Chapter 10: June 2009 Extroversion Grabs Me By The…Hair

The End.

That’s it, that’s the end of the book.  I swear, the rest of the pages are blank.  Thank you for reading, we have cupcakes and punch in the back of the room as you exit.  Please take a complimentary copy of The Secret on your way out, we’re trying to get rid of them.

Goodbye.

You’re still here aren’t you?  You’re expecting some sort of resolution to the whole “Allison” thing, huh?

Fine.  But I can’t guarantee I’m going to remember where I was.

I had fucked up.  I can’t think of a non-curse word that conveys how I l felt about the situation.  I didn’t blame @alliecine for not wanting to date.  I knew I was falling for her a while before I asked her out.  I realized there were kid-related things I hadn’t told her, and that I should have brought them up before I asked her out.  But there was this very illogical part of my brain that was telling me to wait for the “right opportunity” to talk about it.

Let me tell you right now, there is no “right opportunity.”  If you’re in the same situation, whether it’s now or in the future, take it from me, no matter what your heart is telling you in order to protect it from being broken, listen to your head. Your heart is NEVER going to let you talk about it, but your head knows better.

So we went back to being friends, although now it was with the knowledge that I’d blown something potentially really, really good.  @alliecine’s birthday was the next week, and I’d ordered a cheesecake from Junior’s all the way on the East Coast (where she is from), and had it shipped here, and I told her I still wanted to give it to her.  Part of me wanted to eat the whole thing myself in bed while watching multiple episodes of House, but I decided the right thing to do was give it to her.  Allie suggested I bring it over and we could get some dinner.

On the way to her house, I called @kimberlyprendez and talked about ALL the reasons it was good that @alliecine and I weren’t dating.  There were like three, and they weren’t even good reasons.  I knocked on her door, trying to tell myself that she would make a better friend than girlfriend, and then she opened the door.  She looked so beautiful standing there; all I wanted to do was bang my head against the wall in frustration.

We went to the Italian restaurant up the street, and it just about killed me to be around her, because all I could think about was that I’d blown it.  I pretended to be OK with being friends, but inside I was kicking my own ass on repeat.

We scaled back on our conversations, but still talked on Twitter.  One night the following week she randomly chatted me.   I don’t remember the date or time, I’m not one to keep track of those kinds of things.

June 3rd, 11:03pm.

It had been about a week and a half, I was working on moving toward the notion that we were done. More done than @mocoddle after a blog post.  That analogy works because @mocoddle pours so much into each post she’s drained afterward.  I realize, in order for that to work, you’d have to have read her blog.  What are you waiting for?  Also, she farms cows on the moon.  It’s her day job, she’s not really enamored with it, as the cows keep floating away, and trying to milk a cow in space is a whole other “thing.”  Add to that the lack of health benefits (and gravity), and you can see why she gives her all to her blog instead.  Where was I?

@alliecine and I were chatting, making small talk, and then, faster than I can shuck a pair of pants, she told me she wasn’t over me and unsure of what to do about it.  I immediately recalled (in my head) a conversation I’d had with @kimberlyprendez a few days prior.

Kim: Wassup?

Me: Nothin.

Kim: Then why the hell did you call me? I have a life too, you know. I was organizing paper clips.

Me: I think I’m doing better with this @alliecine debacle.

Kim: Really?

Me: No.

Kim: It’ll get better as time goes on blahblahblahblahblahblahblah (This isn’t what she said.  This is how I heard it in my head.  Kim likes to ramble.)

Me: Mmhmm.

Kim: Are you even listening to me? You’d better have pants on.

Me: Of course I do (I didn’t).  I’m glad she and I are still friends, but it’s incredibly hard to pretend I don’t have feelings for her. My standards have changed; I only want someone that’s as good as she is.  I don’t know if I’ll ever find that again.

Kim: Hypothetically, if like 4 years went by, and then @alliecine showed up and told you she wanted you back–

Me: I’d do it in a heartbeat. I don’t care where I am or what’s going on.

Kim: Wow.

Me: Totally.

Clearly I was not over her.  There was something about @alliecine that I hadn’t seen in anyone I’d ever dated.  We thought alike, and solved problems the same way; we literally had hundreds of things in common. It was almost like we shared the same brain.

