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  • The Archer

Up The Down, Down The Up

Boy #38 or Escalator showed up on a dating site in August of COVID. I had heard his name a few times before and the timing was never quite right. So, when we matched, I decided to give it a try.

The options for dating in August of COVID were few and far between. You could no longer get a coffee at Starbucks and relax in their easy chairs. So, the options were eating at a restaurants outdoor patio, or sort of giving up on trying altogether.

Naturally, Escalator chose the latter.

He suggested we buy a drink and take a walk somewhere which is of course very descriptive and shows how very deeply he wanted this to work out. I am super picky when it comes to drinks so I suggested we started at a local health foods store where there would be more options for me and from there we could go to the park.

You could say I planned the date. Go on, say it! Say it out loud! Scream it from the rooftops!

We met up at said health food store's entrance. The first thing I noticed was the stated height on the resume (I believe 5"6) was off by at least 3 inches. So honesty wasn't exactly on the table here.

We headed to the escalators to go down into the store. He confidently walked on to the up escalator and took a moment to realize that he was, in fact, going backwards. I reacted kindly, lying and saying "oh that totally happens to me all the time." He looked rather affronted by this exchange with the escalator.

We bought our drinks and proceeded to head upstairs to street level and he did the exact same thing again. He confidently, without bothering to look at his surroundings hopped on to the escalator that was going the wrong way and then looked super confused when he moved backwards. And, at this point he knew which side was which because we had already taken those exact escalators.

Now I couldn't hold back a giggle at his predicament.

Then, I thought of the Margaret Atwood quote: "when she asked a male friend why men feel threatened by women, he answered, "They are afraid women will laugh at them." When she asked a group of women why they feel threatened by men, they said, "We're afraid of being killed."

And then I got nervous that I might be killed.

We walked together a solid ten feet into the park before Escalator found a bench and announced that it looked good. We were right in the middle of a large encampment of homeless people and the smell was rather overwhelming but Escalator had decided the exact amount of effort he would put into this date and it didn't include walking more than ten feet.

It was a rainy day and the benches were covered in raindrops. The wind was blowing and the sky was dark. We sat on our benches and tried to find things to say to each other. Not much came up.

I do remember a specific story that I've heard before, from other dates.

The date tells me about this time he was going on a vacation. Usually it was planned by a friend or group of friends, occasionally it is a family trip. Then the date throws in the "crazy" moment-that the night before they realized their ticket was wrong/passport was expired/ they had double booked two trips and then the date proceeds to tell me the "boss" way they got out of this situation-usually involving a bribe or too.

I am not going to say I am entirely innocent of booking the wrong airline tickets, however, my corrections usually don't include bribing a contact at the US Customs office. I hate these stories because they glorify disorganization, bad communication, and just how lackluster these boys are. They can't plan a date, they can't even get themselves onto a vacation that someone else planned properly. And meanwhile, I, the helpless woman am meant to chuckled and gasp with awe at their chutzpah, their boldness, their "boss" fix.

Escalator and I lasted 45 minutes surrounded by the funk of those who don't have access to showers before we left on our separate ways. He never broke up with me so for all that I know we may be married with children.

I laughed at his bluster, which I shouldn't have. But he made the same error twice in a row.

I keep going on dates with lackluster guys who don't bother to notice the world around them, and I post my errors on the internet for all of you to laugh with me.

Or is it at me?

Either way the combo of the lackluster effort, the general lack of awareness, the pride over the accomplishment that shouldn't be an accomplishment mixed into a cocktail that wasn't my taste.

I keep stepping onto the escalator expecting to reach my destination, and then find myself traveling backwards. I think I'm better because I'm laughing at myself but I'm still doing it.

One definition of the word "crazy" is doing the same thing expecting different results each time. Why should I expect anything different, isn't that the part that is crazy?

Perhaps with a little awareness of what surrounds me I can get on the right escalator eventually. I'll still be laughing but I'll also be moving forward.

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