Today neither Ingrid nor Jessica can say for sure that she remembers who the other is; but Ingrid was at Re-bar for Jessica’s twenty-first birthday party four years ago. I was curious about Ingrid, so at one point during the evening, I sat down and said hello. Truth be told, my usual reaction in those circumstances would have been to avoid eye contact and not talk to her. But someone had taken my seat while I was in the restroom.

Ingrid’s icebreaker was this: “So. Jeff. Do you practice ascetics?”

I hesitated and said that if I was practicing ascetics, I wasn’t doing it consciously, since I didn’t know the meaning of the word.

I don’t remember how the rest of the conversation went – except the end. Ingrid asked me, “Do you want to dance?” And I answered, “I can’t dance.” To the untrained ear that means “I’m not really interested.” In my case though, it meant, “I can’t dance.” Oh well. C’est la vie.

Almost four years later, Ingrid and I found ourselves sitting at Re-Bar again, in what may have been the very booth where we had our first conversation. I turned to her, ready to say, “So. Ingrid. Do you practice ascetics?” But I chickened out and said something else instead.

It worked out in the end. I posted something oblique about Ingrid the next day. Then, knowing it would lead her to her entry eventually, I emailed her a link to Beans For Breakfast’s sister site. (This is a technical violation of the Good Blogger’s Rules of Conduct. But I defend it by claiming that the entry works on a basic narrative level as well as on a help-me-get-a-girlfriend level. There’s something for everyone.)

We had each other’s attention again. A bunch of stuff happened after that, but you don’t want to hear about it.

Sidebar: In the Jessica entry, I was going to claim that I’m a cynic. Cynic wasn’t quite the word I wanted, so I looked it up on and of course one of my words was “asceticism”.

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