She clearly had the logical part of it.

I was in shock for a few moments; it’s a lot like the moment when you realize that @ginayates is really serious when she tells you that wants to be on Law & Order.  She’s quite driven and obsessed (in a non-crazy way) about it, and even devotes a blog to the goal.  She also has a mean right hook, and if you’re ever on a mechanical bull in a bar on Sunset Blvd. for the first time, she’ll give you the best advice you’ve ever heard for staying on.  I didn’t listen, so I only lasted about seven seconds.

During the chat with @alliecine, I was text messaging @kimberlyprendez, and immediately told her what was going on.  I used the opportunity to tell Allie why I did what I did (I pretty much told her what I told you guys earlier in the chapter), and took responsibility for it.  I wasn’t trying to win her back as much as I was trying to get everything out in the open so that there wasn’t anything unresolved, and we could move on as friends.

Except that now she was on the fence again about dating.

I told her, as a friend, that she should do what was best for her.  Then I told her, as someone who wanted her more than @jasonburns wants a lead role in a Michael Bay film, that I wanted to… well, this is exactly what I said:

And she said:

So at 1am, I jumped in my car and drove 30 miles to her apartment to kiss her pretty face for the first time.

Sorry, there’s no screenshot for that.

We’ve had many conversations about this gap in our relationship, what I now refer to as “The Hiccup,” and we’ve gone back and forth about what date is our actual anniversary.  I decided for us during the drive back from the Tucson Film & Music Festival months later.

I was driving @brownambassador’s car (he was moving his stuff to LA) behind @alliecine, and texting.  Yes, while I was driving.  Technically, I wasn’t in California at the time, so I wasn’t breaking the law.  Also, I was in the desert at like 6am, and there were no other cars around.  Don’t ever tell people on Twitter that you’re tweeting while you’re driving, because they’ll come unglued.  It’s worse than saying you’re cutting up kittens.  Once, I made a joke about tweeting while driving, (it was an obvious joke), something about using a laptop, tweeting, and putting on makeup at the same time.  Some guy in the U.K. tweeted me back and called me an “arsehole” for tweeting and driving.  I wasn’t tweeting and driving, but I was annoyed by his judgmental attitude, so I came back with something about there being a big stick up his butt and that he should get it removed.  He unfollowed me immediately, to which I reciprocated.

Anyway, I decided, while driving across the desert, that May 21st, our first date, was our anniversary, because, despite “The Hiccup,” that was the day I started to fall in love with her.

I just didn’t know it at the time.

This was the point, almost to the day, when EVERYTHING changed.  There is now Rob pre-@alliecine, and Rob post-@alliecine, like the Old and New Testament.  No, I’m not comparing myself to Jesus.  He has enough to live up to without having to deal with MY rep.  In fact, if I bumped into Jesus somewhere around town, like, @thecounter restaurant (and you know Jesus would be there because their burgers are unfrakingbelievable. I’m sure he even has his own table there, with a placard that says “Reserved For Jesus.”), I’d be waving across the restaurant and yelling, “Hey, Jesus! Remember me?”  And Jesus would turn away like he didn’t know who I was and say, “Is that…. Oh, Jesus Christ,” because he’s really the only one that can get away with that.  And I’d go up to the table and say “Hey, Jesus, I left you a message, why didn’t you call back?”  And Jesus would say, “Look, I like you, OK?  But I can’t be seen with you anymore.  You’re bringing me down with you.  You need to leave before my friends get here.  And put on some pants already, you’re embarrassing yourself.”  And I would say “But you talk to @aaronkaiser, and he doesn’t wear pants.”  Jesus would respond with, “Yeah, but he doesn’t talk about his penis on Twitter like you do. People are talking.”  Then @jamiefishback and @aaronkaiser would show up and Jesus would pretend I wasn’t there, and I’d walk away dejected, until @kevinrieplmusic called me over to his table. “He won’t talk to me either.  Sit down and have a beer with me.”  And then when Jesus leaves with his peeps, I pants @jamiefishback on his way out the door, because @aaronkaiser already isn’t wearing any.

