Passing Notes

Heading home from work tonight, my plans for the evening consisted of a panini from Di Brunos, a book and a park bench in Rittenhouse Square. 45 minutes after I got home, I managed to pull myself off the couch and back out into the world. I got my sandwich and headed for the Square.

The whole world seemed to be out tonight. There were activists collecting signatures at the 18th Street entrance to the Square, friends settling down in the grass for a picnic dinner, elegantly dressed couples walking through on their way to the theater and parents letting toddlers run across the lawn. I settled down on a bench along the east path, pulled out my sandwich and opened my book.

I wasn’t paying a whole lot of attention to the people sitting around me, but when I did glance up, I inadvertently caught the eye of man reading on the next bench over. He looked to be in his mid-thirties, and had the stocky frame and dark coloring of the Mexican immigrants who used to work at my dad’s company when I was in high school. After I had been sitting there about 45 minutes, a voice accented with swirls of Spanish interrupted my focus on my book.

The man who had been quietly reading across from me was now standing next to my bench and he was holding out a note. I took the note, quickly read it and glanced back up at him.

He asked me in English if I spoke Spanish and when I said that I spoke a little, he told me in Spanish that I was very beautiful. I started at him with what I know he took as a look of incomprehension and then managed to squeak out “thank you.” He proceeded to ask for my phone number, to which I said no. He said that he’d like to get to know me. I replied with a non-committal “that’s nice” and when I tried to give him back the note, he shook he hands at me and told me to keep it. In case I ever wanted to get in touch.

I appreciated the gesture and the fact that a random stranger had told me I was beautiful, but I also felt slightly stunned by the encounter. If he hadn’t left the note with me, I would almost doubt that it had happened at all.

*The book I was reading was What Should I Do With My Life? by Po Bronson.

0 thoughts on “Passing Notes

  1. albert

    i gotta give that guy some credit in having the courage to do that. i know i never had the balls to go up to a random girl and talk her up.

  2. Melissa

    Wow, I love it when stuff like that happens! You should email him from a junk mail account and see what happens. (alright that’s what I’d probably do, but I’m all about going with the experience sometimes) 🙂

  3. Leah

    See now, I totally think you should go on a date with him. What’s the worst that could happen? (Well, I know that tons of bad things could happen…but just stay in public places and don’t let him talk you into doing crack.) I’ve got three words for you. “Sense of Adventure!” hehehehe.

    Once in London, this random guy from Hungary walked up to me while on his break from delivering furniture (or something) and asked me for a date that night. I was like…”What the hell?” And it was pretty fun. I never saw him again, but I remember hanging out with him in the park and chatting. He had very broken english as well.

    But I digress….

  4. Melissa


    I had the exact same experience with a guy in St. Petersburg Russia. He was a web designer or some such, I’d met him on the street, and we went out for coffee. Fun!

    The language barrier was a bit steep, but for one date, it was great.

  5. Sandra

    Was he cute or not? That’s what I 1st notice about men, and it pretty much determines if I’ll talk to him, etc. I’m thinking he wasn’t all that attractive to you, so you aren’t going to contact him. That’s just my take anyway. 😉


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