Sunday, April 09, 2006

Indian buffet lunch date

Setting up this date was a rather odd process...

Friday, I e-mailed Waby about meeting up on Saturday. I had indicated my day was open. He e-mailed back asking when I wanted to meet. My initial reaction was to establish this as lunch date given we don't know that much about each other. But then my co-workers suggested I put the responsibility on him to set the time. I wrote back but hadn't heard from him by the time I left work. I asked him to set a time and that I'd confirm with him in the morning (after 9:30am).

I called pretty much sooner after the time I estimated. There was no answer, so I left a message. Almost two hours went by and still no word from him. I called a second time but did not leave a message. I started to think he bailed or something came up. So I then sent an e-mail saying that I tried to call and that if we couldn't arrange a meeting today that it we could try next weekend.

Ten minutes later, he called. I think he was asleep until late morning. He asked me what kind of food I was in the mood for. He suggested a place in downtown Teo after I said I wanted some Indian food. Then he asked when I wanted to meet and I suggested in about an hour or 12:30pm.

I gave myself about 20 minutes to get ready. I just threw on a pair of black jeans and a blue cable-knit sweater. My hair was an absolute disaster. I just pulled back the sides into a black clip. It makes me look girlish but cute. Whatever... ;) I love not worrying about my outfit.

Traffic was heavier than I expected for Saturday noontime. Still, I managed to arrive before Waby. I actually tried to sneak back to my car to grab the paper and he appeared at the restaurant in the two minutes I was gone. He was dressed much more casual as well. His face looked as I remember though less tan. He had on a jean jacket that was fading at the shoulders. Underneath, he wore a pink and striped shirt that looked quite long on him since it was untucked.

The place was packed. We ended up at this little two-person table tucked between two four-person tables. Since it was a buffet, we just put our stuff down and helped ourselves to plates. I noticed the class ring on his finger said "92" which I assume must be his college graduation year. (I checked on the Internet. It does reflect his correct age. This is where Tim would tease me - STALKER)

The conversation with Waby was day and night from how I talk with KT. I recall Waby was very unwilling to provide a lot of specific details about himself during the speed dating. That held true today as well.

1) Talking about living in the city and commuting. He complained about how many of his dollars go towards paying for gas. He would only say that he drives an older car that he bought when gas wasn't so expensive. I only know it's not an SUV.

2) I asked him what he thinks the differences are between the Midwest and West Coast. Socially he think people here are too intense and have a different sense of priorities. He doesn't like the falseness of people here. For example, he hates that people say things like, "oh, we should play golf together sometime," and then never hear from them. He said he purposely doesn't carry around his business cards for that reason.

3) First I tried asking him what he does on weekends. When that didn't elicit much a response, I shifted to "what would you like to do on weekend?" He mentioned that he had thought about Dragon Boat racing but that it interfered with attending church on Sunday mornings. I asked what kind of church he attends. He said he used to go to a Catholic church but has started going to a Methodist one. I asked him if he could explain to me some of the difference between the two. He told me he isn't religious, he just likes going to church. ...Okay? His impression is that the Methodist crowd, while they follow very similar beliefs to Catholics, are more accepting of people.

4) His secret like is musicals. When he asked what my favorite, all-time musical was I told him "Les Miserables." He thinks it is "Phantom of the Opera." We each acknowledged that the other's choice is a close second. I told him about some of the other musicals I've seen.

5) I mentioned that I went 80s dancing last night. He loves the cover band that played. That digressed into a discussion about how naming songs can indicate a person's age. He quizzed me by asking what I thought was Madonna's first song. I mentioned "Burning up," but he didn't recognize that. The next few songs I mentioned were "Holiday," "Lucky Star," and "Borderline." He was impressed I got all of them. I added that if there was such thing as "Name That Tune - 80s" I could name most of the tunes with 3-5 notes if played from the original recording. He started telling me this story about a co-worker who looked 10 years older but was the same age. The guy was surprised when some 80s played on the radio and Waby recognize them.

I felt like I was getting a little flustered to know what to ask him. His opinions and comments seemed a little odd at times. He commented that it might be time to pay my meter, and he was correct. So he picked up the bill, left a couple ones on the table and paid the cashier.

My car was basically just across the street. I was surprised to see that the meter still showed 11 minutes remaining. I threw in another quarter. As we crossed the street, Waby noted that I had probably put that quarter in the wrong meter. I laughed with embarrassment and realized he was right. We went back but I was out of coins. He threw in enough time so that we could walk for an hour.

He expressed a need for coffee and I pointed out that there's was a Peet's at the corner ahead that had just opened. He grabbed a cup of coffee, and I declined to get a drink. It was nice that he offered.

A Walk Through the Park
From there we walked towards the local park. We both reveled in the beautiful weather. It's such a pleasant change from all the rain. I mentioned that I am going on vacation in two weeks. He said he's never been to Europe before. His vacations are usually to Japan or Hawaii. His family is originally from Hawaii so visits there are not vacation like others would expect. He said his grandmother is turning 100 years old. That's impressive.

As we walked throughout the mini Japanese tea garden, Waby told me stories about work. For whatever reason I wasn't really paying attention. I was more interested in the maples trees, blossoms, and koi fish. I remember a story about the disagreements he has with his boss about hotels in Japan and seeing the prime minister at his hotel there.

