An hour before we’re supposed to meet, my jdate sends an email: He got to the coffee spot I picked and it is closed on Sundays. He’s chosen a nearby Tully’s and will hold a table there until I arrive.
I park outside Tully’s, and sit in my car. I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to go in.
I don’t like generic coffee.
I don’t want to spend an hour or more at yet another disappointing online date.
Then again, I don’t want to be the person who makes dates and doesn’t show up, especially since I know he’s not only already there, but has been there for an hour by the time I arrive.
I swear at the dashboard of my car, turn off the motor, and go in.
He’s sitting by the window, waiting, wearing neatly pressed clothes, and when he sees me arrive, stands to greet me and introduce himself politely, with a charming, slightly faded Australian accent. He looks nothing like his goofy profile picture and everything like a preppy businessman on his day off.
We chat, rambling a bit from topic to topic; he explains what he meant by “sometimes Kosher” in his jdate profile, he asks about my volunteer activities and tells me about his. He asks about the dogs I foster for rescue, tells me he’s thinking of getting a dog and wants my opinion about that. I mention my daughter, and ask about his children.
They live with his ex-wife; he only sees them once a week for dinner.
He changes the subject, asks me how often I go to synagogue, and I tell him I’ve only been in a synagogue twice in my life, though I have a recommendation for one in my area, from my father’s rabbi.
What about you?
I go to the synagogue where I used to live; it isn’t very convenient but it’s familiar. But it makes me sad to be in that neighborhood. My wife lives there, I still see her.
I ask about his ex-wife and children, I’m a bit confused about the timeline: They lived in France, and Israel, and Seattle; they lived apart, they lived together. He explains a bit, but it doesn’t make any more sense when he’s finished than when he started. Too many details are left out, and it’s a decidedly nonstandard custody arrangement.
I got screwed, he says. I don’t want to talk about it too much, it’s not really appropriate for a first meeting, and it makes me sad.
I offer some comments that I hope are helpful, and I think must be, because he replies, You’re the most upbeat person I’ve ever met.
It’s been an hour and my coffee is done, so I stand and thank him and say I’m looking forward to seeing him again. He looks wounded. I’d hoped we could talk more.
We will, next time.
He follows me out to the parking lot, but when we get to my car there’s nowhere else to go, so he turns around and walks back to his.