Friday, March 20, 2009

internet dating: a cautionary tale (not my own)...

photo from Google Images

So there’s this nurse at work, let’s call her Bev: mid-fifties, almost 6 feet tall, red hair cut in a pixie. She talks in this whispery, soft voice, very odd. I saw her this morning as I was coming in; she was exiting a colleague’s cube. I nodded my head and said hey. She nodded back and started to walk past me, then stopped, turned around and said, in her whispery, soft voice,“Annie has some good news for you!”

“Great!” I said brightly, “I’m always up for good news!”

I stopped outside Annie’s cube, which Bev had just exited.

“So tell me, what is it?” I asked, expecting to hear something about one of Annie's seven grown kids or her six young grandchildren. Annie’s eyes were dancing.

“Don’t YOU want to tell her?” she asked Bev.

Bev stood there, towering over me, and actually shut her eyes, thinking about it. Then a small smile flitted across her face.

Waaiiilllllllll, OK,” she said in her breathy voice, and then, looking at me, she asked: “Do you know General David Petraeus?”

I smiled. I wasn't about to fall for this one. “I know who he is,” I said, “but no, I don’t know him”.

Annie and Bev exchanged a look, and Bev began to beam, like the cat who has swallowed the canary. I waited expectantly…

"Waaaaiillll,” she drawled dreamily, “Ah know him.”

“Really?” I said. “You know General Petraeus? Good for you!” all the while wondering where this weird conversation was going, because, first, I don’t give a flip whether or not she knows General Petraeus, and second, since she’s never been able to keep anything to herself for more than about 5 minutes, I was having trouble believing that she’d managed to withhold a nugget like this for the 9 months she’s been working with us.

“Ah’m EMAILING him!” she announced proudly.

I looked at her, waiting for the punch line, but there was none. She actually looked so happy I thought for an awful moment she might weep. I looked at Annie, hoping for a clue, but she was grinning ear to ear.

“Isn’t it exciting?” she asked.

I looked back at Bev, who was still beaming.

“You’re emailing General Petraeus?” I said, thinking I must have heard wrong.

“YASSSS!” she whispered solemnly.

“Huh?” I said, then quickly, “Um, how… did this come about?”

Bev smiled dreamily, closing her eyes again and swaying a little, which I found really disconcerting.

“Matchdotcom”, she said solemnly.


“We’re emailing on match dot com,” she said patiently, as if she were explaining something very simple to someone who’s very slow, intellectually, which is exactly how I was feeling at the moment.

“General Petraeus is on match dot com?” I said incredulously.

“YAAAAASSSSS!” she whispered with great conviction.

“Wait a minute, he’s identified himself as General Petraeus?” I asked, feeling like I was back in psychiatry again, interviewing a patient.

“Waaailll, no, he hasn’t,” she said, “But he told me all these things he’s done, and then he sent me his picture and Ah recognized him, and Ah looked up General Petraeus and confirmed all the things he said he’s done, AND..." she paused for effect... "He signs all his emails DP.”

She beamed triumphantly.

“Hmmmmmmmm,” I said, non-committally.

“Tell her the best part!” Annie said.

“Oh yeah, he asked me for mah instant messaging address!” Bev announced happily, looking at me as if that should mean something to me.

It didn't. I raised my eyebrows one thousand, two one thousand…nada.

“I don’t understand,” I confessed.

“Well, because he’s gonna be gone and can’t email for awhile,” she said carefully, as if talking to T H E S L O W O N E.

She and Annie then exchanged another excited look, and Bev exclaimed trimphantly, “So we think he’s probably goin' back to Iraq!”

“Huh!” I said.

Annie began talking: “And when he comes here from New York...

“Wait a minute!” I interrupted. “He lives in New York?”

“Wail yaaaassss, of course!” Bev again, talking to T H E S L O W O N E (yours truly).

