Santa Rosa, California, United States
November 04, 2014


Did I mention I was stopping in New York City?

No? Well, I can explain. It all started when this woman winked at me.

Well, kinda.

See, in the miserable corner of hell known as Match Dot Com, a “wink” is a less than subtle means by which one middle aged man or woman, nervous and feeling like an idiot, but intrigued by  a written profile and photograph, expresses tentative interest in another woman or man, equally nervous and equally an idiot. For those of us who last tried this by passing notes in Miss Barbieri’s seventh grade sixth period English class—for my money, a far better method– a wink is just the start of death by sometimes prolonged, but in my case, usually self-inflicted sudden embarrassment.

So, what did I do? Duh? I winked back.

One thing led to another and we agreed to meet for dinner in Berkeley. Trendy place, pleasant dinner, sharing pictures of the kids, nice conversation . . . you know the drill. Right up until–when discussing travel experience–I happened to mention I had never been to New York City.

Long pause.

No………I mean long pause.

No . . . I mean really long pause.

Followed by the same question being asked three times, in gradually decelerating succession, her voice growing lower and lower and the emphasis shifting from word to word each time it was asked.

YOU . . . have never been to New York City?”

“You have . . . NEVER . . . been to New York City?”

“You have never been to . . . NEW YORK CITY?”

Followed by another long pause and a final question . . . “Really?”  (At least I think it was a question; it might have just been a statement.)

To which I responded, “Really.”  (That, I am pretty sure was a statement)

Let’s just say the sound of screeching brakes was deafening. Flame out. Auger in. I had been DQ’ed before I put my track shoes on, let alone put my feet in the starting blocks. History. Kaputt. “Thanks for coming by. Don, what do we have by way of parting gifts for our contestant?”

I summoned a vertebra or two and fired back saying “Oh yeah, well have you ever been to St. Andrews, Carnoustie, or Ballybunnion,?”  But they didn’t count. For the painful balance of the date, she affectionately . . . at least I like to think it was affectionately . . .referred to me as a “hayseed” and good naturedly, pointed to the imaginary straw I might want to reposition above my right ear.

A grown man who had never been to Gotham? I wasn’t a date; I was a novelty.

Well, not for long. To quote ol’ Blue Eyes himself, “Start spreading the news . . . I’m leavin today (well not today, but later this week), my little town blues are melting away (technically, they would be more suburban and I really didn’t feel that down) ,these vagabond shoes are longing to stray” . . .

You get the idea.

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