Incompatible. They’ve used that word to describe me all my life. Friends, relationships, on the job, you name it. It’s not as if I’m mean or weird or anything. I just walk to the beat of a different drummer, slightly off beat. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. However, it has rendered me to live a life that is not as productive as I would’ve liked. In the end, careers have failed, a marriage failed, and it'a not a good idea to have children when you’re incompatible. What a word! Just saying the word invokes a sense of self pity. No online dating service can find a match for me. Imagine the poor computer desperately searching, algorithms spinning wildly around only to find… nothing. Like a roulette wheel waiting for the ball to drop. No, the only kind of roulette I would win would be, unfortunately, Russian.
Most of the projects for work ended with my ideas and suggestions overruled by the yes sir, yes ma’am types that lived in fear of retaliation if they did anything less than agree with their superior. So I would just shuffle back to my cubicle and get back to the mundane tasks at hand. Until yesterday.
Someone has said that good things come to those who wait. I was doing nothing more interesting than having a coffee- cream and one Splenda and a double chocolate donut at the local cafe and reading the want ads in the community forum. As I perused the paper half-heartedly, a small blurb caught my eye. “How much would you like to be paid for an experience of a lifetime, a special research project where you are placed in a beautiful, remote area to live with another participant of your choosing!” It sounded like a bit of a scam, but I read on. All I had to do was go to a dinner at a very nice restaurant and they’d give me all the information I needed. Since I didn’t have anything better to do on a Saturday night I figured I’d mine as well enjoy a good dinner on them.
As I pulled up to the restaurant, I wondered what I was getting myself into. Taking a deep breath, I walked into the most pleasant experience I've ever had. The setting was so soothing, so peaceful with the other candidates walking around reading brochures, some of them watching each other warily. The charming hosts were greeting everyone making sure the prospects were comfortable. Instead of cocktails we were treated to a variety of plant-based drinks that all seemed to enjoy immensely. A soft gong sounded and we were urged to our seats. We were given a wonderful vegetarian meal and whilst eating were asked to write down a number and put the folded piece of paper into the fishbowl that was going around. We then had a presentation that afterward had half of us signing up for the opportunity. Papers were signed and notarized and placed in several manila envelopes. We were told we didn’t need anything ; that all our needs would be taken care of when we arrived. As we boarded the charter bus we all took our seat and were handed an envelope. The whole thing started to take on a very surreal feeling. There were twelve of us left which dwindled down to eight after making two stops. We couldn’t see a thing as the sky was an inky black. The bus traveled through the night like a hot knife through butter. I was lulled to sleep by the sound of tires meeting the road. When I awoke there was only one other person left curled up in the corner of the seat in the back. What happened to “a person of your choice”? All of a sudden the bus came to a screeching halt with the sound of gravel hitting the sides. The driver motioned for us to get off and suddenly we were alone. Our eyes met for the first time and we shrugged our shoulders as we went inside. It was beautiful inside, all soft colors, a very large tropical fish tank sprawled along the wall. There were a lot of tropical plants and wonderful smells. There was soft music playing in the background. I turned around to speak but no one was there. A door banged and I was alone. I decided I'd see where I was sleeping and went in the other door. My room was perfect! There was a hammock and floor pillows and books scattered throughout. I was suddenly exhausted and lay down in the hammock and was asleep as soon as I closed my eyes.
The sun arose as did I. Breakfast was already on the table. There was so many different kinds of fruits, some I've never even seen before. Also tasty breads and muffins. I found out that his name was Matt. I also found out that Matt didn’t eat vegetables and fruit and grains. He said he was a total omnivore, who enjoyed big, thick steaks and burgers followed up with platefuls of desert. He didn’t like our residence and complained about everything. Talk about incompatibility! He was miserable. I wasn’t. I headed down to the beach to scour it to see if I could find anything worthy of documenting. I found several dead sea urchins and small jelly fish. I took a sample of the water and wandered back to the bungalow. There he was lounging out in the sun sleeping. Why was he here? Days went by and I continued to read and take notes on everything I observed. I never saw him do more than eat cereal and drink beer and go to sleep. Other than being concerned about my companion, I, like always, was happy with my surroundings even though I was still alone. Never compatible, echoed in my head as I started to trudge back in the warm sun to clean up for dinner. To my surprise, when I came out of the shower, there he was dressed nicely and smiling. He seated me at a table. There was a bonfire going with classical music playing softly. He poured me a glass of wine and told me stories about his adventures. . He was quite charming. The wine made my head a bit fuzzy as I didn’t unusually drink. I foolishly started thinking that maybe I found Mr. Right.
Dinner arrived in large serving platters covered with lids. I was feeling dreamier by the minute. I thought again, maybe this meant to be. It was my last conscious thought until he leaned toward me and hit me over the head, hard! When I came to, I saw that he'd put a huge pot onto the fire. He said thanks for dinner! The tables had turned, if I’d had another thought left it would have been that he now was the happy one with plenty of thick steaks and I his dinner. So much for compatibility!