For going on 6 years now, it’s just been me and the little furries living the single lady life – which is ever so slightly less glamorous than Ricky Martin promised in the 1998 Grammy Award winning song Livin’ La Vida Loca. Still, I really can’t complain about my little four-footed-flatmates or our lifestyle.
We do things to make each other smile:
They help keep the heating costs down in winter:
We make a great team when it comes to doing household chores:
We shower each other with affection:
And they are always so “happy” to assist me with my veterinary studies…
…even when they are not really much help….
Still, a woman has needs, you know? And although, being around boisterous children in movie theatres and restaurants is usually all it takes to hit the snooze button on my biological clock, my uterus sometimes wishes that the pitter-patter of little feet didn’t make me instantly wonder which of my beasts is overdue for a nail trim. Fortunately, I’ve spent the last 6 years of my spinsterhood chipping away at the ice left in place of my heart from an epic breakup and have formulated a fragile, yet delightfully optimistic concept of love.
As of two weeks ago, I now believe love can happen at first sight. Or at least, I will believe in love at first sight if my stalking skills prove up to snuff (errrr, I mean serendipitously cross paths with a certain gentleman again). But, I get ahead of myself. This all began with my boiler breaking…On a dark and stormy night…(or Once Upon a Time?)
I called Scottish Gas and they scheduled an engineer to fix my boiler first thing in the morning. I woke up early and made a pot of coffee, ran down to the shop in my pj’s for some milk and brushed my teeth. I didn’t shower because of there not being hot water and I didn’t put makeup on because why bother with that stuff if you are not even going to shower. Little did I know, fate was about to buzz the door and I’d kick myself for not even wearing lipstick…
When the engineer arrived, I was struck a bit dumb. I let him into my flat and then we both proceeded to stand for a prolonged time in the entryway, me smiling like a dafty and him patiently awaiting directions to the boiler. Once prompted, I ushered him to the kitchen and probably introduced him to the broken boiler with a cleverly-phrased, “Ta-da” or something. As I had just purchased fresh milk, I offered him tea and coffee with full confidence that the milk wouldn’t come out in stinking chunks when I poured it in the mug. He politely declined, so I offered again….and again….and once more…before telling him to help himself if he changed his mind and finally leaving him in peace.
I sat on the sofa, pretending to study all the while wishing he appreciated my Classic Alternative Rock and American Country Music Playlist. I went to the kitchen to see how things were going and he explained the inner workings of a boiler in great detail: “Blah blah blah Venturi pump blah blah blah more words that sound like physics blah blah blah thermo-something-sensor-regulator-thing blah blah.” I asked him what was wrong with the boiler and he said he wasn’t sure yet – he’d fixed it by turning it off and on again, but since that didn’t identify or address any underlying issue, he decided to take it all apart and do a full inspection. Hmmm maybe he was digging my tunes.
I went back to my pretend studying, trying to think of non-physics things to talk about, but soon found myself back in the kitchen, apologising for my overly-affectionate cat who clearly thought that our guest was over to pet him instead of fix the boiler. That got us talking about cats and our mutual love for them – something in common! Conversation started to flow easily: Bob Dylan, military experience, thoughts on world peace, music, travel, tattoos, Thailand, the law of attraction, being real grown ups, hopes and dreams – you name it, we probably talked about it. During the course of the conversation, he didn’t mention “we” or “us” or “girlfriend” or “wife” or “boyfriend” or “partner” or “asexuality” once – something I took to be a very good sign.
Then, just as I was about to ask him if we could name our future twin daughters Maggie and Janey, he was gone. It happened so quickly – we were talking and laughing and then I signed the papers and walked him to the door and we both said, “See ya later,” and *poof* he was gone. On to the next appointment, I suppose. Another flat, another spinster cat lady with a broken boiler….
I was still thinking about him though, so I googled him using his first name and the company. I found an article about him winning an award from which I was able to glean his age (32) and his last name – Nimmo. After scouring the internet, I decided he has the smallest electronic footprint of anyone I’ve ever met – not even a facebook account.
I called my mom for advice. My gut instinct was to call and say my boiler was broken again. She told me not to lie. Then, as if reading my mind, she said, “And Erin? Don’t you dare break your boiler.” It was as if the same picture of me taking a hammer to my boiler had been conjured up in her mind!
Fighting the urge to accidentally pull a knob off the boiler, I turned to friends for advice. One of my brilliant lady friends suggested I call the gas company and leave a message for the engineer to call me back because I have a question. Then, when he does call, I could say something really slick like, “So, I was wondering if you wanted to ask me out on a date?” Knowing me, I’m sure it would come off as bold and confident – my milkshake bringing boys to the yard, and not be awkward, or anything.
I loved this plan. I called the gas company.
Me: “Um hi. I was calling because one of your engineers was out this weekend to fix my boiler and he did such a great job explaining everything to me, but I forgot this one thing he said and was trying to convey all the information to my landlord. Would it be possible for me to leave a message for him to call me when he gets a chance so I could ask him, please?”
Representative: “Sorry, we don’t allow our engineers to contact customers directly.”
Me: “Ok, thanks anyway.”
Representative: “If it’s a quick question, I could call him and ask and then tell you what he says?”
Me (panicking): “Oh please don’t worry about it. It’s just about this silly switch I was told not to use a few years ago that I was wondering if he fixed because he took everything apart, but I’ll just carry on not using the switch. It’s really silly. So silly in fact that I’m embarrassed I even called. I’ll just call back if the boiler breaks again. Thanks so much. Really. Bye!”
A dead end. An incredibly awkward and uncomfortable dead end at that. I had a sinking feeling that the representative could read my mind and Scottish Gas was start a case file on me and refuse to send engineers over to service my boiler.
But, a dead end is just a detour in the labyrinth of finding love, so I’m still hopeful. There’s a singer I found whilst searching for him that I’m hopeful may be his mother. I’m going to one of her gigs in about 2 weeks and if I bump into him there and the chemistry sparks again, I’m calling it serendipity. Other people might call this stalking. Some might even use words like, “crazy, obsessive, scary.” Bah to all those people. If there’s anything life has taught me, it’s you can’t just sit around and wait for things. You gotta do your research and go after what you want. Plus, it’s only “scary” if the interest wasn’t mutual. If he liked me as much as I like him, he’ll consider my efforts to accidentally bump into him again “cute” and he’ll feel “lucky.” I hope.