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  • Joe and I chatted briefly on line and on the phone. We were matched with scientific certainty that we were compatible. Accepting the premise that neither of us lied about our feelings, attitudes, philosophies, values, history, height, weigh, etc, we should have a good time. Lots of red flags had gone up during our conversations but lots of divorced people were angry at their ex-spouses for lots of legitimate reasons and I decided to ignore them. We planned to meet in person on a Saturday for a picnic. I chose the Fruitlands Museum a couple of towns over.

    He was due at 11 am so by 10:45 I was seated on my couch, dressed and ready to go. He insisted on bringing the food, all his specialties. Cool. A man who can cook. I waited. 11:00 arrives. I take a meander past the front door, and in a condo like mine, I don't really even need to leave the couch to look through the peep hole. I know he can't get into the complex without me buzzing him in so looking through the peep hole only guarantees that I have wasted the ten steps it takes to get there. I sat back down with my laptop and wrote for a bit.

    11:30 am. My phone rings. It's the front door. Hm... 30 minutes late. I buzz him in and wait until he finds my door. He knocks. Peep hole. I see him. A pink shirt and monk-bald head. It's never been about looks for me; it's always been about intellect, humor, compassion, all the qualities that make a person interesting over the long haul. Never about how pretty a man is. I opened the door to a man at least 2 inches shorter than my 5'4". Not an issue for me, except that he had told me he was 5'7". He was also about 15 years older than his photo and 25 pounds heavier.

    "Sorry I am late. I couldn't decide what to wear." He is wearing a hot pink tee shirt with a swoosh on the chest that has obviously been rolled into a ball and stuffed inside something for days. "My favorite tee shirt was dirty but I wanted to wear it so I fished it out of the hamper." Okay... so it was a hamper. I just quick-hugged him back and smiled graciously. I had donned a blue picnic-y dress and had already pulled on my tiny black backpack with my camera in it. Keys in hand, I pulled the door shut behind me. Didn't want him inside. I am a bit of a neat freak and clearly he was not. I didn't want him to make fun of my tidiness.

    He drove a convertible sports car, which I must admit was fun!!! But he was even angrier in person then he'd been on the phone. His ex was making him (and now me) nuts. After he finished ranting, which took the entire ride to the museum, he turned to me and said, "you look real nice." I thanked him and slipped out of the car, pulling my jacket closer, praying that I could avoid any actual contact with him. His anger was making me shiver. Why didn't I just pretend I was sick and needed to go home? That's likely a story for a Psych101 class. Anyway...

    It was a beautiful sunny day and this was my first visit to the museum, once the home of the Alcott Family and their Transcendentalist group of friends. The art museum was interesting, but what caught my fancy was the Native American Indian exhibit. It was large and included an entire room on the Plains Indians with a diorama of a Sun Dance. I took several shots of the statues outside, three bronze Indians in various warlike poses. Quite athletic and idealized, but captivating.

    I could hear my first-date Joe talking to a couple of older women, sisters, who were coming out of the museum behind us. They asked him if I was his wife, and he said no and started his rant about what a heel his ex-wife was. I shut them out and photographed and fell in love with the straight lines of this fictional native and the story he and the other sculptures told collectively.

    Joe and I ended up picnicking outside the building and talking a while about his divorce and the kids his ex-wife had kept him from nearly 15 years before. I am a good listener. Despite the certainty of scientific matching, I knew I'd never see him again. His kind of resentment and anger wasn't something I was prepared to live with even on a sometime-date.

    However, I have maintained a relationship with this Indian and gone back many times to sit and meditate. This Indian and I visit often without a single word having to pass between us.
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