The problem is, the Jerrys of the world will always find me.
Recently, I dragged a friend to a Meetup. For those of you unfamiliar, Meetups are group get-togethers that are coordinated online but happen in real life. There are Meetups for people who like to bike, to eat, to travel. You name it, and you can probably find a Meetup for it.
I have lots of friends. But they tend to be scattered all over the world. And my friends here are lovely, but many are still in suburban mom mode. Being divorced, I’m in that mode sometimes and other times—when I’m without my kids–I want friends who are free to own their schedule for the weekend. So, off to the Meetup we went.
This particular Meetup was for people who like to do weekend brunch in the city. I figured this would be a civilized group, versus the crazed triathletes who meet to swim the Atlantic on a Sunday morning or scale Kilimanjaro after work.
My friend and I were among the first to arrive. As Kate headed to the ladies’ room, I checked us in with the hostess. “We’re here for the Meetup,” I said, quietly, trying to be unobtrusive. That was wasted effort because Jerry heard me from about 15 feet away. “Oh, I’M here for the Meetup too,” he yelled across the foyer. He must have bat ears, I thought to myself. So why doesn’t he realize he’s shouting?
My radar immediately told me who Jerry was—what I call a barnacle. Barnacles always find me. Real barnacles affix themselves permanently to rocks, boat hulls—you name it. And the human version of barnacles like to affix themselves to me—at parties, on the street—you name it. So, I was intent on freeing myself from Jerry before he affixed to me. I had come to this Meetup to get away from the suburban couple scene and meet new people, the lifeblood of us creative types. New people, new experiences. And I was not about to get stuck talking to Jerry-and-only-Jerry for the next two hours. Especially because for the first five minutes, I was treated to a long treatise on urban transportation.
As the hostess led our group to the table, I sped up to position myself somewhere Jerry wasn’t. I was chatting animatedly with a woman who had just gotten to the restaurant, hoping to deter him from following. As I headed to the far end of the table, guess who appeared before me to take the last seat—the one I was headed for? Jerry. He sat to my right, smiling like the Cheshire Cat.
I purposely left Jerry to his own devices. I chatted with Jean, the woman to my left, and we found we had a ton in common.
But as the meal came to a close, I relented a bit. We probably only had 15 minutes left. I turned to include Jerry in my conversation and he heard me say, “Every fine line and wrinkle on my face is because of those two little hoodlums.” I was joking about my teenaged sons.
“I don’t see any wrinkles,” Jerry said. For a moment, I regretted so completely shutting him out. And began to mentally pat myself on the back for buying that new avocado eye cream a couple of months ago. Hmph. It must be living up to its advertising, I mused. Maybe I’m not aging as poorly as I think. Cue hair toss.
At that very moment, the dessert menus arrived. As Jerry pulled out a magnifying glass, he shared that due to a motorcycle accident 20 years ago, he had lost all sight in one eye and about 70 percent in the other eye.
Let’s just let that soak in a moment, shall we?
Can I take the hair toss back too?
Jerry couldn’t see wrinkles not only because we were in a dark restaurant but because HE IS MAINLY BLIND. First thought—oh Jesus. Eye cream has nothing to do with it. Second thought—how the hell did he move so fast around this table? Third thought—no wonder his hearing is so good.
And just in case this little scenario wasn’t enough to put me in my rightful aging place, the Universe decided to weigh in one more time that week. As I pulled up to the Starbucks drive-through, the male server at the window simply said, “Beautiful,” as he gazed into my car.
I looked up, surprised, and smiled. Thoughts of the eye cream resurfaced. Cue hair toss. Which is when he added, “Your dog is simply gorgeous.” Yes, Bailey was in all her regal glory in my backseat. She didn’t take kindly to his flirting, growling low in her throat.
I wanted to growl too, but refrained.
Who says the Universe doesn’t have a sense of humor?