About a week, I started a conversation with a guy named Hank, via internet. The conversation went something like this:
Him: Hi, how are you?
Me: I'm good, just got done doing some deep spring cleaning in my apartment! It feels good to have my place this clean.
Him...24 hours later: You inspired me to do some cleaning! Thank you for that.
Me: That's awesome. How are you today?
Him...24 hours later: I'm good. I'm going to be in your area today, want to meet for dinner at 5 at the Barn?
Me: I actually have plans and won't be able to meet you tonight. I'm interested in getting to know you.
Him: No worries, I'll be in the area on Wednesday too, how about dinner then?
Me: Yeah, that should work. I won't be free until after 6.
Him: That's perfect, I won't make it into town before 6 anyway.
After that message, I gave him my number, and my past experience has taught me, that once a guy from online has your number, you receive texts all morning, all day, and all night. So, I waited for a text in hopes of getting to know this guy a little more before sitting down for a meal together.
The week went on and Wednesday arrived. I went to my part time job on a farm to scoop poop, and then stopped by my parents house to pick up some mail and a book. In my mind, I was going home, taking a long hot shower, and settling down with a book. The perfect evening!
As I walked through the door at 6:15pm, my phone alerted me. It was Hank, asking if we could push back our dinner to 8 o'clock. Oh ****! I completely forgot! I responded with a quick "perfect" as I was stripping myself naked to hop in my not so long and hot shower. After I got out of the shower, I realized we never set a location. I messaged him to see where he was familiar with in Wooster and he told me to pick a place. And so, I picked the safest, easiest to find place in Wooster... Applebee's.
He responded, "how about picking a place more local and less franchise."
Oh, he was one of those. Don't get me wrong, I love supporting local restaurants but I also have no problem dining at a chain restaurant. After all, I do make restaurant booths for chain restaurants, so in my book, they aren't just greedy corporate franchises, they also supply a lot of jobs for the communities.
The thing was, Wooster is a small town, and local restaurants in Wooster are downtown, and downtown restaurants close between 7-9pm, so finding a place that would be open late enough for us to actual enjoy our dinner and have time to talk before kicking us out so they can go home, was going to be a challenge. I googled a few of the local places to see their hours, and found one that closed at 11 pm. Once we established the location, he told me his directions said he'd be there at 8:15pm and I was immediately bummed that I didn't take a longer shower. So, after I got ready, I sat down and started reading the book I wanted to spend the whole evening reading, but only got a few pages in before it was time for me to go meet this guy who I'd literally only had exchanged a few sentences with over the last week.
I'd picked the Olde Jaol which has two different buildings. One for the steakhouse, and one for the tavern. I picked the tavern because it was first date, laid back, Applebee's feel, material. When I saw a guy walking up the sidewalk glancing from building to building, I figured this had to be Hank. Trying to be witty and cute, as well as breaking the ice with a light hearted joke I said, "Based on the confused look on your face, you must be Hank, and this building here is the tavern." I gave him a cheesy smile and he came in and gave me a big bear hug.
"I wasn't confused, I was just taking it all in! What a great night!" Hank said with enthusiasm.
"Oh, well, from my perspective, you looked confused."
We entered the restaurant and sat down, completely oblivious that we knew nothing about each other, but that was okay because this was a brand new moment for him to experience and explore. I knew this three minutes into our conversation because before answering my "what brings you to Wooster?" question, he had to take in the whole restaurant. He answered with a story about life being absolutely crazy and how awesome it was to live such a crazy and unexplained life.
I was on a date with a combination of all the self-help and personal development books I've read over the past two years. It was completely intriguing! So, instead of answering a question at surface level, like, what do you do for a living? I got the story about how he loved to bake as a child and realized the need to only use local ingredients while baking and so on. From there, we started discussing farming and agriculture, and that's when I said, "Did you know if every single household had 5 chickens, the amount of waste would drastically decrease? If I weren't in an apartment, I'd have a chicken."
"You are making my heart explode with romantic feelings right now." He exclaimed. He went on to tell me how he was trying to pass the chicken laws in Cleveland so people could have chickens.
I was fascinated with this guy and then I said, "Are you familiar with Joel Salatin's farming methods? That's the kind of farm I want."
"Okay, this might be a little soon, and I don't want to rush things, but you do want to go live on a farm together?"
