Short Changed Romance

Whatever happened to that chance meeting? That bumping into someone in line at the grocery store? Or like me a couple weeks ago standing behind a guy at the gas station coffee and donut bar? I was in a rush as I always seem to be. I scooped up a handful of change from the bottom of my purse and dashed into the station intent on not getting my hair wet and out of the rain. He wasn’t overly tall but I could tell under his black leather jacket that he was built strong. I would guess him to be around 40ish. He put his order in and moved aside for me. I felt suddenly embarrassed because I knew I underestimated the cost.

“How much is a small coffee?” I asked in my quiet voice not wanting this guy in my radar to hear. She told me and turned to fill the order. Now I was committed and about to be humiliated. I placed my handful of quarters dimes, nickel AND pennies on the counter. “I’m sure it’s not enough. I’ll go to my car and get my bank card,” I offered and was about to turn away when Mr. Leather Jacket suddenly fished his pockets for spare change.

“How much are you short?” he asked and when he smiled I felt something. I felt that stirring of attraction that I haven’t felt for so long I thought it was forever extinguished. Definitely. That quickening of the heart rate. We human beings are no different from animals in the wild, but with all our advanced technology, fast-paced lifestyle, we sometimes forget. In the few moments that we had the exchange it all came back to me: how it’s supposed to feel between a man and a woman.

I realized how I had become accustomed to meeting a stranger with a printout of his profile in my purse. I knew his status—whether he was single, divorced or separated. I was aware of such details as his eye color, if he had children and if so, how many? Did he smoke or drink? I was aware of his income bracket and even if he had a car. I knew his intent: long-term, dating, nothing serious or activity partner. So much can be gleaned from even a short paragraph written about oneself. Can he spell? Does he bother to use spell check? A seasoned Internet Dater can detect even scant traces of a player.

Now this, a spontaneous encounter, was something I had very little experience with. It felt exciting.

He didn’t have to save me, as the cashier told me not to worry and that I was only a small amount short. She placed the hot coffee in front of me and with reluctance I picked it up and smiled back at my would-be-knight-in-black-leather.

I settled back in my car and took a few moments before I continued on in my day of tasks which suddenly seemed mundane. I thought of how business-like dating had become. Meeting someone online is much like shopping at the grocery store: so much to choose from. Pick up a can and read the ingredients. I’m allergic to alcohol and so that leaves out half the male population. I prefer non-fat products. My list of needs has reduced that dating pool to a ….  puddle.

And as someone mentioned to me, and I think she’s right, is what the cyber-world has done is made it even easier for us to be a throwaway society. One person isn’t quite what we want and we can toss him/her back into the recycle bin where we found them and LOOK there’s another waiting in the inbox. I know. I’ve done it. I’ve broken up and hooked up within a few days. What one realizes is that you don’t need to have any kind of heartache when there’s a replacement right at your fingertips on the keyboard.

This chance encounter with Mr. Leather Jacket was so refreshing and it made me melancholy for the old days. I know that chemistry can and usually is superficial, but I think it is something that you’re not going to feel on the computer screen. How many people do we bypass because the picture isn’t quite what we think we want and their profile is riddled with spelling errors?


I watched Mr. Leather Jacket leave the gas station and open the door to his black SUV. He took a look around and found my eyes staring back at him. Just a fleeting moment, but it made my steps a little lighter throughout the rest of my day.


Short Changed Romance © 2011 Adrienne S Moody. Click Adrienne’s tag for more stories.

4 Responses to “Short Changed Romance”
  1. gaboo says:

    Adrienne, I’m not going to suggest that was me, but it’s fun to think it might have been. Ha, ha. No fears, we travel in different haunts. g

  2. Adrienne says:

    I thought I detected a little bounce to his step…


    • gaboo says:

      How you know it wasn’t me…

      Adrienne: Silly me, I’ve run out of change.

      gaboo: Forever thirty.

      Adrienne: Whaat?

      gaboo: It’s on my tab.

      Adrienne: I couldn’t impose.

      gaboo: Done.

      gaboo’s wife: Yes, done. Pay for the nice lady’s coffee and get the van.

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