I’m a writer with ADD. It’s a self-diagnosis. I go in short spurts, flitting from café to café. I do love a strong cup of coffee and the bustle of activity helps me feel as though I have company while working alone. (The people watching amuses, too. No telling when or how something I observe or overhear will find its way into a manuscript.)
But cafés are not just my writing hangouts. They are where I typically meet guys for that first, and usually final, meet-and-greet after an initial online dating site connection. This morning’s spot is no exception. I’ve only been at this location of the local bakery chain once, perhaps three years ago. Maybe four. Time flies when you’re working your way through the online parade of gay men professing to want a relationship. (Really, I’m not so sure what they want anymore.)
At this location, I chatted with Steve, an avid marathon runner. He showed up in running gear. No post-run sweaty smell. Perhaps he just wanted to be properly attired in case he needed to make an emergency exit. It was one of those puzzling dates—nothing overtly wrong, but something not quite right. Nice guy, but no real connection despite having surface things in common.
He didn’t flee during coffee. Instead, he escaped a week later. He messaged me to say he’d enjoyed our chat but had accepted a job in Edmonton. People don’t usually leave Vancouver for Edmonton. I blame myself. (Coincidentally, I just took a writing break and peeked at OkCupid to see who had visited my profile of late. No joke, a certain Steve in Edmonton. What timing! Apparently, things are no rosier in the land of black flies.)
It’s funny to have moldy coffee grinds from past dates all over the city. At some point business owners will appeal to city council to ban me from all establishments. Then I’ll have to learn to write on park benches or—here’s a novel idea—from my own home.
For now, I’ll try to try to push aside foggy memories of fizzled firsts and appreciate the ambience as I continue to write in dating graveyards.