I stood at the door, flowers and box of candy in hand — daisies and cherry cordials, as my research indicated those are her favorites. Daisies and cherries both happened to be out of season, but first impressions are so terribly important. And according to my analysis the potential reward of a good first impression made the time and expense of procuring the items well worth it. (Even factoring in the loss of productivity due to the necessity of shopping during my normal working hours.) I knocked, the sound echoed by my trembling knees.
When she answered the door the sight of her took my breath away. I stammered for several seconds before I was able to speak. I introduced myself and explained, or tried to explain anyway, that I am her perfect mate. I had developed a computer program that sifts through mountains of data aggregated from every public, and a few private, databases and applies a compatibility algorithm (patent pending). I had scientific evidence that she and I would be perfect together — She slammed the door in my face. I didn’t even get to show her my charts and graphs. I am diligent in my documentation.
She was probably overwhelmed by the sudden appearance of her soul mate at her front door with no warning whatsoever. The poor dear. Obviously the situation called for me to use a form of communication I am more familiar with. How silly of me to start with a face-to-face meeting. To say that I am unpracticed in that art would be charitable. Email, though… my skills at generating long and detailed emails are legendary. Just ask any of my colleagues. Or any of my potential colleagues. Or any of my former colleagues. I made full use of the power of the medium — cut, copy, paste, undo, redo, multiple fonts, colors, italics, bold-face, bullet points, and numbered lists — until I was sure it was perfect. I even remembered to attach my charts and graphs. And I linked to my online CV. She should have the opportunity to know me as well as I know her, after all.
It must have gotten stuck in her spam filter though because I got no reply. Maybe those large attachments weren’t such a good idea after all. I bought some nice stationery and a fine fountain pen. Clearly, a letter was a much more appropriate way to introduce myself. Good old snail mail. It seems so quaint and, dare I say, romantic. What a bother though. I lost count of how many times I tossed the page in the trash and started over. Such a waste of expensive paper. (I later realized I could just count the number of pages in the trash can. That number might be one of those interesting side notes when my success is published in the popular press. It was 17.)
Finally I had everything written out as succinctly as I believed possible. I don’t kid myself that it was a perfect letter. Certainly there was room for improvement. It’s not, after all, as easy as writing email. Mistakes could easily creep in. But my penmanship is passable and I think I explained the situation clearly. I presented terms that are more than fair for a meeting in a safe, public place. I even waxed poetic about our projected courtship and marriage. Maybe that was my mistake? I’m not much of a poet.
My heart skipped a beat when a rather officious gentleman came calling with a sealed manila envelope. This had to be her response. Obviously she had given my proposition the consideration it deserved and she had developed a counter-proposal. This was a woman after my own heart, just as my computer program had determined. My joy was short-lived, however, when I found the envelope contained a restraining order and some related legal documents.
I stared at the wilted daisies and the half-eaten box of cordials on my kitchen table. All of my simulations had worked flawlessly. And, sure, I sort of expected there might be one or two bugs show up in the first real-world trials. But I just don’t understand. How did this turn into such a disaster?
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