The most awkward part of meeting someone for the first time is not the walk up, but that moment when I’m spotted driving around searching for a parking space. Suddenly the idea of finding a parking place is turned into a test of how well I perform under pressure. I try to act like I don’t see the guy waiting in the parking lot, checking his phone, but, of course, I do.
We said our hellos, and went inside Starbucks. I’m one of those people that asks for Almond Milk and a precise number of “pumps,” to which he replied. “I hardly ever come here.”
We grab a table outside, and as with my last encounter, the talking is non-stop. I mean, literally, non-stop. He’s from Maryland, just moved down here a year and a half ago. Has taken scuba classes, paddle board classes, fishes, kayaks, loves the beach, loves living in Florida, has a daughter who has a college volleyball scholarship, went to Catholic school, has a condo where his friends come down and stay with him all the time, sells real estate, flips houses, his brothers works with Major League baseball, he’s thinking of moving to the Keys… He rattled off the names of the all the bars he goes to on the beach.
He met one woman on Match, they instantly fell in love, and soon after he discovered she has a drug problem. I nodded sympathetically. I did a lot of nodding sympathetically. He did stop to say, “It gets so tiring meeting for the first time and having to go over my entire story every single time.”
A few times I anticipated when he needed to stop and breathe, so I tried to comment or say something funny, which seemed to irritate him because it stopped the flow of his “this is who I am” speech. After an hour, he announced he had to cut it short to go watch the debate. “Don’t tell me you’re voting for Trump,” I exclaim. “I’m a republican. I guess I have to.”
Next up… 5’6” Guy