Meanwhile, on Twitter, things were moving like a snowball downhill.  My sarcastic, acerbic, pantsless tweeting was suddenly attracting all these new people I hadn’t spoken to before.  And not just perverts like @dailyactor, real people.  Filmmaker people, which was my intention all along, but who knew that my change in “style” on Twitter was going to be helpful at wrangling them.

Some of you might not be comfortable telling your life story on Twitter; I have a lot of friends on Twitter who keep their home life separate and private.  Obviously I don’t have an issue with it, because I’m writing a damn book about my life, but (for me) the key to success on Twitter has been my candid and open dialogue with the people I follow and follow me.  I’ve said this before, and I’m going to say it again.

Just be yourself.

Dating @alliecine came with certain “changes” I needed to adjust to quickly.  And by quickly I mean overnight.  I’m a composer.  I like being isolated and introverted for days at a time, holed up and writing music.  It’s part of the gig.  Most composers are like that.  Allie is a Producer, and a Producer gets work by networking.  It takes a lot of networking to land gigs, so you have to spend time constantly attending multiple events, sometimes in the same night.  @alliecine is very good at this.  I realized, before our first date, that if I was going to date her, I was going to need to shake off the introversion and jump in headfirst.

In June, we averaged about seven events a week, every week, for the entire month.  Some of these were breakfast and lunch meetings, but a lot of them were evening networking events.  Internally I was kicking and screaming at the thought of schmoozing with lots of people I didn’t know, but on the outside I tried to be the guy I was on Twitter.

It was working.

The thing about networking is that, if you do it often enough, you start to see the same groups of people at different events.  This is a good thing, because then you get to know them, they introduce you to their people, who might introduce you to their people… you get the picture.

One of the first events I went to with Allie was the The Entrepreneur Connection (LA), a small business meetup group run by @alaiawilliams.  Alaia is a wonderful organizer, and the event turned out to be more beneficial than I expected it to be.  As we went around the room, I talked about my profession as a composer (I hadn’t decided to write a book at that point) and how marketing on Twitter had benefited both myself and @alliecine.  After the meeting, I was approached by @mischief_mari, who was a reporter looking for people to interview for her blog.  She wanted to do an interview, video shoot and take photographs, talking about my job and Twitter.  I was excited, it was one of those moments (I still have them) when you realize the power of networking, and how it really works as long as you’re willing to interact.

Which sounds suspiciously like my marketing strategy for Twitter.

I started to get more work, but most of it was still coming from Twitter.  People were messaging me off-site and asking to meet about scoring projects.  People outside of Twitter wanted to know how it worked.  Another networking event I attended in June was @jamiefishback’s “Tweetup,” my first one.

The concept of a Tweetup is simple, it’s just a networking event designed around people you know or want to get to know on Twitter.  You set up an invitation online, figure out the when and where, and tweet repeatedly so that people are aware it’s happening.  If you’re smart, you set it up so that people bring either drink or food (let them choose), like any other party.  This turns it into kind of a potluck; you end up with more refreshments that you can actually consume in one night.  Check out http://twtvite.com, it’s a great site for organizing the event and sending out notifications by tweet.

@jamiefishback’s was a BBQ, so he provided the burgers and dogs, and we (the attendees) provided everything else.  Jamie held his at his own home, which means he’s either very trusting or very stupid.  I know Jamie, and if I had to choose I’d say “trusting” is the right answer.  @alliecine and I had been together less than a week when the Tweetup happened, and had only attended one other event together, a screening of a film I scored.  Jamie’s Tweetup was a huge success.  It was the second time I got to hang out with @cartermason, I met @aaronkaiser for the first time, I got to talk to @ginayates in person, @JonathanNail (who wasn’t able to make it) brewed his own beer and provided a keg in his absence, and Ron Jeremy showed up.  Yeah, you heard me.  Don’t ask.

That Tweetup was one of the first doors I opened to the group of people I network with the most now, and I met every one of them on Twitter.  All I had to do was show up and be social.  It was also the first time that I realized people expected me to be, in person, who I was on Twitter.  I’m pretty “free” when I write, and I will usually say things that I wouldn’t say in real life.  That no longer applies, thanks to Twitter.  I realized I liked being the outgoing person I was on Twitter instead of the introvert I had been for all of my adult (and most of my childhood) life.

There was just one problem.  I didn’t expect to fall in love.

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