Thought Catalog
May 16, 2017

What Not To Say To The Cute Guy At The Coffee Shop

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What is the issue?
Elizabeth Tsung

Wow. He is terribly cute, like really cute. And he definitely just looked up at me. Wait, did he just look up again? He has to be looking at someone behind me. Nope, no one behind me.

Okay, your acting like a teenager. Just go get a coffee and stop staring at him.

I could just go talk to him. What is the worst that could happen? He could actually ask me out, that’s what could happen. And then I would actually have to talk to him. That would go over well. I could just simply go down the list of all the ways I have made a complete mess out of my life. But maybe he likes messy. Or maybe I could just steer the conversation away from anything that has to do with me and at least get a second date out of it.

Scenario one.

“So I see you in the coffee shop a lot, what do you do?”

What do I do?

Um… let’s maybe not talk about me just yet if that is okay. My life is actually really boring right now. Nothing out of the norm has happened at all. No divorce, no heart break or financial ruin or emotional meltdowns. Just, you know, normal, everyday stuff.

I’d much rather hear about you. What do you do?

That’s what I’ll do. I’ll just spend two hours asking him about him. That could work, right? Unless he is boring. Then I’m screwed. But if that is the case, I’ll have no problem filling him in on why it is exactly that I am standing in line at a coffee shop rehearsing what I might say to someone who there is no way I’m going to talk to.

But what if he isn’t boring? What if he is cute AND interesting? Shit, okay, so no details about anything post-divorce. All I have to do is avoid all questions and refrain from crying for two hours. I’ve totally got this.

Scenario Two.

But what if he probes further?

“But you have to give me something. You said you just moved back to Denver. From where? Why did you move back?”

Um. Why did I move back…

You want to hear something weird? I kind of like the smell of sewers. Not that I think they smell good necessarily, but they remind me of this place I stayed in Mexico. A long time ago, when I was actually happy. I like Mexico, but it isn’t really my favorite. I much prefer Colombia. The unfortunate thing about those places though, is that my hair gets really frizzy in humid climates. So you can’t take any pictures of me, but I’ll take pictures of you. Not that I’m saying we are going to any foreign countries together. But they do say traveling is the best way to find out if you should marry someone or not. Oh god, that’s not what I meant, I’m not saying that we are getting married. I mean, it’s only our first date.

Wait, you aren’t married are you? I ask because that seems to be a trend of mine lately that I would prefer not to repeat. Not that I go around looking for married men. But I mean really, everyone our age is getting a divorce, or at least trying to. That is what happened to me. He was trying to get a divorce, he was definitely going to get a divorce. But then he changed his mind.

(Shit, abort… definitely post-divorce.)

Speaking of hair, I cut my hair like Jennifer Anniston’s once, when she had it short. I look terrible with short hair. It makes my features look out of proportion, my nose mainly. I actually ran into her once at the health food store, Jennifer. We were at the salad bar, each going for the last dolma. I took it from her. Retribution for the bad haircut.

Friends is the only sitcom I’ve seen in its entirety, besides West Wing, which is definitely more my thing. I don’t really like watching TV to be honest, or going to the movies. Which is bizarre sense I moved to L.A. to become an actress. I do sometimes watch soap operas, though, but only in Spanish. They are kind of educational really, and sometimes it’s better than complete silence. The reality is they make me feel like my life isn’t that fucked up. I mean, at least my evil twin sister didn’t come back from the dead and try to steal my identity, my husband, and my newborn child. It makes moving to Texas for a guy who changed his mind a week after I got there just seem like a bad day. The problem is, they remind me that I moved to Texas for a guy who changed his mind a week after I got there, and then they just make cry.
I cried when he was elected, right after he won Florida. I just started crying. Another bonus of living in Texas, I had to endure the entire campaign completely surrounded by Republicans. Wait, you aren’t a Republican are you?

(Shit, okay post-divorce and politics. Subject change, please.)

