My first and last date with a loud talker
We exchanged e-mails for a week before we spoke on the phone.
He was entertaining – seemingly, we had a lot in common and good rapport. He (Dave, 55, Walnut Creek resident, entrepreneur, consultant) suggested we meet halfway between our two homes at the “1968 Exhibit” at the Oakland Museum.
We met at the museum entrance and each bought our own ticket.
We agreed to first view The Day of the Dead Altars. As we entered the hallowed space with muted light and a number of beautiful, sentimental art altars- celebrating fallen heroes, friends and every day saints. It became quickly apparent that Dave was a loud talker-straight out of that Seinfeld episode.
While others lowered their voices out of respect for the deceased, he commented on the art, the intricate details, the use of color and special effects. Lovely. I softly touched his arm, and spoke in hushed tones, thinking surely he would bring it down a decimal. He did, until his phone rang. He took the call in the museum and I walked away. He followed me like a puppy, oblivious. Fortunately, the security guard showed him the door. I could hear them in the lobby talking. Everyone could.
I wondered if it was too early in the relationship the start ‘nudging’ him.
We entered the “1968 Exhibit” and the first hall was filled with people quietly reading the timeline of that cataclysmic year in history.
As we moved slowly through the room, he peppered me with questions about where I was in 1968. I whispered short answers. I put my finger to my lips and nodded to the quiet-as-a-church-mouse crowd around us. He looked puzzled and launched into, “So, I was just a kid… blah, blah, blah.”
As we continued moving through various rooms, each more interesting, filled with historical kitsch, and 1960’s iconic pieces -people chatted and commented freely. Dave pole-vaulted into conversations- private or not – for the next hour. I swam away from him as often as possible.
The poignant Martin Luther King tribute -a video of his last minutes and Bobby Kennedy’s eulogy at King’s funeral had the crowd huddled in front of a TV screen-silently weeping. Dave broke the silence with a quote about sorrow and single soldiers – several people turned and glared at Mr. Mouth.
Then, he suggested we walk to the new Cathedral near the lake. All I could think of was: bull in a China shop-talker. I politely begged off, looking at my watch and creating an exit strategy – when an elderly couple came up and said quietly, “Sir, this is a museum, not a party. People speak softly out of respect for other patrons”.
Dave said, “What a buzz kill. Madam, this is a free country.” Alrighty then.
Oh! Look at the time!
My car was on the first level of the parking garage and I could leave and be home in less than 30 minutes. I said, ‘Goodbye, nice day, must run, Dave. And good luck.” I didn’t look back. I was in my car, in total silence and home safe.
Lesson learned: What will I do differently next time? I’ll talk on the phone to a prospective date – I will listen – I will ask questions and pay attention.