Call of the Wild


I don’t always write depressing stuff; I promise. In fact, I love to write humor….especially when it pokes fun at myself.

I’m sitting in the library innocently working on my homework when it happens again. The quiet atmosphere of the peaceful valley is turned into a jungle as a girl waltzes by and the boys instantly straighten up. It’s like watching something from Animal Planet; the males preen themselves, trying to impress the female, who spreads out her feathers while pretending not to notice.

“Hey hey, what’s goin’ on?” One of the hopefuls asks smoothly.

Her lower lip sticks out in a cute pout. “I forgot my credit card, and I have no cash, and I’m starving!” She leans on his shoulder as she clutches her stomach to emphasize this point.

The peacocks turn into lions, fighting to see who will come out on top. The lion who brandishes his credit card like a flag wins. “Getcha self whatever ya want, babe,” he croons.

“You’re adorable!” She pecks his cheek and accepts his card. He gloats over the rest of the pack. He’s the Alpha dog now.

I shake my head in wonderment. I’ve tried to learn this little flirting game all my life with no success. I always end up embarrassing both myself and the poor victim who attempted to play the game with me. The preening and seducing is too much for me, and I pack up my stuff. I have to go grocery shopping anyway.

As I drive, Cosette and Marius sing together, “For this isn’t a dream; not a dream, after all.” How did she learn this art, while I’m left floundering? She was raised in isolation by an ex-convict, for Pete’s sake.

I’m in the checkout with my milk and eggs and a bouquet of roses catches my eye. February 13th. I decide to buy them for my Mom; my Dad is great, but he doesn’t really care about Valentine’s Day.

My items are being rung up, and I dig through my wallet for cash. Where’s Mr. Alpha Dog when you need him?

“What’s this, now?” The cashier holds up the bouquet.

I blink at him, wondering if I’m being Punk’d. “Roses?”

“No, no.” He looks at them and frowns sadly. “A pretty girl like you should never have to buy flowers for herself.”

That’s my cue, I know. It’s time for me to say something witty and cute in response. For a wild moment, I consider hopping up onto the conveyor belt and planting a kiss on his cheek. I’ve got nothing else.

He’s waiting for a response from me so he can deliver the next line in this script everyone but me seems to have memorized, and I finally unstick my tongue from the roof of my mouth. “Well, I’m not buying them for myself. They’re for my Mom.”

“Oh.” I’ve done it again. The mood is killed. I’m like the Ancient Mariner, only my actions are always unintentional and I don’t have a beard. Nevertheless, I’ve clumsily shot the preening peacock and turned him into a limping bird. “Well, I….hope she enjoys them.”

I take my bags and retreat in shame. I’m pretty sure I had my nose stuck in a book when God was passing out flirtation skills.


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