You know that uneasy feeling when you’re in the midst of a job interview that you thinking is going really well and the HR guy interrupts to say, “All right then,…thanks for coming in”? I just felt it again.
Only this time there wasn’t a job on the line. Just another episode of dating. I’m a seasoned veteran of first dates. I’ve been lucky to experience a few really good ones. I survived a few horrid experiences. For the most part, I’ve sat through a lot of ho-hums. I’m not sure I’ve ever had the chutzpah to cut the conversation in an instant and simply indicate that I’ve had enough—I have other things to do…laundry, a run, a little pre-planning for next year’s taxes.
Maybe this is why so many of my first-coffee meetings last ninety minutes, even two hours. Maybe I shouldn’t take the length of a conversation as a good sign. Maybe we just continue to talk because I don’t have an exit plan and neither does the other poor sap. Hats off to Cody for pulling it off.
Still, it’s an abrupt jolt when you don’t see the end coming. It happened so fast that I can’t quite recall how it played out. I’m pretty sure Cody got up while offering his closing remarks. Nothing you can say will make me linger any longer. We both mentioned how we enjoyed the get together and, yes, maybe we can get together again after Cody’s long weekend trip. Still, I have enough sense to know that only one of us meant what he said.
I hate that kind of ending. When it’s sudden and unexpected, I’m five steps behind the other guy’s processing of what preceded The End. And, yes, I take it as a personal failure. I thought things were going well. I felt an attraction. Weren’t we connecting?
Exit Cody, enter self-doubt. What did I do wrong? How did I blow it...again?
I must have talked too much.
I was boring.
My hair’s too big.
I’m just old and tired looking.
And on that “old” line of thinking, I’m left with a clear sense that I’m too old for this. Another date with nothing to show for it other than another bruising. In that way, I’m more banana than coconut. I should be thicker skinned but I just wasn’t made that way.
As Cody turned toward the door, I knew to stand back. I retreated from the patio to return my mug to the plastic tub inside. He was still in view as I hit the sidewalk. And, darn it, he was walking in the direction where I parked my car. I couldn’t walk in his wake so I turned the other direction, still stunned as my brain tried to figure out a destination for my detour.
I came up with raisins. There was a bargain grocery store a few blocks away and last time I stopped in I was surprised how cheap the raisins were. So that became my mission. Yes, I needed to stock up on jumbo bags of raisins. Somehow that made the end of the date feel that much more humiliating. And because no one on the planet goes to the store just to stock up on raisins, I grabbed a bag of ranch-flavored rice cakes to boot. I’m not sure I’ve ever bought that item before, but let anyone else in the express line conclude that the rice cakes were the craving; the raisins were simply an economical extra.
I walked back to the car, certain that I’d created enough distance between What’s-His-Name and me. I had tangible evidence that my drive into the West End during rush hour wasn’t, uh, fruitless. Only now I don’t just feel rejected; I’m downright kooky.
This endless cycle of first-round dating takes a toll. The only good thing to come out of this latest come-uppance is that I’ll be making a sizable donation to the food bank. It means another shopping expedition because there’s no way I can just unload cheap raisins.
Weirdest. Date. Ever. And apparently it’s all my doing.