Wednesday: the first week in December, 2006
I walked out the door to the babysitters with a heavy heart. I could still hear Darcy screaming inside, but there was nothing else I could do. Not quite 8:00 AM; it had been an insane morning already! My mom had been suffering shortness of breath for a several weeks and was in the hospital for heart tests that day — a thought that I was trying desperately hard not to consider the ramifications of as she was Darcy’s primary care giver when I worked — so I had to get Darcy to somebody else’s house, and get her settled and still get to work on time.
There seems to be an unwritten law of human nature that it’s the morning you most need things to go smoothly that they absolutely do not. Late alarm, crabby child, one too many stop lights, the necessity of a different babysitter, an early meeting at work, and the far too common freight train blocking the only road I could get to work by. On top of the full and difficult morning, it was also the week of the Christmas concert, so I had two rehearsals before Sunday. By the time I finally sat down at my desk to work that Wednesday, I could feel the tension in my temples. Great, just great.
I was in the process of scrolling through all the morning’s emails when I saw something from Bob. Smiling at what was sure to be an interesting and encouraging diversion, I opened it. The email covered a variety of topics … his years spent in Africa, his parents continued ministry there, and a few other topics random topics. However, the last paragraph was anything but ordinary. I stopped, read, and re-read… He asked if his friendly email banter was bothering me, and then …”I want to ask you out on a date…”
He went on to outline how he didn’t know where I was at or if I was potentially already in a relationship with somebody else, but he had put his intentions very clearly. He wanted to go on a date. As I write this now, it seems ridiculous that I could have been so unaware of his intentions at the time, but I was …and so I was shocked, and not at all sure how to respond. My eyes focused on the last line “…so feel free to slap me down” …
I couldn’t handle this today.
But how could I not handle it? I was going to see Bob at the concert rehearsal that night! There was no escaping this.
A little annoyed at his insensitivity (How could he not know what a crazy day I’m having?”), I shelved the email, determining to come back to it later that day.
Later on, I called my mom to see how the tests had gone. She explained to me through a fog of drugs that the tests went well and that the results were encouraging. I’d never heard my mom so … high. However, she wasn’t so drugged that she didn’t question the strain she heard in my voice. Moms are special that way. Responding to her query, I mentioned the email I’d received.
Why not? He’s a nice guy. Just don’t keep him waiting.
Don’t keep him waiting. Thanks, Mom.
I silently wished that I had more time. Maybe I could stall just a little bit. Not to a mean or cruel level, just to an “I need to catch my breath” level…
I emailed him back later in the day with a polite acknowledgement of his question and the response that “maybe we can grab coffee sometime”. Not quite a slap down, but at least a slight stall that could save rampant awkwardness at the rehearsal.
I should have known better … characteristic of a trait I now greatly respect in Bob, he demanded the same upfront behavior of me that he did (and does) expect of himself…
The reply to my email was almost immediate:
“So … was that a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’?”
So much for my stalling technique …