Meeting (and making) new friends

Yesterday afternoon, I went to DC to meet several local members of the Dooce Community.  Spokeit, a regular commenter here (say hi, everybody) organized it (thank you!), and six of us showed up at Busboys and Poets to hang out (one with baby and brother-in-law in tow).  We talked about everything from ticks to strapless dresses (and puffed sleeves!), and I had a really good time.  I didn’t stay long (about two hours) because I didn’t want to spend most of my last day at home away from John, but I would like to do it again.  Maybe host it next time?  I realized, after I left of course, that even though I brought my camera, I didn’t take a single picture.  I HAVE to get better about that.

Oh, and Spokeit, guess what song was playing on the radio as I left DC?  That’s ri-ight, the ubiquitous (big word points) “Hey, Soul Sister”.  The universe is telling me (and everyone within range of a radio, Sirius or otherwise) to go to the Train concert this summer.

Last thing about yesterday: as I left the restaurant and headed across the street, a guy I’ve never seen before flagged me down and tried to pick me up.  !  He was carrying a couple of cloth Safeway bags full of groceries, and he started chatting me up as we walked down the block.  !!  Was I from around there (no, I told him practically West Virginia), could he have my phone number (“Well, I’m married…” “You’re married?!?”  “… and I was just on my way to pick him up.”), can he call me anyway and we’d just be friends and do I live with my husband (“Of course I live with him.”  “Then I guess I shouldn’t call.”), and then he chatted about the party he was planning for the Lakers game tonight, and then he crossed the street to his apartment building.  And I heaved a sigh of relief because I really don’t know how to handle that kind of situation.  That sounds ridiculous, I know (it’s just talking), but people don’t approach me on the street and start talking unless they need directions or something.  And people certainly don’t hit on me.  Or whatever that was.

And now, let’s add to the list of, shall we say, interesting people I meet on airplanes.  On my flight to Atlanta today, I had an aisle seat in an exit row that only had one other seat (on the window).  A quick glance at my seatmate showed a guy a little older than me, tall, slender, with majorly muscled arms.  (He was wearing a black tank top.)  He was on the phone and was doing that thing some guys do with their voices when they’re talking to women, sort of softening it.  (Did I mention he was good-looking?  He was.  Very.)   Of course I was eavesdropping (it only looked like I was reading), and it sounded like he was talking to his mother.  The flight attendant came by to make sure we were comfortable with the responsibilities that go along with sitting in an exit row, and as she left, he turned to me and said (with a very cute grin), “If it comes to that, I will eat that door.”  It was funny, we laughed, and it turns out he used to be a Marine.  Recon.  Badass.  That helps to explain the tattoos on his arms.  He didn’t seem like your typical macho Marine, though.  He came across more like the perfect sensitive Marine, the ones that only exist in the movies.  He said he was a writer and had recently been published.  What kind of book?  Philosophy.  Oh, and he’s a physical trainer?  I can see that.  And an actor?  Busy guy.  Anything I might have seen?  HBO and The History Channel?  Wow.  And he works for veterans’ groups.  And plans to start a gym in New York that will double as a rehab/counseling center where ex-soldiers conditioned to violence can work on moving past all that.  And apparently, he’s for real.  I wasn’t sure for a while.  He’s this guy.  Also, this guy.  And he’s trying to decide whether he wants to work on a Discovery Channel project next (“One Shot, One Kill” – he was a sniper) or something with Spike TV or one of three other TV projects.  And all of that came AFTER he talked about the training and the killing people and the violent episodes and close calls and how he worries about the guys in his unit who may not have been as strong as he is and can’t break away from the mercenary work they’re doing now that they’re out of the military.  WAY more information (and way more intensely delivered) than I was expecting to take in from a guy I’ve never met before on an hour and a half-long flight to Atlanta.  But he was nice, and he’s got a lot of projects going on, but the ones he seems to take the most seriously are the ones helping his friends and helping veterans.  He was sincere and had been through a lot, and I got off the plane wanting to help him (after I talked to John to hash out how strange the whole experience was).  Oh.  Oh!  How could I leave this part out?  So he’s worked with HBO (he played himself in “Generation Kill”, which started as a book by a reporter who was embedded with his unit in Iraq), and he’s met Ridley Scott and he’s done work in England and HE’S FRIENDS WITH EMMA THOMPSON!  He was her personal trainer for a bit.  How cool is that?  I’m two degrees away (or is that one?) from Emma Thompson!