Discover more from The Strong Buzz
Waiting for Godot.
Was he dead, or just a no show?
Last night I had a first date. It was a dinner date with a guy I met on the apps named Mac. Cute, bearded, in medicine, from Colorado originally. Not tall, but at this point I can’t be all that picky; and I don’t really wear heels all that often anyway. On text we had some fun banter, and also some deep conversation— he was good at both.
We made plans for Sunday brunch, but he canceled at the last minute with a work issue. He sent a very lengthy, very detailed apology and asked to reschedule. I said I understood (even though he canceled at 12pm for a 1pm brunch date) and agreed to another go. We planned to meet last night for dinner; we confirmed the day before and he sent many nice texts about how excited he was to finally meet me. There were some cute emojis; I’m not above a cute emoji.
I had a busy day, writing, then running to an annual physical. Gave some blood, peed in a cup, and I made it back home, showered, changed my outfit three times (the weather was so weird) and hopped on a CitiBike to make it over on time. I was a few minutes late for our 6:30 reservation (I bike almost as slow as I run) and figured he’d already be there waiting. Alas, he wasn’t.
The hostess asked if I wanted to wait at the table which was ready. I didn’t know if I should wait at the table. “It’s a first date and he canceled our previous one and I have a feeling he is not gonna show,” I admitted to her. “Girl you have no idea how many times I have had this same conversation,” she said. “Go have a seat at the bar. I’ll hold the table for you. We got you.”
I found a seat at the bar, and ordered a glass of wine and waited. 6:40. I texted my friends to vent. 6:45. Still no sign of Mac. “Maybe he’s just running late? Shouldn’t he text me if that’s the case?” I wondered to them. I texted him: “Hey, are you running late? Or just standing me up?” Smiley face emoji. No reply.
The bartender asked if I wanted to have some dinner. I did, I said but I was waiting for a date who appeared to be standing me up. “No way!” he said. “Your wine is on me.”
6:50. No Mac. No reply from my text. Maybe he was in an accident? Trapped in a stalled subway? Dead? How many times do I have to wonder if my dates are dead?
In my 54 years of life, I have never had someone just not show up to a date without a text or a call. I mean you can cancel; you can make up any excuse. Here are some examples: You have COVID, you have to work late, your kids are sick (granted, he has a 19-year old), you have a leak in your roof, you have a leak in your basement; your dog died, your cat is acting strange; you’re constipated, you have an ingrown toenail, you got caught up feeding park pigeons, you were binging Succession and could not stop. LITERALLY ANYTHING!!! And you can do it on text, you don’t even have to summon the balls to make a call. I mean come on.
Or here’s an idea, you can just not make plans with someone if you don’t plan on showing up. Dinner with Andrea is NOT a mandatory experience. Nope, not required. Why make a commitment and then just not show up at all? Baffling.
I wasn’t sad, I had clearly dodged a bullet; dating these days, it seems, is just an exercise in dodging bullets; I’m like a fucking acrobat. I was just annoyed. I’ve only got a few nights to myself to see friends (who show up and whom I actually enjoy) and if I am giving a night to a date he’d better at least show up.
And it had been kind of a hard day, if I am honest. I had been interviewing for a full-time editorial role and had made it pretty far into the process and was told shortly before leaving for my “date” that they had decided to go with someone else. (I need more work if you’ve got a lead!)
It also would have been my 15th wedding anniversary; a reminder that once I was married, and now I am divorced. It’s such a weighted word, divorce, so heavy with failure and disdain, like a towel that’s been left out in the rain. I get why Gwyneth termed it conscious uncoupling, though that term is just too much of an eye roll to actually use out loud.
We broke up. That’s what it amounts to. Mostly, Craig and I still really still like each other and care for one another. While we are, by most accounts, very good co-parents and vacation together, there is still a sense of sadness, and loss, for that whole that is now two halves.
When the memories of us and our kids pop up on Google photos or Facebook, I can’t say I enjoy looking at those images. And I wish I could because those were good times. They counted and they happened! But somehow now, looking back, they are colored with loss and failure. I am trying to see them more clearly, and to rinse them of regret, and put them back in my mind as places where I can visit without stabs of pain. Not sure that’s possible though.
It hurts, physically aches, to say goodbye to my kids on the days I know they will be going home after school to Craig’s house. There’s a hole somewhere in my heart that seems to widen when I hug them goodbye those mornings. It closes up when they come home to me.
All of this is to say that something you probably already know: divorce is not easy. Even when you want to move on, even when you understand the reasons, even when you’re standing on the threshold of a new chapter. Pain, loss, regret, shoulda coulda woulda. It’s not black and white. I sit in a lot of gray. I suppose life is like that.
So I was sitting in that gray area most of the day yesterday; clearly I should have just stayed home or gone out with friends. Honestly, thanks to the team at DUMBO House my evening turned out just fine. I chatted with the bartenders and had a delicious roast chicken with harissa and a little gem salad. I biked home along the waterfront watching our gorgeous city light up against the darkening sky. It turned out to be a beautiful night. And I never did hear back from Mac.