This post is about meeting a first date in a book store.
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This happened to me a few years ago. A book store seemed like a good place because if my date happened to be late (traffic, finding parking or whatever) I could browse around and I wouldn’t look conspicuous just waiting on some street corner like a hooker or in some cafe sipping a cup of coffee hoping that I won’t be stood up.
I had suggested meeting by the travel section on the second floor of a bookstore that was mid-way between where he lived and I did.
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I didn’t see him when I got there and so I took out a book on Nepal and looked at the pictures. Ten minutes, then fifteen minutes passed. Twenty minutes is usually my maximum before I leave. Then, I spotted him at the pen section.
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As with many first dates, there is always that awkward moment before you acknowledge recognition of each other.
“Hi,” You must be Mead.
“Hi,” he said barely looking up from the collection of pens before him.
“I was waiting for you by the travel section. Isn’t that where we said we’d meet?”
He glanced across the room. “Just checking the prices,” he said. “These are way overpriced.”
I shrugged. I didn’t know much about the cost of pens. In retrospect, I should have paid more attention to that opening remark.
We roamed around the bookstore, looking at travel books and talking about places we’d been to or would like to go to, figuring out what kind of traveler each of us was. Most people put on their profiles (myself included) that they like to travel. But wanting to travel and actually doing it are two different things. Just as how you like to travel. I’m not much of a roughing it in the bush kind of traveler. Nor do I bend towards pre-packaged travelling.
After we’d discovered that we had “travel” in common, we went on to the fiction section of the book store. Mead liked to read detective stories. I told him that I wrote crime novels and we had a short conversation about that. When he learned that I’d still not been published (at least not in that area) he lost interest and went back to the outrageous prices of pens.
In spite of this, there were things I liked about him. At least enough to see him again for a second date which turned into a third until finally we were in some kind of nebulous “relationship”. In the end, things didn’t turn out so well between us and I ended up transforming him into a character in my book Missi’s Dating Adventures.
Here’s a short passage from it:
He had this annoying habit of quoting prices of things he bought. His iPad and iPhone. Cheeses and bottles of olive oil. Cleaning products for the bathroom and kitchen. Vacuum cleaner bags, candles, coupons for car washes, shoes, blankets. Armani towels. Fifteen dollars. On sale. When he showed me his basement which was warehouse packed with so much stuff I didn’t dare comment on anything for fear that I might find myself having to listen to his rambling off on prices like an auctioneer. In his den, off his bedroom, he showed off his new Apple TV. Ninety nine dollars. No tax. Bought in New Hampshire.
One thing Mead had was a great library filled with classical literature and some very good modern fiction. I do tend to have a soft spot for a man who likes to read.
“Have you read all these?” I asked him.
“Not yet,” he said.
“None of them?”
“Actually, I do intend to get around to reading them.”
So, books for Mead were nothing more than decor. Or pretense.
“At least,” I said, “Books are tax-free.”
Of course the story doesn’t end here. It is part of a collection titled Missi’s Dating Adventures. You can read part 3 of the story by clicking here: I Heard it Through the Tea Leaves