My favorite love story is my own, and not because it is my own, but because I think it's a damn good one. I used to live in central Calgary, and walk my first dog, Gus (a fox terrier,) at River Park on the Elbow River. We were hardcore regulars, amongst the handful there even at -30. One day, while dong the rounds, a woman ran by. Not jogging, mind you, but running, with all the feral competence of a wolf. She had at least one dog with her, but i didn't notice the dog, as I usually did. I noticed the woman. She was instantly compelling to me, one of those folks who seemed all things at a glance - interesting, sexy, beautiful, quirky, timeless (how old was she? Not so easy to tell...) She was dressed in inconspicuous and rather loose fitting clothing, not at all provacative. Serious about what she was doing, and clearly not looking for attention, but rather getting a job done and reveling in her competence at doing so. A contender in the arena of life. And then she was gone. I saw her several more times at the park over the course of that year, and always I was drawn. Yet it was always the same, a woman getting some business done, there and gone like a wild thing, and never any opportunity for engagment. So be it. Years went by, relationships came and went, Gus the terrier grew old and died. By this time I was living in the Badlands, having had a gutful of the superficiality of urban life. One drawback with the arrangement - not so many romatic opportunities, and i was a fit man in his prime. Oh, sure - I had met a gorgeous European there in my little town the first week and we had a fling, a biologist no less, similar to myself, but she turned out to be moonlighting as a stripper, and I didn't want to enter that dark space. A friend suggested online dating. After some initial trepidation, I decided it made a lot of sense. Winnow the chaff before meeting, don't waste time hanging out whereever it was people were but you, by choice, were not. I was in a excellent place for this sort of thing, happy with life, looking for the icing but perfectly satisfied with the cake. I did the online thing off and on for going on two years. It was a fine system, and I benefitted greatly from it without ever really connecting on a lasting level. Towards the end of those years, I was writing back and forth at intervals with a woman in Calgary who seemed many of the things I was looking for. I especially appreciated her reserve. She was clearly going about this seriously, carefully. Having no expectations, I was not trying to force anything myself. Our online exchanges, all fairly brief yet eventually making up a decent picture, went on for maybe six months. I was ready to withdraw awhile and enjoy a hiatus from the dating scene in general, when she suggested we meet. I thought this was a decent plan. One evening in late spring I did the pilgrimmage to my old Cowtown on motorcycle, and waited for her at a table in the Ironwood. The instant she came in, I thought, things are looking up! But it wasn't until later in a well spent evening when, puzzling at her from across the table, I realized where it was I'd seen her before. Over a decade before. She was the woman from the dogpark. It's now been what, seven years? I'm not counting. As Andrea said at the end of that night when we finally got to meet, "So far so good."