Kissing Poll

It’s February, there’s the 14th. I’m still trying to decide if I’m one of those people who embrace the obnoxiousness of Valentine’s Day.

Sometimes I keep my eye open during prayers. I may bow my head for the first few seconds during a group supplication, but then I start looking at people and their earnest faces. They’re really intent on listening to the words of the prayer and I’m impressed and inspired by the collective faith of the group.

Now sometimes I open my eyes during kisses.

I’m not comparing prayer to kisses. I’m just saying there are two examples of when I open my eyes when my eyes are supposed to be closed.

As with prayers (still not comparing), I used to keep my eyes closed during kisses. I’m talking about the romantic ones you see on tv and the movies where the people close their eyes for entire seconds before lips meet. And then their eyes stay closed after the kiss is over. And then the people look into each other’s eyes and smile.

I thought that’s how kissing was supposed to be.

Sometimes it’s that way, but then I discovered that I could open my eyes. And that makes it a different experience. It seems that the instant my lids shut my other senses heighten. As if I’m actually blind, and I can hear/taste/smell/feel everything to an exponentially elevated degree. But how would I know that if I didn’t also try kissing with my eyes open?

Granted, it’s nice to close my eyes and let myself get lost in the moment, to enjoy this physical bond that represents deeper emotions and attachments. But there’s something about keeping my eyes open. I like being able to watch Reilly’s closed eyes.

(Sorry, Reilly. [We are generally very against public displays of affection but this blog post seems to contradict that principle. But really, you’ve only seen us kissing in pictures. And at our wedding. And a quick peck when he drops me off for work. {It’s only ever quick pecks when we’re outside our home.} That’s it. And we don’t kiss on BYU campus because we’re having too much fun laughing at the collective slobber-swapping that goes on over there.])

With my eyes open during a kiss, I like being able to see Reilly enjoy the moment, to focus on the kiss itself, to epitomize present-mindedness. There’s something very Zen about kissing. At least the kind of kissing that I’m talking about. It makes me smile. With the smiling, there’s the sensing of the smile. With the sensing of the smile, there’s the desire to maintain the smile. Which prolongs the kiss. Which I don’t object to.

So . . . I’ve achieved my blush quota for today. Now it’s poll time! Don’t worry, voting is anonymous.

Alpine Loop Drive

Around this time last year, about a week later, Reilly took me on a drive through the Alpine Loop. I was hoping — hoping — that he would kiss me for the first time on this date. We wound around the mountain, the vibrant colors jumped at our eyes and danced with the setting sun. We got out of the car and stood together on an overlook.

He gave me a hug and put his arm around me, then . . . nothing. After watching the sun set, we got back into the car, went to JCW’s for a burger, then we went back to his place where we listened to some music and watched Breaking Bad. So, not a complete loss.

Reilly later explained how scared he was that evening. He really wanted to, but he couldn’t, because he was too nervous.

We drove the Alpine Loop last night. The car climbed the winding road through the aspens, up the back side of Mount Timpanogos. On the descent toward American Fork, we stopped at a parking lot for one of the main overlooks. It was the same place we stood last year, right when I was expecting that first kiss. We took some photos, we made fun of things — particularly the beautiful family that was getting professional portraits taken — and we looked at the halo the sun formed behind the peak nearest to us.

Before we got back into the car, Reilly leaned down and kissed me gently on the lips. Confidently. Without hesitation. I asked him if that’s how he would have done it last year. He said maybe, except that he would have also pooped his pants. Yes, he said, “pooped.” And of course it perfectly describes his level of nervousness so many years ago. Which is less than one.

He’s exceeded all my hopes.

Here are some photos we took. The leaves turned early this year, and I was afraid the colors would have faded too much. They were much brighter two weeks ago, and many of the leaves have fallen to the ground. Fortunately, the Alpine Loop is almost always beautiful, except when there are fires. People, don’t start fires.

He and I have become very good at adding and subtracting 7.

Look, blog post! Please forgive.

More than two months ago — it was the end of August — I was walking home from Sunday dinner at a friend’s, and my ward prayer was happening outside. I had just moved in to a new ward and was starting to get to  know people. I turned down a potluck invitation from a new friend because I already told the other friend I’d come to dinner. And as I approached this ward prayer crowd, I wondered if I would see this new friend and ask him about leftovers. I saw a girl I met earlier that day, and we decided together to try to meet new people. I asked if anyone else knew about the potluck, and somebody — I don’t remember who — told me to ask some name I don’t remember, that he was a bald guy standing with another cluster of talking people.

