I met Adam at the book store, and we began these odd texting-only communications until one day after we’d gone on for an hour discussing the merits of self-discovery he asked if I wanted to join him for an apéritif the following evening. Putting his request on hold, I whispered to Google, “psst, what the hell is an apéritif?”

I shouldn’t have been surprised at how quickly we’d gone from meditation to cocktails since sometimes they’re the same thing. Maybe I should have told Adam I hate texting cause he probably wondered about the long pauses. It’s an unnatural way for me to communicate so rather than banter as I might in verbal conversation, I look up words to be sure I understand them before responding, plus, I never spent proper time to learn that speedy two-handed texting thing my kids are so adept at. The truth is, communication often feels unnatural to me. Talking is a dance, and often I’m sporting two left shoes, which means I’m usually saying two different things at once until someone stops me and says, “What the hell?” at which point I look down at my feet and ask myself, “hmmm, what the hell?” Luckily I’m usually only on the listening side which means I only need to toss in a pointed question or two to prevent myself from flying off the teeter-totter. This is often sufficient enough for me to earn a badge as a great conversationalist and on occasion, a balancer of emotions. It’s magical shit, really.

Twenty minutes later, I hadn’t responded to his invite cause I was laughing too hard at learning there was an alcoholic spirits ceremony of sorts to prepare a person to eat. A few more minutes in I found myself laughing harder until in tears because the definition I read actually said, “…to stimulate the appetite…” and of course that could have been anything from sex to drugs to murder and more.

After about thirty minutes, he texted to ask if I was still there. How could I explain I’d drifted into Overthink Lane and was on cruise control? With his nudge, I began to feel anxiety in the pit of my stomach while wondering what kind of appetite he might want to stimulate, but it was something I couldn’t ask, could I? “Well, fuck,” I thought.

I began scrolling back through the texts to see if I’d somehow outed myself as intimacy or sex-starved. I didn’t think so but then again wasn’t sure if it was reasonable to meet someone at the book store and then start a texting relationship about the philosophies of life. Then I got to wondering about the merits of normalcy and realized I didn’t even believe in normal. I needed to be as honest as possible with the question. Did I want to go out with him the following evening for an apéritif? No, I did not but did want to find out what the apéritif business was all about cause maybe it was an enlightening experience of sorts that might require full immersion. Who knows? Another fifteen minutes passed, and he texted, “Hey?”

I didn’t know how to express “I’ve enjoyed our text conversations, but that’s it,” without being dismissive or hurtful or anything that might not feel good. I figured silence could have accomplished the same thing but was concerned it might have been worse so thirty minutes later texted back, “Hey! Sorry about the pause but I had to go to the bathroom. I’d love to have apéritifs tomorrow evening!” As if everyone doesn’t take their phone in the bathroom with them. Our next communications confirmed the time and location of the meetup.

I then spent the next twelve hours trying to figure out how to come up with a convincing way to explain that I have traumatic memories with bars and spirits, that I don’t. So much for honesty. Ultimately, I texted him the following afternoon and explained I had to leave town on an emergency trip to Guam for a few months. I’m not sure if that was believable cause he never texted back. That evening I stopped by the supermarket to pick up a bottle of vermouth and poured myself a glass before dinner. Yuck sums up that experience.

On the flip side, I’ve got a lovely dress I’ve been wanting to wear, a rose I’ve been meaning to buy and a desire to pour myself a glass of fancy whiskey because I want to try cigars next, but only cause it looks kinda sexy on television when it’s grouped together like that. With supermarkets playing overhead music and the power of imagination, practically the whole world is in my hands.

I hate texting and now vermouth, but I’m not complaining cause trying something new is always a win…