Southern California

Don’t you hate it when old adages are true? When cliche applies to your life?

I do.

It was annoyingly humorous I’d meet Jason “when I wasn’t looking.” Speaking of cliches, if I had a dollar for every time someone said, “Just stop looking” when I’d complain about dating, I’d be Donald Trump. (Phew.)

It was a Sunday night. My friend Sue had come to visit from California and we’d spent the weekend lounging and catching up. My childhood friend Meghann was also in town. I took Monday off so I could drive out to Meg’s family’s house and have dinner with her, her mother and her sister in law.

Something worth noting about Meg’s family: the matriarch, Shanlee, is a force. She is a heart transplant recipient and is a generous, caring, passionate woman who loves me like I am actually her kid. As such, she does not spare in the advice department. Before we left for dinner, over our first glass of wine, she was giving me “the honest truth” about my previous relationship and how I needed to recognize my self worth or I’d never find happiness. I cried — because she was right, and I didn’t want to hear it.

She cuts to the chase. A heart transplant will do that to you. I love her for it.

We went to dinner at a local restaurant and staked out a table on the patio. I hadn’t seen Meg in months and we could talk the paint off walls. Before long, we’d been there for hours and were ordering another entree for us all to share because we still had more to say, and perhaps a bit of sobering up to do before we went back to the family house for a giant slumber party on the living room floor.  The sky had grown dark while a lone guitarist set up at one end of the patio, playing covers of songs everyone knew but no one wanted to sing along to. There were maybe a dozen people on the patio when we ordered a batch of sober fish and chips.

I’d just taken the first greasy bite of cod when Meg elbowed me with the grace and subtly of a drunk elephant.

“That dude is waving at you.” She hissed.

“What dude?” I wiped the grease from the corners of my mouth.

“THAT ONE.” She said it loud enough that he also heard her from the next table over. I looked over her shoulder to see three men, each sitting with a glass of wine. A good looking graying blond man named T waved a wave that said, “Yep. Hi. Your friend is drunk, right?”

I ducked back and looked at her hard. “There is no, no way that man is looking at me.” I laughed. I had no make up on. My hair was in a dirty pile on top of my head and I was wearing jeans and a tank. It was perfect for a night out with girlfriends but far from having any man approach me unless it was a dare. I also could not have been less interested in dating. I’d been in a horrible relationship for the year prior and really just wanted a break.


(In fairness, I was equally inebriated. We’d been there a long time and we were having a fun night out when I would not be driving.)

And then there he was, standing next to me, asking me to dance.

“Dance? But there is no one dancing…” I was awkwardly shaking his hand while saying this and hoping there wasn’t any ketchup on my face.

“That’s okay. We can start the trend.”

By the time we got back to the table, having slow danced in front of five retirees on a patio in east Mesa to a single guitarist who could not believe her groupie luck, the other two men had joined the table.

Meg was talking to good looking man with bright blue eyes. His name was Jason, and he thought she was single.