Chapter 23 — And Then There Was Mike. Thanks, Craig

Man-free existence can be a relief.  I went to movies and luncheons with girlfriends and tried to teach Greta to catch her flying disc toy.   If dogs had thumbs, Greta would’ve given the flying disc two thumbs down.

I didn’t catch up on work around the house.  They’ll have to put on my tombstone, “She never caught up.”  Well, what the heck.  Thomas Jefferson  hadn’t finished all the changes he planned at Monticello when he died, and he wasn’t distracted by having to do the laundry or sew  his own pantaloons.

Fall edged toward winter, and I  put the lawn mower away.  I could’ve turned to other housework to fill the hours no longer needed for mowing.  But too much work takes the balance out of your life and makes you grumpy.

There had to be more to life than waxing the furniture.  But going back to the matchup services generated the same enthusiasm I could work up for cleaning out the shed.  I’d been rejected earlier by eHarmony (they don’t tell you why), and hadn’t  been wildly successful meeting men on the other matchup service I’d tried.

“Donna, what do you really want?” a friend asked.

“Well, just a guy who’d like to go hiking and bicycling and kayaking, and maybe out to dinner once in a while.  Most women my age seem to prefer shopping and craft fairs.  And the kayakers I met were whitewater women.  Mine’s a recreational kayak, and I don’t know how to do whitewater.”

“You don’t want a serious relationship with a man?”

“I could probably be just as happy without a  relationship, if I had someone to be outdoors with once in a while.”

“Then tell them you just want casual.”

“Right.  Then I’ll be a target for the married creeps who think casual means ‘casual sex’.”

Found a better answer when I was browsing Craigslist,,  looking for a floor polisher/carpet shampooer.  Discovered that Craigslist has a “strictly platonic” category.

Okay, there are people who think “platonic”  means “anything but.”   But it was worth taking a chance to meet a man who just wanted to share some outdoor activities.  I knocked the dried mud off my hiking boots and composed a “Do you like hiking in Soldiers’ Delight?  Do you like biking the NCR Trail?” notice.

Wow.  Within a few days, I’d gotten more responses than I ever had through the singles matching service.  These were men in my age range.  They were out being active, not slumped in their recliners in front of the TV.  And they were open to a female co-hiker.

What was it about Mike from Columbia?  Maybe it was the first email Craigslist forwarded from him. The email said, “It’s been years since I walked in Soldiers Delight,  but it was a delight.  But I bicycle the NCR a fair amount, there are a couple places in New Freedom to get lunch and the ride back is all downhill.  As for kayaking, I don’t like white-water, flat water is my forté .  Recently I was in Monterey, Ca. and had a kayak tour along the coast near the seals, sea-lions, and sea otters.  What a thrill.  Let’s ‘talk’ more.”

He didn’t say,  “What do you look like?”  Didn’t say, “Let’s meet this weekend.”  Didn’t even say, “Send me a photo.”  He  sounded like a man who  enjoyed the outdoor activities  I enjoyed,  was open to doing some of them together, and didn’t mind if I didn’t resemble J Lo.  His email focused on the activities, not on whether I was hot.

Thanks, Craig.

(to be continued)

© 2011 by Donna Engle

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