Hundreds of thousands of worlds live side-by-side. At any given moment the person in the next car or behind you at the movie theatre or teaching your children or looking after your parents, anywhere, all the time, someone is thinking of love. And for every single one of those same people love means something different and fulfilling and maybe elusive or overwhelming. And in every case it is unique that particular human being. So when Karen thought of love like that, it made her glad and sad all at once.
So when she saw that people posted personal ads on the Internet and it cost nothing, or so it seemed, she dredged up a fairly decent photo of herself on a boat. She wanted to catch a sailor or be caught by a sailor. Sailing was something she missed now that she no longer belonged to a crew. Her life no longer sailed along a charted course through clear sunny skies and indigo waves. Now she drifted through days of work and more work hoping to run into another soul who wanted something similar.
Within minutes of placing her ad with a photo – “They say I am smart, pretty, adventurous, and independent – you’ll see … 53 in NW Area” she had 10 responses. While she read those, another 20 downloaded.
“Wow, beauty, brains, and a boating enthusiast all in my part of town. Does it get any better? It’s really sad that on a beautiful Sunday morning you are seeking like-minded people on the Internet. I guess I’m in the same situation. Would you like to chat with an Englishman?” Bill
Karen did not think it all that sad. In fact, the idea that people could connect across the universe by satellites and phone lines seemed romantic and efficient to her, not sad. As long it wasn’t some addiction, why not? Everywhere she went in person seemed crowded and noisy and difficult to meet people. Men seemed to like her – maybe as not as much as when she was younger – and occasionally someone asked for her phone number.
She really liked the free aspect of the online dating for this particular sight. Maybe meeting the right person could be paid for with big bucks, but she had never met anyone who was successful with the expensive ‘hook-up’ services. Plus, Karen had to confess, she was too lazy to go fill out pages of paperwork and have herself videotaped and then suffer the humiliation of know that people were looking at a movie of her and rejecting her. If she had to be rejected, she really did not want to pay for it. Maybe she was cheap or something. She’d deal with it later.
“Of course I’ll chat with an Englishman, Bill. I’ve met plenty of your kind in my sailing days, and despite my Texas upbringing, we seemed to get along famously. What are you doing today?”
Karen thought this was too easy. Yes, she had posted her age. The photo was not touched up at all. Hmmm, maybe there is hope for me yet. Maybe I am a hottie.
The Englishman suggested they meet at a nearby pizza restaurant. After a couple of emails detailing logistics, Karen felt fairly comfortable. Bill would be at a meeting at the restaurant, so she would see him and a lot of people who knew him. Why not, she thought. I am so tired of being alone - working and evenings with the dog are just not the way I am meant to live. On the one hand, being alone had its advantages - freedom to come and go as she pleased without the need to inform or ask permission from a judgmental partner. On the other hand, the isolation and solitude were starting to bother her on a fundamental level. The time for moving forward hit her squarely in the face. It was just time.
Hoping to make a good impression, Karen wore a denim skirt to show off her legs, a scoop necked top to show off her shape, and wore her contacts to look less teacher-like. She had high hopes that Bill would be the one who liked to travel, enjoyed some of the activities she did, could tolerate her relationship with her family, and had a brain. She'd already had the LTR (long term relationship) with her strong, silent doctor who seldom spoke, lived to smoke, and basically ignored and rejected her in every way. Surely there was some fun-loving guy out there that would be her soul mate.
With no small amount of anticipation, she found him in the crowded meeting room by asking someone if he knew Bill. It was only at that moment that she realized how insane it was to go out at night during the week to meet someone that she knew nothing about.
She'd seen his picture online and thought he looked good. In person, he was even more attractive. Their eyes met and he made a point of holding her gaze. His ad mentioned his insistence on honesty, so Karen assumed he wanted to determine if she was honest. Whatever. He took her hand and kissed it in front of a roomful of bicyclists. He leaned closer and whispered in an intimate way that all eyes were on them. He had told everyone that when his "date" showed up, he'd be off to get to know her better.
Karen melted right then. Tall, handsome, and charming? It was a very good beginning in her inexperienced estimation. She knew she wanted to know more.
To be continued.......