August 05, 2015 8:57 PM

At the risk of sounding like a shmuck, I've carried right on with online dating -- my theory being that, the more that I fail at it, the less it will hurt each time. There's nothing quite like having a thousand tiny florid dreams stimulated, and then have them all promptly squashed from above, cartoonishly, as if by some giant evil white-gloved hand. In general I'm pretty used to it -- making art and living in a capitalist economy will teach you that -- but when it directly revolves around another person, it can be a bit more messy. Might as well get better at dealing with the fall, if nothing else.

This is how I arrived at this familiar waiting moment, stretched out on a bench at 16th and Mission. It was a pleasantly warm evening, the overstimulating street bustle feeling oddly therapeutic today, and the sun and shadows cutting curious shapes across the buildings, which my eyes leisurely dissected. I can honestly say I expected nothing. I had considered the scenarios of being stood up, or immediately being written off. I would've been fine with that, and would have just put my energy into watching the multimedia dance performance we were going to. But it didn't work out that way. From the start, there was barely a wordless, empty moment. It was as if we couldn't say enough fast enough, and if only we could speak two or three words at once we'd be able to keep pace with the multitudinous tangents of our conversation. I was happy to miss the performance, so riveted I was by her spry language, shameless curiosity, and disarming warmth. Ex-philosophers-turned-conscientious-pragmatists unite, I suppose. I don't think I've ever actually met one before, or at least one so beautifully and sharply arranged.

So here I am, in this highly-charged liminal state again, squinting at the brink of possibilities but too shocked with serotonin to make proper sense of it. Of course, this time I'm implicitly more skeptical. I've been here before so recently; I know there's no sense in weaving fantasies, or at least, placing any serious hope in them. At worst I'm left alone, and can reconfigure the experience into something creatively useful. I'm doing my best to temper myself and be patient and let reality happen. As a creative person this is entirely counterintuitive, but untenable in this context. There is a future here, but it only exists as far as the next time we meet. And while I do feel like the positive indications were an order of magnitude greater than my last encounter, I need to remember that the connective threads are no less delicate, and can be sheared at any moment. I don't want anxieties born of my imagination to affect my ability to be honest towards reality. We'll see how pragmatic I can really be.