One day last September, I picked up my mail at my post office box. Just outside the post office, but still inside the mall, sat an attractive woman on a bench scratching her lottery tickets. I sat down on the bench near her to go through my mail. I minded my business, but I could feel her staring at me. When I looked up and smiled she said, “Hi.”
To be polite I said, “Hi.” That is as far as I wanted the conversation to go.
“Bills?” she asked.
“Oh no, just letters from the tax people,” I said.
“My name is Joanne,” she said.
I did not want to talk, but I did not want to be rude.
“My name is Gary.”
During the conversation that followed, I learned through her meta-talk that she was available; she was available, and that she was available. And on she went.
If I was in a different space, then I would have taken her up on being available. She was attractive and pleasant. But I had no interest in having a relationship. I finally invented an excuse and politely left.
After that, I worried about whether I would see her every time I went to the post office. I occasionally did several times during October and November. I was polite and talked to her. Actually she did most of the talking. I was polite and listened to her, and as soon as I could I invented some excuse about why I had to go.
I did not want another woman telling me how it’s not good for me to be alone, and how my life would improve if I shared it with her.
I did not see Joanne after November. Soon, I lost the tension I felt approaching the post office worrying, “Am I going to see Joanne?”
Yesterday, there she was on the same bench in the same spot scratching her lottery tickets. She looked up at me as I walked by. I smiled at her. Then she quickly looked away giving me the *OhNo!-NoLook. I kept walking. I went into the post office and picked up my mail. When I came out she looked up at me and then quickly buried her face in her lottery tickets.
What a relief! I know she saw me and pretended that she did not. But I did not have to worry about being polite and talking to her, and then inventing an excuse to leave.
I have no idea why Joanne did not want to talk to me. Perhaps she found out that I move my lips when I read, and like books with lots of pictures. Who knows? I don’t care why. Her rejection means my trips to the post office will be quick with no worries about having to listen to a lonely woman.
Thank you, Joanne, your rejection means so much to me!