Meter Maid

His name was Peter and we were meeting for drinks at 7 just a few blocks from my apartment, he’s done with work at 3 and if I leave work on time, a rarity, I can make it by 7. I explained that I was in the middle if several big projects and looming deadlines, so I would just be able to meet for a drink. He was good with it.

When we’d spoken on the phone I found out that he was very close with his family, he left corporate America 10 years ago to join the police force. He didn’t like the pressure in corporate America and wanted to do something that made him happy. I thought that was really cool, not many people have the guts to do that, I was impressed. Wasn’t sure that being a police officer was less pressure, but good for him!

I got to the restaurant early to stake my place at the bar. I got an email that he would be 5 minutes late. Nice of him to let me know and I have some work with me so I’m set. 5 minutes later another email that he would be 20 minutes late, he was having trouble finding something to wear. He’s been home for 4 hours and should have had this figured out. 45 minutes later I was ordering food to go and packing up to leave when he walked in. He kept apologizing and begging me to stay. He was in a worn out, faded polo with a frayed collar and khaki shorts with frayed pockets and holes all over and no, not like done to be fashionable, like out of the rag pile (this took you 5 hours?!). And much like his pants, I was torn, I wanted to go home but at this point he at the very least owed me dinner. So I had them change my order to stay and asked them to bring it to the table.

We got to the table and he apologized again “I couldn’t find anything to wear, sorry” I wanted to say ‘and that’s what you came up with’ but I didn’t I said “after the 2nd email I wasn’t sure if you were showing up in a tux or just high maintenance”. He laughed and said “no I’m a simple guy, just didn’t have anyone to help me figure out what to wear” And went into his life story.

He lives in a small town, works for the police force as a school crossing guard and meter maid. But being that it’s summer he just does meters. He doesn’t like it, he wants to do more “police work”, he feels bad giving tickets, his commanding officer won’t promote him because he doesn’t give tickets. But he hates working outside. So I asked why he doesn’t just give tickets like his boss says so he can get promoted. He doesn’t like people to be mad at him.

I changed the subject to fun summer plans. He is spending most of it with his sister, her kids and his parents. I asked if he was seeing friends going on vacation, etc. He doesn’t spend much time with friends. They are all married and he doesn’t like that their time is limited, doesn’t understand why they just can’t hang out and why he has to go to them. So I said “most of my friends are married and I go to them and work on their schedule, easier for me to travel. To me it’s worth it just to see them, their kids, hang out. Don’t you and your friends do that?” No, he’d rather just spend time with his family (red flag!).

I talked about a trip I had just taken for work and how I got to see friends too. He said when he was in corp America he hated business trips and being alone. “Really? I always make friends at the bar or with the staff, try to take time to see the sites (if there are any), I enjoy it, it’s like a free mini vacation, and if it happens to be near where friends live – even better! And I’m super excite because I leave in a few weeks for Denver, to go visit my best friend.” He thought I was crazy, he’d never do either.

I asked what he likes to do in his spare time – movies, books, music – “well since I can’t see my friends I spend time with my family or home, but I don’t always like to be at home, it’s near a train station and can be loud plus we lose power ever day for 4 hours a day, my condo association has a class action suit against the power company but I don’t know if I should join, in want it fixed, but I don’t want to upset the power company.” Me “did you know this when you moved in?” “Yes but my mom said it was a good deal and close to her so I bought it. If I had a girlfriend I’d go out more, because she’d want to” so I asked if he ever goes to things by himself, “No. When I was in corporate America I traveled by myself hated it.” (So you said) “I never went to see the sights, just hung out in the hotel or the office I was visiting. I traveled to cool places and wanted to do stuff but I didn’t have anyone to go with, I don’t like to be alone” “So what would you do if the girl you were dating wanted time alone, with her friends or had to work late?” “I’d sit home and wait or go to my moms till she got home” (FYI that never works – been there). “But I hope she would want me to come too, I wouldn’t want to do anything without her, I can do what she likes, I can hang with the girls.”

He asked if I like what I do, I said yes (because I do). He asked what I like about it. I told him I Iike the people I work with, the projects I work on, that I work with people all over the world. He said he needed a person like me that was driven because he wants to get promoted and doesn’t like working outside but he doesn’t want to upset people by giving tickets and his mom likes that he’s home by 3. But for me he would change, if I wanted him to. – Ummmm we just met, the only thing I want… is him to pay for dinner – So I told him he should just do whatever will make him happy. “Well, I left corporate America to do what I like” me “That’s awesome, most people don’t do that, so -again- you should do what makes you happy.” “I hated my job. You need to leave corp America.” Me ” I’m good, I like what I do” “You work long odd hours, people that work like that are usually cheating on their spouse. My dad worked crazy hours and I know he was screwing around on my mom and now you’re going to cheat on me. So I should probably be more motivated and talk to my commanding officer, but he’s busy and I don’t want to bother him, and he’ll tell me to be proactive, and then people will get upset with me and my mom will be upset that I’m not home at 3. But you’re going to get upset with me and cheat on me… Ooohh now I don’t know what to do? What do you want me to do? I’ll do what you say” Ummmm… We’re not a couple. So it was time to go. The neediness was killing me and I had work to do.

So I suggested we pay the check and go. I thought he was going to cry. “Oh you have to go….” “Yes”. We left and he went to kiss me, I did what I usually do and dropped my keys so the moment is ruined.

When I got home (3 minutes later) there was this long email about how much he liked me and how he really needs a girl like me to help him in life and force him to do things. He’d get to have friends again because he’d have my friends. His mom would be happy and I’d like her and his sister and his mom will cook for us everyday. And on and on.

I wrote back and said that we live different lives and are looking for different things and it wouldn’t work. He asked if we could be friends and I didn’t want this to keep going on and I could tell it would so I said “email me every once in a while if you want maybe we can meet for coffee” What I really wanted to say (to paraphrase the Beatles) was “needy Peter meter maid, NOTHING, will come between us”

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