“Hi, my name is ...”
“... you say you are from?”
“... and your favorite hobby is?”
I smiled and grinned at — John? Jim? Jack? What did he say his name was? The next John, Jim or Jack sat down, and I stuck out my hand for another handshake.
“Hi, my name is...”
“... your favorite movie is?”
He stood up, and the chair was briefly vacant before another young face sat staring at me. I have often wished that people would come with a 30-second movie trailer, so you would know what you’re getting yourself into before you buy the three-hour movie — but I may have to rethink that, as 30 seconds may be too long for some people!
I crossed my legs then leaned forward in the chair. The young man sitting across from me leaned back.
“I didn’t quite catch your name,” I said, leaning closer, trying to read his name tag.
He strained back as far as his chair would allow while he mumbled incoherently. I smiled, my most “it’s OK, I am not going to bite you” smile, and nodded as if I had understood his mumbled name.
“Are you from this area?” I questioned.
He moved his head. I couldn’t tell if it was in the affirmative or not.
“Family?” I asked.
Again the same head movement.
“Coffee?” I asked in desperation.
I had no idea just how long a minute could be.
This time it was the fire alarm that ended the conversation. I don’t know who was more relieved to be finished as he nearly knocked over the chair heading for the nearest exit.
I had happily left the world of dating 14 years ago. I left it with no regrets, no feelings of unfulfilled experiences or unmet expectations — I had found the man who would become the tractor to my baler, the butter to my popcorn, the crimson to my gray.
When we married, getting to know your significant other was still a slow and relatively traditional process: no texting, no social media — and certainly no speed dating.
Although if there would have been, I am sure I could have sequenced my questions for maximum speed of elimination. Watermelon or cantaloupe? John Deere or Massey Ferguson? Komatsu or Hyster? You don’t know the difference? Next! I may have saved myself some painful dating experiences.
While I may have escaped actual speed dating, tonight’s event was based on the same concept. I had accepted a position as a freshman mentor at the local college. To facilitate the meeting between the students and mentors, the college had set up the room with the musical-chair/speed-dating concept.
Occasionally the 30 seconds would fly by, the buzzer cutting the conversations short, while others hung long and painfully pregnant in the air, begging for the buzzer to signify an end to this misery.
Many times I wished my shirt had a giant QR code on the front — just scan it and save us both the stilted conversation. Either that or a 30-second commercial of myself that I could just set on repeat.
Hours later, I fell into my husband’s arms at home.
“How did it go?” he asked.
“Great,” I sighed, kicking off my boots. “There’s nothing like ‘speed-dating’ to make you realize just how long 30-seconds can be!”
Later that night, I was snuggled on the couch reading a chapter to the family before bed. I closed the book when I noticed my sleeping family. The baby was snuggled with the cat, my oldest had nodded off still clutching his colored pencils and my husband snored softly in the recliner.
I once read that a man reserves his deepest and most true love not for the woman in whose company he feels electrified, but the one in whose company he feels tender drowsiness. I smiled contentedly for a moment before whispering loudly in my husband’s ear, “BBBBZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!”
“What?!” He woke up sputtering.
I smiled. “It’s so great when you find that one person you want to annoy in 30-second increments for the rest of your life!”
He glared at me groggily, “It’s also true what they say about the three rings of marriage ...”
“BBBBZZZZZZZZZZZZZ, your time is up!” I tried to interrupt him.
“First, the engagement ring ...”
“Then the wedding ring ...”
“BUZZ BUZZZ BUZZZZZZZ!” I whisper-shouted.
“Then the suffer-ring.”
Brianna Walker occasionally writes about the Farmer’s Fate for the Blue Mountain Eagle.