So I'm out on this date.

First, bask in the weirdness of that - I tend to fall into relationships like a villain in an old Warner Brothers cartoon stepping into a collapsable hole and the idea that I'd actually be out dating, dating in the traditional sense, even, drinks and movies and that whole 'is it acceptable at this point in our embryonic relationship for me to put my arm around her if she's cold' sort of way, is a bit bizarre for me, and second...realize that this is a second date, the kind of thing that happens with me not at all. Less than dating. Never, even.

Fine. So I'm on this second date and we're walking down to Houston (the street, not the city; How-Ston, not Hew-Ston) to catch a movie, and out of the blue she says 'So...I think you grew up with my best friend.'

And I stop. This is dangerous.

I was a very, very different person in high school. I didn't smoke a pack a day, for one, and I certainly wasn't a dater - I was the kind of guy who ended a relationship and was set up in another one within twenty-four hours. I was the guy who, geek that I was, always seemed to have a girl around, not because I was smooth or anything but because I was so comfortable in relationships that finding them just came naturally. I was the serial dater.

...and then I moved to New York City and everything got shot to hell, but I digress.

So here I am, out on a date with a girl who now has a very, very different impression of me than I realistically wanted her to have. After talking to her friend, a girl I've known since I was four and who could probably give a pretty damn accurate account of my life up until I turned eighteen or so, she's probably wondering what went wrong with me. Realistically, I used to be a member of her crowd, the too smart, too ambitious, on track for something and more at ease (in a decidedly uneasy sort of way) crowd. And then I discovered dive bars and cheap booze (the two don't always go together in New York CIty) and the wonder of the kind of drunken conversation that really only makes sense in the moment. I discovered the ups and downs of the night shift and the horrors of unexpected daylight. And I discovered that, like it or not, I saw things a little differently than most people and that I had absolutely no problem telling them of the errors of their ways.

But to her...I get the feeling that I'm stuck in a personality that's seven years dead. And I have ZERO idea what to do about that. If she wasn't so damn perfect I think I'd end up crawling under a big, heavy blanket and waiting for someone to knock on my door and let me fall for them.