“Okay, everyone, please head to your assigned tables so we may begin.”
“Good luck!” I say with a cheery wave and big smile to Pyper. This time, when she looks at me, I see concern briefly register on her face, but I just keep smiling as I head to my table.
As I approach, there is someone sitting at my table already, his name tag reads ‘Sam.’ He has light brown hair, glasses, and is dressed in khaki pants and a white dress shirt. I’m rather surprised I don’t see a pocket protector in his shirt pocket. Nothing about him really stands out at me, to be honest. I don’t feel an immediate connection or anything when our eyes meet. Bummer. Too bad I can’t just yell out “NEXT!”
“Hello!” I say. I think I may have been kind of loud. Oops.
He startles, and somewhat shyly says, “Hello.”
I set my speeding ticket and pen on the table, set my handbag at my feet and take a seat. I smile broadly at Sam. He seems a bit taken back. Hmm, I kind of feel like maybe my smile is reminiscent of the Joker, but I’m sure I’m imagining it. I’m just nervous.
Abby is at the podium again, “Okay everyone on the count of one please press your bell to start the timer. Three…two….one.” Sam and I both reach out to press the bell at the same time. I push his hand out of the way and slam my hand on the top. “And go!” I say.
He smiles at me again somewhat hesitantly and asks, “So how long have you lived in Chicago? Were you born here, or did you move here?”
“Oh, well, I grew up here, and after I got my heart broken by someone I thought loved me, I ran away to Boston to attend college where I lived for five years. Then after I went through a nasty divorce to a guy I shouldn’t have married to begin with, I came back here to live with my best friend, Pyper. She’s over there.” I tell him, making a halfhearted attempt to wave behind me. Then I take another swallow of my wine.
“Oh, well. How…nice, I guess.” He mutters.
I snort at him. Nice? Not hardly.
“How about you, Sam?” I ask and I’m pretty sure I hissed the ‘S’ like a snake.
“I was born and raised in Chicago. I went to college for website design, and right after I graduated I got a job with Websites R Us and enjoy creating websites for several clients. It keeps me busy.”
“Oh, so you’re a techy geek huh?”
“Umm, I prefer the title internet designer.”
“I’m sure you do.” I think this is going well. This is easy. “What do you like to do in your spare time?”
He clears his throat, “Well, I enjoy taking walks in the park with my dog. I have a yellow lab named Goldie.”
I interrupt, “Wow, that’s original.” I say, deadpanned. Okay, kind of rude on my part, but really? Lame name.
“Well, actually, my six-year-old niece named her.”
“Oh. Well that’s awesome!” Way to go Olivia! You just insulted his niece. You rock at this. “How many nieces and nephews do you have?”
“I have four. Two nieces and two nephews. Do you have any?”
“Nope. I’m an only child.”
“Oh.” We just stare at each other for a few seconds. Then a few seconds more. And a few more. Wow. This is awkward. Maybe I should get up and sing and dance?
He clears his throat again and just as he’s about to ask me another question a bell rings signaling the end of our date. Thank God.
“Well Olivia, it was umm interesting meeting you.”
“Hey, you too, Sam. You have a good night, and good luck or whatever!”
He stands and steps away from the table. Turning to my speeding ticket, taking full advantage of the sixty seconds, I check STOP next to Sam’s name. I’m not gonna lie. Sam was boring and I don’t really have a website I need designed, so I don’t see an advantage here. I’m sure Sam thinks that went well though. I’m sure I at least got a MAYBE from him. Go me! I’ve totally got this. I am an amazing speed dater. I should get a button. Or a medal.
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