Timing in relationships has always been a major failing in my life, a recurring theme.
I had a really enjoyable weekend this past weekend. On Saturday I attended a lecture hosted by the local county Democratic Party organization in a local pub. It was a lecture on the ramifications of Citizens United and the scourge of so-called “Corporate personhood”. It was informative and I was glad to meet some like-minded local folks.
More importantly on Sunday, I first attended the Houston Church of Freethought, had lunch with them at Jason’s Deli. That was enjoyable enough. But what was really fun was later in the afternoon I took a tour of the Menil Museum with some of my fellow members of Houston Oasis, a congregation of nonbelievers that is newer than HCOF but one that I actually prefer to HCOF. One of the members is a former art history professor and lead us through the museum, giving us a lecture and referencing the works on the walls of the Menil to elaborate his points. We surveyed a brief history of modernism from Monet to Abstract Expressionism then on over into Postmodernism.
I’ve always said that visiting Museums (or listening to live Classical Music) are the closest I get to a “religious experience”. This museum trip was really fun. We all agreed to assemble later at a local Mexican restaurant nearby for dinner. I first ducked into the Houston Photography Center, which is next to the Menil and a personal favorite. I did not want to be the first one to arrive at the restaurant, either, so this helped me kill some time.
When I arrived at the restaurant a few of the Houston Oasis were present but not all. I surveyed the table and chose to sit on the far side of the gathering, next to an attractive woman who looked familiar. If it had been who I thought it was, that person is married. However, I quickly discovered she was someone else who merely reminded me of this other person (a pointless detail I kept to myself). Although I’d be the first to admit that I’m pretty lousy at smalltalk, we actually did seem to hit it off in speaking to each other. When I mentioned my dual Master’s degrees, her interest seemed piqued and she made an approving noise, turned toward me slightly and began to take more interest in our conversation. We talked about art, movies; I talked about my trips abroad; She decried the absurdities of contemporary women’s fashions. I mentioned David Rakoff’s satirical essay about the fashion world in his book Don’t Get Too Comfortable. From there we went on to talk about Sarah Vowell and David Sedaris. She described herself as a writer, though she did admit to having a day job (which she neglected to talk about). I talked about my happy times with AIG, Inc., and my current position at the library. I really liked this woman, and she seemed to find me interesting as well.
However, she’d come to this event with someone else, an older gentleman even than myself. We parted amicably, but he was her ride home, and as the old saying has it, “you gotta dance with them what brung you”.
I suppose if I were NT and more of a “player”, I would not have left without for sure getting her phone number at the very least. If I were really a player, I might’ve found a way to persuade her to leave with me instead. As it is, I’m hoping to see her at future H.O. events. But on the other hand, I did feel a kind of pang of…regret? Loss? when I waved goodbye to her going back to my car…and she waved goodbye back–from the passenger’s seat of the other gentleman’s car. Maybe they’re just friends, maybe they’re more than that and went home together and got intimate. But I do know that she barely talked to him at all during the meal and seemed much more interested in what I had to say…which is kind of a rare thing for me.
*Sigh* it’s probably a blissful-but-fleeting encounter that will come to nothing. I may never see this woman again. I can only hope that she comes to future Houston Oasis meetings on her own (assuming she has a car of her own) where I can chat her up again and continue the mild flirtation.
It was hard enough just to maintain the amicable conversation, though. Add to that the game of active flirtation and gauging her response…sometimes it’s a wonder I’ve ever had girlfriends before….and I have…but every time has on some level been a pleasant surprise that hits seemingly from nowhere. But in any case, this is someone with whom I “clicked” and would at the very least like to spend more time with if future circumstances allow it.