What I’ve Learned: More Vignettes From The Life Of Sherlynn Hicks -The Toast

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jazzPreviously in this series.

What I’ve Learned: If the man you’re on a date with indicates that you’re welcome at a major jazz musician’s Calabasas house for his birthday party but it turns out that said musician has no idea who the man you’re on a date with is… BE. FINE.

I can count the times I’ve been ASKED to go out on my hand, and still be able to pick my nose. Meh. I scare men. I usually recognize someone has an interest in me, and the feeling is mutual, but they get all squirrelly and “Would you like to go get coffee” sticks on their tongue like velcro, and then I put them out of their misery and say “Would you like to get coffee.” This hasn’t been a particularly good strategy for finding the strongest of the herd, but one still needs coffee and company, yes?

So when someone does ask me out, I’m usually up for it.

Wait. I have to revise my math. I frequently DO get asked out, but it’s usually been by someone so clearly disenfranchised, that rejection from my scary self is no big deal. I am a goddess among crazy commuter train riders. And bus station loiterers. And 7-11 music-less buskers. I was quite renowned among my friends. We’d be walking down the street in a girl gaggle, and the gentleman lounging in the gutter would elbow his way up the curb to see if I wanted to go to the movies. Me. Out of the whole of the gaggle.

So yes. Someone asks and seems moderately enfranchised, I say yes.

I was sitting outside my work, enjoying the California sunshine, and a gent sidled up to me and started an interesting conversation. He wasn’t offensive or cloying. He said he was a studio tech. He lived in Northridge. He was divorced. Two kids, grown. I say this in my defense considering the upcoming scenario.

We ran into each other outside many times before he asked me out. To a birthday party his boss and friend, a major jazz musician, was throwing for himself. I accepted.

It may not have been wise, but my habit when I was younger was to not have someone pick me up at my house. I didn’t like the idea of strangers knowing where I lived. This “women gotta think about the danger” course of action, however, didn’t seem to translate to my meeting them at their house. Where all manner of dangers… Gah! I was so stupid.

Anyway, I drove to his house in Northridge. One of those old Los Angeles large set-back houses with a gate and driveway. I rang the bell by the gate and it opened on to the property. It was a little run down but hey…I hardly ever water my grass so who am I to judge.

My date met me at the door and showed me in. It was a mess all around but what I seemed to focus on was that the beige carpet hadn’t been vacuumed, like, ever. My stomach is turning just writing that. Not so much that it wasn’t vacuumed, but that it wasn’t vacuumed for me. Company. I always vacuum for company. Don’t you? See. Right there is when he lost all hope of ever seeing my snatch.

He then lead me out to the back yard to show me the guest house…also run down and no doubt unvacuumed…which had beside it a sick and dying chow chained to a tree in the San Fernando Valley heat. I asked him why he didn’t put the poor thing down and he said he just wasn’t ready to let go yet. I asked, “But it’s okay to have him out here?” To which he told me it was none of my business, tried to look sad, and I…stupid young woman…did not call the date off then and there.

I’m still disappointed in myself that I didn’t.

Anyway, we headed out for the hills in Calabasas for the party of the major jazz musician, during which he talked incessantly and I looked out the window thinking about that poor dog and the unvacuumed carpet.

We entered the home.

I was standing by the outdoor fireplace in a dress that can only be described as awesome. It was a summer casual, longish, cut on the bias, backless beachy affair that is still one of my favorite dresses. I keep it on general principle just in case I can fit it again. My date and I were engaged in a casual conversation…with pot that I wasn’t smoking, of course…with some other person, when the owner of the home/birthday boy, walked with purpose up to us or rather walked up to my date and asked him point blank who he was and who invited him. My date, literally jumped behind me saying “heh heh heh mumblemumble this is my date, Sherlynn.” Major jazz musician eyed my date behind me with anger and suspicion, saw the look of horror on my face said nothing but took my hand and lead me into the kitchen in the house. We leaned against the counter. I was star-struck and humiliated.

Me: I’m so sorry, Mr. Major Jazz Musician. I’m such a fan. I had no idea that we were crashing your party. He said he worked in your studio and was friends with you.
MJM: There are a bunch of people that work at my studio. I know few of them and certainly few to ask to my home. What are you doing with that asshole?
Me: He asked me out and seemed relatively presentable.
MJM: You go out with everyone who asks you?
Me: Usually no one does, so yeah.
MJM: No one? I don’t believe that.
Me: [Blushing] Well, thank you but really, no one does.
MJM: Why’s that?
Me: I dunno. I’m tall. I’m not very girly. I’m not 24. Take your pick.
MJM: You’re seriously fine.
Me: That and a dollar’ll buy you a cup of coffee. Doesn’t mean much. But thank you.
MJM: It means I’m not calling the cops to get that asshole out of my house.
Me: Ha. Well then, I’ve been pimped with purpose.
MJM: You gonna see him again?
Me: No. Even if we hadn’t crashed your party, I went to his house. His dog is dying chained to a tree and his carpets need vacuuming.
MJM: Those are factors?
Me: You bet.
MJM: [Chuckle] Enjoy the party. Nice dress.
Me: Thank you, Mr. MJM. Sorry to crash.

The rest of the evening, every time my date sidled up to me, I had somewhere else to be, though I did keep my eye on him enough to get a ride back to my car. I enjoyed myself at the party and was quite infamous. Everyone knew the story of the low level studio tech who somehow got wind of the party and the woman he brought. Got into a long discussion with Skunk Baxter. You’d have to be a classic rock fan to realize how awesome that is; or a national security geek. (Google.) Mr. MJM also cycled back and we talked some more.

I had a good time. And as I growled at my date as I slammed his car door, “It’s a good Gott Damn thing I’m fine.”

Sherlynn Hicks is a wage slave with a history and a story to tell.

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