Friday, 21 September 2012

So guess who I bumped into at the NY Surf film festival

I went to see a couple of screenings at the NY Surf Film Festival on Wednesday night, held at the Nitehawk Cinema in Williamsburg, a fabulous little cinema that shows cool movies AND serves you food and booze at your seat.  Life doesn't get much better than that.

In case you are wondering a surf film festival does NOT play Point Break on a loop as pondered by my lovely friend Deesha!!  Seriously Deesha!!!  Eyeroll!! No, the films they show are more like documentaries with some amazing surfing and beautiful scenery thrown in.  I think that I'd love them even if I wasn't a surfer in training.  This trailer for Taylor Steele's Here And Now will give you an insight into what to expect from a surf film festival.

I went to the film festival with my friend Melissa, a non-surfer, and Kim, a member of my kook posse.  We had tickets for 2 films, one a short and then a second hour long feature, which were both showing in the same theater.  We asked the people in charge if there would be a problem staying put between movies.  Not a problem for the film festival organizers although later when I popped out to the loo the cinema management got a bit overwrought about it. Lighten up people.

I held off the booze for the first film and had a ginger ale along with my fish tacos, but in the 30-minute wait between screenings it ran right through me and I knew I wouldn't make it through the second film without a trip to the loo, so I walked out to the bar/lobby area and saw that there was a 4-person long line for the loo - just one frigging bathroom what the hell is that about?  It was quite busy out there and there was a guy in a checked shirt between me and the end of the line.  I didn't realize initially but he was 
taking a photo of his friends.  I would have waited if I'd known, but I thought he was just stood there facing away from me so I said excuse me and did that squeeze by thing where you touch someone on the arm in a "sorry for squeezing through" maneuver to let them know you don't mean to be rude as you gently push by them.  I join the end of the loo line 1-2 feet behind Checked Shirt Guy and he moves forward to stand near the bar with his back to me.

There was something familiar about that back.

He looks an awful lot like.....

He turns his head to talk to his friend and....

Omigod, the Creative FRIGGING Cutie!!!  

Can you effing believe it!!!!!  

I know, you are probably thinking "who"?  So here's a somewhat quick recap of my history with the Creative Cutie.

Picture it, the summer of 2010 - I *KNOW* I've had this crush wayyyyy too long - there I am innocently walking to the bathrooms at work which were at the central area of the squared off c-shaped building I worked on. The central area had this massive picture window that looked out onto midtown Manhattan and just in front of this central area was a ping pong table.  On this particular occasion there were two guys playing a game and as I walked passed them to the ladies room one of them stopped to turn around and stare at me.

"What the fuck is he staring at?" I thought, "do I have something on my face, do I have bird shit in my hair, has my mascara run down my face, is one of my buttons open?  Oh God, are my boobs hanging out?  Seriously, why is he staring?"

I know, it sounds ridiculous, but that's honestly the train of thought that goes through my head when a man stares at me.  I've canvassed a number of my friends about this same situation and an unscientific poll leads me to believe that 50% of all women think "what's wrong with me?" when faced with a similar situation.  I've heard men think differently when you stare at them, that they almost always assume you are staring because you are attracted to them.  Not true.  I stare at men for all sorts of reasons: they might remind me of someone I know, I think I know them but can't remember their name - this happens a lot more as you age - I like the shirt they are wearing and wonder where I could find one for my Dad.  I was going to say that sometimes I stare because I find them attractive, but in those situations I find it hard to stare for long.  

As soon as I made it passed them into the sanctuary of the ladies room I immediately scrutinized myself in the mirror for something amiss.  Of course there was nothing wrong with me.

Over the next few weeks I would leave my desk to either pop to the loo or attend a meeting on the other side of the floor and nine times out of ten the same two guys would be there playing ping pong.  As soon as I walked through the shorter of the two guys would turn and stare at me making me paranoid to all hell.  He never smiled, he just stared and I really had no clue whether he only stared at me or whether he stared at every woman who walked through the door - my colleagues said that wasn't the case - but naturally he caught my attention and okay he may come across as a bit weird, but let's give him the benefit of the doubt here, maybe he's shy, because by God the man was as cute as all hell.

I know, I'm shallow ;-)

Of course about the same time I started to think he was cute and discovered from some light stalking via the office intranet that he was an art director whose desk was on the floor above and thought "hey, maybe he's staring because he likes you" he stopped coming down to stare at me while playing ping pong.  


Regardless I decided I should try and find an opportunity to talk to him and attended every social event the office held with the hope that one or both of us would be sufficiently liquored up to actually have a conversation.  There were many social events, with the agency was always celebrating something or other, the African American employees, the Gay, Lesbian and Transgendered, the Latin Americans, South By South West. Of course he rarely turned up, unlike his ping pong playing partner who would turn up to the opening of a frigging envelope.  Every event I attended he was there and easy to spot being tall, extremely attractive with salt and pepper grey hair. I would look for him and then scan his entourage for the Creative Cutie.  He was rarely there and on the random occasion he was there was no opportunity to approach.

After a while I gave up, although there were rare occasions where I ran into him in the hallway he would pretend to be inordinately interested in his iPhone and I my Blackberry.  After a while I started to think that maybe I'd imagined the whole staring thing at the ping pong table and that he really had no interest in me at all, that is until the day in late 2011 when I had lunch with my friend Satvir and he exited the elevator we were waiting for.  He saw me, froze, looked at Satvir, who he'd previously worked with and kind of knew, gave her a tight smile before walking off quickly to the cafeteria.

