Last week, I met a girl and this is how we met. I was studying at a coffee shop near midtown and she was reading The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff. That was my ticket in.
I found this incredible because just two weeks ago, I was with my friends talking about the ideal way to meet someone. After thinking about my answer for a few minutes, I told my friends that I’d like to meet her at a coffee shop. She’d be reading an interesting book that I’ve already read, and I would strike up a conversation about it.
The beauty of this scenario is in its simplicity. Depending on the book she was reading, I get a quick glimpse into her personality (Twilight…major turn-off). Also, it says a lot about a person who uses their free time to read at a coffee shop. Exactly the type of person you’d stay in on a Friday night with to watch a cheap horror film.
Big plusses for me too. I get to start off talking about something interesting, I don’t come off as a creeper, and it’s a coffee shop in New York City for goodness sakes. You only see these types of things in the movies: It’s either a coffee shop in NYC or a café in Paris.
Wonderful to dream about, but maddeningly hypothetical.
But there she was. In a coffee shop, reading an interesting book, looking super super…
I’m willing to bet that if I hadn’t had this talk with my friends two weeks ago, I wouldn’t have approached her. But I talked about it…I put it out there for the world to know. No, I did not want to meet my future girlfriend at a club…No, I did not want to meet her on cruise-liner, or a wedding, or a rodeo. I wanted to meet her at a busy coffee shop in metropolis…and there she was.
It was like the world was saying, “Alright pussy, you can talk the talk…but here’s your chance to walk the walk. What are you going to do about it?”
I responded decisively.
She read a line in the book that made her smile. Without hesitation, I dove in.
“I loved that book too.”
“Really? Don’t give away the ending!” She had a REALLY nice laugh.
It was the perfect start. We spoke for about 15 minutes (good casual length), about other books, what we do for a living etc. etc. (She’s a student at NYU). I asked her if she came to the coffee shop often. She said every Thursday (she doesn’t have class on Thursdays).
In the past, I would have wasted this promising start and have lost the girl to the dreaded “friend zone”. But since I felt the universe was with me, I asked her to dinner over the weekend.
She hesitated but smiled (good sign). Then she said that she was going to be in Boston for the weekend. Ah, oh well. Worth a shot I guess.
But then she said, hey, how about next Thursday? We could grab brunch or something.
WHOA. This almost never happens to me. I tried to hold back the tears (haha) and I responded with a casual,
“Hey, that sounds good.” THEN I GOT HER NUMBER. (inside I was like, Piiimmmmppp)
I left it there, walked away before I ruined the perfect encounter with the perfect girl.
That was last week.
After texting back and forth all week long, we decided we’d meet today at noon for brunch.
I woke up real early to get a good run in, shower, dress nice.
I was nervous man, real nervous. This one seems like it had some legs and I definitely didn’t want to mess it up. It’s one thing to sound cool for 15 minutes in a coffee shop and it’s one thing to have witty text exchanges, but it’s quite another to hold an interesting, lively conversation over the course of a meal. It’s like a job interview. Be on time, be courteous. Casual but sharp. Relaxed but not sloppy. FIRM HANDSHAKE.
So it’s time to leave and I walk down to 116th to catch the 1 train. It was pretty crowded when the train pulled up. I myself barely made it on.
And then, out of nowhere, I hear a lady scream next to me. Her little son had gotten on the train but she didn’t make it on. The doors closed and the train started to pull away.
Everyone around me seemed pretty shocked, but I was the only one to start comforting the boy. I asked him what his name was, how old he was. 11 year old boy.
I told him not to worry, that we’d wait for his mom at the next stop.
At the next stop, 110th street, I got off with Carlos. I was trying to distract him, make him laugh, but you could tell he seemed pretty upset.
We waited for the next train to come and when it did, a whole bunch of people came out, but NO MOM.
I told him not to worry, that she’d be on the next one, but again, she wasn’t on the train.
Now I started to worry a bit. I asked him if he knew her cell phone number. She didn’t have a phone, he said.
We waited for two more trains and she’s not on either. Maybe she’s waiting for ME to bring him back to 116th street. So we cross over to the other side, and we take the train back to 116th. We look everywhere, and she’s no where to be found.
I look at my watch. It’s 12:45. I have no reception to text her that I’m running late. I’m stuck on this subway platform with this boy I don’t know and I guess…I just panicked
Because I take Carlos over to the subway official, tell him that he lost his mom and…I left him there.
I don’t know what I was thinking. As soon as I got on the subway car, I was filled with SO much guilt. The bottom line is…I left the boy because I wanted to go on my date. There was just no way around that.
But I tried my best to put it out of my mind when I got to the brunch place. Right off the bat, I could tell that she was pretty pissed. I was an hour and a half late for brunch.
I wanted to explain to her what happened, but I felt that telling her that I abandoned some boy on the subway platform wouldn’t have come off very good for me. So I made up some half-baked story about class…in whatever case, she wasn’t happy and brunch did not go well at all.
When the bill came out, I reached for my wallet to pay and…it was gone.
I checked all my pockets, and no wallet. I remember very clearly leaving my place with the wallet, so I know it wasn’t back at my place.
And then I realized, that Carlos didn’t cry, he didn’t seem upset, he didn’t even react when I decided to leave him. I retraced my steps all the way back to the morning, and there was just no way anyone else could have lifted my wallet.
Was this some elaborate show? Did Carlos and his mom set this whole thing up? Think about it. What kind of mom doesn’t show up at the next subway stop? Even if she didn’t come, the first thing she would have done was to report it to the subway official. But he had no idea who this kid was. It HAD to be Carlos and I’m pretty sure I was heisted.
So to recap. I abandoned a kid in his moment of need. In some sort of DIVINE justice, he stole my wallet. I was late to my date with the perfect dream girl. And she ended up paying for my meal.
Why today of all days?
Why on April Fool’s Day?