Chapter 6: Buddy’s Almost Too Late
At the moment she was “hangry”, which only made the Cosmo article she had read about successful online couples all the more irritating. Not to mention that she still had “Amway man” PTSD.
But it’s possible, right? Normal, hard-working, moderately neurotic people could stumble across normal….blah, blah people online, couldn’t they? There just had to be at least one more heterosexual, normal, hard-working, mildly neurotic, unmarried—or unencumbered man with a good sense of humor and a job out there somewhere.
They say hope springs eternal; she had been jaded long enough to question this theory.
When her friend called out of the blue it was a pleasant surprise. “You’ll never guess what”, her friend Elaine was not typically this effervescent. Please God—she prayed: please tell me she’s not engaged or something.
“Craig from work has a buddy who we thought you might be interested in meeting”. The set up—the 20th century version of online dating and just as likely to be unsuccessful. At least Elaine wasn’t getting married. The teal bridesmaid dress from Elaine’s first marriage was still somewhere in storage.
“What do you know about him,” she always thought it was fun—and important, to get the perspective from the setter-upper.
“Well I’ve never met him…”—insert the sound of a record player needle skidding across an album…she’d never met him? This had stink all over it. “…but I trust Craig and told him that you’re one of my best friends so not to screw it up.”
“Look. It’s one date,” Elaine emphasized. “It’s no different than online dating except this way we can yell at Craig if it’s a disaster.”
She had a point. And it had been several months since her last disaster. What’s that saying: jaded hope springs eternal misery? She decided to suspend her jaded, negative attitude that was intensified by hunger.
“You’re right”, she said with a measure of sarcasm. “Let’s find out about this one.”
Buddy called a few days later. He met the criteria for Levels 2—voice was nice and he gave good phone. But since this was a set up date, she had no way of knowing if he could write clear sentences without the aid of a tutor. For the moment, Level 1—could the Buddy write a complete sentence, would be on hold—but only because this Buddy came by way of a good friend. Without Elaine, she would have insisted on Level 1a—a series of emails.
She walked into the California Pizza Kitchen expecting to wait for him. And she did.
It was only polite to give every Buddy a 15 minute arrival time window—given traffic, etc. Being tired after a long week, she was counting down the minutes. He had 12 left. Enough time for a quick game or 2 of Candy Crush. Why hadn’t he called to say he would be late? Fushia flag…
4 minutes. Just then a man walked through the door; she hoped it was Buddy. He was cute. It was Buddy.
“Hi and please forgive me”, he said out of breath. "I was praying all the way here that you would wait a few extra minutes.” Buddy sounded sincere, was pretty cute and prayed. Yeah, she decided, it may have been worth the wait.