Pretty Normal

Last night I went out to dinner with an old friend. I was very much looking forward to it because we were going to a place that I had never been before and one of my favorite old coworkers would be taking care of us so I was already set up for success.

Everything was fantastic.
Great food.
Great wine.
Great service.
Great company.

But the most fascinating experience was an exchange I had with the table of men that were sitting behind us. Here’s my account of what happened.

My friend went to the bathroom and left me solo.
I like being alone.
I am good at being alone.
Maybe I should be alone for a bit.
These men behind me saw a young, attractive woman sitting alone
and it must’ve really been interesting to them because I could feel them staring at me.

I turned around in my seat, looked right at them and raised my glass.
Cheers, guys.
I see you.

That was all it took to open the door.
I asked them what they were drinking.
They asked me where I was from because that was important and
once it became clear that I wasn’t going to tell them, 
they were obsessed with trying to guess my ethnicity.

I love this ridiculous game and I have gotten really good at it.
Because if you don’t know, you will have a very hard time guessing.

It’s one of my favorite games to play.
Because I get to make the rules.
I tell my tables at work that I will pick up their entire check if they can guess.
They love the challenge.
It also infuriates people when they keep guessing wrong.
They also are not satisfied when I tell them I’m from Florida.
“But where are you really from?”
I told you, “I’m from Florida.”
Why aren’t you satisfied?
Because you asked the wrong question?
That’s on you.

So I lay out the rules.
The prize will be a bottle of wine.
They get 10 guesses to figure out my ethnicity.
Because that’s what you really want to know right?
What makes me look the way I do?
Someone at their table agrees.
My date is still in the bathroom while this is going down.
I am a lone agent.
A lone.
Alone.
See what I did there?

Now the game is afoot.
Persian.
Portuguese.
Chinese.
Lebanese.
Turkish.
Greek.
Italian. 
I already told you I wasn’t Italian, are you listening?
Although I am certain that I was Italian in a previous life.

They are having trouble as I expect.
This goes on much longer than it needs to.
They’re just guessing randomly now.
But it’s fun to challenge people.
I live to challenge people.

They ask me to give them a hint.
Why would I help you?
Is it in my best interest to help you?
No.
In fact, I want you to lose.
I want a bottle of wine.

The game escalates and one of the men says I can pick any bottle I want if I tell them.
You will regret saying that.

By the time my date returns, I am done playing.
I don’t even care about the bottle of wine anymore.
Because you see, I bought my own bottle of wine.
And it was really good.
I didn’t actually need another.
I gave them plenty of chances.
They lost.

I inform them that the game is over and I ask to see the wine list.
They want more time.
They want me to help them.
They want to win.

I remind them that they lost and based on what we agreed to earlier, my next bottle is on them.
You said it, not me.
You told me I could pick any bottle I want.
Oh, you didn’t really mean it?
That’s funny.
Why would you ever agree to something that you don’t want to do?
I would never make a bet if I wasn’t ready to settle up.

One of the men seemed the most invested in puzzling me together.
So I called him over and I told him.

To say he was humbled/fascinated/intrigued feels like an understatement.
He was so impressed that he said I could order whatever I wanted.
I decided just a round for me and my date with dessert would suffice.
Because that’s not as much of a commitment as a bottle?
What would’ve happened if I let them buy me a bottle?
I would’ve ended up sharing it with them.
I would’ve gotten to know them more.
That’s not what I wanted.
I got exactly what I wanted.
You think I should’ve made them buy me the bottle?
Why?

I don’t even remember what my prize was because it didn’t matter to me.
It was sparkling and delicious, that’s all that I remember.
It was everything I wanted in that moment.
I got what I wanted.
Why can’t that be my life?
Oh wait, this is my life.

It was a very enlightening conversation and I hope I taught those men something.
Maybe they will realize one day, that it really doesn’t matter where someone is from.
What they really were trying say maybe was, “We’ve never seen anybody like you.”
Of course you haven’t. 
We’ve only just met.

They taught me something too.
How exciting.

This is pretty normal for me now.
This is my life.

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