mercredi, novembre 16, 2005

The Rules

I had a date tonight. With a friend of a friend, who was rather good looking, and danced like a pro. We had met at a Caribbean party, where he and I danced danced the zouk for quite a while. It's very up close, with the woman's legs on either side of the man's like the lambada. Things got a little hot and heavy, but the party was ending, and it was far away. In parting, I gave him my card with my email addresses. After almost a year, I still haven't memorized my cell phone number.

About a week later, he sent me an email, giving me his cell phone number. I replied giving him mine, but letting him know that I had two friends staying with me for a few weeks, and that if he wanted to see me for a tete-a-tete, it would have to wait. I didn't hear back for about a week and a half, so I sent him another email, reiterating that he was welcome to call and we could do something all together, but that if he would prefer just me, I was looking forward to hearing from him after my friends left.

Total radio silence.

Ironically, I saw the friend who introduced us this weekend and he asked if I had heard from the guy. I said I had sent two emails and gotten no reply. He gave me a perfect throwaway line - which I am really sick of hearing - that maybe the guy in question didn't feel up to par.

I don't know if the two of them talked, but the day before yesterday, the guy called. I told him I wasn't sure he was interested since I hadn't heard from him. He said something about being really busy and not wanting to contact me until he really had time to get together. Then he asked me out to dinner. Tonight. We set the time and the place, and on my way there, I called to make sure it was still on. He replied he was getting ready and would be on his way.

I found the place (miraculously in less than 15 minutes) and arrived a good ten minutes ahead of time.

I sat at the bar to wait. I am a polite person, so I waited to order a drink until he got there.

Forty minutes later, (giving him the benefit of the doubt since I was early), I called his cell phone. Straight to voice mail. In a tight voice, I said that I was already there and had been waiting half an hour, and that he would find me at the bar.

I watched table after table come in, have drinks, talk and leave. The owner of the place kept stealing glances at me, no doubt trying to come up with theories as to why someone would stand me up.

I gave in and ordered a drink.

I checked my cell phone. No voice mail message; no text message.

An hour and five minutes after the appointed time, I called again. Straight to voice mail.

"Alain," I said, my voice tense, "this is Penelope. I have been waiting for over an hour now. I am giving you ten minutes, and if you're not here, I'm going home."

By this time, the owner had already eaten his own dinner. He came around from behind the bar.

"Well," he said, shaking his head, "Monsieur is trying to make himself desirable, is he?"

I shrugged.

"It's appalling. Really. He should be ashamed of himself."

In reply, I asked how much I owed him for the drink.

I paid, put on my scarf, gloves and coat, and threw my cell phone in my purse. Try and call me now, I silently dared him. As I was zipping up my purse, a Bangladeshi flower seller came in. I turned to go.

"Mademoiselle!" called the owner from behind the bar, "Here." He handed me a red rose.

"Awww!" said the waitress. I swallowed hard so my eyes wouldn't tear up.

"Thank you," I said.

You wanna know the rules?

Make me wait half an hour without calling : inconsiderate, but you might have a good excuse.

Make me wait an hour and fifteen minutes for your sorry ass : Fuck you.

My red rose is in a pretty vase on my dining room table to remind me of the shallowness of men who think their shit doesn't stink.

And of the kindness of strangers.

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