At my age, you’d think I would know when to bite my tongue, especially on a first date.
Between two other people.
Over the weekend, I went to get froyo like I normally do, but I was a few minutes early and had to wait outside until the place opened. A woman came up and sat down at one of the tables outside, and I figured she was simply really eager to get froyo like I was.
It turns out she was eager for something else.
A man arrived, and there was an awkward exchange between the two of them—sort of a “Hey, are you so-and-so. Yeah, great! I’m so-and-so.” Then they sat down and started talking, asking each other all of these get-to-know you things with lots of uncomfortable silence between the Q&A portions. I should have minded my own business—I really do know that. But I had left my phone in the car, so I couldn’t pretend to be scrolling through Instagram or texting someone, and the gal inside the froyo place was still checking the machines and toppings and not coming to the door with the keys in her hand, so I did what I shouldn’t have done: I started talking to them.
“First date, huh?”
They both looked up at me and at first didn’t say anything. Then, thankfully, the guy said it was. I probably should have stopped there, but I think we all know I didn’t.
“You picked a great place to come to and definitely a great time—the froyo is always best right when they open because that’s when the machines are freshest. I recommend the cake batter flavor. It’s incredible.”
The blank stares they gave me made me feel like I was back in the classroom, standing in front of a room full of students as I tried to explain why they should care who Edward R. Murrow is. At this point, most people probably would have kept their mouths shut. But I just really wanted to know more about them.
“So, did y’all meet online?”
They actually answered and told me which app they used, and I was about to keep going, when the froyo employee FINALLY opened the door. I bounced inside, and she handed me my sample cups without me even having to ask (they know me there), and the potential couple remained outside chatting while I filled my froyo cup full of delicious bliss. I can’t say I blame them at that point. I don’t think I helped their situation any (aside from giving them extra conversation topics regarding the odd girl who wouldn’t leave them alone).
They were still outside after I paid for my froyo, and as I walked out to my car, I felt I couldn’t leave without a farewell to my new friends (they might have a different choice of a word for what I am to them).
“The place is all yours! Have fun! Hope to see you again!”
I don’t know that the feeling is mutual.
What is wrong with me? I really love people, and talking to people about almost anything to get to know them better is one of my favorite pastimes, but I know that there are simply times when it’s not appropriate. Yet, for some strange reason, I didn’t listen to any of that in this particular instance.
I think there are certain times in life when it’s fine to say what you want to say, but I think there are also moments when you should simply be silent. I’ve felt this way a lot regarding things other people say to me. Sometimes you have to let people do their own things and go their own ways—and be on their own first dates—without saying exactly what’s on your mind. Perhaps there are times when the best way to show love to someone is simply to let them be without trying to interfere.
I certainly don’t understand the things other people do. I don’t know why people who have broken my heart hurt me the ways they did; I don’t know why people like the online dating thing and the often uncomfortable first dates that accompany that tactic (yes, I know it works for some people); I don’t know why people ever liked and used MySpace; I don’t know why fidget spinners are a thing; I don’t know why people like PCs over Macs; I don’t know why anyone would ever want a bird as a pet; and I don’t know why people choose to subject themselves to vacations at places with snow—where it’s COLD.
I don’t know so many more things, but I don’t have to—because I’m not everybody.
I remember when I was in a rough patch a few years ago, and I got this spontaneous notion to drive to Tennessee to hear one of my favorite authors speak at a conference. It was on a weekend that was going to be pretty tough for me, and I simply needed to get away. I texted my sister to see if she would come with me, and she didn’t even ask why at first. She said she was in. She didn’t tell me I was crazy or ridiculous for wanting to drive all that way and turn around and drive all the way back the very next day. Instead, she let me do what she knew I needed to do.
There are times when it’s great to say what’s on your mind, and there are other times when people simply need your support through your silence. To the couple at the froyo place, even though you will probably never read this, I’m sorry I ruined the first part of your first date—I truly am. I hope the rest of it went well, and the hopeless romantic within me really hopes you end up together forever.
Because love is stronger than anything a person could ever say.