Hello, my name is Brian and I'm a habitual opportunity misser. In my life I have no dearth of "I should have..." stories and the overwhelming majority of my missed opportunities are with the opposite sex. I should have gotten her name. I should have gotten her email. I should have asked her out. I should have kissed her. I believe this stems chiefly from the fact that I generally view women as people first and objects of desire second, where I'm fairly certain the average male brain is wired in the opposite direction. Actually I shouldn't say average because I know a fair amount of guys who suffer from the same affliction. Most women will tell you that this is a more desirable frame of mind and I tend to agree that it is in the long run, but in my experience it is often a hindrance to making the bold, confident displays of affection or even displays of mere interest that women tend to be impressed by. This is not to say I lack confidence, it just doesn't occur to me to make confident displays until the moment has passed, thus the missed opportunity.
I went out this afternoon to go grab a coffee, some gelato and to read the issue of Paste magazine that I had bought weeks ago, but since that time had done little other than sit on my end table. My destination was a cafe I saw yesterday near the place that Dave, Zane, Martin, AZ and I had gone to lunch. It wasn't anything special, but the lure of gelato and going someplace new was reason enough to head out. As with most Saturday's I had made a list of things I needed to pick up at the HEB supermarket I frequent over on Red River and 41st and after I had finished at the cafe I drove in that general direction, taking a roundabout route down Lamar then taking 24th to Guadalupe, Dean Keenan, and finally Red River. I arrived at the HEB, parked in my usual row and walked towards the entrance. As I did so I noticed a not unattractive woman on the opposite side of the row from me with strawberry blond hair, about my age, pushing a cart up the row as I walked down. I noticed her in the way you notice any random person in a parking lot and didn't think twice about it until she said "Nice shirt."
I did a quick double take as my brain discerned the voice had come from the woman with the cart on the opposite side of the row and quickly tried to remember which shirt I was wearing that day. As I turned her way I recalled that I was wearing my forgetters t-shirt and did another mental double take as I processed the likelihood of randomly running to another Blake Schwarzenbach fan in an HEB parking lot in Austin Texas.
"Thanks" I said, after which she asked me if I had actually seen them play. I responded that I had seen them when they were in town a few months ago and she replied with obvious jealousy and mentioned how she'd been considering driving to Florida to see them at the Harvest of Hope festival next week, but that this was obviously a crazy idea. We talked for another minute or two regarding the hope that forgetters would be recording soon and not go the way of Blake's previous defunct project the Thorns of Life. I mentioned that I thought it was going into the studio that had done Thorns in, she mentioned something about J. Robbins and how there was no way him being the producer could have been the cause.
Let's pause for a moment.
So not only did she know forgetters, as well as Blake's previous band (and likely Jets to Brazil and Jawbreaker as well) she knew offhand that J. Robbins was to produce Thorns of Life's album and she knew who J. Robbins was to begin with. For those of you who don't know, Blake Schwarzenbach was the frontman of Jawbreaker, an influential punk/emo/indie band from the 90's. After Jawbreaker broke up, Blake fronted Jets to Brazil, one of my all-time favorite bands. Jets broke up several years ago, then last year Blake resurfaced with a band called Thorns of Life that played a few shows then quickly fizzled when they went to record their album. A few months later Blake resurfaced again with his current band forgetters (no 'The', no capital 'F'). J. Robbins was the frontman for the seminal (post)punk DC outfit Jawbox, after which he fronted a band called Burning Airlines and most recently a band called Channels with his wife. Robbins is also well known as a producer and over the last 5 years I've been working my way backwards through his career from Channels to Jawbox. These guys are a big deal to me in music, so to have a conversation with anyone who gets that it pretty cool.
Anyway, after our 2 minutes of conversation she excused herself and we went our separate ways. About 30 seconds after that I realized I missed my opportunity. I had several "ins" not the least of which would have been "have you heard any of the forgetters stuff on the internet? I've got a bunch at home, give me you email and I can hook you up." The same could have been done in regards to J. Robbins and his recent acoustic set online. It simply does not occur to me however to make these connections in the middle of a conversation. Literally, the thoughts going through my brain are more along the lines of "oh cool, another forgetters fan" or "I should probably wrap this up, I don't want to take too much of this person's time." I'm not wired to think "I'm talking to an attractive woman who likes the same things I do, I should take advantage of this." The conversation I had with this woman was virtually the same conversation I would have had with a dude who had commented on my shirt and when thinking about it that way it's just pathetic. This is why I'm single and hopeless. This is why most nice guys are single and hopeless. There need to be classes to deal with this kind of thing and not that bull shit pickup artist nonsense. I have no problem talking to women, I just need a reaction time adjustment.
If you subscribe to the theory that for every decision we don't make, there is a universe where we did, then there is a universe somewhere in which I got this woman's email and we live happily ever after. In this universe where that didn't happen, I went home I wrote a blog about it. I mean it's honestly not the end of the world, for all I know she's a staunch conservative who just happens to like liberal punk music and all we'd do would be to argue while still agreeing that Jets to Brazil's final album contains some of Blake's best lyrics ever written. I don't believe in true love or that there's one person for everyone, but I'd at least like to have gotten in a position to screw things up with this woman as opposed to not even having the chance. Now she's probably going to end up with some douche who listens to Nickelback, but who unlike me is wired to make a move at the right time as opposed to several minutes after it's too late.