So, I moseyed over to the neighboring circle of strangers and asked the bald guy if he knew about the potluck. He didn’t. But while I was talking to him, I decided to get to know him.

He told me his name is Reilly. We ended up having a decent conversation about books and movies and music. We talked about the Borders going-out-of-business sale, and he told me about the biannual Salt Lake City Public Library sale, where paperbacks are fifty cents and hardcovers are a dollar. And that usually happens in October. He said he’d amassed quite a few books in the past few months, and I told him I’d like to see his book collection sometime. He seemed a little hesitant at the idea.

Recently he told me that he thought I was 20 when we first met.

We went to the Real Salt Lake City soccer game that following Saturday.

And I did go over to look at this books. And the songs on his iTunes.

Over the weeks, I’ve made hints about my age to him, because that’s what I do:

-living more than 6.5 years in New York City after some time at BYU in 2002
-being about 6 years older than my brother
-seeing certain movies in the theater, like Back to the Future and A League of Their Own
-saying that I was in 7th grade when Ted Bundy was executed, at the state prison, about an hour away from where I lived
-etc.

Then a couple weeks ago, we were on our way to stand in line at the Velour for a concert. We ran into some classmates that I know from Senegal, and they were nice enough to let us cut in front of them in line. These classmates are now officially a couple, after quasi-sneaking their way around dating during the last couple of weeks of the trip. The girl was my roommate, and I told Reilly that they happened to put the Floridians in the same room, who also happened to be the oldest and youngest students. Then I remarked that three birthdays of people on the trip were in the month of May and there was a party, and I observed that I was closer in age to the professor whose birthday was also that month than most of the other students.

Except for the Skabelunds. They’re old. 😉

He says our ages don’t matter.

I’m glad for this.

Complaints You Could Skip

Two strangers are sleeping in this house right now. The one downstairs is friends of one of the girls downstairs. Her name is Emily, and she seems friendly. Or at least nice enough.

The one on my floor is a friend of my roommate. I haven’t formally met her, because when I came out of my room last night, she was sleeping on a cot in the living room.

The one downstairs has been staying since Saturday, I think. On Sunday night she was talking really loudly on her cell phone to someone in her family. I was trying to watch television, and I had to switch on subtitles. Which I completely understand isn’t a crisis, but I was annoyed. She spoke slowly, almost with the slightest deliberate pauses. Between. Each. Word. She was discussing her options for church. She could try going to a family ward, but then her current bishop told her about an older singles ward. And she told whomever she was talking to that she’d probably try the singles ward because she’d have a better chance of getting dates.

It’s not eavesdropping if she’s in community space speaking loudly enough for the neighbors to hear.

Well, good for her for persisting with and hoping for dates.

I’m containing a rant right now.

Another day, folks.

But sometimes, sometimes I really hate this culture.

I hope these guests leave soon so I can invite my much cooler friends to hang out and play.

That is all.

I Should Love Abdoulaye Wade

This thought kept crossing my mind during church today, all three hours, in between wanting to pull my hair out and silently disagreeing with everything everyone was saying. And, in between texts. Yes, during church. Judge me already.

This thought surprised me, and I struggled with it.

I’m struggling with it.

A Little Text Savvy

Me, to a guy friend:  Would any of your hot [distinguishing quality] friends be interested in going out?

Guy friend: They will have to ask their wives or [girlfriends]? There might be one though. Why who is asking?

Me: Just me. I haven’t been on a date in a while. 🙂

Guy friend: Well, we can fix that in a few weeks. This [sic] next two weeks are pretty intense.

Me: You’re a stud. Good luck with everything the next couple of weeks.

Now all I need to do is find someone to go out with in the meantime.

Small Request

I know I don’t talk to a lot of you on a regular basis, and sometimes the conversation goes a certain way. Most of the time. You know what I mean. I’ve been having this kind of discussion for 18 years, ever since I was old enough to date?

If you decide to ask me if I’m dating anyone, just be aware that I will know:

  1. if you’re merely curious
  2. if you are concerned about my overall happiness and would meddle if you could
  3. if you want to brag about your current amazing relationship, which, if you’d just tell me already, I’d be very excited for you.

Now, I can hold up my end of the conversation, and my intuition serves me well. I may call you out on your intentions, or I may not. But please also be aware that:

  1. if I want to tell you if I’m dating, I will
  2. if I’m not dating, it doesn’t mean I’m sad or pathetic
  3. I really do appreciate your company, but if I’m not outright complaining about dating, you really don’t have to worry or try to fix anything. I’m doing great. I promise.

Thanks.