Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Get Set, Get Ready, or BLOW OFF

The whole "timing is everything" phrase is such a cliche, but I've realized truer words have never been spoken. Why? Because somewhere in the creases of my dating history--- in search of a new blog post--- I remembered: I once blew off what may have been the perfect guy, merely because I wasn't ready.

The details are hazy. It was either my junior or senior year in college at Berkeley. I think I'd either spent the night at a friend's house in San Francisco or spent the night in Oakland babysitting...but it was the morning, I was tired, and I was taking the BART back into Berkeley. There was a cute guy sitting a couple rows behind me and across the aisle. I have no idea how we started talking, I think maybe he asked me how to get to College Avenue once he got off the train. Then he moved up a few rows and before I knew it we were engaged in a full on conversation.

His name was Kwamena. He was a few years older than me. He'd grew up in Ghana where he played soccer and moved to the states when he got into Brown. He said he loved Berkeley, because it reminded him of Providence. He worked at an internet company now and clearly liked his job, but was just getting adjusted to life in the Bay Area. He had an amazing accent and confessed that he was on his way to pick up his car, because he'd had a terrible date in Berkeley the night before and to add insult to injury, he'd locked his keys in his car.

When we got off the train, I offered to walk with him in the direction of where he had parked. I lived on College Ave and the walk from downtown Berkeley to the south side of campus could be confusing for a tourist. We arrived at my apartment first and he asked me if I'd let him take me out to lunch. I thought: when do I ever meet cute boys from Ghana on the BART who actually want to take me to lunch? Never. This kind of stuff only happens in movies. So, we went to lunch at La Mediterranee, which was one of my favorite spots. The meal was great and he even said he was thankful for the terrible date and for locking his keys in his car, because otherwise he wouldn't have met me. I was smitten.

But then...he started calling a lot and I panicked. I felt like he was too nice to get involved with unless I was a 100% sure that I liked him, and I worried that since he didn't know a lot of people in the area, he might get a little clingy. I was also worried about our age difference. It was only a few years, but he had a real job and I was a college student working part time and still worried about mid-terms and papers. I was finally honest with him and told him that I just didn't feel ready to get involved with anyone. He was of course completely understanding and thanked me for being upfront. That lunch was our only date.

A couple months later, I had a little crying session in my apartment over something I don't even remember: a fight with a friend? An episode of Oprah? I was on my period? Unfortunately, when I cry, my face turns into a red puffy mess for a good couple of hours. I decided to go for a walk, get some air and some coffee, and as luck would have it, I ran straight into Kwamena on my way. He was still the nice/cute guy I remembered, and wasn't even afraid to ask me if I'd been crying. I felt like such an asshole for blowing him off and again apologized profusely, and after that I never saw him again.

When you're happy with where you are in life and who you're with, you have the luxury of no longer regretting any of your blow offs. In a way, you're so glad they all happened. But if there was an alternate universe out there, my 29 year old self might go back and kick my 21 year old self in the ass. Cause even though timing means everything, in hindsight, it's also a total cop out.

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