Since FaceTime debuted however many years ago, I have been averse to it. Like any millennial, I hate speaking on the phone. So why would I prefer to showcase my double chin while speaking on the phone? If we need to chat, we can text or email.
When friends attempt to engage me on FaceTime, I ignore and text back, “What do you [possibly] want?” In the rarest of instances where I have been hoodwinked into participating in this torture, I leave my phone face-up while I run around my apartment sorting clothes, washing dishes, and shouting toward the phone. One time I did this in the bathroom and my friend informed me of the mold growing under my medicine cabinet. In what other circumstances would I look under my medicine cabinet?!
A month ago, I matched with “Hillary” on a dating app. She was a returned AmeriCorps volunteer. We had a decent amount in common, or at least I could collect enough fodder to toss at conversational prompts to maintain some semblance of dialogue before we met face-to-face - but no FaceTime!
Well, about that…
We agreed to meet on a rainy Thursday. We hadn’t set an exact time or location because I was new to the area. (I know, I know. I owe a blogpost about why and how I’m living in the DC metro area that’s about ten months overdue. I promise it’s coming.) I was hoping she would propose a location, which she eventually did, because all I had to rely on was Yelp reviews and Google ratings.
Hours before our imminent meetup, I wandered to a store in the rain. I slipped some headphones in and dropped my phone in my jacket pocket. My music started followed by a weird bleating. I recognized the bleating, but could not immediately place the source. And why did it keep bleating?
I pulled my phone out of my pocket. Mind you, rain is pouring. I’m confused at first. I see my reflection. My moving reflection. And the words – ohmigawd – FaceTime.
I was FaceTiming Hillary! The woman I had never met. A total stranger off the internet. Who I am meeting in three hours. Why am I FaceTiming her?!
I tried hitting end. I kept hitting end. It did not end. The bleating just continued. My phone screen was too wet to register my touch.
Ohmigawd, what if she picked up? It kept going…
I looked terrible, too! For first impressions, I was a double chin in a serial killer rain jacket out in the fog, plausibly concealing a hunchback and a serrated dagger. Please do not pick up!
Of course, she did while I was continuing to smack the end button. Hillary appeared to be seated on her couch in the warmth of indoors.
“Hey,” she began. “Did you mean to FaceTime me?”
Abruptly, my phone registered my end button pushing. The FaceTime cut off, Hillary vanished from my screen, and her last image of me must have been pointy-hooded hunchback grimacing at the situation.
I paused on the sidewalk, rain seeping through my coat into my soul and processed what I had just done. I had FaceTimed someone (an unforgivable faux pas) before we ever met (unforgivable emphasized) and then slashed the connection without any attempt at communication (faux pas emphasized).
Droplets pelted at me and my phone. I attempted to message, “Sorryyyy.”
Hillary replied: “Lol.”
“I’m so embarrassed.” As if that needed to be sent.
“I’m dying because your reaction is over the top,” she said. “I forgive you.”
Which part was over the top? I wondered. FaceTiming her? Hanging up? Looking like a serial killer?
“I appreciate that,” I said. “I should have casually kept going and pretended it was on purpose.”
“Haha yeah, you basically hung up on me.”
Touché. Let’s call it an icebreaker? Maybe a windbreaker because that’s what I was wearing in the rain?
“Do you still want to meet now that I’ve showed my worst cards?” I considered texting back. “Now that you know what I look like with rain-matted hair and a fisherman raincoat to conceal my murder weapon, do you think we should call it off? Also, why did you answer? That’s such a red flag. Why would you answer a FaceTime? Do you normally FaceTime? This may be a sign of incompatibility. Maybe we definitely shouldn’t meet.”
I restrained myself from sending such a message, because I think that might’ve trumped the awkward Facetime.
Via text messages without vis-à-vis communications, we ended up coordinating meeting. We shared pleasant margaritas and tacos that questionably contained canned chicken before never seeing each other again. I’m not sure if I should blame the FaceTime or the chicken.