Re: Your Date (Formerly Re: KUTGW!)

Rohit Khare (
Tue, 19 Aug 1997 15:31:56 -0400

Clover quoth:
> C'mon, Rohit, you can do better than that. I backed up an gave all the
> details on my outing with Tim to the sex show. (Which doesn't really give

Argh, you do have me here... I owe you this.

> you an adequate view of my real personality, more like my alter ego when I
> get a few drinks in me and head out on a Cobra Boy adventure.) ;-) Even if
> you don't FoRK it, at least tell me how it went, if you're going to ask her
> out again, how you asked her out this time, what she's like, etc. Where did
> you take her? I love to hear about stuff like this (especially, guys that

See, I work hard on my alter ego, to the point that, in the world, it
IS my ego. In fact, the only way I could really tell this was a date
was that I *didn't* feel compelled to post about it. It's mysterious
and murky and generally lacking a big dramatic arc that makes a nice
funny story. This is weird: part of my life which isn't made for TV.

On the other hand, I have developed a severe diarists' addiction, so
because you asked, you are going to hear the whole story, just so I
have it for my files, too.

Long, long ago, in an occupation far away, she was a temp at W3C (see
below for related horror stories in the series). Back in my MIT days,
I didn't even meet that many human beings in the course of a day, much
less below thirty, much less female. So I notice these things. On the
other hand, I'm the same over-the-top slob at work I am on FoRK, so
she didn't :-). In any case, it emerged, especially at a party at
TimBL's house (which Eve Schooler was at), that she is an MIT alumna
-- in music! A beautiful singer, now working through art school. Her
particular specialty is shaping up to be videography and video
sculpture in particular.

Anyway, soon she left, and we went on down our list of churning temps.
One night, though, I ran into her, almost literally, right outside my
house. Turns out she was living two blocks down the road!...Over the
last year, we've kept in touch over various lunches. I'd try to make
metaphors explaining object-oriented programming, and she'd enlighten
me about the challenges of being a life model for drawing classes. You
have to imagine the conversations, though: she talks at about 1/5 my
bandwidth, but the glorious thing is, she actually is thinking at the
same speed. I'm an elitist bastard, so I really love this. In turn, it
never hurts that she described me as a living Web, some sort of
inexhaustible human encyclopedia :-)

I should mention that she's quietly luminous in person: a tall,
lissome brunette. I was entirely unsurprised that she was in another
relationship for the last few years. That doesn't dampen my
intellectual curiousity, though. The next time I saw her was at the
MIT celebration of HAL 9000's birthday; there was a book release
(various AI researchers pontificating on whether HAL is possible),
panel with Minsky &co, and a screening of 2001. I think it was then
that I started hearing about her video interests. A month or two
later, I slipped an NYT clipping under her door about a video
installation at MoMA featuring young, female, videographers. Next
thing I heard, she'd actually traveled down to NYC just to see that
show on my recommendation...

Now, the stage is set to actually answer your questions, Clover. Over
the last few weeks, we've been playing telephone tag. I, however, have
been on the road (below). I was also assuming she was still quite
involved with that writer, so lechery didn't force further
celerity. In fact, I was leaving messages at her *former* apartment
for most of that time. We'd tried breakfast once, but that fell
through because, well, it was 7:30 AM, goddamit, there was no way it
was going to work! Luckily, she blinked first and canceled at 6:30 :-)

This week, I finally called her back Wednesday, and she immediately
agreed to have coffee Thursday night. I got out of the gym fairly
late, 9, so I assumed it would be just that. Coffee turned into salad,
then dessert, soon it was midnight. Just a spectactular conversation,
ranging from the authenticity of Ed Powers' debutantes to psychoactive
medications and a staggering number of in-betweens. Turns out I'd
slightly misremembered one detail: she's 28, but that 25% age
difference melted back away, I think.

Next day, I'm stumbling into work at the crack of noon, as usual
(sigh), and she called me back during my morning FoRK scan. This was a
wee bit unexpected, since I had spent the night before trying to
rattle my brain for The Rules about how long I had to wait to temper
my fascination. Now, this was the last day my boss was going to be in
town for two weeks, since he was flying to munich Friday night. I owed
him a report that I was going to discuss at Logan Airport tonight
7-9PM. This was an unexpected complication, to say the least. Luckily,
my admin asst. batted me upside the head, and John also weighed in
that he'd much rather I "fall madly in love and stay in Boston" :-)

I said I'd be over at 7, worked frantically until 5, handed whatever I
did have to my boss, and scared the bejesus out of Lori by turning the
tables on her and *actually* *leaving* *work* at five. Now, I had
hoped we could just pick another restaurant, but she insisted she
didn't want to go out, and we'd just whip something up at her place. I
was still toying with updating my report and actually meeting John f2f
at Logan in that small window, but my stomach got the better of me,
and I acted on an offhand threat I'd made in the call: I'd bring chicken.
In fact, I ended up leaving the Indian store with samosas, naan, dessert,
and tandoori paste (just the sort of premixed spices which contestant #2,
below, finds the work of the devil. Works for me...). Ran back home,
skinned and sliced and swirled and marinated up a storm, then raced back
out with an open bucket of chicken in the front seat. And my laptop.

