Monday, October 21, 2013

The Possibility of Sunday Moments

Today I am grateful…for family, for friends, for the mischievous host at Café Medina who always calls me a trouble maker when I arrive with friends for breakfast. I hadn’t been for a while and today was a perfect day to go. There is something about a local haunt where you can say the words ‘I’ll have my usual” that warms my soul and leaves me smiling.

I have taken first dates here in the past because there is always a line-up, usually a long one and it just happens to be outside. While I do not advocate putting people to the test, I learn so much about an individual just by observing how they handle the wait.

There are those who take one look at the mini mob hovering in front of the eclectic Cross-town café on Beatty St and immediately shake their head. They are saying no way even before we have put our name on the list and get the estimate of wait time. They insist we walk somewhere else. This has happened more than once and I know there is nowhere nearby. I say so and they ignore the Intel and plod ahead anyway.

 If I have an initial good hit, meaning I think I may like them I will indulge and follow with a knowing shrug until we inevitably circle the hood and find ourselves back where we started. Luckily I have already left our name at the door so now I would order us some coffees and bring them out to drink while we stand on the street. Of course on a sunny day this is no hardship, in the cold or rain it adds new dimensions to the tolerance meter.

Normally when I come for breakfast I have a system that keeps my wait to a minimum and involves getting there just before it opens, but first encounters do not tend to respond well to a 9 am rendezvous so we usually arrive around mid day. By then there can be up to as many as 10 parties or more in front of us. This can translate to an hour wait. A take out cup of coffee is a non negotiable part of this routine.

The whole neighborhood is heritage, the lavender latte is the best in town and stimulating conversation is my forte. What could go wrong?

Darting eyes are a deal breaker. If they can’t engage for an hour with curiosity and focus I would hazard a guess that their attention span is short, their patience level is zero or they don’t find me or what I am saying particularly interesting. All three choices are red flags. . 

Now you might be thinking, poor guy having to go through these hoops but honestly my questions have depth and curiosity is my nature. If you are not keen on delving beneath the surface in our initial conversation we are probably not a great match. Even if the chemistry works at the start of a relationship the likelihood of reactivity when I really get deep later in the relationship is high.  This dynamic does not whisper longevity, it screams run!

So I watch. I make jokes. I may even resort to a little physical contact, playful teasing and intriguing innuendo. Ok not real innuendo since I have never been good at this. I don’t really understand why guys like this type of interaction so much. I tend to be a bit more direct and say what I mean. But I give the interaction a full on shot. I risk. I roll.

So, there we are. Picture it. Twenty to thirty very diverse people hanging out with various degrees of willingness to engage. To me this spells party! If my date finds the whole process too much of an ordeal I can safely assume that chilling is not a common activity they indulge in. I lean against the brick wall cupping my drink with gloved hands. "It’s worth it," I say with my best come hither smoky eyes. If this does not produce at least a minor uplifting twitch of the corner of their mouth I start to think we may be in trouble.

Our host exists the café periodically and calls out names and numbers. My name is called, followed by “Oh she only wants the back.” This is the moment of truth. If he has a tantrum because we could be inside menu gazing already and I have put us down for seating in the sunny and infinitely quieter back room, which takes even longer, there is not much to be done.
Depending on the size of the reaction this could signal, as it did on one occasion, the end of the date before we even get to the tagine of eggs, merguez sausage, Moroccan olives and grilled forcaccia or the delectable Belgium waffles with toppings to stir the heart from chocolate and lavender to raspberry carmel or fig orange marmalade.
d eggs, spicy tomato stew, red pepper, merguez sausage, moroccan olives, cilantro. Grilled focaccia. Tagine142 poached eggs, spicy tomato stew, red pepper, merguez sausage, moroccan olives, cilantro. Grilled focaccia.Tagine142 poached eggs, spicy tomato stew, red pepper, merguez sausage, moroccan olives, cilantro. Grilled focaccia. You really can’t hear a thing in the front part of the restaurant so no matter how good the food, yelling to be heard is just not an inviting way to get to know each other.

The worst encounters involve much foot shuffling, eye rolling and heavy sighs as if the burden of waiting is too much to bear. The best kind of experience, one that tells me that there might be some potential for us, is a person who engages with me and even is willing to chat with the Vancouverites and tourists around us.

We all laugh and make comments when names are called that are no longer waiting. They gave up and abandoned what we seasoned patrons know to be one of the best breakfasts in town.  It also means we move up the line so we get giddy muttering "Dave’s not here man." and smiling widely at each other. We are all in the same boat and that sameness generates comradery, if you have a sense of humor, a modicum of openness and an innate sense of ease in the present moment.

Those are qualities I look for in a person. I like people who are present and can flow with whatever is happening. That level of adaptability goes a long way when times get tough. At this age I want a co conspirator in adventure not another person who is trying to create a safe box of comfort to age in.

I hear my name ring out…loud and clear in the crisp fall air. "That’s me." I whoop, raising my arms and high fiving as we saunter into the place. The host winks again at my friend. "Yup she’s trouble." he says, as if sending a declaration that spontaneity will reign today.   I love it!

And in the lovely bright back room I order my usual and get down to the art of conversation.

Branded by pleasure,

Authentically Yours,




No comments:

Post a Comment