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.

About the author

Author of humorous essays about relationships and lifestyles.

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