“When he comes here from New York to meet Bev,” Annie continues, “I’m going along, but so is Pete” (her pet name for her pistol, and she happily patted her hip to indicate where Pete will be residing on that day).

“Huh!” I repeated dumbly.

They both looked at me, expectantly.

“Isn’t that great news?” Annie said again.

“Yeah, wow, amazing!” I said doubtfully.

They both looked at me with pity in their eyes, no doubt remembering my December crush on the guy whom it turns out is living in his car. I could see that they thought that my lack of enthusiasm was due to jealousy. Uh-huh.

“Uh, good luck with that!” I said lamely.

Bev cast me a final pitying glance before exiting triumphantly.

As soon as she was gone, I sat down in Annie’s cube.

“You do realize, that is NOT General Petraeus!” I said.

“What d’you mean?” Annie asked. “How would you know?”

“Think about it,” I said, “Why on earth would General Petraeus be on match dot com?”

“I don’t know!” Annie said, “Maybe he’s lonely and wants to meet a nice woman!”

“On Match dot com? C’mon, that is NOT General Petraeus!”

“But it could be!” Annie said, stubbornly. “What about the picture?”

“I could get his picture and send it!”

“But think if it IS General Petraeus! Isn’t it exciting?”

“It’s not General Petraeus, and she needs to be careful,” I said, feeling like a real killjoy.

I went into my cube, sat down at my laptop, and opened Google. It took all of ninety seconds for me to confirm that General Petraeus is married, apparently happily.

I sent the link to Annie, waited a couple of minutes, and then went into her cube.

“Did you read it?” I asked.

Long face.“Yeah. You’re going to have to send it to Bev.”

“I know. I’m sorry. I wish I were wrong.”

I sent Bev the link, feeling like the mean 7 year old telling a 6 year old there's no Santa. I included a note saying I was sorry but I think she’s being scammed, and I wouldn’t be much of a person if I didn’t speak up.

In a little while I got an email back. She’d read the article, but didn't necessarily believe it. Meanwhile, Annie was re-reading it. She looked up as I walked past her cube.

“Boy, if it is General Petraeus emailing her, he’s not very nice,” she said.


Sometimes, even at 10:00 in the morning, a margarita sounds REALLY good.


pam said...

Wow. Just wow. Though you did trigger my memory of that margarita billboard we used to be tempted by at 8am when we drove to grad school. ;-)

Chris said...

I am dying here, hilarious!

I have to go now, I'm instant messaging with Nigella Lawson right now;)

cw2smom said...

That is hysterical!! She probably falls for those postcards that come in the mail that say you just won this, that or the other and to call this number between certain hours!!! Stupid should hurt; it really should. The poor woman! I think I will get Oprah to call her...yeah, I'll do that!! Tell her to stand by!!

Melissa said...

Amazing, huh? Common sense could save such disappointment!

And Lisa, your comment abouthow "stupid should hurt", omg, funniest thing I've heard all week! LOVE IT.

Robbie said...

Oh My! What's that saying...there's a sucker born everyday. And, this is why scammers will always have a place in society. It sucks that you can't trust someone but such is life. Good for you for helping her to see the light.

Tammy said...

She actually has a good job. Scary! lol

I have and I love movie night.

Wiggle's mom said...

This is all great fodder for what I can already tell will be a fantastic screenplay. I just want to know who will be playing Bev in the movie.

Lisa :-] said...


TJ said...

Not a surprise...not at all!
Internet, Bar, park, I do not care where you so called think you have meet someone it is always a Guess!
I truely worried about blogging back in the late 90's. I have come to find the for the most part...blind anything still remains blind until you have your feelers out there.
I hate "Fake " f***'s! Not fair...but it is real! Female and Male!
Give me the ol' " would you like to go to dinner" any day!
And where to meet such is far beyond what I knoww...
Sorry for her humility.

brooke said...

awesome writing! the dialogue and scene played out so well in my head. poor bev... haha wow. great post.