all my best lines are his.

i’ve been hanging out with this girl for the past few weeks. initially we agreed to meet at seven pm, the actual day being unimportant. during our third meeting we finally achieved that arbitrary goal, seven pm, i said triumphantly while pointing at a clock.

she was outraged that i’d never eaten uncrustables (they don’t make your child better at piano or soccer, but they do make taking them to lessons or practice less hectic) before (to avoid further repercussions, i’ve kept hidden the fact that i’ve only eaten a handful of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in my lifetime). i’ve since had three flavors (in descending taste order): strawberry jam and peanut butter, grape jam and peanut butter, and grilled cheese. i still think i could make a better version than smucker’s, if only because i remain unconvinced that putting that name on a product means it has to be good.

she keeps a little zoo in her apartment: a rambunctious dog, a tailess cat, and two giant tanks full of fish. she gave away a ferret who lived there before i came around. she often tells me that i’d be happier if i had an animal companion. while i’ll admit that her dog is one of my favorite dogs out there, i still have an uneasy relationship with pets. that is, i’m afraid to have them rely on someone who is so loosely tethered to the world.

before she invites me over, she apologizes in advance for the messiness. sometimes i fill an empty box of miller lite (that’s our beer) with shredded paper towels and other debris. sometimes i move bowls to the sink and rinse them quickly with water. this doesn’t bother me as i understand that others live by different guidelines than i do, though it was difficult to keep that in mind when i saw the inside of the microwave she hadn’t cleaned in four years. still, considering i once spent a week living with someone who was likely schizophrenic, whose kitchen sink was filled with trash and bathtub looked like it had been used to cook — and burn — eggs, this wasn’t a major concern.

i had watched dan in real life early the day we met and, against my better judgment, it resonated with me for a little while. i told her, as steve carrell’s fictional character had written in a fictional book, that i wouldn’t hold her past against her (likewise her present and future though that went unverbalized, mostly because i didn’t have a movie from which to paraphrase) after she presented a story about self-operation that included buying medical supplies (clamps, anesthetic, gauze, et cetera) from canada. there was a lot of blood and pain as the anesthetic wore off, but everything turned out well. it was the best thing i’ve ever done, she said. again, i should let dan speak for me — instead of telling our young people to plan ahead, we should tell them to plan to be surprised — as he has a syndicated newspaper column, and i just have this blog.

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