The other night I go out to meet a girlfriend for dinner. I get there early and head to the bar with my book. Being at a bar, reading a book, makes me feel like everything will be ok.
I pull up a seat and acknowledge the people around me. I get a drink and I bury my head in my book. There is nothing about my demeanor that says “please talk to me.” In my many years of working at a bar, I know it’s possible to project the message that I’m looking for someone or something. I’m doing all the things to project the opposite message.
The woman across from me asks,
“What are you reading?”
“Do you know Trevor Noah?”
This conversation is off to a terrible start. Why is she bothering me? I offer,
“He’s the host of The Daily Show, he took over for Jon Stewart.”
She gives me a blank stare. This is my cue to go back to reading. She interrupts again,
“What’s it about?”
“His childhood growing up in apartheid South Africa.”
“Have you been to South Africa?”
“I’ve always wanted to go, but I’m not interested in doing a safari.”
“There are plenty of other things to do.” But I don’t know why I’m encouraging her. I should spare South Africa. I try putting my head down in my book again. She interrupts again,
“Are you meeting someone?”
Great. She continues,
“But I don’t know where we’re going to sit.”
There’s an empty seat on the other side of me. She leaves me in peace for the next 15 minutes. Her friend arrives. She points at the seat on the other side of me,
“There’s a seat there, but there aren’t two together, I don’t know what we’re going to do.”
I pipe up,
“Would you like me to move over?”
“Would you? That would be great!”
GOOD GRIEF! Is that what this conversation was about from the very beginning?