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Trish C Van Fleet

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The Start of Joey - It's all in a name
by Trish C Van Fleet   

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Online Dating

This is one excerpt from an Anthology, if you will, of online dating experiences - the excerpt describing one of the initial phone calls - a job interview of sorts, the pass/fail prerequisite that characteristically pre-empts most meetings or dates.

Too funny, I think, as I start this little saga…already hearing the title of the next chapter, “The End of Joey,” or more fittingly, “Next!”

He called me just now, you see…Joey, another Internet hopeful. Oh goodie…what’s his story, as if I actually need writing material. I remember, in one of my creative writing classes in college learning that if one wants to write about something and write about it well, he or she must immerse oneself in the process and subject at hand. If you are to interject gardening as your heroin’s or antagonist’s pastime, you had best know what you are talking about lest you have her/him placing mulch where fertilizer should go or planting shade-growing Impatiens directly in the sun. On the opposite end of the scale we could have him/her creating a climax to the story when using grass clippings for mulch which had been treated with insecticide, ultimately killing the prized Begonias – not to mention what microwaved water will do to them (yes, even cooled). But this is where I digress – back to the subject of my immersion – on-line dating. What fun could be had with fiction in this genre. Just make up whatever I want, right? The possibilities are endless. But I promise you; I could not, in my wildest imagination, concoct what actually takes place. Therefore, ‘date, rate, and write’ is what I do so I don’t have to tax my brain about potential occurrences to record; you get the real McCoy.

The benefit of this type of dating is that I am never left sitting…hoping…all the what-if’s. One might surmise that a gal enters into an on-line rapport of sorts, hopes for the date, then goes in for the kill. That could be quite frustrating with one suitor. Joey is a prime example. We had been writing brief notes through Tagged. He was always bugging me, bugging me for a dinner date. I was juggling a couple of guy-pals at the time, so simply kept him at arm’s length. So when he came forth with an actual day, time, and place it was shit or get off the pot. I shit. He looks totally goofy with those professionally whitened teeth and unnatural shade of blue eye contacts bugging out of the spray-tanned face. He’s trying too hard. The agreement to meet with him ensued with his confirming phone call on my way to Thom’s house in Cape Canaveral. I was almost there so had to pull over for privacy. My cell wasn’t holding a charge, even plugged in with the car adapter but he didn’t buy it…thought I was trying to “get rid of him” when that obnoxious beep kept interfering, a continuous interruption in our conversation. Or maybe he seemed put off by the fact I had given him a precise window of one hour in which to call me if he needed to reach me. Our conversation had exceeded that window and he probably wondered what I was rushing off to on a Thursday evening. All I know is that the date-to-be was canceled the following day through voicemail. I could have answered but that would be rude while sitting on the beach with Thom. Something about his mother having experienced a fall in the nursing home, he was with her until late the previous night and was exhausted, going to bed at noon today – the day of our proposed date, so sorry, we’d have to “do it another time.” When listening to his message, I found it to sound sincere and hey, it could happen right? I’ve used my mother for lots of excuses but Joey-the-school-guidance-councilor had a penchant for sounding business-like and honest. He blew it, though, by sending a follow-up e-mail through Tagged stating again that he was sorry to have canceled but “truly did” like my accent. Doesn’t that sound comparable to, “You’re pretty and all but I just couldn’t get past your big nose.”

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