This morning I had a date for coffee at Starbuck’s with a friend of Harrison’s. Jon had reached out to me a few weeks ago but between the end of the school year, my upcoming move and planning for my wedding, I had been forced to cancel on him more than once. Or even twice. I texted him this morning that I had about an hour – could he meet me on such short notice? Perfect, he said. (Note: I love when people will do things with me on short notice!)
I arrived about fifteen minutes early so I ordered my grande-cold-brew-in-a-venti-cup-with-extra-ice, doctored it with milk and sugar (no sugar substitute for me) and snagged a table outside on a picture perfect morning. As I began to busy myself catching up on Facebook and Words with Friends, I couldn’t help but overhear the conversation between the man and woman at the table beside me, likely in their late sixties/early seventies. Based upon the fact that they were sharing information along the lines of where they were from, how many children they had and where they fell in the birth order among their siblings, it was evident that this was a first date.
She’d been divorced for fifteen years. His wife had passed away more recently. She: two daughters, 25 and 26. He: two sons, 29 and 31. She: just moved back to town from Colorado where she skied every day she possibly could. He: tries like hell to enjoy golf but has a deep emotional divide between loving it and hating it. She: Googled him. He: didn’t know that was a “thing” that people did “nowadays.” She: “refuses” to discuss politics with anyone, yet did mention that she finds Trump a reprehensible swine. He: Trump all the way. And so it went. They continued to chat for well over an hour, the details of which I did not hear as I was now engaged in my own conversation and listening to them would be just plain rude.
When they got up to leave, an older man who had been sitting with a pug puppy at his feet (and had made his desire to enjoy the outdoor patio evident by pulling up one of the unused chairs and plopping down between our two – the only two – tables) began to move himself into their not quite vacated seats. The couple (who aren’t really a couple at all) really had no choice but to stop to pet the dog and with the cluster of us being on top of one another, we started to chat. (Okay, maybe I started to chat.)
The older man, it turns out, is a retired judge and the dog, his emotional support. I did not ask for his story, but I suspect, given his disheveled presentation and dull eyes, that it included a lost love. The couple, despite their pleasant enough coffee are not, I am going to definitively state, going to have a second date. Instead of even feigning interest in her date, she glommed onto the fact that my toenails and hers are painted the same shade of pink.* I commented that he looked a bit like Dick Van Dyke. She rolled her eyes. He, like the judge, had sad eyes suggesting that he still mourns the loss of his wife. And their politics..yeah, that was most certainly a deal breaker.
My curiosity getting the better of me, I inquired (or, to be more precise, confirmed) that it was a first date. She: once again rolled her eyes. He: smiled sweetly. I then told them the story of my first date with Barry, which, it happens, was three years ago today. I told her that I, too, Googled him before I met him and that I told him my big scary things before I would even meet him…no sense in having a (potentially) great first date only to discover that he couldn’t/wouldn’t be able to work with the baggage I was bringing along with me. She offered something between a nod and a shrug as if making a mental note to do some pre-screening before her next date. These two might have saved the $10 on coffee had they, as part of the vetting process, just said, “Hillary” or “Trump”.
They parted ways in the parking lot with a handshake. She: I’d venture to guess, called her friend who fixed them up with a “thanks but no thanks”. He: was missing his wife.
Dating is so tricky. On the one hand, you put yourself out there and wonderful things can happen. On the other, it can really suck. I was lucky that I met Barry fairly soon after agreeing to date. I went with my gut and gave him an out before he got in and he, in turn, did the same. We, it is worth noting, have been together since that very first date.
The retired judge, the lady with the pink toenails and the aged Rob Petrie left Starbuck’s feeling alone and disappointed this morning. And I left feeling grateful and hopeful for them that they will keep on truckin’ because you just never know.
As for my new friend Jon, when I left, he had pulled up a chair and was chatting with the judge. Makes me kinda love him.
*OPI Mod About You. You’re welcome.