He apologized in advance for being late, saying he’d buy my coffee and anything else I wanted to make up for it.
“No worries! Always got a book on me,” I texted. “Just drive safely.”
Twenty minutes passed and then I think I saw him before he saw me; I looked up from underlining something in my book when I noticed a cute guy kneeling down just outside the cafe, petting a lady’s pup. I smiled, hoping it was him.
And it was, because when he walked in, he looked right at me; we hugged and then he ordered a boring regular latte (with a lemon poppy seed muffin on the side) while I got an Irish creme + caramel one. We sat across from each other and talked about all kinds of things: careers, religion, states of mind, adventures, psychology, old wars, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Florida, California… he’s remarkably intelligent, very well-spoken, talented (another musician, duh: sax and bass), well-educated, and snarky. Snarky as all get out. Beard, eyes, hands, voice… definitely my type.
Something of interest: He grew up doing that boy scout stuff. When it came time for him to graduate, he gave a grand ole presentation and then answered a series of questions. The final question from the panel (a required one): Do you believe in god?
“I already did not,” he said.
“And you told them this?” I asked.
“I’m getting there,” he said. Spunky… love it.
Turns out, he did tell them the truth. And when he answered the question, their faces changed and they looked uncomfortably at one other. They told him they’d need a few minutes to discuss things, and when he walked out into the lobby and told his friend’s mom about the hold up (this cool Catholic lady), she started freaking out about it, on his side entirely.
When they called him back in, they confessed that this was very unusual and that, in order to pass him, they were going to have to ask one last question: Do you believe in the possibility of a god?
Holy shit, I thought. What a question. And he was able to honestly answer yes to this [he followed up with a disclaimer that he’s now 99% atheistic while I remain open-mindedly agnostic… I def feel something(s) out there].
“So yeah… I’m an eagle scout,” he said finally, lifting his voice and eyebrows and rolling his eyes a little. Whew. Let me just tell you: I love it when people are pessimistic, sarcastic, acidic. To me, it’s a breath of fresh air — like: You’re REAL. You’re a real person. You aren’t trying to be cute or impressive at all… I’m actually seeing you right now, exactly as you are; no pretensions, no masks. I respect it. It’s an extremely attractive quality in a person — this kind of transparency.
Anyways, we’d been talking for more than 2 hours when I started giving him cues: sticking my book into my backpack, slipping my jacket on, pushing my cup aside. He picked up on it. It’s not that I didn’t want to keep talking with him — I just want to play things differently this time: stay cool, NOT latch on, NOT spend too much time together, and NOT scare him off.
We moseyed outside and I showed him my bike. He manages a bike shop down in Tuscaloosa and was gently critical of my ride, insisting I needed an upgrade.
“Nope,” I said. “I like THIS bike. You could stick a brand new Dodge-Charger-whatever in front of me and some beat-up 80’s Volvo and I would always go for the Volvo.” I paused. “And this is how I am with bikes also.”
He actually got on the bike and rode it around the parking lot, circling around like fifteen times as he fine-tuned the bike’s tensions and explaining what all was wrong with the bike as he rode. I laughed, watching him.
After making all of these circles, he still wasn’t satisfied and led me over to his car. “I’ve got tools in the back,” he called out, hands still gripping the handlebars. He murmured something about wanting to make sure I was safe. Aww.
Standing next to the car, I offered to help but he said he had it, so I just watched as he activated the quick release, took a tire off, spun it around (it had actually been situated on the bike backwards!), and did something to a cable or a spinner or whatever. I noticed a black thingy fall onto the ground at one point and told him the pouncy thing had gone off somewhere (this was me finally getting to be helpful!).
The pouncy thing? he repeated.
Yeah — you know. The springing thing.
You mean the spring?
Where did it go?
It went that way, I said.
Annnnnnnnnd here it is, he said — it had somehow ended up going in the exact opposite direction of what I’d thought I’d seen (and indicated). Ha! Sounds about right.
