“Pretty days like that make the rest of my life seem sadder” – from the song “Angelique is a free spirit”, by Moe Berg.
Story time…this happened a couple of weeks ago. It was a Monday night, and I was getting cabin fever. I work from an office in the spare bedroom of my home, and some days (most, if I’m being honest). I feel like I need to get out of the house by the end of the work day. The walls really close in, and I just have to get out. I’ve taken to driving around. I have a couple of loops that I drive, just to get out and see some things. Monday was one of those days. As I was making my way home, I decided to drop in to a sports bar that I used to frequent weekly, but haven’t been to for quite some time. My plan was to grab some take out and head home to watch the hockey playoffs. As I pulled in to their parking lot, I decided to just hang out there for a while. I didn’t really want to go home. I took up my position at one end of the bar…I always seem to end up within 1 or 2 seats of the same spot whenever I go there, I ordered some food, and asked for them to put the hockey game on.
A couple of minutes later a question is lobbed to me from the middle of the bar; “who are you cheering for?” I replied with a lukewarm answer of the Washington Capitals. She informed me that she had been a Penguins fan since middle school. I returned to watching the game. A few minutes later another question was lobbed my way, something about the game, I lobbed my answer back. After 15 or so minutes, another question came my way, along with my reply, then a third.
I guess I should explain this better. I was at one end of the bar, she was sitting nearly exactly in the center of the bar, which seats 25 – 30 people, I’ve never counted. There was no one sitting between us, and there was a couple to her left, other than that, the bar section was empty. There were a few folks scattered through the rest of the place. I should also say that after the 3rd question, I had the idea to move down and chat with this woman. I didn’t. It’s not typically my style, she was sitting alone, and I didn’t want to bother her. I’m also terribly cognizant of how much grief (abuse) women take from men, and I don’t want to be one to contribute to that. So I kept to myself. We’ve reached the end of the 1st period of the game…
During the intermission, I was catching up on the days’ news on my phone. I got another comment my way about her not being able to hear (game sound wasn’t on in the bar) and she couldn’t learn what was happening. Seeing the face of Mike Milbury on the screen, I informed her she wasn’t missing anything. That one probably should have been my clue to join her, again, I did not. As the 2nd period started she asked me if I was paying close attention to the game, I wasn’t but told her I was, and she asked me to join her. I did. (See how I foreshadowed that earlier…writing )
We seemed to hit it off immediately. She was full of questions; about hockey, the teams playing, me, life, we were off and running. There were no awkward pauses. It was a blast.
I don’t often find myself in a position where strangers reach out to me and invite me in to their world. It was fantastic for me. Just to have a connection with someone new was thrilling. I guess I can write that same sentence three or four more times to fill out a paragraph.
During the game, we had made plans to watch Game 7 of the series 2 nights later. I had a suspicion that once the beer goggles wore off, she wouldn’t want to hang out again. That proved to be the case. I tried to reach out again a week or so later, to see if there was anything there. I was politely, but most definitely rejected. It sucks.