After saying good night to the desi Banker, I duck into the subway station and wait a few minutes. Yes, absolutely, this was a nice first date. Conversation with the Banker was easy and had amazing depth, broaching many topics --- arts, life, India, music, movies. He was fun and engaging, but I didn’t have that za za zoom! It was TOO comfortable, like a friend. So I am assuming I'll never from him again.
I check the time on my mobile phone, thinking for sure the desi Banker must be blocks away and I pop out of the subway. I scan the street up and down. Excellent. No sign of Banker. I begin walking west towards 8th Avenue. By the time I get home it will be 10:30 pm and too late to call Reindeer and coordinate tomorrow’s dates.
As I clip clop along 53rd Street I return Reindeer’s call. “Well, hello,” Reindeer says. Swoon. Love, love, love his voice. “Sorry I missed your call. We were finishing dinner,” I reply. Ooo, good cover! “I’m headed west for the A train so you are going to join me on the walk and ignore the Midtown honking,” I say. My timing could not have been better. The moment I finish my sentence the light turns green and the overly anxious taxis start honking. Reindeer laughs and then details his day. He then asks if I should really be walking alone so late. This is refreshing, a man concerned about safety. “I’m fine,” I reply, moving like a native New Yorker, at a marathon pace, with my cell phone attached securely to my ear.
By the time I reach Columbus Circle we have decided to meet at 6:00 pm at the clock tower in Grand Central Station, which in my mind is not really a tower, but it is a clock. Because I am a control freak and cannot eat meat on Tuesday, I offer to select the restaurant, which is agreeable to Reindeer. Before we hang up he makes a joke, “I’ll be wearing a white suit coat and holding a flower.” I reply, “I’ll write your name on a placard.”
All over India in the airports throngs of chauffeurs wait, holding placards so arriving desis from abroad can locate the driver who will take to you grandma’s house. At other airports, such as Bangalore, after you collect your bags, greeters offer you a flower welcoming you to their city. Too bad the pollution will kill the flower the moment you leave the leave the air-conditioned airport. But the thought is nice.