Thoreau, Cape Cod, and a Public Meltdown.

I’ve got you a present, it’s related to your trip and I know you’ll love it.

Big words from a man I’d never met in person and had only been speaking to for a week. He seemed sure that he had my personality pegged enough after reading my pixels on his screen to be able to buy me something he knew I was going to love. It was intriguing to say the least and I confess to spending a percentage of my work day staring out of the window wondering what it could be.

It turned out to be a very thoughtful gift, a well thumbed copy of ‘Cape Cod’ by Henry David Thoreau which he spotted and made him think of me. Terribly romantic! In my head of course it was a dusty old bookshop with sunlight streaming through the windows and when he saw it his eyes lit up with a twinkle at finding the perfect gift for his perfect woman. Hashtag ego much? Him giving it to me with a warning that it’s a ‘bit heavy going and most people struggle with it’, before the assurance that he ‘managed it easily’ and the challenge that I ‘should give it a go andsee how you get on’ diminished the sparkle a bit. So I polished it again by schooling him on Thoreau’s history with a big gracious smile whilst internally licking my finger and chalking up an air point.

Having been so nervous about going on a date I thought I was going to puke over his (bad) shoes I did an admirable job of keeping it easy breezy and jovial even in the face of the most intense man. Ever. He didn’t break eye contact with me once, not once, which made the hairs on the back of my neck tingle and not in a sexy ‘god you’re attractive’ way, more in an ‘oh god I hope he doesn’t kill my rabbit’ vibe.

The staring led to what felt like a one sided game of eye spy as I resorted to pointing out interesting features in the bar.

Ooh look! That chair looks a bit like a church pew…

I know, I’m a stunning conversationalist. The topic then rolled around to his alma mater that he was booted out of for flunking which triggered off a reaction in him so visceral that it felt like he should find the nearest tree and do some primal scream therapy. Instead he launched into the sweariest loudest mega rant about his parents that made people stare and left me wishing I could hide. Or find a ’66 Ford Thunderbird and a cliff…

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