I hate the feeling of unfinished wood. You know, like when you get down to the last bite on a popsicle stick, or when you’re at the doctor’s office and they stick that tongue depressor thing down your throat. I have seriously almost thrown up. I still do sometimes when I try to read anything while in motion. I actually had a girl throw up on me once when I was in the Congo. I was crammed into this tiny car packed full of about 15 Congolese. I was already so nauseous and just trying to get through the six hour drive without getting sick. Out of nowhere, the driver slams on his breaks and crams two more people in the car. The little girl had to basically sit on my lap so that all four of us could fit in the front seat. She lasted about 30 minutes, and then she threw up. I somehow managed to refrain from doing the same for the last 3 hours of our trip. It was truly pure survival. Had I thrown up because she threw up, I would have thrown up on her. So I would have had her throw up on me and mine on her with her on my lap.

Yes, I lived in the Congo for six months, the Democratic Republic of Congo actually. I was trying to save the chimps. I’m not sure I did much good, but you have to try, right? I am trying to save the elephants too, and the pangolins. I pretty much want to save all animals, everywhere. Except Praying Mantis, I don’t want to save those. I’m not saying I would kill them necessarily, I just wouldn’t try to save them if their entire species was about to be wiped out.

There was one that would sit outside my window when I was little, right above my goldfish bowl. I think he wanted to eat him, my goldfish. But my cat ate him instead. I walked in as she was licking her paws, the very paws she used to scoop him out of the bowl and eat him with. Chester. That was his name. Although I’m not quite sure how I came to the conclusion that he was a boy. Anyway, I looked everywhere to try to find him, hoping he had maybe slipped out of her paws and landed on the floor. But he was nowhere to be found, only a piece of ground beef that fell out of the burrito I had eaten earlier. So I buried it. I buried my burrito. Kinda sad, huh?

Clowns make me sad. I always thought they chose to be clowns so they could paint a smile on their face and make everyone believe they weren’t really sad. Old couples holding hands though, they make me happy. I always stare at them longer than I should, wondering if they are truly in love.

I do believe in true love, although I think most people don’t have the patience or courage to experience it. I believe too, that when someone you love dies, they come back every once in a while to make sure you are okay. Angels in disguise- a ladybug that lands on your hand, or a stray dog that you are able to coax out of a busy street, a rustle in the trees when there is no breeze, or a whisper that touches your check when there is no one around to speak. Magic, in essence. I believe in magic.

I want to be one of those old couples holding hands someday, to have found my person to grow old with. It would be nice to find my person sooner than later, like preferably now. Well, not like right now, right now. I’m not saying you are the person I want to grow old with. Not that I wouldn’t want you to be that person. But I mean, it is only our first date.

If we do decide to grow old together, I hope you can cook, because I’m terrible at it. I can if I have to, but it’s not pretty. I’m really just fine eating cold leftovers. Oh, and whipped cream. I think whipped cream should be considered its own food group and we should all be encouraged to eat at least 3-5 servings a day.

Oh, and one last thing. You should know that I tell little white lies sometimes. It’s just that sometimes a minor fabrication makes a story so much better. But the story about Chester, that really happened. There truly is a piece of a burrito buried somewhere in the backyard. And the little girl in the Congo, that was unfortunately not a fabrication either.

“Hi, excuse me, I think it’s your turn to order.”

“Sorry? Oh, right. Sorry, I was completely lost in a conversation I was having with myself. Well actually, it was with you, which I can’t believe I just said out loud. It didn’t go very well, though. It was kind of a disaster.

You know what, I don’t think I need coffee right now. I’ve already had like five cups. I don’t even really like the coffee here. Not that you won’t like it. I’m sure it tastes good to people who have never had good coffee. Not that you haven’t had good coffee, or maybe you don’t even drink coffee and you are getting tea. If you do decide on coffee though, get the one from Colombia. I liked it better than the one from Mexico.

Right, so you probably want to actually order your coffee, which I’m sure will be really good. Actually, that’s a lie. It won’t be. It’s terrible. God, and whatever you do, don’t grab the stirrers on your way out. They are made out of that unfinished wood, you know, like that tongue compressor thing they stick down your throat at the doctor’s office. It makes me nauseous just thinking about it.

Okay, I really just need to stop talking. Enjoy whatever you decide on. You should get them to put whipped cream on it. You can never have enough whipped cream. TC mark

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