A few weeks ago, the first day of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, to be exact, I went to run an errand during my lunch hour.
I wanted to pick up lunch and there was a Chili's in the same area, so I decided to order a salad to go and watch the basketball games while I waited. Great idea.
I should have predicted this beforehand, but there were seriously dudes everywhere to eat and watch the game, so I put in my order and told the to-go girl that I would be in the bar whenever my food was ready.
I walked in and took the closest chair I could find at the bar and asked the guys next to me if anyone was sitting there. Nope? Great. They were in the late-30's age-range, talking about a woman one of them was dating, and randomly decided to loop me into the conversation by asking for my advice. Who me? Why?
I was half-listening at this point because obviously the basketball game was on, and so they started giving me a hard time about not being a good listener and how backwards it was that they, the men, would be discussing relationships while I, the girl, would be oblivious and glued to the T.V. They asked me questions about my (so-called) dating life when my to-go bag arrived. I grabbed the plastic handles, prepared to say nice meeting y'all and heard a barage of: Stay! Eat here! You're watching the games anyway... which I found odd, since my dating life is neither exciting nor do I have any good advice to impart. They had a point about the games though. So I asked for silverware and stayed while I ate.
FYI: It is not standard operating procedure for me to talk to strange old men in bars during my lunch hour.
I probably roll my eyes when men (always older, out of my "age-range") act like it is preposterous that I don't just date all the time. Have 'em lined up around the block. Beating them off with a stick. Mostly this comes from, in a girl's life, your dad, your uncles; people related to you and programmed to think you are the pinnacle of feminine awesomeness. Granted, I am a bit of a one-date wonder because I decide a lot in a first-impression. I can always be counted on for a decisive opinion on guys and clothing. They had plenty to say about me dating/me not dating, but quickly picked up on my Good Girl vibe and tailored their advice accordingly.
I left the restaurant, finally getting around to the nice meeting y'all portion of the hour... the random but harmless hour.
I had all but forgotten about this encounter until today.
So today when I met my mother for lunch at a different restaurant probably a mile and a half away from Chili's, who did I see a few tables over? Same guys. Exact same guys. I saw one and thought no way, can't be... They were with other coworkers this time, and I was with my mom, but over a bite of spinach, cherry tomato and balsamic vinaigrette, it was confirmed. My random lunch buddies; resurfaced. I laughed to myself, remembering some of their attempts at wise words and how they took pity on the guys I have written-off in the past. I glanced over and smiled as we were leaving, just in case they had been speculating as I was.
If they are craving chicken nuggets from Chick-Fil-A on Monday after Lent is over, we may meet again.
"I must learn to love the fool in me- the one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt, promises and breaks promises, laughs and cries. It alone protects me against that utterly self-controlled, masterful tyrant whom I also harbor and who would rob me of human aliveness, humility, and dignity but for my fool."
-Theodore I. Rubin, MD