“Every cloud has a silver lining.” A proverb created to force us to look on the brighter side of any situation when life throws us those nasty curve balls. There are millions of theories, belief systems and even TV channels all dedicated to helping us take life’s lemons and turn them into lemonade. Yet, with all these resources that we have at our fingertips, to tap into these so called, “life changing experiences,” It got me thinking if it is possible to see every negative situation and see the silver lining?
After last week’s shortest date in history, (a record 30 minutes, which included brunch). I was ready to set aside the dating life and focus on my friends and work; which is exactly what I did. I pushed all potential dates as far back as I could and just did the normal “dating up-keep” which usually entails the occasional text messages or emails, basically maintaining the lines of communication until both of your schedules allow for you to meet. In a city like New York, where most people feel their lives are far more important than yours, to even schedule a date is like trying to get into Nobu without a reservation…it just isn’t going to happen. So, therefore, you are forced to play the cat and mouse game until both of you finally agrees to meet for a date which is usually scheduled for something during the week (after the gym, of course) and no later than 10 p.m. It is rare that anyone gives up their weekends for a first date because chances of it being a success are slim to none. Most of the time, in these scenarios, I am the one doing the communicating and I am the one picking out the spots of where we are to meet. The silver lining in this situation is that since I get to pick the place, I usually choose somewhere close to my apartment and a place where they don’t serve any pickles (ick).
By the time last Thursday rolled around, I think the entire city was over all the rain we have been having. It is June and yet the weather has been acting like it was either April or May. When my friend said he was going to be in the area and wanted to meet for a drink, I decided that it might be time to leave my apartment and meet my friend since it is a rare thing that he is in my neighborhood. We agreed to meet at the bar, Therapy, and I arrived just a little bit earlier than my friend and so I ordered a glass of wine. When my friend got to the bar, I was greeted with one of those bear hugs that just make you feel so loved and appreciated. We ordered our drinks and there we stood talking and not even paying attention to what was going on around us. He shared some exciting things and he just seemed rather giddy overall. It is such a great feeling in this world, to see your friend just be in such a state of happiness. It’s contagious. Of course, who knows if it was the vodka, the bar or me but I did know that it was rather nice to not be sitting out home having a pity party when there is an entire city, come rain or shine, that is waiting for plenty of opportunities to be had. After a couple of drinks, we hugged, said our goodbyes and I made sure he got in a cab safely. There was no silver lining needed here, I was lucky to have such amazing people in my life. I went to bed that night, excited about the fact that it was going to be Friday, payday and that I was going to go away for a few days.
Friday, I was able to get through some work emails and I shut everything down at 1 o’clock. I was going to take my first Amtrak train to my friends’ house in Rhinebeck and so I was a little nervous, given my travel track record. I arrived to Penn Station a little early and already was confused by what train I needed to take, etc. So, as I was talking to a worker at the train station about which train I needed to take, a friendly woman tapped me on the shoulder and said she was taking the exact some route that I was and if I wanted to; I could tag along with her and she would make sure I get to where I needed to go. I guess there are still some friendly people out there left in the world. My train was announced on the board and I followed the lady to our train track. My friends told me which side of the train to sit on so that I would be able to enjoy the view along the Hudson River. They weren’t joking about the view. I had my intelligent magazines to read (InStyle, InTouch and People) and as we took off, suddenly all of life’s worries were thrown out the window. I took in the river, the fullness of the trees and the comfort of the seats. Only an hour and a half and I had arrived at my stop. My friend was already waiting for me at the train track and this began my weekend.
We had to get the groceries for the weekend and anyone that knows me knows that I am not very good in these kinds of stores. Department stores I can handle yet grocery stores sends me for a loop. We arrive at this rather cute grocery store called, Adams. The minute we grabbed a grocery cart, I got a wave of anxiety, it was crowded, I had no idea what I was doing and my friend was just telling me what to grab. Suddenly, I got a bad case of the hiccups from my nerves of being in this crowded grocery store and not having any clue what to do. My friend sympathized with me and just let me push the cart while he picked out the items from the list. When we reached the checkout lane, my friend had forgotten something and left me all by myself to start unloading the grocery cart. The cashier asked me a complicated question, “Paper or plastic?” I didn’t even know how to answer the question and he just laughed and said, “You aren’t from here. You have no clue what you are doing do you?” We had a good laugh and I went with paper versus plastic. By the time we got to the house, I was more than ready to have a cocktail and now the weekend was really ready to commence.
We woke up on Saturday and immediately began working on a brunch that my friends were hosting. There was chopping, blending, things sizzling on the stove, the oven was baking and every single bell and whistle was in motion all for the 11:30 a.m. arrival of the guests. By the time the guests started to arrive, everyone was hungry, happy and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The weekend was shaping up to be mainly all couples and myself, which I was fine with because I actually like to ask a lot of questions but what I also like to do is observe. I look and listen at how these couples interact with each other, their body language and it is something that always fascinates me. Maybe that is why I am in the field that I am in but as I listened and watched all the couples interact, I couldn’t help but wonder if I was even capable of saying things like, “Honey, where did you put the trash bags?” Or, “We met about ten years ago at a party.” One thing I did witness was that these couples weren’t bitter, they didn’t even show the slightest bit of being jaded; what I was lucky enough to see over the delicious brunch was how happy, honest and complete these relationships are. There was my silver lining, I might have been the only single person at the table but I was able to witness that not all couples are secretly reaching for their escape route.
Once brunch was cleared away, outfits went from casual to poolside because some friends of ours invited us to go back to their house for a quick dip in their pool. Sunglasses? Check. Sunscreen? Yes. White wine? Done. Several us in the pool and me slowly but surely learning how to swim, I was putting my head under water, I was staying on the shallow end but what I did learn is that I am still far away from doing any back flips off of a diving board. Next stop was another party and so we said goodbye to our friends and the pool, quick shower and outfit change and back in the car.
