Chuck Ross pieces together the crumbs of a first date going on behind him in the coffee shop where he’s sitting right now.
That was a short date. She didn’t even finish her coffee cake. It’s still sitting over on the table; if I got a new fork I could stay away from the quarter inch on the side that she was eating off of and still make a nice, healthy snack out of it.
I don’t normally feel bad for people on dates, but that’s only because I don’t see them fizzle out in real time. I know that bad blind dates are as American as the Starbucks I’m sitting in, but I mostly read about them on the internet or misremember them from my own past.
A blonde woman sat over at the table next to me, but I didn’t pay much attention to her. From my periphery she seemed decent looking. Ten minutes after arriving and ordering an espresso infused beverage and that still-there coffee cake, the guy she had been waiting for finally showed up. They shook hands and immediately grew silent.
The “so….” came too early in the conversation for that relationship to work out. She had a lisp and her bottom jaw jutted out when she spoke. I’m sure he noticed this because I could hear it.
I don’t say that to be mean about her; she seemed really nice. She even left that cake for me. But ten minutes after he got there, I noticed his strategy to set up for an exit. He didn’t order a coffee or even take off his jacket, and I heard something about his long work day almost as soon as he sat down.
When he told her he had to go she said “OK” with manufactured enthusiasm. She wanted to stay there and talk about nothing, at least until her coffee cake was done, but it was obvious that he wasn’t into her. I could tell that even without looking over at them. After wishing her a good night and shaking hands once again and saying that he’d call her, he left Starbucks with the pace of a man who had found a sack of hundreds on a park bench. I could imagine that the flesh between his shoulder blades and stretching up the back of his neck was burning with that sensation that stems from an animalistic flight mechanism.
The worst part was her reaction. Or her non-reaction after he left. She packed her things softly, with the resignation of one of those people who sell timeshares and become comfortable with rejection.
—Photo credit: M.Markus/Flickr