Flyboy and I get settled at a table towards the middle of the restaurant. The chairs are made of rattan and I pray they do not snag my skirt. The waitress comes by and asks for our drink and lunch orders. “Iced tea, for me please,” I say. “White wine,” Flyboy says. While I am never opposed to white wine, I don’t like to start drinking it before 5.00 pm.
“So – tell me more about your bad dates, you are so funny – most Indian girls are so uptight, busy chasing the dream,” he says. Okay. This is the second time he has mentioned chasing the dream as if it is a bad thing. Sure, I mean, yeah – there is something superficial about Indians, the very competitive keeping-up-with-the-Patels mentality drives me nuts. However, I have a handful of desi friends – mostly all from college, men and women – who are totally normal and accepting of being of who you want to be.
But I have dream chasing cousins, living in huge multi-crore flats in India buying name brand crap they don’t need just for the status. I am sure my single in the City life baffles them. Sometimes their lives scare me.
“I think I gave you the dating highlights,” I reply politely. “I’ll be right back – need to put money in the meter,” he says and disappears for a few minutes. Relief. Ooo – bad sign.
He comes back and sits down. “So tell me – you said you write?” he asks. “Uhm, yes,” I reply. “What do you write?” he asks. “I wrote a collection of short stories,” I reply. “What about?” he asks and sips his wine. “Indian Joy Luck Club, would be the best way to describe it,” I reply. “Wow, that is impressive, why don’t you try and get an agent,” he says. “I have one. We’re working on it,” I reply. “You should work harder,” he suggests. Really? I am not telling him to fly faster. “We’re following the protocol for the industry,” I reply.
“I need to put more money in the meter,” he says and leaves. The lunches come while he is gone and I wait for him to return. Just because I don’t feel any za-za-zoom – doesn’t mean I will be rude. My mother did not raise me that way.
He comes back and we eat for a few minutes. “So you’re a pilot – have any aspirations to fly for one of the major carriers?” I ask. He gives me a little bit of a dirty look, finishes chewing and says, “Huh, sounds like chasing the dream talk.” It takes EVERYTHING I have not to roll my eyes. He just grilled me about writing and I didn’t flinch. And I can’t ask about his industry. We’ll see about that. “What is your problem?” I ask. “What?” he demands. “I asked a simple question. It’s like when someone tells me they are a cardiologist and I ask what interested them in that specialization. There is nothing wrong with my question,” I snap. Don’t make me have thoughts of punching you, I think.
“Oh – well I don’t care for the corporate b.s. I figured you’d understand that working for your family and all,” he says. Oh yes – because there is no b.s. in a family business – if he thinks that then he is a massive crack smoker. There is probably MORE b.s. when you are related to all of your co-workers.
“So what are you doing next? Tonight – after this?” he asks. Ugh. He better not want to continue this date, because I want to get some sundries, hop the M4 home and probably drink with the hope that vinho verde will erase all memory of Flyboy lunch date. “Well, I need to pick up some groceries and then meet Meera and Rohit. Meera’s mom is in town and wants me to stop by,” I lie, again. Durga, if you must reincarnate me back as a goat, for all the fibs I have told today - it is fine. I’d rather be down-graded in the next life than spend this life with this guy.
“Where do they live?” he asks. Uhm, what? “Did you hear me? Where do they live? These friends of yours – Meera and Rohit.” “Ahh, close by,” I reply and stall. This inquiry makes me UNCOMFORTABLE. I am NOT about to tell him the exact coordinates of my friends’ residence. Although, they do have a dog. “Where?” he asks. “Uhm, Morningside Heights,” I lie again. “Where in Morningside Heights?” “So, what you want their exact address?” I ask. Then I wonder, maybe this guy is not an asshole, and lacks social grace because he has no filter.
“No, I meant – how will you get there?” he replies. I think Flyboy realizes his inquiry was a bit intrusive. “Uhm bus,” I reply. I can walk there – but I am not about to tell him that. And I am NOT even going to their house – so what does transport matter?
When the bill comes, he pays and we leave the restaurant. “So didn’t you say needed groceries?” he asks. Crap, what now? “Uhm yea,” I reply. “What are you going to do with them? You’re going to someone’s house,” he says. “Ahhh, they have a big fridge….” “Oh,” he replies.
“Well this was nice, I told Auntie I’d be there by 5.30, so I need to shop fast and get over there,” I say. “Yes, it was nice, thanks for meeting me,” he says. “Thanks for lunch, really nice of you,” I say, turn on my heel and walk away as fast as short girl in a pencil skirt can in three-inch heels that pinch my feet.