I am sitting here staring at a piece of paper. On it, is a name I’ve never uttered before… and a telephone number.
There are a lot of guys that live in my building, but there’s one in particular that intrigued me. He’s always friendly, always pleasant. And he’s cute. Well, I’m not sure that by traditional standards he would be considered especially handsome, but to me, he’s adorable. Although we live a few floors away from one another, I’ve only run into him about six or seven times in the four years I’ve lived here, but each time we smiled, exchanged small talk… and then, ultimately, went our separate ways. I never asked his name, he never asked mine, and our conversations never went past pleasantries, yet every time I walked away from him, I’d kick myself for not digging a little deeper.
A few weeks ago, I was walking down the street to a friend’s house that lives nearby. I was texting another friend at the same time, so was looking down at my phone when I sensed someone standing near me, and heard a voice say “Hello!” I looked up, and it was him, smiling brightly. “Hello,” I called over my shoulder because, by the time I reacted, he had already passed me. As I turned slightly, I could see that he also turned slightly. We smiled at each other again, but I kept walking. Five minutes later when I reached the stoop of my friend’s house, I began to regret that I didn’t stop to chat. I vowed that if/when I ran into him again, I would say something – anything – to prolong the conversation and get to know him better.
Last night as I was walking from the subway to my apartment, I ran into him again. It’s not often that our paths cross, so I thought I’d better take advantage of the opportunity. This time, he’s walking toward me, and he’s the one looking down at his phone. I spot him and, as he walks by, I raise my voice and say, “Hey!” He looks up, startled, but when he sees that it’s me, he breaks into a smile and says hey back, and as he passes me, he reaches out for my hand and holds it a bit, but all the while he keeps walking. As he lets go of my hand, I turn, he turns, and we again lock eyes and smile, but neither of us stops long enough to say anything although he looks like he wants to. When I reach the door to our building, I am again regretting that I’d let the moment pass. I promised myself that I’d say something, but I let my nerves get the best of me. Ugh.
Four doormen staff our front lobby round-the-clock and at this time of night, the “good” one was on duty – my buddy, the one I can trust. I stop and ask him if he saw my guy just leave the building and give him a rundown of his appearance, including what he was wearing. He tells me he knows who I’m referring to. I ask if he knows his name and he says that he doesn’t, but he’ll find out for me. I kind of laugh it off, but appreciate his willingness to dig for info.
Fast forward to this evening. I come home from work, dead tired, having completely forgotten the events of the previous night. When I walk through the front door, My Buddy (the doorman) says “I have some information for you.” He shuffles through some things on his desk, finds what he’s looking for, and approaches me, extending his hand. In it, is a slip of paper. On it, is a name, and a telephone number. My Buddy tells me that he told my guy that I had asked about him and, in response, my guy gives him this piece of paper and tells him to share it with me.
With a wink and a nod, My Buddy says, “I think you should call him or text him or whatever. Share your information. He seems like good people.”
I appreciate the ringing endorsement, and I’m happy to know that he’s been vetted by My Buddy. I take the paper and thank him profusely while giggling about what has transpired. Look at My Buddy making love connections!
But now that I have the name and number, what do I do with it? Should I actually use it?
I call my mother. I always consult with her whenever I’m feeling unsure about how to proceed. I tell her the story, and she loves every second. I tell her that I feel weird about reaching out to a guy who may not even be clear about who exactly he gave his number to. She says, “Call him. It can’t be any weirder or more awkward than reaching out to someone you meet online, right?” She has a point. Given my luck, or lack thereof, with online dating, this really couldn’t be any worse than that. Well… I hope not, anyway.
Then, five minutes later as we continue to hash out the “what-ifs”, my mom says, “What if he’s, like, 19?”
I hadn’t thought of this. The what-ifs are numerous. What if he is 19? What if he is married? What if he is gay? What if he is an asshole? What if, what if?
So, here I sit. I hung up with my mother about an hour ago, and I’m still debating about what to do. I could reach out to him and my life might change. Or, I could reach out and absolutely nothing will change. Honestly, I’m not sure which scenario scares me most…
For now, I’m sitting here with a slip of paper. And as long as I don’t do anything with the information on it, this slip of paper represents endless possibilities… The situation could go any number of ways. But as soon as I make a move, that all changes…
Will I pull the trigger? Your guess is as good as mine.