Sunday, May 8, 2011
Sample from Chapter Two of We Interrupt This Date. Susan is having lunch with her friend Veronica. Veronica is dismayed to learn that Susan is going on a blind date arranged by her flaky friend, Patty.
My casual shoulder shrug and my sudden interest in watching a couple of restaurant patrons stroll by were admission enough. Veronica knew I hadn’t been anywhere lately except to yoga. It wasn’t like I was going to arrange a date with a stranger I crashed my cart into at the Publix grocery.
“Wait, don’t tell me. That New Age person you work with is the one who’s hooking you up. That can’t be good. I imagine her taste in men runs to long-haired, ascetic types with dark, soulful eyes. They all read tarot and teach meditation classes, go to Nepal on vacation, and wear necklaces made of healing crystals.” Veronica sighed from the bottom of her soul. “Susan, Susan, Susan.”
“It’s true that Patty got me the date with her boyfriend’s cousin,” I said reluctantly, “but he’s not a meditation teacher, he’s an insurance salesman.”
Patty and Veronica had only crossed paths once, months ago, when Veronica stopped by my office to leave off an invitation to her niece’s baby shower. Patty was wearing gold hoop earrings and was dressed in her usual style--floor-length crepe, rainbow-colored skirt and matching blouse. Her jet-black hair hung to her waist in ropy coils, so she looked like one of those carnival fortunetellers. She’d made the mistake of offering Veronica a half-priced tarot reading because she looked like she was “having man problems.”
“I suppose she consulted the pagan gods first. I’ve never had a blind date in my life and I certainly wouldn’t let someone like Patty arrange one for me.”
She’d told me once that needing to have someone fix you up was an admission of failure and God knew I didn’t need something else to make me feel like a loser. I love Veronica dearly, but even she admits she tends to view the world in black and white and she can be less than tolerant of viewpoints that differ from her own. Not for the first time I pondered the whimsy of fate that had brought me a best friend who had so much in common with my mother.
No, I’d chosen Veronica and fate had nothing to do with it. The answer to the question of why I’d made that choice drifted out of my grasp.
Veronica put her cup down and signaled the waiter. “You know you’re wasting your time going on a blind date when you’ve already found someone on your own.”
Mama couldn’t have put it better herself. But if Jack Maxwell were sitting here, he’d have said, “Go for it. You can’t win if you don’t enter the race.”
I shook my head. I knew I was thinking about Jack only because Mama had tried to fix me up with a man this morning. There’s something about coming out of a year long fog that causes a lot of random thoughts and buried memories to pop up when you least expect or want them to.
“You never know how things will work out, Veronica. Besides, like you said, I need a starter date to get me off and running.”
We parted at the door. I wished she hadn’t been so negative about my date, so willing to believe it would be a waste of time.
I allowed my imagination to wander. Patty’s boyfriend’s cousin might turn out to be my soul mate, even though I hadn’t really wanted to go out and only agreed to shut Patty up. And because Everybody Loves Raymond reruns had lost their appeal. And because—just because I was tired of being predictable, soft touch Susan, who wasn’t special to anyone.