A woman “of a certain age” is enjoying a solo meal while working on her tablet. Suddenly a large cowboy hat sails onto her table, sending her organized paperwork flying. Before she can react a booming voice assaults her:
Man with Cowboy Hat: Louise!
Woman: Certainly not. Please remove that odious head gear from my table and depart before I call security.
MWCH: Restaurants don’t have security guards. Sacha? Babette? Shawneequa? I know you.
Woman: You must not have dined recently in the Middle East. Or parts of New Jersey. I assure you we have never met. I would remember a gentleman so devoid of common sense and manners. I am busy and don’t want to talk to you.
MWCH: Caroline? Montana? Veronica? I am so bad with names.
Woman: Among other skills. And now I must re-order my tea since you managed to spill the dregs. Go away.
MWCH: My apologies. I was overtaken and I behaved badly. Susan? Lulu? Gabalina?
Woman: That is the only true thing you’ve said, the bad behavior part. Now take your inadequately phrased apology and leave. No- don’t sit down. I don’t want to speak another word to you.
MWCH: Then don’t. I’ll talk. Your name will come to me in a minute and then everything will fall into place. I think better while sitting. Lara? Q’iana? Angel?
Woman: This is most certainly the worst pick- up attempt in history. Men your age troll the Blonde Bimbo set.
MWCH: They don’t frequent fine dining establishments and drink Tea with Honey. Blonde Bimbo Babes hold no interest for me. I just want to remember the name of the beautiful woman I’m going to spend the rest of my life with. Mellisande? Orly? Tatiana?
Woman: No, No, and NO. Also not Monique, T’Pring, or Honeysuckle. 20 Questions is over. I wish you luck in your search. Goodbye.
MWCH: Those were my next guesses. Now I’ll need another minute to think. Um…
Woman: I suspect the process will take much longer.
MWCH: I’ve got it- Khorkina? Nubia? Gert?
Woman: (Gathering paperwork and stowing it into carryall): Since you won’t leave or stop talking, I’ll excuse myself. When I return to settle my check, I expect it to be to a companionless table. (She heads to Ladies Room.)
A few minutes later:
Woman: You’re still here. Did you attend special classes in school? Your mental processing speed is obviously diminished. You know, early intervention is Best Practice, but therapy at any age can yield positive outcomes.
MWCH: Did it work? And, no, I was homeschooled. Maeve? Gabrielle? Carlotta?
Woman: Well, at least that avoids an additional black mark on the public education tally sheet. And yes, all the facilities in the Ladies Room function adequately in case you’re keeping tabs.
MWCH: No, not the toilet or sink. I was referring to the facial recognition software you ran my photo through. The one you tried to take without my knowledge. Rose? Sable? Margaret?
Woman: I may have to re-evaluate my initial impression of you. You’re the only man who, well, never mind. You are certainly persistent and talkative, two qualities I had hoped to avoid in other humans this afternoon.
MWCH: It won’t work, you know- the software. I’m off the grid. Bambi? Grace? Magdaline?
Woman: You have no cyber presence. No hits whatsoever.
MWVH: Not everybody leaves a footprint or breadcrumb trail. Josepha? Princess? Delilah?
Woman: Those few people are extremely wealthy or connected in ways I don’t want to think about.
MWCH: Since you believe I’m one of them, maybe you’re one of them, too. Sheba? Jezebel? Dinah?
Woman: Perhaps you really have no identity, like Will Smith in Men in Black. His was erased and he became a letter: J. Then there is Get Smart’s Agent 99. Or Secret Agent Man- “We’re giving you a number and taking away your name.” I’ll just call you Zero. It perfectly fits the amount of time I want to spend with you.
MWCH: So harsh from my future bride. I’ll work to hone my PR skills. And if you really don’t want to talk, we can go to a movie. That will guarantee at least 112 minutes of my silence. And time for my inadequate brain processes to catch up. Megan? Charlotte? Nancy?
Woman: I’ll accept but only for the anticipated peace and quiet. The theater is just across the way. But before we leave, you must sign this disclaimer. Standard social interaction procedure I’ve had to resort to, which I am sure you will respect.
MWCH: I happily accept your terms and agreement. Debbie? Pocahontas? Eve? (He scribbles on paper) Here- take my card in case we become separated in the crowd.
Woman: It’s 3 PM. There will be seven people in line for 13 movies. Plus, that hat could be seen from the International Space Station. Fret not. You signed this disclaimer with the numeral zero. And whose business card has only a zip code?
MWCH: NASA assured me my hat was footprint proof, plus you’re the one who assigned me the name. That’s the best I can do considering my educational deficits. The zip code is also my Twitter handle. Portia? AaEva? Violet?
Woman: How many Twitter followers do you have? I can’t believe you have a plethora of fans hanging on your every tweet.
MWCH: It’s very private- you’re the only follower. Bella? Cleopatra? Elaine?
Two and a half hours later:
Woman: Well, thank you for keeping your promise of 112 minutes of silence. You even exceeded the goal by 14%. A man who keeps his word is a rare commodity.
MWCH: You have no idea. I took a nap, ergo the silence. Maxine? Noel? April? May I take you to dinner?
Woman: I cannot tonight meet the anticipated conversation mandates. I really need a few hours of quiet work time. Some people do work, you realize, not just spend afternoons pursuing their social life.
MWCH: Understood. You know how to contact me. Anytime. (He tips cowboy hat and strolls off into the evening.)
MWCH receives Tweet: “Zero- I’m hungry.”
Woman receives Tweet: “Ride is outside. Pack toothbrush. Mary? Olivia? Aurora?”