Three Strikes, You’re Out


He didn’t seem her usual type — he was a few pounds overweight, but not bad looking, and he wore a nice suit in his online photo.
He was an architect. He pursued her with photo-likes over a few weeks and text messages, too.
Kate agreed to a phone chat.
At least he seems intelligent.
He was willing to drive from Reno to her small town near Lake Tahoe. He asked her to recommend a wine bar where they could meet.
Okay, this may have some possibility.
It was her fourth Match date that weekend. She arrived a few minutes early and sat at the bar. He strolled in and opened his arms for a hug (strike 1).
Kate extended her hand for a shake. A hot guy would’ve gotten the warm, lingering embrace, but she was unsure in this case, plus he smelled a little funny. She’d heard a person could tell if there was any chemistry in the first few seconds.
Strike one.
They walked along the wall of wine bottles. He asked her preference.
“Temperanillos, malbecs, or sangioveses,” she replied.
A few minutes later he reached for a bottle of cab. She wasn’t a fan of Cabernet Sauvignon, but what could she do?
Strike Two.
Kate felt at ease among the polished woods and collections of glasses. The conversant bar maid was friendly as she set them up with two glasses, popped the cork, and poured.
The architect began his stories of his time in Vietnam as an eighteen-year-old paratrooper.
“Thank you for your service to our country,” Kate said.
He continued with his descriptions of the military.
“It was hotter than hell. I made eight jumps my entire career. We were under constant fire. I was the radio man, had a backpack with a heavy battery and had to carry a spare, which made it even heavier. They always shot the radio man first, but I came away unscathed. Many of my friends had shrapnel wounds. I never want to go back.”
Kate listened as he went on and on. He had served four years, and she knew that his experience in Vietnam had changed him forever.
After a glass and a half of wine and an hour and a half of nodding, she knew it wasn’t working.
He knows nothing about me. Strike 3.
She glanced at her watch and said, “Oh my! Look at the time…I must be going now. Thank you so much for the wine. I’ve learned so much from you about your experience. I’m so sorry we’re not a love connection. Wishing you good things!”
Kate offered to pay half of the bill, but the architect, a gentleman, insisted on paying the whole thing. Kate shook his hand and departed.
An hour later she was back on-line responding to other prospects, promising herself to learn from every experience, determined to find that elusive chemistry.

Couldda Wouldda Shouldda
If Kate would’ve given the vet a chance, she would’ve discovered that he was a sweet guy with a lot to offer. He would need to avoid large crowds and loud movies, which was fine with her. They would explore most, if not all, wine bars in Northern California where she would teach him about her favorite wines and how to order them. They would’ve celebrated their fifth anniversary as permanent boyfriend and girlfriend this year and would only be apart when heavy snowstorms shut down the I-80 pass between Tahoe and Reno.

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