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Hi, this is Karen ... (Casey Leedom)
(true, maybe)

[[This is a true story.  It just happened to me.  Normally I wouldn't
tell such a personal story, but it's too classic to let go by ...]]

  Shit.  Dating is so much fun I don't know why I didn't start sooner.
And me, once I get the hang of anything, I've got to go whole hog.  I
mean, what's the point of doing anything half way?

  So I'm dating maybe four women, maybe more.  I'm beginning to have a
hard time keeping them all straight.  But hey, it's all non-exclusive,
non-serious.  We're just having fun, right?  It's all part of meeting
people, doing fun things, having someone to do them with.

  So, two of the women I'm dating are named Karen.  Actually, that's not
true: one of them is named Karen and the other is named Karyn.  I defy
you to tell the difference when you hear the two names pronounced.  Now
one of the problems with going out with so many women is that I haven't
quite got their voices down yet ...

  I got this call a few minutes ago:

  ``Hi, this is Kar[ey]n.'' Which Kar[ey]n?  ``I can't go out with you
tomorrow because I have a friend from San Francisco over.''  We've had this
date scheduled for a week.  Is that all?  No apology?  Nothing?  Which
Kar[ey]n is it?  What question can I ask to flush her out?

  She continues brightly ``Maybe we can go out bicycle riding next

  I respond equally brightly ``Uh, uhmmm ...'' Shit!  Which
Kar[ey]n?!?!?  ``Uh, maybe?  I mean, uh ...'' Let's see last night I asked
Karyn out next Saturday -- I think.  If this is Karen I'd better say
Sunday.  If this is Karyn, she'll expect Sunday?  But if this is Karyn,
why does she think we have a date tomorrow!?  ``sure, but it would have to
be next Sunday.'' Is that right?  Is this where I have to ask if the
other Kar[ey]n would answer "no" to the question ...  Ahrrrgggg!

  She seems totally unaware of my panic, but also seems a bit nonplused
by my feeble gurgling.  She finally adds ``Well, give me a call some time
this week if you want to go ...''

  Which Kar[ey]n?!  I say ``Okay, bye.'' and hang up the phone.

  I sit there staring at the hated instrument, now quiet and
non-menacing.  I think that maybe I could write this up as a T.V. sit-com
episode.  Have I just finished talking with Karen and canceled our date
for tomorrow?  Have I just made a second date with Karyn for next weekend?
In either case I've just left a terrible impression with whoever just

  I finally decide that it must have been Karen and I'd better call her
back and fess up.  There's no other way.  Well, actually I could show up
for the date with Karen tomorrow and ... No, won't work.  Have to confess.

  So I call up Karen: ``Karen, I'm sorry I was so incoherent, but you
see, I have a confession to make.  I'm dating two Kar[ey]ns'' (cringe)
``and when you called and said "Hi, this is Kar[ey]n" I, uh, well''
(pulling at my non-existent collar) ``I couldn't exactly figure out, uh,
which, uh,'' (this is sounding worse all the time) ``Kar[ey]n I was talking
too ...'' I dribble off to silence, but it appears that things may be all
right.  She's laughing.

  Encouraged I continue ``And when you said you couldn't make it tomorrow
because you had a friend from San Francisco coming over I couldn't figure
out why you weren't being apologetic, or anything ...'' Again I dribble
off to silence.

  She asks ``You mean you asked her out for a date tomorrow too?'' Mostly
she sounds impressed with my presumed daring.  I hope.

  ``No, no,'' I respond quickly, ``I think she's confused.'' I didn't ask
Karyn out for tomorrow, did I?  No, it was next weekend I'm sure ...
``So you want to go out for a bicycle ride next weekend?''

  She responds with a laugh ``I think you have the wrong Kar[ey]n.''

  ``Hah, hah.  You're a lot quicker than I am.  Hah, hah.  You're joking,
aren't you?'' I convince myself that didn't sound like a whimper.  

  She's laughing harder now. ``This is Karen in Sacramento.''

  Yes, that's right.  That's exactly who I meant to call.  ``Yes, uh ...
You just called me right?  To cancel out tomorrow?''

  ``No.  We're still on?''

  The conversation is rapidly degenerating.  The noise level in my brain
is cresting.  I'm beginning to have problems forming primal preverbal
sounds.  I'm clinging to the thin shred of hope that she's just an
amazing wit ... ``You're serious?  You didn't just call me?''

  Actually, all taken together she was remarkably composed about the
whole thing.  I mean, she didn't even cancel out on the date.  Maybe it's
true what they say that if you just make them laugh.  She certainly
laughed enough ...

  One might think that the story ends here, but I still had to call
Karyn.  Which I did, confessing everything.  She also laughed a lot.
Women sure are tolerant creatures; she even agreed to go out with me next
weekend ...  Like I said before, this dating stuff is so much fun, I
don't know why I didn't start sooner.  I sure hope my hands stop shaking
before my date with Karen tomorrow ...

(From the "Rest" of RHF)

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