I recently spent some time in Los Angeles, meeting with people to try to further my writing career. But those meetings were every other day and took an hour tops. So I had a shit-ton of free time. Too much free time. And not enough people to spend it with. I got very lonely. Comically lonely. The worst of it was one Saturday afternoon when my friend who I was staying with was working all day:
I'm stewing in the apartment alone when I see on Instagram that a guy who went to my school only for senior year - an Alpha-male star basketball player who I barely knew - is having a sale of his swimsuit line in Orange County, a 1.5 hr drive in weekend traffic. Fuck it, anything for a little human contact!
I hop in the car, drive through horrific traffic in stifling heat for 90 mins. Park, almost decide to call it off because I'm too beta and this plan is too weird. Finally approach the Alpha Guy, say "Dan Berger - from Dalton!" He has a look of "I don't remember this guy at all," but says "Riiiight! Crazy seeing you here, Dan."
I tell him, "Well I was driving to visit my buddy in Laguna Beach and I'm at a traffic light checking Instagram, and boom I see you're having a sale 15 minutes from there! So I figured I'd stop by."
"Awesome, man!" Alpha Guy says. We chat for a bit, I'm happy to just talk to someone I've met before, it's going well. Then he asks, "So which swimsuit do you want?"
Oh right, the socially accepted meme here is to buy one of the guy's swimsuits since I'm at his sale. I look at the swimsuits - they're $168 each! But now that I'm here and he's so alpha and I traveled all this way i'm like fuck I have to buy one. So I pick a paisley swimsuit that I really like.
"Ooooh we're out of that one in your size, buddy. And lemme check... Yeah out of it even on the website. What else do you like?"
Now I'm looking at second choice swimsuits, I find a plaid one i kind of like. "Ooh out of that one in your size too. Lemme check though... We have it online. You interested?"
I'm put to a decision: pay $168 for a swimsuit I don't really want that will have to be sent to me in New York (where I won't be for several weeks), or seem beta to this guy I barely know... and of course i whip out the credit card.
"Hey Dan since you're an old high school pal, I'll give you the friends and family discount" Alpha Guy says. Finally I'm catching a break, I think. He types something in and then asks for my card. He swipes it. I look at the receipt: it was $168. He had messed up typing in the code!
So I pointed this out to him, right? NO! I say "Dude, I gotta bounce - my buddy in Laguna Beach just texted me. But so good seeing you - can't wait to get back to New York for that swimsuit!"