I was walking home the other day, and by walking, I mean slaloming in and out of obstacles, and by obstacles, I mean slow walkers and tourists alike. A red light slowed me down. I took a few steps back and looked around me a little. I unintentionally exchanged glances with a stranger. He smiled at me.
Uh-oh. He’s gonna interrupt my podcast, I know it, I can feel it coming. Shit! Please, not now, it just got interesting! What could he possibly want? Directions to the closest Sweetgreen? Donation to a worthy NGO? A lighter? Maybe I’m wearing my beanie inside out and he is kind enough to let me know. I could feel him timidly yet insistingly looking at me but, as it turns out, the guy didn’t want to go to Sweetgreen. He simply wanted to ask me out. I was so taken aback that I completely froze. My question mark face probably made him regret asking me out in the first place but what a pleasant surprise!
I also couldn’t help but feel profoundly sad! I mean, why did it not even cross my mind that all he wanted was a friendly chat? I immediately reduced this about-to-happen encounter to an unwelcome passing annoyance. And why did I try so hard to avoid all sorts of contact with a stranger? (picture me moronically staring at the sky as if I was relentlessly following a mosquito’s movements)
Needless to say, we’ve been dating for a few months now and it’s been a bliss! Just kidding. We didn’t go on a date but can we revive the bygone era of asking someone out in person? You know, having the courage to just walk up to someone and spontaneously chat with them? Hear their voices and perhaps catch them blush before thoroughly investigating them online? I’m in no way implying that I’m above using dating apps. I might be over them but certainly not above them. I’m just secretly wishing for something less predictable than a we-both-swiped-right kind of encounter.
P.S: It doesn’t sound like it, but I promise I’m quite friendly with strangers (and non-strangers too!). It was just unbelievably cold that day and I couldn’t wait to get home.