See, I wasn't quite sure where she lived, and her directions were by
T. I, ever so swiftly, planned ahead, used, and when our
LAN printer died, I cannily saved the three relevant maps to the
desktop. Bad move. I'm trying to use a *windows* laptop while
careening through Boston traffic. First, it refuses to power up at
all. Fine, I can wait for a stoplight and cycle the batteries and try
again. Now, a memory check, then... "FIXED DISK 0 NOT FOUND". Fuck me!
That damned report is also stuck on there!!! Stoplight, powercycle,
pray, whir, whir, kachunk, boot. Whew! Almost over the river, WHERE
ARE THOSE MAPS? boot, password, desktop (while sailing across Memorial
drive). Try to use the mouse in the passenger seat while driving,
this'll be the only critical part, yeah, just .gif files that'll come
up in IE. Noooo! It stored them as *html*. Which means that they only
work with graphics from the cache -- the NETSCAPE cache! So now, as
I'm rounding over the BU bridge, I'm having to mouse around the start menu
launch NS, then file/open these files. Luckily, it all worked out...
without killing me or sending pungent red tandoori sauce all over my
leather interior :-)

Well, I actually made it there on time, screwed up my gumption, and
marched up the stairs to meet... her... and her housemates... and the
distinct aroma of *her* chicken in the oven. Ooops! Oh well, just
settle back and watch ST:TNG together. I don't mind, I rather took a
liking to her housemates (a long-time female friend of hers and her
intended). Then, they both got up and announced they were stepping
out... to Toronto. Sociology conference, you see. I'm just floating
along, taking the curveballs as they come.

Nonetheless, it's nine o'clock, and I've ended up subverting her sweet
gesture of returning the favor of Thursday's dinner with my own. Pop
on the broiler, fifteen minutes, voila! some of the finest chicken
I've ever made. Not dry, on a stick, like real tandoori, but a tart,
moist, substantial dish nonetheless. She brings out a veritable fire
hazard of candles. For lack of anything more compelling, we try the
sparking wine I brought (actually originally a gift from the Germans,
below -- I learned my lesson after that cider, though, and just salted
away two bottles of Veuve Cliquot Ponsardin today-- thanks Rob!!)

It got quiet. Any of you out there who have met me should realize the
staggering import of that statement. I got so blissed out, I'd just
sit back and wait to be spoken to. I was *that* self-satisfied with my
cooking :-)

I was getting seriously blissed out. It's not fun living *in* this
cacophonous mind of mine, nosiree. This was about the second evening
my whole life I've ever felt even vaguely quiet. Not just being quiet:
I can go for days without talking, like a camel, but nary a second
without some fireworks streaking across my mind's eye.

I'm talking so mellow, I turned down the afterdinner offer of boggle
or scrabble. I just didn't want to think. Luckily, she offered to
share some of her artwork instead. She got called away to the phone,
but I just stayed in my happy place watching several of her video
installations. One of the most moving pieces was a video sculpture
intended to seduce the viewer into the frame: a talking head, of
sorts, imploring the viewer to break the glass so to speak. That one
was quite a head trip: an impromptu, choreographed half-hour soliloquy
ranging across the emotional map. As for some of the other pieces,
well,I can;'t resist adding that I ended up making incisive
technical commentary on her use of the nude. Yes, I got to see
*everything* on our first date...

[See, the Rohit performance engine just had to add that in. I
searched long and hard over this sentence, but I didn't really stop
myself, in the end. I feel ashamed to stoop to that level for dramatic
thrills, but I am equally torn at being prudish about censoring out
what is, after all, art, publically exhibited in Boston, at
that. Still, I feel that may have crossed the line to purient
interest. More the smirking tone, but, well, that was precisely what I
was aiming at, no denying that, no hiding behind double entendre.
Besides, *I* know what some of *you* out there do for a living :-)]

The other question you asked, Clover, was "what's she like?", and I
realized I got wrapped up enough in telling a funny story about me, I
don't leave a very rich portrait of her. It's a work in progress I
guess. Some of it, naturally, is very private. I can say, since this
is a new development for me, that I can *feel* her pain, not merely
keep jabbering on about it. To me and my rigid, if outlandish, life,
she is a window to another world entirely. One more centered in the
here and now, equally determined to make visions come alive, one where
good design is still the paramount goal of life, but in a different
form entirely. At the end of that evening, runing my fingers through
her hair, ejoying the luminous glow of video snow, she knew me well
enough to bring me almost to tears. She knows where my pain is,
too. How much more vivid a picture of consideration can I draw you?

For now, I'm just bumbling my way forward: I just got a call back from
her while writing this note that yes, she'd be glad to join me on a
trip to the Cape and Nantucket tomorrow... (many thanks to Wendy for
providing the ccover story: she's at my place this week, and wanted to
go to the Cape first). Besides, I had to buy two Champagne flutes
today as well -- I'm making *capital* *investments* now...

Where will this go? As I said to Adam and Ernie and Rob: "I mean, she
can recite the entire periodic table from memory! an MIT music
major... I'm going to pay through the nose for this kind of luck, I
can tell. Oh man, am I gonna pay. But it'll be worth it."

