Attention to Detail

To Carolyn, being single was both a gift and a burden. She hated sharing absolutely every space 24/7, feeling suffocated and trapped, but she liked having someone to cheer good days and help cry in her wine on bad ones.

And while she enjoyed the freedom of not having to constantly compromise, she missed someone to argue at the TV over a sports call or commiserate over a crushing loss.

It was a double edged sword that she didn’t know if she wanted to repeat.

But two years after the sudden and tragic death of her husband, she found herself thrown in the deep end of the nightmare geriatric dating pool of those over 55.

Contrary to her younger single days where she routinely met people in bars, at work or when smug couple friends fixed her up, it’s all different now. When you have few single friends, no taste for bars, and no work environment, dating was much harder.

And in today’s digital age, dating was often relegated to the faceless computer and it’s magical algorithms to design love lives. The reality of living in the millennial century.

Carolyn tried online dating, but found it difficult not to fall into the booty call hook up trap. And some benevolent friends fixed her up with their few single friends, but after several disastrous and awkward dates, it was like a Goldilocks syndrome. They were either too old, too boring, too boorish or too everything, never the right fit. She decided to let it happen naturally or not at all.

She pictured the meet cutes in old black white movies or lifetime and hallmark channel programs and clung to the belief that she would serendipitously meet someone and fall in love. But she didn’t realize that unlike a movie, when Cupid comes knocking at your door, you must pay more attention.

She was in Trader Joe’s shopping with friend. She like their wine choices and selection of breads and gourmet cheeses. And especially as a single, she loved their selection of homemade frozen meals, so she didn’t have to cook a big meal and eat it for a whole week.

While in the wine aisle, she met a man standing in front of the myriad of selections from different countries looking puzzled.

“What kind of wine do you like?” He asked.

“Oh, I’ve tried this Riesling from Germany but lately I like the Australian wines. They have a subtle sweet taste.” She said.

“I agree with you, I don’t like ones that are too sweet but then if they’re too dry, it seems like you have to swirl them around in your mouth a few times before you decide if you want to swallow them,” he joked.

Carolyn unconsciously smiled and nodded, placing a few bottles in her cart and walked away.

A few minutes later, the same man popped up in the bread aisle talking about whether or not to make his own sourdough starter.

Then she ran into him again in the frozen gourmet food section.

“Oh, I really like that one, he offered when she picked out a pho shrimp and noodle dish. “Isn’t it great that you can get single portions of gourmet foods? I really like that,” he said. 

“Yes, that’s why I come here mostly, otherwise I’d have to settle for eating what passes for a meal out of the Weight Watchers plastic tub.” She said cordially and casually wheeled her cart further down the aisle, until her friend Margaret stopped her.

“Do you need something to hit you on the head? That guy was flirting with you.” Margaret said in a quiet but firm whisper.

Carolyn waved her off, dismissing her.

“I think you’re radar is rusty. Do you think it’s a coincidence that you saw him in three places in a matter of just a few minutes apart?” She questioned.

“It’s a small store, you could easily run into the same people many times,” Carolyn objected.

“Oh yeah, someone who tells you that they’re looking for a single serving and they make sourdough bread starter and talk to you about swirling wine in his mouth to taste and swallow. Duh, do you need him to leave breadcrumbs or draw a roadmap for you?” She sarcastically accused.

Carolyn went through the interactions in her head as if she was replaying a movie in her mind. Finally, she came to the same realization and rolled her eyes.

“That’s it, I forgot how to flirt. Great I’m gonna be doomed to be alone forever because I can’t pick up any signals,” Carolyn said frustrated, hitting her head with her hand.

“I’m surprised he didn’t give up after the second one. He was clearly sending them, and you were not receiving.” Margaret quipped.

“That poor guy must feel stupid or inadequate. I feel bad and to be honest. I didn’t even notice what he looked like. Oh my god, what if I no longer have any dating mojo? I can’t even tell the difference between a flirt or casual conversation.” Carolyn confessed, panicked.

Margaret chuckled in sympathy. “Look, you just have put your antenna up. They’re not gonna write you letters with sweet sonnets professing their love.”

Carolyn sighed and laughed admonishing her grave error, “From now on, I’ll pay more attention.”

Margaret put her hands on Carolyn’s shoulders and turned her to face the opposite direction.

“Well turn on radar on, I can’t believe it but he’s coming in for one more pass,” she chuckled.

Published by suzanneruddhamilton

I write anything from novels and children's books to plays to relate and retell everyday life experiences in a fun-filled read with heart, hope and humor. A former journalist and real estate marketing expert, I am a transplant from Chicago, now happily living in southwest Florida to keep warm and sunny all year round. You can find me at

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