We knew the party was probably going to be on the fancier side, yet I wasn’t expecting what I saw. As we pulled up to the party that my friends were invited to; all I could see was a big green field and tons of people in salmon colored pants, blue blazers and I just had a distinct feeling that I did not belong there. Nonetheless, I was there and there was no turning back now. We entered this amazing house that looks like it was decorated for a spread in Elle Décor magazine. I guess it didn’t hurt that the guy hosting the party designs rather elegant lamps for a living, while his new boyfriend is an interior designer. I did my best to not touch a thing, I was actually afraid to even lean on anything. I was living the rule of, “You broke it. You bought it.” Once again, my hiccups were starting to take over and I needed to just relax and tell myself, “They are human beings just like you. Except you don’t have country house with an actual bee hive.” My friends and I found our way to the bar and after the first sip of wine, my nerves began to subside.
This house and the land that it was on, was so well manicured and they even had some fancy chickens, (I didn’t get near them because of my fear of birds) but from what I saw the chickens were quite lovely. I met some very eccentric couples and once again, while I didn’t belong in their world, I was able to learn about these interesting couples. How they met. How one of them proposed to his partner in Paris and of course learning about the whereabouts of their country houses. All in all, the party was gorgeous and I was glad I attended, it pushed me out of my comfort zone and as we all know, that is when real transformation happens.
Yesterday, we woke up, had a quick breakfast and we were back on the road headed back to Manhattan. I checked my phone and I was to be having a date with this guy that was set-up by an actual matchmaker. The date and I had been playing the back and forth with emails for about two weeks and we finally settled on yesterday. Of course, I picked the spot, the time and location. As I was emailing the date to confirm that we were still on for that afternoon, he responded with, “Yes. We are still on. However, I should warn you that I have been burning the candle at both ends and might not be my usual peppy self.” Great. This was going to be a fun date, I could see it already. I asked him if he wanted to reschedule and he came back with, “No. Let’s just see if we even connect.” What I already knew about this man was that he is 45 years old, owns his own IT company and lives in West Harlem.
He sent me a text message saying that he was running about a half hour late and if we could meet at 5:30 instead. That was fine with me because I could always use an extra half hour of time. I chose to meet at the wine bar, Xai Xai, because they do have a nice wine selection and you can actually hear yourself speak to someone. We both arrive at 5:30 and so the date began. We sat at the bar, ordered a bottle of Shiraz and toasted to finally being able to meet face to face. I was attracted to him on a physical level and then he began to talk. We covered the basics, “Where are you from?” “How long have you lived in New York?” and “What do you like to do for fun?”
When I asked what he likes to do for fun, I wasn’t prepared for his response. He began to tell me that he just set-up a parachute on his ceiling and also installed a disco ball in his living. He likes to get naked and dance around while drinking vodka. Ok. Not the answer I was expecting but I did ask the question. It was as if this man had taken everything that I am looking for with regards to a relationship and went in the opposite direction. He said, “To be honest. I don’t want a serious relationship. I don’t want kids and I really just like to meet new people. Maybe hook up with them but I am not out there to really meet anyone serious.” My dating instincts told me, that I should just leave right then and there but we had an entire bottle of wine to get through. So, I tried to change the topics to neutral ones but somehow they kept going back to drugs. He told me that he cannot wait till it is Gay Pride weekend so that he can take his shirt off and show his body to everyone. Yuck. Then he continued with his excitement for the Pier Dance for Pride because that is when he will get to take his ecstasy pill. The last straw for me was when he asked me to lean in and whispered in my ear, “I have weed on me right now. After this meeting because this is not a real date, I am going to my ex-boyfriends apartment, we are going to smoke and watch True Blood.”I am not sure what happened but suddenly my eyes began to well up with tears. I quickly excused myself to the bathroom and splashed cold water on my face. I told myself to pull it together; however, I know the reason why I had such a wave of emotions. After finishing a weekend spent with amazing couples and yet merely two hours later, I am sitting down with a man that can only talk about his drugs, I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t finish this date. I was just baffled at this entire situation. I came back and told him that my allergies were acting up and that I needed to get going. As we were settling the bill, I was using my debit card and he was paying for cash, (he didn’t believe in debit cards because he believes everything is big brother), of course, this was all his paranoid weed intake that probably was making him think this way. As my luck would have it, the magnetic strip on the back of my debit card wasn’t working. So, he paid for the wine but he insisted that I pay him back for my portion of the bill. We walked to a deli, I gave him the money and then he asked me what time it was. I told him the time and he goes, “Wow. We managed to kill a lot of time. To be frank, I wasn’t sure if I was going to get through this meeting.” It was the nail in the coffin. I was done. I told him goodbye and I turned and walked back to my apartment. Yes. I know the silver lining is that I dodged yet another bullet, this guy has issues and I don’t belong with a 45 year old man that still thinks he is 25. Yet at the same time, I thought if I was event meant for anyone out there. I emailed the matchmaker and told him of the experience and also told him that I would no longer be needing his services. It wasn’t how I wanted to bookend my weekend but it’s the price one pays when you are out there and dating.
Every single day, bad things happen to world. We get in fender benders and even though it is annoying to deal with insurance the silver lining is that no one was injured. Or you suffer a heinous date but the good thing is that you aren’t married to this person. It isn’t always easy to look at life’s challenges and try to spin them so that we can learn and grow from them. However, if you live life with absolute certainty, that whatever happens is actually supposed to happen to us than maybe those silver linings will be a hell of a lot easier to see as a blessing rather than a curse.
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