‘I don’t know about this online dating thing.’ I was sitting at the bench at Three Grandmas Vietnamese Street Food on Enmore Road. Listening in to a conversation that wasn’t mine. A guilty pleasure.
It was one of those rare days. My boy was with his uncle and my man was busy. I had time to myself. Precious time for a Thai massage with a quick stop to have a Vietnamese coffee on the way. So so good. But so bad – a whole layer of condensed milk…
‘Why’s that?’ Said the other guy. They were mid forties, eating pho and catching up.
‘Well, I thought I had some rapport with this woman so I gave her a call…’
‘What, rang her??’
‘Yeah, actually picked up the phone and called. So we were chatting for 10 minutes and then she asked if I wanted to come over!’ He stopped and turned to his friend…’Like, go to her house!’
The other guy kept eating. ‘Oh yeah.’
‘Um, don’t you think that’s a bit weird? I hadn’t even met her and She. Invited. Me. To. Her. House. I could be a psycho killer…’
All I kept thinking was ‘Hell yeah, red flag much?’ I took a sip of the sweet deliciousness and watched a hipster trying to wrangle his equally hip dog past a couple eating Vietnamese rolls out the front.
‘Yeah, I spose.’
So the guy doing the online dating wasn’t from Sydney. Which made sense. He actually had some perspective on it, not like the twisted versions of long time Sydney daters. The other guy was a local. So he was unphased.
‘Then she got all defensive when I said that I didn’t want to go over…’ They kept eating. ‘She like yelled at me, so I hung up. It scared me. It’s a bit crazy out there…’
They kept eating for a bit. I stared out the window. There’s a Muppets show about to start at the Enmore Theatre. The poster is cute. But they’re disillusioned Muppets who have experienced life on the outside. Bert and Ernie are finally out.
‘Have you seen the movie Her?’ the local guy asked. The other guy hadn’t. I wondered if he was about to suggest his friend start dating an Operating System.
I loved that movie. Joaquin Phoenix totally captured loneliness – got to the pure heart of it. I was transfixed. When I left, I felt the movie for the rest of the day. I couldn’t work out what it was that it made me feel. Sadness? Compassion? Hopelessness? I couldn’t find a label.
“Yeah, it’s an amazing movie. Really moving, I found it quite tender.’
I wanted to leap up and yell ‘YES’. That’s the word. You nailed it! But that would be rude. It wasn’t my conversation.