My hand was pressed up against the glass window of the restaurant in a Vulcan salute as I tried to make eye contact with two men who were passing by with my best puppy dog sad eyes when the thought occurred to me that I might actually be more competitive than I initially thought.
I like hitting sales goals, and love working jobs on commission because of the blank paycheck. I love winning bets. It’s not everything I’m competitive about, but it’s definitely a lot of weird shit.
For example, don’t get me started on the rage that fills my heart when I lose at foosball.
Last summer when my parents came to visit my dad took to taunting me the entire game. Long story short, it ended with me calling him an asshole in front of some friends who seemed shocked at my outburst and my dad laughing in response, though I wish I could say that was an isolated or out of the ordinary incident.
So I was out with some friends at a Mexican restaurant in Ballard, when we were seated in what can only be described as a fishbowl of a window that jutted into the street. I made several comments about how I didn’t particularly enjoy feeling like a zoo animal on display for everyone to stare at who passed by.
A few margaritas in, conversations tend to take a turn, and as I felt the pressure of the window seat and felt uncomfortable with people staring at me and kept commenting on it, a challenge arose.
The challenge was that I do the Vulcan salute out the window to a stranger. Easy enough. But the goal was to get someone who had Star Trek knowledge to reciprocate the salute to me.
I have zero Star Trek knowledge. I was always more of a Star Wars girl myself, but I had an idea of who I was looking for through that window, and I was no longer interested in anything but getting my Vulcan salute returned.
I made sure to pick only men traveling solo or in pairs as I figured my odds of hitting a Trekkie would be higher–I don’t want to be the girl who Vulcaned the guy away from his girlfriend.
I used to do all sorts of crazy shit to get strangers to stop and talk to me in the streets when I lived in Sydney and my job was to sign people up for monthly donations to Doctors Without Borders.
I always told myself now I would never have the energy to do that kind of job again, but it’s funny how with a little tequila the skill set of being shameless and the thirst for “a sale” comes flooding right back into my system.
Everyone laughed the first time, and I was told not to smile when I did it and looked back at the table of my friends like they must be insane. Did it look like this was my first time making strangers come talk to me? It’s like they didn’t think I had already developed a full plan of how to make this work.
I saw my first target, wiped off my resting bitch face, put on some longing, sad eyes, and gently held my hand up against the glass.
Ignored. Even though I saw in his eyes that he saw me. You couldn’t miss me in that window display.
“I know you see me!” I wanted bang on the glass and shout in my rage, but knew it was a numbers game.
I forgot for a moment I was in Seattle, and just getting basic eye contact and communication with someone was asking more than I could in other places. This would be more of a challenge than I had anticipated.
“Why won’t you Vulcan me BACK!?” I cried in dismay when one man finally acknowledged me with a laugh.
Probably because I was using the term Vulcan like it meant the actual hand gesture and not as the race it refers to in Star Trek.
I got some acknowledgment, some laughs, some turn-around-to-do-a-double-takes, but zero reciprocated Vulcan salutes.
I was feeling good about the whole thing, when suddenly the power went out in the restaurant. And by the restaurant, I mean it went out for blocks of the entire neighborhood.
I became desperate trying to make eye contact through the window in the dark, yelling at one of my friends to back-light me with their phone so these pedestrians could see me, but it was fruitless.
We left, me feeling particularly deflated because I knew in my heart I was going to make it happen and wasn’t given the proper chance with the power outage. Also I don’t like to lose a bet. Because this is one of those strange times that the competitiveness comes out in me. I can’t explain it.
I went to bed that night, wondering what it was that I could have done differently. I mulled it over to the point that I actually had a dream I got someone to reciprocate the Vulcan salute through the window.
I don’t have good dreams often, but woke up in the best mood, feeling so proud of myself.
Until I realized it didn’t really happen and I had failed. As I got the courage to venture out in the harsh morning light, I made myself some coffee and breakfast, I told myself if we had more time I could have made it happen. The next timed I was challenged, I was going to have to pull it off to restore my reputation.