I had a meeting scheduled this morning for work. It would have been our first meeting so I took a seat at Panera and kept an eye out for someone who resembled the LinkedIn photo I had pulled up on my phone.
Five minutes passed. Then ten. I looked at the guy sitting at a table by himself. No match. I took a second trip through the restaurant. No match.
I saw a guy lingering near the front of Panera. Maybe if the guy I’m meeting gained some weight and grew his hair out, maybe that could be him, I thought.
“Are you Leo?” I asked.
“Sorry. I’m waiting on someone and I’m not exactly sure what he looks like.”
“That’s hard,” said a second guy from another table that had been watching and listening.
Steven got his food and sat down at the table next to me. “So is Neil standing you up?”
He must mean Leo. “I guess so unless he is running 20 minutes late.”
“Where are you from?” Steven asked. “Chicago?”
“Originally I am from a small town outside of Wichita but I have lived here for awhile. You?”
“St. Louis but mostly here,” he said. “I had a fiancé from Wichita who was crazy as hell. Total psychopath. I couldn’t stand her.”
“So how did she end up as your fiancé?”
“She was just that good.”
“It didn’t last long,” he went on. “She then dated a guy from New York. She moved there. He told her he was gay and committed suicide. She was bat shit crazy.”
How do I respond to that?
“That’s too bad,” I said. “I’m sorry to hear that.”
“So much for Neil,” he said.
“Yep. I’ll have to email him and ask if we can reschedule. I’m going to get an order to go.”
I went to the front to put in a to-go order for me and the hubs. By the time I turned to return to my table Steven was gone.
I gathered my things and as I was walking out the other guy who had piped in earlier, piped in again. “Have a good day,” he said.
This is why I avoid Panera’s! The human interaction.