I’ll fly through all the boring stuff about actually getting up and moving almost at my target time, stretching, trying to catch up on some of the big side-story blog posts, and taking care of my final medical bills.

I will say, if anyone actually reads this and you ever receive medical bills while you aren’t currently making any income (even if you have savings), apply for financial assistance on the back of your bill or by calling in about it. I had over $1.5K of expenses written off by doing that.

During the day I spent a good amount of time texting groups and people to coordinate travel plans to Chicago to visit friends, and New York to record. I finally got Dan to respond and we whittled it down to the first weekend of March, still waiting for exact timing though so I can book.

Throughout the day Carly initiated a conversation so we went back and forth about her hair color and potential associations with porn stars, which turned into a conversation about the morality of the porn industry and the concept of porn itself, which became a personal discussion about our stances on casual sex from brief mentions in recent conversations, which became a discussion about what is meaningless sex vs. just uncommitted but still has meaning, which turned into talking about how she has raised her standards after making at least one mistake.

The conversation to a bigger tangent to the subject of how men and women are expected to behave in public vs. private. That got me talking about how I think I accidentally scare women off when I’ve spoken with them for a while and then plainly tell them that I like them. I now guess that the assumption is that as a man with wiener, I must be a heartless fuck-driven animal instead of someone content to get close, kiss, and better get to know her as an actual human being. Absolutely mind-boggling concept huh? It saddens and disappoints me how culturally sexist so many people are in this way.

Anyways, since we’d gotten on the subject of my struggling with being understood, and she had in recent conversations been clear, confident, and casual about being over me, I didn’t hold back asking her opinion on how to communicate with women. At first she had not problem with the issue and told her self reasons why she shouldn’t have a problem with it, but her reasons slowly turned into remembering how hurt she was by us and reasons not to talk to me about this. I apologized and explained my position based on all the information she had been giving me. It seemed that perhaps in that very conversation she was realizing that she may still have baggage from us since she no longer had another relationship or as much distraction of dating as she had previously.

By the end of that topic she acknowledged that I hadn’t had any reason not to take her at her word previously which I took as her accepting my apology for accidentally bringing up a subject that mad her upset.

Her mention of her baggage moved us back on the debate of how much of the real her I actually got to see and be with during our relationship. She said that I got all of her, but when I brought it up it seemed she’s almost forgotten that she herself had previously confirmed that I had not when I asked, and reminded her of the painful explanation she had given me about how other people, including men, had gotten to see the real her more than I did. She said I did start to get more of her again towards the end but that isn’t the most comforting and who is to say how much that really was.

It was probably getting close to late afternoon by then and after the conversation we had I was glad I hadn’t brought up the fact that I had a second date with someone I’d previously spent the whole weekend with. I had been glad not to hear about any dates she’d gone on or been going on either. I confirmed what time I should arrive and got ready before heading out.

I was super excited for the date with Rori. I wasn’t sure how much of it was her, or that we were going to have fun and do an escape room, or just the feeling a new milestone in moving forward.

Thinking about the initial contact made me nervous since it would only be the second time seeing each other ever and under much different circumstances this time than last time.

When I navigated my way to the right door and was let in I tried to act and feel as comfortable as I could, hanging up my coat and I think just giving her a good long hug and squeeze first while asking about how she felt about what she was trying to get done before I arrived.

That girl is impossible sometimes. Thankfully she was honest about it and knew she was impossible, and I’m a very patient person for this kind o thing, but apparently the 6-7pm hour for her is when she just gets tired and grumpy and doesn’t want to do anything but just be tired and grumpy until. So essentially we just hung out in her kitchen doing nothing while I was trying to learn how to deal with her in this condition. She was pretty helpful though and I learned pretty quickly not to suggest any kind of activity. Instead I basically just entertained myself by pulling her in, swaying with her, and grabbing each others butts. She did get tired of being smothered by my kisses so I tried to meet her in the middle and think I did a pretty good job.

We also got to talking about how crazy her job as a social worker was. I think it was earlier that same day she said that she had to “do a restraint” on a kid who was flipping out. Apparently the kid was ten years old, not small for his size, and just turned into a complete animal when restrained. So much so that it took three adults to execute a restraint without getting covered in spit or anything else gross the kid could think to use against them.

Somehow our silly conversation got her to ask what I would do in a hypothetical situation where I had to choose to try to shoot her with poison dart, otherwise she would try to kill me with a gun. I felt like guns are more difficult to use than most people think and that I’d like to think I would take the chance to save us both by not trying to use the dart gun but using non-lethal defense. At some point we moved the conversation to laying on her bed where she essentially tried, yet again, to tell me that I either have too high standards for myself or too low for others. She also tried to tell me that I should somehow demand more respect somehow or something like that to which I explained how my standards change the closer I choose to let someone get to me and that if people don’t give me the respect I’ve earned then I’d rather look for other people then demand respect. The topic reminded her of a poem that she wanted to show me but we had to be on our way if we didn’t want to be late for the escape room.

We found the place easily enough in time to sign waivers and find out that we were going to be the only two people participating. There could have been strangers in our group but instead we were on our own.

The escape room experience was a lot of fun overall. I’d chosen one where we started blindfolded and handcuffed. Most of the entire challenge was a series of combination locks based on clues. A couple times we got stuck for a long time and needed to use a clue to point us in the right direction which would give us a burst of progress before we would eventually get stuck. I was pretty reluctant to use clues at all, but after a while of struggling, Rori pretty easily convinced me to accept a couple. Some clues were a little iffy in their execution also which ended up needing to be kind of freebie clues.

We were only one or two clues away from completing the challenge when time ran out. The guy running our challenge told us by far that we had made it further than he’d seen any two people go, and that only 1/3 of larger groups were successful. She was pretty grumpy anyways about not winning because she’s pretty competitive. Although she told me about it, I think she was trying her best not to let me really see it. It was pretty clear that she had a good time.

I think we made a pretty good team too. We worked individually to cover more ground when we needed, and came together as partners when we needed also, or taking turns when one of us got stuck on something. I also learned that although she’s dyslexic, if her mind isn’t rearranging the numbers, she’s very fast with mental math.

After we had our picture taken and left, we saw a wine and coffee bar on the way home and thought that sounded good so she told me how to get to one that she liked. The place was nice and comfy. We took stools at the bar and ended up sharing a 3-glass flight of Spanish red wines which was very good. I tested the limits of her comfort with public affection while we shared thoughts on the differences between the glasses.

On the way out, we agreed that we were hungry so she suggested a hole-in-the-wall place she’d told me about before and talked up quite a bit. I got lucky with parking on the street in front of the window and after waiting a while in the car and in the cold, we got our food and headed back to her place.

The place we’d gotten the food from was called Gomez, and they have things called turtles which are a lot like quesadillas, but are packed with a lot more and are dome shaped like a turtle shell. It was exactly what I needed. I ate my whole one in the time Rori had eaten half of hers and felt just the right amount of full.

I think we pretty much headed to bed pretty quickly after our late night meal. It had to be probably midnight and 1am and Rori kept mentioning that she had things she hadn’t gotten done yet that she wanted to take care of tomorrow. I’m not sure how much of her reiteration was to prepare me mentally or herself.

Compared to the last weekend it seemed like we got comfortable and settled into sleep faster and easier.

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