"Well that was weird," said Satvir at the time.  "I didn't get the Hollywood smile that I usually get from him.  He saw you, reacted and then saw me and sort of grimaced at me."

Vindicated at last, I KNEW he was being weird towards me and now I had a witness and what was that about the Hollywood smile?  She got a Hollywood smile whereas he just stared at me and made me think there was something wrong with me.

He got let go shortly after that and I decided fuck it, I was going to satisfy my curiosity and ask him out.  I sent a very innocuous note to him via Facebook - we weren't FB friends btw but this was the only way I had of reaching him.  The note said something to the effect of "Hey CC, I heard recently that you're no longer at the agency.  It's a shame I won't see you around, but give me a shout if you ever want to grab a drink" and left my mobile number.

I never heard a peep out of him.  "Perhaps he didn't see your message," said a friend.  "plenty of people have their Facebook messaging turned off."  Perhaps, but it felt like one of those excuses women use when they like a guy and want the guy to like them in return.  He just wasn't into me after all.  At least not 18-months later.

Upon sighting him at the surf film festival I emailed my friend Deesha who responded as follows: 

"Give me a sec as I silently scream "Whaaaaat" after reading the CC line. How can that be the 3rd thing you talk about in the email!!!
Wow what freaking randomness..When you started the whole, guess-who-I-saw, I thought it would Jake Gyllenhal or Keanu Reeves or Eric Northman or something. Believe me, this has me more gobsmacked (to use an expression of yours). I really think these are odder odds. Catching him in a surfing docu/film festival (hate to break it to you, thats kinda obscure for all but the most genuine hipsters. At least you share one common interest."

I dunno it wasn't that random given, I knew he surfed from the light online stalking of him I'd undertaken after finding out who he was, although contrary to what you may think I never took up surfing in the hope of bumping into him at the beach.  Quite the opposite in fact, I really don't need a man I am interested in to see me in a wetsuit, it was more my friend Megan taking a few lessons in Costa Rica that inspired me to try it.  Plus I knew he surfed in Montauk and I'd never bumped into him at previous NYC centric surf events I'd attended so I assumed his surf circumference didn't extend beyond Montauk.  Funnily enough it was in his capacity as an art director within advertising that I braced myself for our paths being likely to cross and I imagined myself smiling confidently at him as we passed in the office hallway.  Yeah right.  

So back to my queuing for the loo at the NY Surf Film Festival, I have to say that upon realizing who I'd just squeezed by I was completely uncomfortable, I was on my own, he was with a pile of male friends, so I did what any mature 41-year old single woman would do and avoided any chance of accidentally meeting his gaze by fixating on the large screen across the room that was playing surf movies. I'm so brave!!

Truth be told I don't know if he even saw me, but I think there is a good chance because he was stood close to me at the bar and then he ended up seeing the same movie I saw, This Time Tomorrow, which I know because I was sat in the back row when he and his friends came in.  They, and a few others, didn't take seats for a while as it was pretty busy and clustered at the back about 6-feet from where I was sat.  Yup, out of a possible 12 features he chose the same one as me.  In hindsight I wish I'd had the balls to go up to him and ask him once and for all what all the damn staring was about, but then that would be just a pinch confrontational  eh!! 

"It's fate," said Deesha, "It's meant to be!"

I don't know about that, but the coincidence that gets me is that he is the ONE person that I would squeeze by to line up for the loo.  I saw on Facebook the next morning that Kristine and Cecilia were also there, acquaintances I knew from surf lessons last winter, as they posted a photo of themselves with pro-surfer Dave Rastovich, but I didn't see them at the event, so it's kind of random I would see the Creative Cutie.  It's times like these that I feel that the Gods really are f**king with us from above and playing with little chess versions of us.

At least I knew he surfed, so much as it was a shock to see him there, it was not totally out of the realm of possibility, Deesha begs to differ pointing out that she speaks and likes French but the last time she went to a French film festival was 15-years ago. If he did see me then I derive a perverted satisfaction from the fact that he would have no idea I was learning to surf and therefore seeing me there was potentially a bit of a shock!! least I like to think that, in reality he's probably forgotten who I am.


Amel said...

ARRRGGGHHHHHH!!! This kind of scenario drives me crazyyyyyy. I read through your post and I felt like I was there with youuuuu...oh well...

I just find it frustrating that he never even gave you the Hollywood smile so that at least you could enjoy it at that time and that he didn't even respond to your message (though it was possible that he didn't even read it, but still...).

Life can be really unbelievable sometimes, eh?

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Amel,

It was a bit frustrating to say the least, I kind of feel like I was given a second opportunity that I didn't take. Oh well, it is what it is.

Hope your weekend is going well.

Kitty said...

that is really strange.

Are you sure he's not gay? I get the most brilliant friendly smiles from gay guys all the time. Or maybe he didn't want to seem non-hetero at the office, so did that in front of his coworkers.

Or...maybe he smiled at you and then discovered that he was gay and stopped smiling.

What a weirdo. I think this is one of those mysteries like bigfoot!

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Kitty,

I suppose you can't rule out the possibility that he's gay, although when I did Google him 18-months or so ago to see what the deal was an old Friendster profile popped up where he was looking for women, so seemingly straight although he could well be a late bloomer.

He could be in a relationship now for all I know, he was there with some male surfer buddies but that's not to say he didn't leave a girlfriend/wife at home.

I agree it's going to be one of those mysteries. That's why when I see him I always want to ask him what the deal was. Why all the staring, did he stare at every woman or just me. If he was interested why did he never smile. I'll never know!!