fate is a tough adversary, and you proved it can create ulcers at the drop of a hat - yet can be managed with skill and focus.

Fate - you can't beat it, you can only hope to contain it.