Fool Me Once…

12 09 2011

A few months ago a stranger named Frank posted a message on my friend Jenn’s Facebook wall.  He said he was moving to CM (where we live).  I commented on his post, “Hey, Frank, I don’t know you but am a friend of Jenn’s.  We live in CM.  When you get here if you feel like it, look us up.  We’ll have a beer.”

I never heard back from Frank.  Jenn never mentioned the exchange.  Time went by.  I was busy keeping my kids alive and only wondered about the guy once or twice since.

Then, a couple weeks ago, Jenn sent me a message.  “Hey, got this friend Frank, I think you reached out to him through my FB page.  He is moving to CM.  Would it be okay to share your contact info with him?”

“Sure. No problem.”  Pass on contact info.  Don’t hear anything.

Late last week Frank sent me an email.  We exchanged pleasantries and talked about getting together.  I was thrilled because this weekend is the big music festival in CM.  We actually already had a babysitter lined-up and it would be super easy to incorporate a stranger into our plans without it being too weird. (Meaning we wouldn’t just go somewhere and watch our crazy toddlers doing dangerous things with some youngish, single guy who probably isn’t too into toddlers.)

As awkward as meeting this stranger might be I was sort of looking forward to it.  I really miss having friends who either don’t have children or whose kids are much older.  In Oregon we hung out with a group of people who all had kids at the same time.  BUT, we also had a large group of friends who didn’t have kids.  Child-less friends can come to your house and hang out.  You can put your own children to bed and sit around with your child-less friends and eat, drink and be merry for hours.  All of our friends here have toddlers and pre-schoolers.  We are ALL in the hard-core years of parenting where our kids aren’t ever out all night at sleep-overs and are too young to just go in another room and entertain themselves.  While we do a Ladies Night Out once a month, I miss being with my husband and other couples just relaxing and having fun.  I was nurturing fantasies of this stranger, Frank, filling the role of “childless-friend-who-we-want-to-hang-out-with”.

So we made plans to meet at the festival around 6 pm.  We could grab some dinner then see a couple of the concerts.  Easy-going SAG seemed fine with the plan (honestly, he probably had forgotten the plan and was just along for the ride).  The only hitch I identified was having NO IDEA how to describe SAG and myself to this stranger.  I am so used to telling people, “I will be easy to recognize.  I am the mother with a pink daughter and a brown son.”  I guess I figured in the end we would rely on our cell phones to find each other.

On Saturday afternoon we took the kids down to the festival to eat yummy food and listen to some music.  I am used to seeing live music in Oregon where there is always a huge mosh-pit of kids dancing near the front of the stage, a sight that made me want children long before I ever really wanted children.  We were a bit disappointed that the toddler mosh-pit does not seem to exist in Missouri, but Little Dude and PJ did their best to inspire the adults around them.  Finally it was time to take them home and drop them off with the babysitter so we could head back to meet up with Frank and enjoy the rest of the evening.

We were walking back to our mini-van which wasn’t far from the entrance to the stages.  (Have I mentioned that I always get rock-star parking?,  even at crowded music festivals where there are real rock-stars?)  SAG was in front with Little Dude.  I was herding PJ when I saw what I thought was our friend Kevin walking towards me.  Granted, I haven’t seen Kevin in more than 10 years and I am pretty sure he is now working at Yale or Dartmouth or some other East Coast school.  His looks are somewhat distinct and he would definitely standout on Wall Street.  But in a college town at a music festival, he could be any other tall guy with a goatee and overgrown hair.

I yelled, “Kevin.”  But he kept walking.  So I screeched, “Kevin, Kevin Doe”  (Only I used his real last name – not Doe.)  He sort of slowed down but at this point it was obvious I was screaming at him so anyone would slow down.  As he looked at me I said it again, “Kevin!”

“Umm?”

“Aren’t you Kevin?  Kevin Doe.”  (I will admit, I had Kevin on my mind.  Just that day he had friended SAG on Facebook.  And, even though Kevin was always more SAG’s friend than mine, I really liked the dude.)

So tall guy looked at me and said, “No, I’m not Kevin.  I’m Frank James.”

