Sitting in Panera drinking tea from home and eating a terrible, awful, delicious, sugared breakfast muffin.  Sitting across from two gentlemen who I rather embarrassingly notice are appropriately aged if I was interested in social interaction.  I am taping away, replying to almost ancient emails that should have been answered last week, two weeks ago or how many months ago?  I usually really enjoy sitting in a public space reading or writing.  I love the gentle mummer of strangers, slight rises in voices advancing and retreating into the din, isolated words that peep out, and the occasional peek at who is sitting nearby or ordering at some counter.  But the conversation of the two gentlemen is impossible to miss or resist.  They begin by talking bullets and guns.  I wince.  They move on to the awful state of health care.  I roll my eyes and redouble my efforts to ignore them.  But they proceed to complain about “lazy, disrespectful, no-good” teenagers, public education that they “have no business paying for” and finally, and not to be left out, “our useless” president.  Now, I need to nail my feet to the floor and tape my mouth closed.  I am saved by a noisy influx of breakfasters who drown out the most offensive statements and I am able to control my most aggressive impulses.

However, what lingers is the stone in the shoe, the irritation of loneliness.  I would like to enjoy male companionship and I wonder if pickings are slim enough to include the despicable creatures sitting across from me.  Sometimes I wish very hard to enter into the fray.  I didn’t like dating at 17 and 20.  From my perch apart from it all, it doesn’t look so good now.  In fact, desserts and barren moon landscapes come to mind.  But as a wise nun told me when I was fifteen and broken hearted and complaining much the same as I want to right now, I only needed to meet one boy.  And one is a very small number.  When I remember that, I can pack up, pick up and go on with my day sure that one is a very small number and that the odds are in my favor that I can certainly meet just one.

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