I met SpilledSalt twice before he asked me out. Both occasions were so laden with signs of bad luck that we should have known better than to try to parlay the meetings into a date. But then I wouldn’t have this fun story to tell you.
THE MEET #1
The first time we met was in early February 2010. Carrie is my friend-since-childhood’s ex-boyfriend’s former roommate’s ex-wife, so by New York standards she’s “a close friend of mine.” Carrie is a half-Chinese half-German, half-lawyer half-surfer chick. She’s very pretty and pretty awesome.
Carrie invited my childhood friend, me, and a handful of lawyers, including SpilledSalt, to dinner billed as a Chinese New Year Celebration! Given her heritage, we assumed that when she planned this group dinner, she would know the day of the new year. She missed the mark. Once we were at the restaurant, Carrie revealed she had miscalculated the date. By two weeks. Do you know what it’s called when a bunch of white people go to a Chinese restaurant in Manhattan on a Tuesday night? Dinner. It’s just called Dinner.
During Dinner [I’m going to capitalize it because I feel bad that this evening thought it was a celebration], SpilledSalt and I sat on exact opposite sides of the table. The physical barriers of a lazy susan, a dozen laminated menus, a handful of Chinese calendars, two bottles of soy sauce, and a pint glass full of chop sticks prevented any conversation.
After dinner, SpilledSalt walked with a few of us to the subway. At this point, he and I exchanged names, handshakes, and smiles. Then, I turned into the station. As I galloped down the stairs to catch my train, I slipped on a banana peel. I’m not kidding. Someone ate a banana, threw the peel on the stairs, and The Universe aligned in just the right way, so that I could slip on it. Full stop.
THE MEET #2
The second time I met SpilledSalt was at an iPhone app launch. At the event, the blue screen of death set in and crashed the application. This is the equivalent of shooting a firework off your deck, only to have it re-route straight into a smoky death in your backyard. What ensued was a sufficiently awkward evening of strangers speaking to each other about how great app woulda been. Whoever the quality assurance genius was on this project now manages the Enron pension, I’m sure.
A failed launch is not that big of a deal to anyone except the app creator. And the bitter truth is that this was SpilledSalt’s baby, so he was bummed. Despite the dark cloud hanging over our meetings, SpilledSalt contacted me for a date in June.
THE FIRST DATE
The evening of our date arrived and I got ready at home in the company of my black cat, a dreamcatcher, my vision board, and a crucifix. I’m a tad superstitious and haven’t identified the origin, so I’ve got to have all my bases covered. In unrelated news, I converted to Catholicism in 2009.
SpilledSalt arranged for us to have dinner at an Italian restaurant in the East Village. He showed up first, and I arrived five minutes later. I wore a sensible dress, he wore a suit. I talked about my interest in volunteering, he told me what it was like to be a lawyer. They served us bruschetta, we drank some red wine. He ordered pasta, I told my Italy story. The waiter dropped dessert menus, we feigned being full. He grabbed the check, I pretended to reach for my purse (but not really). It was a textbook first date.
After dinner he suggested going for a drink, and I agreed to,”maybe just one more.” There are hundreds of watering holes in this neighborhood, each competing to squeeze into the next smallest venue space. We walked around the corner and dropped into the nearest. As we edged into the entryway another couple was leaving. The four of us became trapped in the tiny room – wallpapered with concert posters – between the two sets of doors. It was awkward and hot and we were trying to shuffle around each other.
That’s when I realized I was face-to-face with Shaggy. A former blog subject: Part 1 and Part 2. We had been out with each other a week earlier, and were in the middle of a simultaneous fade away. It should have been cake given the absence of mutual friends.
But there we were. Like Molly the American girl doll went out on a date with Ken wearing a suit and they ran into a Jerry Bear hanging out with a bedazzled quincy baby. I cannot fathom how the timing happened the way it did. I can only conclude that I either stepped on a crack, or made out with The Universe’s ex-boyfriend.