Six man plan.
Mark with a “k”, not to be confused with Marc with a “c” – who was Man #4.
Confusing, I know. As texts for coffee flew back and forth, I nearly blew off the fifth before I had even met him.
“Ooooooooo! January Mark with a ‘k’. Sorry, I got you mixed up with December Marc with a ‘c’ — a Debbie Downer, who I had decided, did not merit date #2.
(Date #2 is a planet, I have yet to visit.)
Now here is the wisdom of DCSingles — for a woman of my alluring demographic.
They match you with an actual man, who has an actual job, who has no actual felonies on his actual record, and he is actually the guy pictured on his actual driver’s license.
Background checked. Actually.
BUT, no photos, are exchanged, so we meet sight unseen for coffee after a friendly phone call and a text or two.
So Mark with a “k”, Man #5 on my six man plan: Funny. New Yorker. Proud father of three. Catholic. Volunteer. Top secret clearance. Homeland Security.
Did I mention funny?
What’s not to like?
Poor guy, his right hand is in a cast and being right handed, he tells me he is not able to drive.
“No problem,” I say, “I will come your way! It’s on my calendar for Sunday next.”
The night before, he confirms with a funny little text message about the dress code: “Casual/neat. I’ll be the one in the overalls with a straw hat. My goat will be parked out front.”
Double, double points for making me laugh.
Psyched, a little. Decked out in adorable Anthropologie red, I Uber over, to the other side of town, for Sunday brunch. Twenty minutes early, I take a seat in a corner booth with a clear view of the front door. I order sparkling water and a cup of decaf coffee.
Waiting coquettishly for Man #5.
Please, please, please, be easy on my eyes!
The hostess escorts Mark with a “k” to my table.
He’s short. He’s round. He’s bald.
But so was George Constanza on Seinfeld, I tell myself. And I LOVED George Constanza. So let the conversation begin.
Mark with a “k” settles into the booth, adjusting the table for his girth. For some bizarre reason, he unbuttons and buttons the middle button on his button down shirt — no undershirt — flashing his hairy, pink midriff.
Looking anywhere but there, I avert my eyes, as he tells me, he just came from working out at the gym.
Hmmmm. Really? Yuck! Let’s move on.
“Walking is my exercise,” I tell him. “I’ve done a couple of half marathons. I am planning on signing up for another one soon.”
The waitress takes his drink order.
“I’ll have an Irish coffee with Jamison whiskey – the good stuff.” He pauses. “But maybe I shouldn’t?” he says.
“Well, you didn’t drive, so no problem, right?” I say.
“Well, I actually did,” he tells me. “So maybe just one.”
Hmmm. Okay. Fib number one.Let the small talk begin.
He tells me about his three children. I tell him about mine. Catholic, he tells me about his parish. Episcopal priest, I tell him about my job.
We order food: breakfast burrito for him, scrambled eggs for me.
He tells me about his ex: bipolar, alcoholic, a mess!
“I am really sorry to hear about that, I am. I know all about that. Because — surprise, surprise, I am bipolar too! The healthy, bouncy, balanced, and non-alcoholic kind.”
He orders his second Irish coffee with Jamison whisky.
The waitress tops off my decaf.
“Sooooo? Homeland Security? Top Secret clearance? I guess, you can’t tell me what you do? But with the Muslim ban and the craziness at the airports, it must be very challenging.”
“Well, I am in procurement,” he tells me.
So Mark with a “k” is not an actual spy or intelligence guy.
“So what about that award you received for your volunteer service? Wow! What an honor!”
Turns out he got an honorable mention in the company newsletter and a lapel pin for his lapel — later misplaced in a taxicab long ago.
Not exactly the august accolades he had boasted of. Fib number two.
My scrambled eggs have grown very cold. The hour is up. I pay my half of the check.
It is definitely time to go.
He wonders aloud if he can take his second Irish coffee, with Jamison whisky, with him in a to-go cup.
People don’t do that, do they? Take their leftover alcohol home with them? That’s not a thing, is it?
He sinks back into the booth to finish his drink.
It is definitely time to go.
I pull out my phone and tap on the app.
TAKE ME AWAY!
Four minutes later, I climb into the backseat of Alfredo’s Toyota.
THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
“Thank you for picking me up, Alfredo! I just love Uber. You know actually who is picking you up. You know actually who is getting in your car. And I have met so many interesting Uber drivers: artists, entrepreneurs, students.”
Buckling up in the back seat, I can see from the rear view mirror, that Alfredo is long and lean, bearded and distinguished.
Yes, Alfredo is easy on my eyes.
Let the conversation begin.
He tells me about his three children. I tell him about mine. All the same ages. What a surprise.
Just three years in the States and from the Dominican Republic, his accented English is easy on my ears. I use the Spanish, I learned from three year olds, to flirt with him in his native tongue.
My life sounds almost exotic — described in a foreign language.
“Yo soy una sacerdote de la iglesia Episcopal.”
“Yo trabajo en Alexandria.”
“Me gusta leer libros.”
“Me gusta mucho bibliotecas.”
“Me gusta caminar en la ciudad.”
“No.” he answers.
“Si,” he answers.
“Yes! I say and in English he flirts in return.
Alfredo tells me, he is a retired engineer, a university professor in the DR, and a professional photographer, a reader, a tennis player, who loves the theater and drinking coffee.
What’s not to like?
(“What the hell!” I say silently to myself. “Go ahead and ask him out!)
“How about a cup of coffee with me sometime, Alfredo?”
I give him my card with my cell number scribbled on the back.
He gives me his, listing his website, email, and phone.
“Alfredo Marquez Rodriguez, Photographer.”
I like the sound of that.
So coffee, at Starbucks, this Friday, 10 o’clock sharp!
ALL — thanks to Uber —
the ride sharing,
The Rev: Joani