Bill Long 2/18/05
Two Other "Frozen" Dates
After things faded with Tara early in 2003, I took a break from dating for a while. But summer 2003 changed all that. I met two women and had with each one "frozen moment" date. I retain friendships with both to this day but, as life or luck would have it, we pretty much have gone our own ways.
A Vancouver Date
I served on the board of a nonprofit entity with the next woman. Nonprofits can be very profitable in a number of ways. We had spoken to each other briefly, but on an impulse I decided to ask her on a date. It was September 12, 2003. I remember the day (please don't laugh at me), because I still keep the $1.49 receipt from McDonalds for a coke that I bought when I arrived early in Vancouver to meet her for the concert that evening. The concert was a reprise of the New Christy Minstrels from the 1960s-1970s, and several of the "old" minstrels were there--from Randy Sparks to Barry McGuire.
I think one of the reasons that this date became a frozen memory is that the music we heard launched us back deep into a period nearly 40 years previously, when I was just coming of age (even though my date was just a small child at the time). As the evening wore on we listened to the music, sang along with Barry on "Eve of Destruction," chatted with the artists, bought CDs, and in general had a wonderful evening. Something about the singing together, with a person you don't even know very well, seemed to open our minds and hearts to each other, and before long we were holding hands, whispering in each other's ears, clapping hands together and generally enjoying every moment of the time. We kissed as we were walking across the parking lot to my car. People passed us and we kissed again. I consciously remember not caring if people were watching us. We then spent the next three delightful hours talking, holding hands, steaming up my windshield, eagerly prancing over the landscape of life as the world went its way.
We have kept up with each other pretty regularly since then. Her life is complicated by the fact that she has three kids, not all of whom are doing particularly well at any one moment. We live 60 miles apart, and when I gave up commuting to work in Jan. 2003, I decided that I would not "commute" long distances to a relationship. So, even though I think our relationship still contains a spark of sorts to it, 18 months after our first date, it is not as viable as it seemed on the night of 9/12. Again, most would have called this a "good date," but I seem not to be able to get over the flood of feelings and memories that it brings back to me.
A Eugene Dinner
A few months earlier than the date with "Vancouver woman" I was contacted by a person from Eugene, home of the U of O and the Ducks. She saw my profile in an Ivy League dating service, and so contacted me. I think the motto of the service is something like "smart is sexy," and I guess I didn't ever think I needed someone to tell me that. But, she contacted me, I went down to Eugene to join her for dinner at a Thai place, we then took an invigorating walk in her neighborhood, and we ended the evening with a long talk at her place, while her two daughters (8 and 13) were blissfully sleeping.
My first thoughts about Ann, as I will call her, were that she was both very smart and very pretty. And, she seemed to bore in on my interests, my articulation of my self, my struggles with faith and life, with sympathy, intelligence, and an overwhelming sense that she instinctively "got it."* She seemed to understand right away why I was interested in the Book
[*As a brief digression, I would say that we had the most unique date of my life early in September 2003. She asked me to join her for the day, and I did. What to do? Well, we could hike. We could meet at the gym. We could do a number of things. I told her I wanted a "literary" date. So, I came armed with books and poems from Shakespeare to Carroll's Jabberwocky, and we talked literature, focusing on images from various works. She wanted me to recite some Pslams to her, which I gladly did. This continued for hours, until the realities of life (that is, the kids returning from school) came upon us.]
of Job. She picked up so, so quickly and with such a sense of considerateness, compassion and understanding that I was immediately taken with her. Later she told me that I was the first date she ever had who was smarter than she; I guess I thought that she was the first person who ever picked up on me so quickly and with such seemingly unerring accuracy. That evening is frozen in my mind--the tripartite images of eating in the restaurant, walking in the South Eugene hills and then sharing conversation and a few hugs and kisses at her home late into the August evening.
In each one of these cases, with Vancouver woman being a possible exception, the friendships, though real, have faded. I guess that is natural in life. But I am wondering whether one of the factors that led to their fading might have been because I was able to freeze these intense early moments so deeply into my consciousness. That is, I had such good times so early with each of these women that it was as if this memory became our relationship. But things change, people change, relationships change. Yet my memory remained. And I wonder if I was always then viewing the woman through the lens of my memory of our frozen moment. The moment that was so powerful may have prevented me from seeing her in her new moments. I was seeking to freeze things, I suppose, and not get into the "flow" of life.
Is there an "answer" to this dilemma--a person or thiing "who will save me from this body of death," to quote St. Paul? I think there is. It is to have dull first dates. Maybe that is how I will know that I have chemistry with someone.
Copyright © 2004-2007 William R. Long