Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Rejected

Yesterday, an applicant for a job here asked me to dinner. Now I'm not sure if you are aware of this, but as a general rule, it isn't considered good form to ask the HR Manager on a date as it tends to impact his view of your business judgment. I had to admire her nerve, though, even as I questioned her lack of taste.

With one notable exception, I'd always been fairly confident when it came to meeting women. There was only one woman who made me so nervous that it was difficult to speak with her. Even after I worked up the courage to ask her out - this after a week of running around like a teenager asking people to gauge her level of interest in me and making excuses to walk by her desk at every opportunity because I found her so beautiful that she left me weak at the knees - I was shocked when she said yes.

Normally, however, getting a date turned out to be a byproduct of casual conversation as opposed to an overt attempt to meet someone. The main challenge was always determining the level of interest of the woman with whom I was speaking. Was she just being polite and friendly, or was she really interested? Once the conversation was initiated, it was fairly easy to ask for a date. Even if she declined the invitation, I reasoned, the odds against seeing her again were astronomical given the number of people in NYC. Besides, being shot down often made for an amusing story. For example, one night I was on the LIRR riding home. There was one seat left, and it was next to an exceptionally attractive woman. I had recently become separated from the woman who is now my ex-wife, and hadn't asked anyone out for a while, but this seemed like the perfect opportunity. In general, between the clack of the wheels as they roll over the track, the loudspeaker announcements, the conversations that take place between friends, and the constant cell phone chatter, the train ride is fairly noisy. On this ride, however, it was eerily silent. I kept hoping that either the noise level would pick up or that the seats around us would empty so that I could talk to her out of earshot of others. Meanwhile, she stared out the window lost in her own thoughts. Time was running out as the train neared my station. I can't remember what I said, but I broke the ice with her and we wound up speaking for a few minutes before my stop. As I gathered my jacket and bag, I turned to ask her for her phone number. She spoke first, saying "Can I give you something?" I smiled and said, "Sure." She dug through her bag and I waited for her to hand me a business card or a piece of paper with her phone number. She looked me in the eye, smiled, and said "It's about Jesus" as she handed me an inspirational pamphlet. Never in the history of mankind has something designed to lift the spirits done so much to crush them instead.