"Yes!" I answered in the way I'd fantasized about when my ex-boyfriend talked about proposing but in reality, when he would talking about it, my response was more like, "okay, yeah, this could work." I told him I didn't want him to propose until I could excitedly answer with a yes, and without hesitation, just as I had done in this moment with Hank.
Our conversation shifted towards politics and religion, more-so, our parents views and how we were raised. We were both raised in a Christian conservative home, while I continue to hold on to these beliefs, he decided 10 years ago to wonder if anything was real or not. Was gravity real? Would we have it when we woke up the next morning? Would he still treat people the same if religion hadn't told him how to treat people? He went on to explain all these thoughts about not having set beliefs because he wanted to continue to explore them.
My head was beginning to hurt because I could no longer follow his thinking. Wouldn't it be exhausting to question everything ALL the time? Finally, I asked him, "so, do you believe in everything or do you believe in nothing, or do your beliefs change every day because you have to decide each day what you believe?"
He was quiet and I could see his mind working by the way his eyes focused in on nothing in particular. "Wow, no one has ever asked me this question before, I guess I've never really thought of it that way before."
He rambled on for 10 minutes tossing out intelligent information, facts, and perspectives, without actually answering my question, and somehow we got on to the topic of mediation, and then I told him my story about how I've seen tons of deer since December, like fields of deer, and I finally asked my friend who is half Native American if she thought it meant something. He enjoyed my story and then asked if he could share some of his deer stories.
And this is where he lost me.
Mostly because he knows so much about the Native American lifestyle and he has participated in words I can't pronounce so I don't even know how to spell them, or google them, also known as Native American spiritual rituals and stuff. He told me how he's been experimenting with the dream state because Native Americans would live their real life while in a dream state, so they would see things that weren't really there, while being in reality. He started telling me stories about his experiences with deer and then he would say things like, "and then I would cross over in my dream"...
I would be completely fascinated with his story and then I would be doubting his story because I wasn't even sure if he was telling me what was real or was a dream that seemed real. All this to say, that if I thought the amount of deer and the encounters I have had with these animals was something to take note of, his experiences far surmounted mine! After he told me all of his deer stories, he sighed and said, "you have no idea how awesome this is to talk to someone about all of this stuff, most people write me off as a freak."
I gave him a soft smile and said, "you intrigue me." Which was true, and though I didn't think the idea of moving to a farm with him sounded as appealing as it had an hour previously, I was still fascinated with our conversation. We still didn't know anything about each other because we skipped all the surface level small talk and talked about taboo first date things like politics, religion, spirituality, and dreams.
The sound of thunder echoed in the restaurant stopping our current conversation. "Whoa!" we said in unison. While he looked up to the ceiling of the restaurant, I'm assuming to look for the spot the thunder came from, I commented that the storm we were supposed to get must have rolled in. He gave me a look of confusion, so I said, "Did you know we were supposed to get a storm?"
"Oh, yeah, I knew, I was just taking this moment in."
I sighed. I am all for being aware of the moment and appreciating the small things but I also live in reality where we have thunderstorms. Fighting a yawn, because it was way past my bedtime, I asked if we should leave so the employees can close up and go home.
"Well, when you put it that way, yes, we should get going." Hank said, and I didn't spare a moment to move from my chair. We walked outside and admired the rain. I suggested he should dance like Gene Kelly in Singing in the Rain while he made his way to the car, while I ran to my car because it was cold-chilled-to-my-bones-rain. He gave me another big hug and told me he enjoyed all of our moments we spent together, and I responded, sincerely, "I am fascinated with you."
We parted ways and I called my friend who had sent me my "get out of jail for free" text an hour ago.
"Do you think you'll ever go out with him again?" She asked.
"You know, I don't know. He really was interesting but I don't even understand if he believes in everything or nothing, so wouldn't it be a waste of time if he doesn't know if he believes in love or God or living in reality? Anyway, he lives up in the Cleveland area, so I don't imagine he will be in this area very often, but I did learn a lot of interesting things over dinner. I guess we will see."
It is the next morning and I am typing up this blog while it is all fresh in my mind, and guess who is in town again, and wanting to go out for lunch? That's right, being out of work is giving me the opportunity to have a lunch date with Hank. And boy, do I have a lot of questions to ask him because I am seriously curious about this guy.