As we headed towards the open grass area, a baseball game caught Waby's attention. He wanted to go watch for a few minutes. They looked like high school kids. We sat on the bleachers for about five minutes. The pitcher clearly was getting tired as he allowed a single and a double in the brief time we sat. I held my newspaper over my brow because the sun was beaming directly at us. Waby offered that we could sit over on the opposite end of the bleachers but I said it was fine. I asked him if he watched any sports, and his response was "not anymore." When they took a break to change pitchers, Waby decided we should go. I ask him if he was sure he didn't want to see the next pitch since it was just getting exciting but he thought it would take too long.

We walked over to a loop path that encircle and nice lawn area where children were playing with soccer balls or playing catch with parents. It was fun to see so many people out in the park enjoying the sun. We headed for an empty bench where we could people watch and chat.

The next phase of the conversation took an interesting turn...

1) He started by asking what I thought of the speed dating. My response was somewhere in the neighborhood of so-so. I added that I wasn't bothering with the one that was happening that evening. He seemed amused by that comment. It sounds like he's attended many. He even thought he remembered me at the January one that never happened.

2) I guess I started telling him a few quirky stories about previous speed dating experiences. He seemed relieved that I was okay talking about it. He told me about times he encountered women who literally read a list of questions to him. One woman just vented the whole five minutes about her disappointment over the guys. She thought they were all too young. The minimum age acceptable to her was 35. He kind of played with her, first saying he was 19 and then saying he was 35. And of course she didn't believe him and asked to see his ID.

3) Next he commented that based on our interaction at the speed dating and the way I wrote my e-mails (i.e. my laid back state when we couldn't meet up right away) he knew I didn't need to be there. I said, "I guess I'll take that as a compliment." He talked about how it's not about needing ways to meet people but finding people you want to meet. Apparently he was impressed by my attitude of not being overly anxious about scheduling a date. I told him that I've learned from experience to only mark people I would actually potentially want to be more than friends with, not to lead people on with false hope. His opinion was that's their problem for fooling themselves.

From here the commentaries became a bit of a blur...

4) He mentioned how people ask for a lot of information very early on in dating. He complained about women who need to know everything. I laughed and said that I could understand. My response is that sometimes the situation is not clear and woman what to know what's going on. His rebuttal to that was if the guy hasn't made the situation clear, there's nothing going on. (I couldn't help think about the fog around my other dating situation.) I added that for women around my age we have to start pushing the issue we don't need people wasting out time. He laughed because he said he was thinking this but didn't want to say it. I added that while it's nice to meet new guy friends, it's just not a priority because I don't have the time or need at this point in my life. He stated how he his information is private (age, car, job, salary, relationships, etc.), and that if a person wants to know about him, they have to invest the time. I agreed that there are details that you learn over time, but Waby is taking this to the extreme a bit.

5) Next he started telling me about this one ex-girlfriend. She was several years younger and, as he put it, "the classic Chinese princess" (from Singapore). She was smart, funny, and pretty. My guess is that they dated back around 2000-2001. He complained that in the last 12 weeks, she would call every week saying that they needed to talk. This was despite the fact they saw each other three times a week. He claimed that she would complain about things he hadn't done for her. I couldn't help laugh because I understood her point of view. He finally had enough and broke up with her when he confronted her about her complaints and she had no explanation. I told him that was because she was beyond logic at that point. She was very agitated (understandably so) and he suggested they talk in a couple weeks. When that two weeks passed she gave him an angry call insisting he return her key. His perspective? He never asked for her key in the first place. He said the issue was that she was mad he had moved and not given her a key to his new place. The new building required a key that was only provided to people with names on the lease and was not copyable. He kind of congratulated himself saying that it was better than they broke up because it forced her to do some things she needed to do. In 2003, she left for grad school and they met for a dinner. She still seemed a bit peeved at him.

6) As we walked back to our cars, for the fun of it, I asked him if he does online dating in addition to speed dating. He snickered a bit and said that he doesn't. He said the tried it maybe five years ago, back when it wasn't well accepted. He started to philosophize again how it's not about where to meet people but meeting the right person. He recalled a wedding he went to recently where the pastor made comment that resonated with him. It was saying that a successful marriage is about making yourself into who you're spouse wants. (This doesn't sound exactly right... but I know it was something that was the reverse of making things the way you think they should be.)

7) He got into this other example of his attitude towards people. His car requires some special tires (what the hell does he drive?). Every time he called a tire shop, they tried to convince him to buy these expensive "Z" tires which were rated for up to 200 mph. His response to these sales people was, "I only drive 140 mph when I'm in reverse, what good will they do me." It took several calls until he finally found a guy who got it and ordered him the more reasonable tires.

And that was about the end of our afternoon. We stood at my car as he quickly told me one other story about how buying used cars requires major negotiation because the dealer will strip out as much as possible to get you to buy replacement accessories. With that, I thanked him for dinner and gave him a one-armed hug. I stumbled over what to say next and simply wished him a good rest of the day. Waby thanked me for the day and left on "see ya."

I watched him cross the street as I waited for my light to turn green.

Thoughts? I'm not sure if that was just honest or weird... . He was very polite, paying for everything and always opening doors for me. Somehow, I don't think I'm going to see him again which is fine. I suppose I'd go out again if he asked. There were just times I couldn't figure out if he was just giving me lines to set expectations. That's not the type of conversation I'm used to having for a first or pre-date.

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