> some effort into planning a date. I'm in Huntington Beach, remember? The
> male grey matter is a little more scarce here.) There's way too much
> testosterone on this list. I need some good, old-fashioned, human interest
> (female anyway) kind of bits. 8-)

Sometimes I despair that I'm far too much of a gentleman to ever get a
clue about how these boy-girl thinkgs work. I know the 'work-world'
inside out: how to seduce by dramatic gestures, big pictures, fine
material things. I don't understand a damn thing about personal
seduction, though. We live in such a personally empowered,
technologically assisted society that I can reach out and touch
(almost) anyone's mind, but I can't actually touch another human
being. I'd feel more freakish, except that it is part of the modern
condition for everyone: I never touch people. Oh sure, I laugh, I cry,
I hug where Anglos fear to shake hands... but by now, I'm so
desensitized, holding hands gives me the willies. Talk about your
pathetic forbidden thrills.

Well, when I began that paragraph, I was actually intending to make
another point entirely: I have learned to give myself credit as an
excellent, if intense event planner. Sometimes, it's just as an
engineer with an itinerary, like three weeks ago in LA, where we did
1600 miles and met twenty people in three days (upcoming post), or
last week in NYC, where I also went nuts accomodating the needs of a
dozen folks. But I ENJOY it. It puts me a the center, it allows me to
feel helpful. I'm like a dog that way.

Let's see, last year, I took another of our W3C temp secretaries to LA
for the weekend. In my mind's eye, it was kind of like a first date,
but I guess "dance with the one that brung ya" isn't in the modern
ettiquette guide. I cashed in a few chips to get Louise and I dirt
cheap First Class tickets to California, a bargain, brand-new Caddy,
and an itinerary ranging from sleeping over at a private house on
Laguna Beach to the Getty museum to an impossible-to-find night at the
Hard Rock Hotel in LV. It was just a perfect weekend; it still brings
joy to my heart. She, though, spent the weekend drunk with other Yale
alumni. At least Adam, Michelle, and I had an excellent time traipsing
across the basin instead. Later, Louise moved to Tokyo, where I've met
her twice again, also using the expense account to good effect. It's
just not in the cards, I suppose. But even twelve thousand miles away
I can be an exqusite host. Or a stupid one: over Adam's protests I
left her $100 worth of alcoholic treasures (much more expensive in JP,
see). Of course, it turns out, she lived off of that for a fortnight
when her paychecks ran dry...

Just last month, I thought I got mildly involved with another woman
from Yale. She came out to Boston for the weekend. Again, I went
pretty far above the call of duty, I'd say. Hours of late-night
philosophical conversations, walking tours of the city, fine lunches
and dinners, bookstores galore, improv theater, a blockbuster film,
moonlit walk on the beach, and this was just Saturday. Went out to the
Cape the next day, only to hear about... well, it was pretty clear
that I'd dared hope for too much: I wasn't even in the running as a
"man", just a "friend".

That last one hurt a lot more, because I let myself fall a little
further. I mean, a smart, assertive, gorgeous Indian woman? The odds,
trust me, are astronomical (esp against assertive). We even shared a
lot of the same psychological scars as outsiders, hopscotching between
communities every few years. A poet, painter, singer, scientist? Yeah,
I expected too much. I believe in lightning, I guess. Instead, I was
pushed aside as a shallow 'rich playboy', insufficiently 'Indian', ...
And, from my end, it also became painfully clear that she was nowhere
near cosmopolitan enough for me. She may have been six months older,
but I've been out in the world for eight more years.

Nevertheless, I'm gracious to a fault. I invited her to NYC the next
weekend: I raced (literally) to LaGuardia to deliver her to her
brother, who was in transit there, to the Indian shopping districts,
to a Yankees game. I was glad to introduce her to my friends (and
Adam's) in NYC. I even ended up driving r/t BACK to New Haven, CT so
she could spend five minutes in the lab checking on her
experiments. We all ended up on the roof of Duck's apartment building,
watching the sunrise. (she quit early, gagging on Johnny Walker Green
Label :-( )

I would be more bummed about it, except that I'm too busy. It'll hit
later, again, with more intensity. I have a feeling a lot of demons
will be riding shotgun on my solo cross-country drive next month.

[oh, just to claim this one message is my unabridged experiences,
those German au pairs Duck and I met in NYC also came to Boston for a
weekend. They wouldn't leave me voice mail, so I couldn't find them
the first night -- they ended up in a hostel. I rescued them the next
morning, did a bit more of the walking tour, took them out for drinks
and dinner, then went to a party on my own when they crashed from too
much shopping. The next day, rather than cutting my losses, I actually
drove them out to Woods Hole. In exchange, I got a blown alternator,
$367... :-]

On the other hand, maybe civilization *is* in short supply back in OC, and
all this might actually be appreciated...

> Clover
> "Never do card tricks for the people you play poker with."
> ps - When you coming to LA again?

Sept 22, if I indeed decide UCI over MCI later this month
... perhaps before then, too.

Rohit Khare