Meera will be displeased, but I arrive for the Tapan Date Two on-time. Taps has texted to say he’s running late, which I understand happens. But I traveled over a 100 blocks and he just had to walk across the Upper West Side.
I sit on a bench and wait for him. The weather is unbelievably nice and I spend some time watching couples stroll their double-wide baby carriages around the park path. God, do I really what that? Kids? To avoid dealing with my biological clock, I turn my attention to the Hudson River and stare into New Jersey. I sigh deeply and find this view of the water and tree line very pacifying.
“Hey!” I hear from behind me. I turn. It’s Taps wearing long cargo shorts and a tee-shirt with Om on it. He looks like a cross between a desi rapper and surfer. It’s cute. “Hey you,” I reply and stand. “So sorry I kept you since I live close and you came all the way from Washington Heights.” Okay, you know what; at least he appreciates the effort I invested in getting here on time. “Shall we walk? The weather is great!” Tapan suggests. “Sure,” I reply. I am wearing VERY comfortable walking slides, made by a brand called Sudini, whose tagline is “shoes that make love to your feet”. I mean really, is there any wonder why I bought them?
We walk for about 30 minutes and come across an outdoor park café. “Any chance I can interest you in a snack?” Tapan asks. “Sure,” I reply. I am quite agreeable today. We sit down and order a bottle of wine white and peruse the menu. “I don’t eat meat, so would it be okay if we order mozzarella cheese sticks and French fries?” Tapan asks. Has he met me? This is my idea of yums, vino and deep fried apps. I manage to restrain my giddy bad food joy, and say, “Oh sure, that would nice. I so rarely eat this stuff,” I lie and flash an absolutely sweet smile. “I know, it’s a little wrong, right? We should eat something sensible like a salad, but we’re on a date,” Tapan says. Agreed.
“I used to eat meat,” Tapan explains, “but after my divorce I stopped. I became much more compassionate towards everything including animals and I decided to become a vegetarian.” I nod and say, “I think that’s great. Every now and then I think about giving up meat, I really don’t eat that much. But I love bacon and eggs…” Tapan nods, “That’s cool. I think you should do what feels right…Say, that reminds me, how is your computer?” Tapan asks.
That damn thing now has 300 Trojan horses. It’s like they invited 50 of their friends to take up residence on the PC without running the request by me. “Not good. I installed the router…” I begin. “Really? By yourself? I am really impressed!” Tapan says. “Not that I don’t think you can do it, but you know…” Yes, I understand I am very girlie and clearly un-techie, how else would I have the corral of Trojan Horses in the first place. “Well, don’t be too impressed. My router install disk didn’t work and I had to call customer service,” I, the self-saboteur-who-cannot-accept-a-compliment, say. “So what? That is why they give the number in case the disk doesn’t load, I’m impressed,” Tapan re-directs. Okay, here is a really nice desi man. Good job Tap’s mom!
“Thanks,” I reply and finally accept a compliment. “Now that the router is installed I have no idea what do with the PC,” I say a little deflatedly. Tapan nods, sips his wine and says, “You know I have tech guy, he's Punjabi…”“They are the best,” I say with a wink. “So you say,” Tapan winks back. Taps's family is from Rajasthan. “I bet my tech guy would help if you could get the computer to him. Would you like me to ask him?"