As the Lovelorn Saga Goes…

Thursday night, I had drinks with an acquaintance. We had spent the earlier evening volunteering together with numerous other people, and there has been a ritual amongst people I know, hitherto unbeknownst to me, of gathering at a local bar for a drink afterwards. We were waiting for a mutual friend, and went on ahead, not knowing how soon he would be able to join us.

Now the acquaintance, a certain gentleman by the name of Chris, (always a favored name in my book), I have known for years. Once upon a time, we actually had lunch together. Alone, together. I think it might have been a birthday for myself lunch. Shortly after that, I didn’t see him for a couple years. I have always had a fondness for this Chris (as I seem to for any man named Chris who consistently crosses my path.) But any casting about to ascertain interest from him in my direction, at that lunch, seemed lukewarm at best. Thursday night, however, seemed  a bit more promising.

Now, it is always hard for me to determine when someone is just a polite people person who always is genuinely interested in what others have to say, and actual interest in me. He was friendly with everyone that night. But as there was really no place for us volunteers to sit or stand and not be in someone’s way, and Chris was stationary because he was running the sound board, I frequently found myself wedged in the corner next to him. So we had ample time to chat, when the room was busy with other people chatting. That’s when the tradition of late night drinks first got mentioned. And admittedly, it was I who brought the drinking ritual up later, so I invited myself, I suppose, but he didn’t object. He seemed happy for the prompting and the excuse to stop lingering. And as our friend was unable to  join us for another 45 minutes or so, we had plenty of time to talk.

Turns out, he is following my current career path, about six months behind. He’s calling his “retirement.” Laid off in December from a tech company along with more than a thousand others, he finds not having a job an excellent time to catch up on movies, via Netflix. He too is without the ability to watch local broadcast and also refuses to pay for cable, because he’s as easily sucked into the nothingness of mindless TV watching as I. Case in point, the bar at which we drank, we both stared at the college football game showing. Not from any interest, but because it was on in front of us. We traded suggestions of movies to watch. He appreciates the lack of commercials that DVDs and streaming video provide.

We talked of Disneyland and its wonderful free if it’s your birthday scheme, when I discovered he had never been.

“Never?! Not even when you moved here  to LA?”

“Nope. I never went, not as a child, not now that  I’ve been here.”

“Well, I didn’t go the first time until I was in my twenties.”

“Yeah, but your thirties?” referring to his age when he moved here.

Okay, quick math. He and I apparently have both been living here in LA for ten years. He grew up in Nebraska (Go Cornhuskers!), definitely not near any Disneys. If he was in his 30s when he moved here 10 years ago, that means – ding! ding! ding! – he is in his 40s now, just like I am. Also, in talking about birthdays and going to Disney I found his day of birth is in January, so perhaps I can convince him over the next few months that going to Disneyland for the first time in one’s 40s is the right thing to do. Especially for free when still retired. Like me, he thinks he has about a year and a half’s time before he too runs out of funds, and needs to re-think “retirement.” Or get married to someone who works. He was willing to consider that as an option too after I mentioned it as a viable choice working for some of my friends.  And by knowing his exact birthday, I could go home and look up his horoscope and check for compatability without being so obvious as to ask for his sign. Clever me. Not that I believe in that stuff.

There were other things discussed and while at the bar, he frequently emphasized a point by touching my arm. This had never happened before, in the years we have known one another.  That had certainly not taken place while we were both volunteering earlier that evening, and it certainly had not happened at the previously mentioned lunch.  At times he was torqued enough on the bench seat we were sharing to nearly be touching, and then would shift away, particularly, I noticed, once our friend showed up. But he would slowly begin drifting towards me again, as if falling slo-mo into me.

Last call was given, and we eventually left. As we walked back towards our cars, and since he already knew I was parked a distance away (another topic of discussion was prime free parking spots), he offered to give me a lift, concerned for my safety. The neighborhood around LAX is not considered the best, but I always feel it is safer at night than where I live, and said as much. Oops, I realize now, I should have accepted, because the  male/female navigation guidebooks mention that men want to offer being helpful, and women, to express interest, should always accept, even if they don’t really need the help. Men love to rescue in the hero role, and women  who love them, to encourage them, take the offered help to express their support and interest. Or so some books say. Not that I’ve read them.

Anyway, that was my Thursday night. Born out of a, “Heck, I don’ t have to be anywhere until 2 pm for a job interview, why not stay out late?” Plus, with someone who is equally retired, and less obligation impaired than most, and our mutual friend who is self-employed. It was nearly three by the time I made it home, and the season premiere of Fringe was already up online to be watched, fraught with similar unexpressed feelings and mutual attraction between the two leads. Oh, and did I mention? He paid. Duelling plastic cards, and he won. He paid for all of us. A true gentleman.

Pluses: Intelligent, thoughtful, respectful, generous, interesting. Confident. Thinks for self. Low key, quiet, deadpan sense of humor. Owns a cast iron pot and knows how to use it. And take care of it. Concerned about his health and diet, and tries to eat healthy consistently. Beer drinker, thus cheap date. Broad shouldered and built sturdy like I am attracted to. Tidily trimmed beard, also like I like.  Yumm.

Minuses: Smokes (but can go hours between ciggies). What I call a considerate smoker, always down wind and the reek does not cling to him. Could explain his mints, offered to all. May consume meat. But having lived with at least two men who smoked and ate meat, I think I can handle it. Politics were the topic of discussion when the evening ended, and I felt in the minority with my leftist/pinko/liberal leanings. But he hadn’t finished laying out the particulars of where he stood, he was just warming to painting the picture of what the average American doesn’t know about the truth. And the conspiracies.

May have temporarily blown it by not taking offered ride. Don’t have his number any more, and have no idea if he still has mine. However, we both know someone who has both of ours. We shall see if anything comes of it. Repeated, direct physical contact is a good sign of interest, right? We’ll ignore the fact I did not reciprocate, as usual. I never know the rules of escalating these things, me a clueless single person. I’m never sure of the signals given. Perhaps why I’m still single?

But hey, if there had been a kiss involved, an obvious, clear sign of interest even I can’t question, (perhaps if I had accepted the ride! Idiot!) there would have been reciprocation. No question.

2 Responses to “As the Lovelorn Saga Goes…”

  1. gary Says:

    ………!?

  2. Carol Elaine Says:

    Repeated physical contact on his side is a definite sign of interest. Now we just have to get you to reciprocate – fingers lingering on a forearm to make a point, looking directly into his eyes for prolonged periods of time – that sort of thing.

    If you’ve known each other casually for several years, it’s certain you’ll be seeing him again. Just drop a hint to your mutual friend that you wanted to give him more information about Free Disneyland and see if she’ll give you his contact info.

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