In a Wink of Time

I’m sitting at a bar minding my own business as nearly everyone around me is in their phones tapping, scrolling, enlarging, and laughing. I used to think I was missing something; now, I think these electronic tumors have become a pandemic of sorts. People don’t talk to each other. There was a sign in a pub in Paso Robles that read, “We don’t have WiFi. Why not talk to the person next to you?” Word.

I usually face the door (Italian thing) and keep an eye on the TV, unless it is on soccer. I scan the surroundings, yes, looking for prospects. I’m single. It’s what we do.

Last night, while scanning, a young lady winked at me. Yes, at me. There was nobody next to me, that’s how I know. Signals have certainly evolved over the years, but I was pretty damned confident that a wink is a sign of flirtation. I didn’t want to wink back, because it had been so long since I winked, I was worried it would come off as a wince. So, I walked over and sat next to her.

“Hi.”

“Oh, hi. How are you?”

“Well, I’m flattered.”

“About?”

“You winked at me.”

“I what?”

Fuck.

“You winked … toward me … when I was over there … with nobody around me … maybe, somebody behind me?”

The mad scramble I made was embarrassing beyond words, yet I kept doggie paddling, hoping to surface with a modicum of self-respect.

“Um, no, I don’t think I did.”

“Is there something in your eye?”

“I don’t think so. I’m just here waiting for my to-go order … to take home and eat … with my boyfriend.”

“I’m sorry. Honestly, I’m not intending to hit on you. I just thought you winked at me as a sign of flirtation, inviting me to come over and chat.”

“Yeah?”

“I now understand that you blinked (which most people do two eyes at a time), and my interpretation of your body language was incorrect and quite presumptuous, so I bid you farewell as I return from wherse I came.”

“Where’s wherse?”

“You’re totally fucking with me, and I deserve every bit of it. I do know how to interpret a smirk. Over there is where I was and where I belong, gripping the blue mountains.”

“Ha ha, you’re kind of cute. Too bad I have a boyfriend.”

“Yes. Yes, it is. Well, until we meet again. Oh, and maybe some eye drops. Toodles.”

I sulked back to my origins and slugged back a long pull of fizzy yellow water. She grabbed her order, headed out, stopped at the door, turned, and winked (of course, she fucking did) as she departed.

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