09 May 2012

on a treasure hunt {part 2}

So as we learned in part 1, there was this guy who followed me from one store to another in downtown Glen Ellyn—all to tell me I'm pretty. I realize the "following me" part makes it sound slightly stalkerish, but I promise it wasn't as creepy as it potentially sounds.


Treasure House Man: So...can I have your number?
Me: My number? Really? How about you give me yours?


I like to think this was me being a modern day Elizabeth Bennet, not that she had a telephone, let alone a smart phone, but I think, given the opportunity, she would've told Mr. Darcy: "Can you call on me? No. But I'll call on you when and if I desire. POWER SHIFT. Bam."

She probably wouldn't have said bam.

Also, I may not get hit on all the time, but I know enough not to go handing out my number willy nilly. I mean, I once got propositioned in an elevator in Las Vegas; if I can make it out of that situation, I can certainly avoid giving away too much personal information in a shabby chic decorating shop in the suburbs of Chicago.

Treasure House Man: Okay, we can do it that way. Do you have a pen?
Me: Um, no.

I know: I'm a terrible writer. We're supposed to carry pens and Moleskin notebooks at all times, ready for when inspiration strikes, but I forgot, okay? I thought I was going armchair shopping with a friend, not arranging coffee dates.

Speaking of my friend, she spoke up here.

Elizabeth: I can help!

Oh, bless her. For many reasons, including that she laughs at the same things I do and loves France more than I do, but in this instance: bless her for her iPhone.

This was, actually, the first time I'd looked at Elizabeth during this entire conversation with the Treasure House Man. I was sure, as he said things like "pretty" and I said things like "robot," that if I looked at her, my eyes would grow big enough to be frightening as I tried to communicate silently: OMG, can you believe this is happening? Can you give me some sign that this is real? Do you think I should meet him for coffee? Is this bizarre or the beginning of a romantic comedy? Speaking of that, do you think there are hidden cameras around here?

We women might try to convey too much with one glance; despite the fact that we are very, very good friends, I don't think Elizabeth would've picked up on all of that. She probably would've looked back at me like this: Look at him! Not at me! What is wrong with you? Do you have something in your eye?

Treasure House Man: [Tells Elizabeth his phone number and she taps it in as a note. He looks at me the whole time.]
Me: [internal monologue] WHY IS HE STARING? Oh right, because he thinks you're pretty. Smile. Not too big. Yeah, smaller than that. Get it together, Walker.
Treasure House Man: So...it was good to meet you.
Me: Good to meet you, too.

And he walked out of the overpriced store.

Even before the door clicked shut, a woman popped her head around the corner. If Hollywood were trying to represent the perfect suburban mom in 2012—if they really wanted to make sure they got it right so that 50 years from now, people watching the movie would say, "Oh, I see what life was like back then"—they would film this woman.

Ballet flats, cropped pants, a wedding ring the size of Lake Michigan.

Not a hair was messed up, despite the fact that it was raining out and she was carrying a very trendy cloche hat: the woman can wear a hat and still have her hair look like the 2012 version of Donna Reed.

Slightly Unnervingly Perfect Glen Ellyn Mom: Oh, honey, I'm so flattered on your behalf! That was so amazing to overhear.
Me: Oh my word, I know! Can you believe it?
Slightly Unnervingly Perfect Glen Ellyn Mom: No! I mean, look at you! You aren't even dressed to be hit on!

By this, I assume she meant: You aren't even wearing a cloche hat and ballet flats, like me!

And it's true that I wasn't looking my best: I'd spent part of the morning picking up trash along the Prairie Path, the running path that goes through my town. Every year around Earth Day, there's a trash pick up day, and since I use the path so much, I like to help.

I'm so eco-friendly, but I wasn't exactly pretty clothes-friendly that day. I had on a puffy vest, people.

And a hoodie.

And tennis shoes. The tennis shoes are from France, though, I'd like to point out. At least part of me looked trendy.

I hadn't showered, I had on no make-up, and I'm pretty sure I had brushed my teeth.

Me: I know! Look at me!
Slightly Unnervingly Perfect Glen Ellyn Mom: Gosh, I'm married, but I might go next door to see what kind of compliments I can get.

You should probably leave your cloche hat here, I wanted to say. Clearly Treasure House Man is looking for someone with a less put together look.


Elizabeth and I didn't spend much longer looking at overpriced decorations.

"I need to sit down," I told her. "We need to process this, debrief this, analyze this, and we can't do that here."

That was partially because of the Unnervingly Perfect Glen Ellyn Mom—and partially because everywhere you saw to sit down {paisley armchairs, teal wingbacks, floral loveseats} was covered in tea trays and trinkets, all arranged to look as if you'd just thrown the display together in your shabby chic cottage by the sea.

A bonus lesson from the day: I am not a shabby chic person.


Elizabeth and I processed, debriefed, and analyzed in a cafe just down the street. That double shot of espresso very much calmed me down, and we came up with an action plan: I would call him the next day.

And that's just what I did—

The next day after a nap {to boost my energy because seriously, it was this gray, rainy weekend that sucked all my normal perkiness} and many pep talks {to channel that energy}, I called him, the man who perhaps was a treasure from the Treasure House.

Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone when your only point of reference for them is "Um, you followed me into a store in downtown Glen Ellyn and um, also, you think I'm pretty"?

It's a challenge, but he turned out to be a not-so-bad conversationalist. An excerpt from our conversation:

Treasure House Man: So, what are you up to tonight?
Me: I'm going to watch this BBC show called River Cottage with some friends. Do you know it?
Treasure House Man: I don't know that one, but I do love British shows, especially Downton Abbey.


We probably should've made plans to elope right there on the phone; preferably it would've been an elopement to England, where we could spend our honeymoon at the real Downton Abbey.


Instead, we made plans to have coffee one evening after work.

I scheduled it for just before Bible study {always smart to have a defined timeline when meeting someone for the first time}, and now you can start placing bets on whether:
  • I had such a wonderful time that I skipped small group
  • I had such a terrible time that I lied and said that small group was at 7:00, or even 6:45. No, I am not above using the Bible to get out of uncomfortable situations.
  • I had a magnificent time but still made it to small group, where I wasn't able to focus on the Gospel of Matthew because really, what's the Gospel in comparison to a guy who makes his own custom tools in the shape of robots?

I'll tell you the answer soon enough.

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