He eventually hugged me goodbye and then talked to me some more; hugged me goodbye again and then talked to me some more again; and then he apologized for hugging me so many times as he went to hug me AGAIN. I laughed; he smelled and felt really nice. This last hug occurred when I was already wearing my backpack, riding gloves, and dorky stickered helmet.
“Annnnnnnd you’re hugging me while I’m wearing this dorky helmet,” I narrated aloud, his chin resting on top of it. There are generally few thoughts I keep to myself, but I’m learning.
“Adorable,” he disagreed, pulling back and smiling.
We both agreed that we want to A. see each other again and B. TAKE IT REALLY SLOW. I spelled out, quite openly, that I’m intense and have skipped stages and phases with other people before and that it was not pleasant. He invited me to travel with him to a city in Georgia sometime (he’s got friends there) and to visit him down in Tuscaloosa sometime sooner, saying they had some alright food joints.
“I’ve heard you guys have a good taco place,” I agreed, nodding. “I REALLY like burritos.”
“I saw that,” he said, indicating he’d read all the way down my profile. He also randomly mentioned being done with Bumble. While I happily took note of this, I’m not going to hold the thought too closely. Remember what happened the last time a guy said that?
Anyways, I took off on my bike then, feeling really happy to have unexpectedly met someone so special. And I say unexpectedly because, to be honest, I went into this date with super low expectations; the guy was REALLY cute and half a year younger than me, so I’d already developed the notion that he’d be superficial, immature, and arrogant. I was very wrong.
Looking forward to seeing what happens with him if I can keep from being a total weirdo. Or I guess I can be the inescapable weirdo I am while getting to know this guy and other guys and just try to let go a little more than I have in the past… relax, and be okay with NOT planning and controlling and fast-tracking everything because, as I just saw today, the best things sometimes happen randomly. Unexpectedly. Awkwardly and perfectly.
And hang on — before this ends, you won’t GUESS who walked into the coffee shop while Matt and I were there! But go ahead; guess, and then scroll down down down.
IT WAS CAPTAIN FRICKIN KANGAROO! Holy FUCK!
Now, because I haven’t said which cafe this was, I can tell you that CK does work at the place next door sometimes, but because I’m no longer in his world and have no clue what his work schedule looks like, I didn’t think much of visiting this cafe. (I had actually expected that Matt and I would meet up @ Red Cat, but when we were making plans together, he’d specifically said that he wanted to visit any cafe OTHER THAN Red Cat as he’d already been there before.)
Anyways, Matt was in the middle of detailing a road trip to California and the beginning of an old relationship when I saw this tall figure in a blue shirt walking by and then in. I swear, I just knew who it was before I even saw a face; I could just feel it.
So I looked away quickly, feeling as awkward and indiscreet as if I was back in Dr. Hagler’s old English classroom, loudly sharpening a pencil and breaking the room’s still quiet. But I tried to focus on what Matt was saying and what the cup of water in my hand felt like and I told myself maybe he didn’t even notice me here in the very fucking front of the cafe. Maybe.
But then, I felt myself relaxing right after he left, realizing: You know what? It doesn’t matter whether he saw you or not. You’re spending time with someone who’s interested in spending time with you right now. Forget that other guy. You’re okay. You’re right now, remember?
Sidebar: Corey (the wonderful boy from Boulder) just texted me: “Heading to NJ, laid over in Chicago. Thinking about you.” Sigh. With that guy, if we’d just lived closer to one another, I really think…
Anyways, I replied that I’d be flying into Phoenix this March and then road-tripping through western CO. I feel like I’m getting closer to finding the right city, you guys… I can’t let it go.
“Can I meet you in Phoenix?” he asked.
Who knows, you guys. This guy, that guy… I’m learning to get comfortable with uncertainty. To go with the flow. It’s scary, because I like stability and commitment and printed road maps that don’t change a whole, whole lot…
But it’s also exciting, because along with these detours, I’m making so many friends and falling in love with so many different souls — each of them is precious, special… and one of them just might end up being my ACTUAL boyfriend someday. Maybe.