Saturday arrives and I’m grateful that my head is in the right place about this date. I’m excited, but grounded. I’m not looking for the one - to put that spin on things would create way too much pressure and if it doesn’t work out, it’s going to be a huge disappointment. Maybe this is how those people who date a lot do it. No expectations. Well, limited expectation. Of course, I hope we hit it off, but I’m not walking down the aisle with this guy in my head just yet.
At around 4pm, I get a text message from Bill, explaining that he’s running about 15 minutes late and he wants to give me a heads-up. Truth be told, my initial reaction was mild irritation, which I found to be interesting. What’s so bad about him running a little behind? He certainly gave me ample notice. That’s the thing about relationships - it’s hard to remember that each person is different than the last. I had a boyfriend once who was consistently late and I’m not talking the customary 15 minutes, which isn’t a tragedy if there’s notification. This guy would show up an hour late or sometimes not at all. So, I’ve got a bit of a sore spot on lateness and reliability. Glad that I caught a glimpse of my own shit in time, I bring myself back to the present moment and prepare to leave my apartment for the date.
In the East Village and a bit early for our meeting, I decide to grab a quick slice of pizza. If we’re having drinks only, it occurs to me that I better have some food in my stomach to avoid any possibility of getting smashed off the first drink. As I sit down to eat my pizza, my phone beeps indicating that I have a voicemail. Bill’s left a message explaining that he’s been stuck on the PATH train for the last hour and it’s still not moving. My mind’s full of a million questions: Why’s he on the PATH if he lives in Williamsburg? Why didn’t he call me sooner? WHAT THE FUCK? Rage gets the better of me but thankfully, self-awareness kicks in reminding me to breathe and more importantly, this is just a date - he’s not the one, he’s just a date.
When I call him back, he’s still stuck on the train and we agree that I’ll hang tight for a bit until he has an idea as to what’s going on. It’s not the ideal scenario for a first date, but shit happens. And though I feel like my expectations are in a healthy place, I can’t help but be a little discouraged by the turn of events. Hassle sucks in general, but when there’s hassle with someone you’re not even invested in, what’s the point? I decide to give it until 6pm, get on the train and head over to my friend’s restaurant to drop off his drill as promised. This is the same friend whom I’d planned to visit post-date, but I can’t just sit around waiting for this guy - I need to keep busy.
I head up to Chelsea hoping that his train hasn’t miraculously started moving and he’s now waiting for me in the East Village. Nope, he’s still stuck. “I couldn’t make this up even if I wanted to,” Bill says from the PATH where he’s still idle. Apparently, the train hit a deer and they have to clean off the debris and remove the carcass from the tracks and the bottom of the train. Nope. He’s right - making this up would be quite a feat. As we’re marveling at the ludicrous nature of the situation, the PATH conductor announces that they will be moving in about 10 minutes. I tell Bill that I’m in Chelsea and we agree to revamp our original plan. I offer to find a place to meet, which is not my favorite thing, but I feel as though as I should since I’m now in a different ‘hood. I promise to text him with a place once I figure it out.
Hanging up, I’m unenthused. I feel like we’ve already had our date - sort of. It’s not technically drama, but it feels like too much work for this date. Maybe it’s a sign. Maybe the Universe is stepping in and saving me from an awful evening. Maybe I’m really not ready for this whole dating thing.
I call my sister. She’s the best at choosing places.
Finally, we’ve got a new plan and I’m settled in at a delightful winebar on Hudson Street called lelabar. It’s dimly lit, sparsely decorated but still warm and inviting. As I sit waiting for Bill, I realize that the anticipatory excitement of meeting one another has worn off for me. I hope that his personality and energy will bring me back to some sort of enthusiasm. For now, I’ll just drink my wine and wait.