The weather had broken in New York City and the sun seemed to do its shining both outside and in, within people’s hearts. Everything felt alive again with a sense of hope and renewal, winter’s cold, bony grip a thing of the past. A sunny day can do that, ya’ know, especially in New York City, put a bounce in everyone’s step as they go happily turning the page to what lies ahead. I know that’s what this young woman was feeling sitting in our bar last week, ready to turn the page to the chapter “Romance”. She was smiling, she was anxious, she was bubbling with anticipation, all of which caught the discerning eye of our waitress.
“I think that woman on table four is waiting for a blind date,” she said to the bartender, “so she just wants a Diet Coke until he arrives. And a squeeze of lemon.” (How prophetic that squeeze of lemon would turn out to be.)
“How do you know,” asked the bartender, the guy who works our day shift, “did she actually tell you she was waiting for a blind date?” He then filled a glass with Diet and squeezed in a lemon.
“Not exactly, but that’s what I’m getting,” said the waitress, picking up the glass, “I think it’s one of those computer hook-up kind of things. I’ll find out.” Then she took the drink to the table and started a conversation. It was slow on the floor at the time of this event, that lull between lunch and dinner, so the waitress had plenty of time to go play detective. At which she’s an expert.
“Yup,” she said, returning to the bar, “they met through an online dating service and this is going to be their first ever face to face meeting. Isn’t that exciting? She said she’d never done this before so I wished her luck and let her get back to her texting. I think she’s keeping a girlfriend apprised of the progress.”
The date was scheduled for three o’clock sharp, it was now almost three thirty, not what you’d call a good first impression for the guy here. But hey, maybe he’d stopped for a cocktail first to build up a little courage, unlike our lady in waiting who was just having Coke. Speaking of which, her glass was almost empty so the waitress reappeared.
“Would you like another Diet Coke, Miss,” she said as she approached the table, “your friend must’ve gotten hung up or stuck on the subway.”
“Yeah,” said the woman, starting to show some embarrassment. “But maybe this time I’ll switch to a Pinot Grigio.” And off went the waitress.
Now I won’t go into this woman’s appearance with any kind of untoward detail, but from what I gathered from the waitress she wasn’t that attractive. By “typical” standards that is. She was a bit overweight, the waitress had said, her face was kinda “Plain Jane”, and her overall look was what you might call just average. Not a looker. But that shouldn’t have been a problem in this case, they’d already met online, and you usually exchange some photos before the next level. Am I right? These aren’t what you’d call actual blind blind dates.
So finally, at three forty five her fella showed up (no great shakes himself I’m told), and started to make his way down the four outside stairs. See, we’re one of those walk-down New York bars where the place is below sidewalk level, and as you make your way down the stairs you can see the whole room. A fronting of old paned windows affords you that luxury. So when this guy hit the bottom stair of the four where he stopped to survey the proceedings, a room where only one customer occupied a table, he saw his potential mate which stopped him in his tracks. He then stared at the woman for what seemed an eternity, deciding what he should do, then the bastard turned on his heels and ran up the stairs. Left her cold! And there sat this poor, young woman to take all that in. It was beyond unbelievable.
In fact, this was so fucking bad on so many levels my anger prevents me from trying to make any sense of it, except to say this. No matter this man’s initial reaction he at least could’ve come in the bar and had a conversation with this woman. This human being with feelings, a mind and a heart! Because maybe he then would’ve soared beyond whatever was lacking in her looks (her looks to his way of thinking, of course), and found in this person something that is far more valuable. Something like intelligence, charm, warmth and wit… qualities heretofore not on his faulty radar. Then, if the chemistry still wasn’t there after that, after he’d actually met her, he could at least have the chance to escort this woman out the door. That way he’d not only preserve her dignity rather than grind it to bits, but get to act like a man instead of a louse. For to cause this woman such stark humiliation in front of the whole staff, not to mention her having to share this with the friend she’d been texting, is beyond any kind of heartlessness I’ve seen yet in Barland. It was just plain rotten.
And I swear to God as I type these words, not to sound like some shining knight but merely a fellow human being with a freaking heart, if I’d been working the bar at the time and it was clear she knew I’d seen that entire scenario… but only then… I’d’ve walked right over to her table and said, “Thank God that idiot left, miss, you obviously deserve all that that bastard is lacking. Which is class and decency. Now come up to the bar and let me buy you a drink.” It’s the least I could’ve done, for God sakes, as this woman will live with that moment for the rest of her life. And it’s just not right.
Yeah, spring had arrived in New York City with one big burst of glory, but for the woman on table four winter had returned. In one cold blast
See ya’ next week-end, dear reader, with I hope better news…