SpaceMan and I met via email when our mutual friend, Fischnette, set us up. It was August 2011 and I was reeling from the gut-wrenching break-up from TheBoss that our gaggle of friends still refer to as “The Divorce.” I almost cannot even write about the split-up because I suffer from a combination of PTSD and amnesia. Suffice it to say, when I moved out of our shared Ft Greene apartment, I was in a cloud of gloom thicker than the smoke from a greasy spoon kitchen fire. Fischnette came to my rescue (as always). Sitting in a little cafe in the Village, I clutched a glass of Sav Blanc and cried to her about how I would never ever ever find anyone else or get married. It was charitable of her to attend my pity party. It was down right generous of her to donate to the cause. Fischnette has a rolodex that would make Kelly Ripa salivate, so when she informed me that she was going to set me up on a date. I trusted her whole-heartedly. True to her word, two days later I got this email:
Subject: Fwd: Re: Hi!
Message: Hey SpaceMan, this is her contact information: firstname.lastname@example.org and xxx-xxx-xxxx.
Seemed like a pretty direct set-up. My favorite part, however, was that it wasn’t a fresh email chain. It had all the emails back and forth between them. Including a photo of me, a Facebook link, some discussion about a previous ex-girlfriend, and a bit of enthusiasm on his part. I could almost hear the face-palm slap as he discovered the chain was forwarded.
ARRANGING THE FIRST DATE
There’s always a little flirtatious exchange between the meet and the date. A little cat and mouse, song and dance, text and call. You get it. I had been out of the dating game for more than a year, so I needed to brush up on my strategy. Since I basically have a shine to the book, The Rules, I opened up the glass case, brushed off the dust, and had a read.
I am generally a very enthusiastic person and easily excitable even in the most banal situations. If you said my ringtone was pretty, the compliment would make my cheeks would glow pink. In order to come off as super cool and aloof, I decided to impose very strict regulations. Rule #1: After he made first contact, I would not respond until either he made a second point of contact or three days passed. Rule #2: I would be unavailable for the first day he attempted to schedule, but would offer two alternative days that worked, which were not sequential. Etc etc etc. It seems silly, but those chickadees who wrote The Rules are geniuses.
Now here’s where the fun starts: SpaceMan called me, but he called the week I switched from iPhone to Android and didn’t realize that my voicemail wasn’t set up. It was like my phone engines were powered down and the outgoing message was that the user was not on the server yet. Fischnette rang me that week a little annoyed – “WTF, SpaceMan called you and he said it was the wrong number or something?” I sprinkled some apologies, confirmed it was the right number, set up my voicemail, and patiently waited for his next outreach. OK, I’m ready now. One failure to launch back into the dating world isn’t so bad.
SpaceMan called again a few days later, which I purposefully didn’t answer, and he left a voicemail. I waited the mandated three days, and then prepared to call him back. I decided that 7PM would be the best time of day. It was after work hours, but early enough that it wouldn’t seem like I was sitting at home with no plans. Even though I would be sitting at home with no plans. I even wrote out a wispy message just in case I got his voicemail. I had done everything to prepare for this exploratory dating world mission.
I dialed his number, it rang, and when voicemail picked up, my phone dropped the call. Seriously, AT&T? You are blowing up my spot!!! I had no choice but to call back because I needed to leave a message, but it was going to look like I called twice in 5 minutes like a psycho. Blurg! I re-dialed, it rang, and I left my cautiously cool message.
Super. I tapped the phone to hang up the call and dropped it back in my purse. As I dilly dallied around the apartment I heard a familiar cadence muffled from my handbag. It was SpaceMan’s outgoing voicemail greeting. Again. I turned toward my purse and burst into a sprint that would rival Usain Bolt. Turns out, when I threw my phone back in the bag, it redialed SpaceMan and I’d inadvertently initiated a third call. And left a second voicemail of echoes from inside the black hole that is my purse.
Houston, we have a problem. When he gets out of the gym, or the subway, or cocktails, or wherever he is… He will have three missed calls and two voicemails from me. Real smooth.