My brain was struggling to put two-and-two together.  Isn’t Frank James the name of the guy we are supposed to be meeting up with in an hour?  Now this is REALLY weird.  But I don’t know what Frank looks like.  And he doesn’t know what I look like.

So I said, “That is really weird, Frank,” holding out my hand to shake his.  “I am Semi-Feral.  The woman you are supposed to meet later.  You totally look like a friend of ours named Kevin.”

Of course SAG had continued walking despite my screeching.  I needed to holler at him to come back.

My brain just couldn’t get over how much this guy looked like our friend, and the fact that I had randomly hooked up with the guy we were supposed to find later.  Then I realized there is a common denominator.  Kevin is friends with Jenn, and Frank is friends with Jenn.  Hell, they are all Canadians, they must know each other.  And wow, he really looks like Kevin.  So  I said to Frank.  “Do you know Kevin?  He’s friends with Jenn, too.”

While Frank is saying no, SAG has made his way back to us.

“This is my husband, SAG.  This is Frank the guy we were supposed to meet up with later.  Doesn’t he look just like Kevin Doe?”

SAG shook Frank’s hand and muttered something.  (The truth is SAG is not much of a multi-tasker.  He was busy keeping track of the kids on a crowded street and he never paid attention to the fact that I had set up this awkward blind-date for us in the first place.)

A sentence or two of small talk ensued and then Frank said, “It’s me.”

“Huh??”  Now I was confused.

“I’m Kevin.”

“Huh??????”

Wild laughter…. “Jenn and I have been planning this for months.”

Yes, Frank is Kevin.  My brain is not as fried as it seems.  I knew I recognized him!

Jenn and Kevin completely fooled me.  I just kept playing into their hands as I acted like a self-appointed ambassador of the Chamber of Commerce Welcoming Committee.  The chance meeting on the street an hour before the scheduled time, well, no one predicted that so it was just the icing on the cake.

I stood in the street like a fool introducing my husband to someone who used to be his good friend and exclaiming over and over, “Doesn’t he look just like Kevin?”

The fact that Kevin looked me in the eyes, shook my hand and claimed to be someone else, proves he hasn’t changed at all in the last 10 years.

Yep, we are going to love having him here.

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6 responses

13 09 2011
Scooping it up

ok, this post totally stressed me out. sorry kevin, but i don’t like being screwed with. i don’t have enough effing brain power for your shenanigans. i would not even think it’s funny. i would have been pissed.

and there, now you know what a bitch i am.

13 09 2011
Semi-Feral Mama

Really??? I didn’t even think to be pissed. The only reason I thought the whole thing was strange is we could have helped him find a place to live, etc… clearly he is more independent than I am – since I ask for help from everybody and anybody and no practical joke would be worth delaying asking for help.
Clearly I have no issue acting like a fool. I find it amazing that confrontational me was willing to say, “Okay, this is strange, but okay.” Instead of, “I know who you are!!!”
And I guess the thing that I didn’t successfully convey in my post is just HOW HAPPY I am that he moved here. When I saw that he facebook friended SAG I thought, “Now he is exactly the kind of friend we need living here.”
I just feel lucky.
The kind of thing that pisses me off is that I couldn’t get WordPress to correctly format this post. Now THAT pisses me off.

13 09 2011
Scooping it up

True, I could have misread the whole tone. Its been a bad week for me. I am off my game. SO glad you have a friend. Even if he lies initially about being your friend. 😉

13 09 2011
tamara b

that’s funny. then again, you always make me laugh. now i want one of my friends to move here.

14 09 2011
Cazadora

You are NOT semi-feral if you did not scratch his bloody eyes out for trying to pull one over! (Kidding!) That is actually hilarious. And I’ve been meaning to tell you, I so appreciate you getting me in contact with your friend who lives here, I plan on calling her today or tomorrow. I think she and I were both traveling and unable to get a moment before.

I know you “get it” about moving to a new place and needing to find people, so again, thank you sincerely.

15 09 2011
Chandra

The indifference and cluelessness of your hubby sounds oh so familiar. This story is hilarious. I’m so glad you have a friend in Missouri. Where about do you live? We lived in the SW corner for five years but relocated to OKC 2 years ago. I don’t have fond memories. It was nearly impossible to make friends and I also had three kids in less than years (while not having friends). I hope you are doing better than I did 🙂

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