Today I saw a young man cleaning out his car. He had the Shop-Vac, cleaning rags, and enthusiasm all out in the garage. He looked like he was about eighteen. Then again, I’m a horrible judge of age. He might be 38. I don’t know.
I jogged along today and chucked because I imagined a whole date night for this kid. I love my neighborhood for lots of reasons, but the place is ripe for people like me. Those of us that have imagined the lives of those we do not know. And in great detail.
He was getting ready to take a very nice girl, name to be determined, to dinner. It’s Monday, so realistically, they won’t be out too late. Dinner is good.
They’d go out for a nice dinner and enjoy the mild evening. They’d cap it off with an ice cream cone from the shop near our neighborhood.
He’d drop her back at home, and they would make plans for the weekend. After all, they are both in college and this week is busy. Their summer jobs start this week and rent is due.
The young man two streets over was definitely getting ready for a date.
I hoped it wasn’t a blind date.
As I ran along his street, I remembered the one and only blind date I ever agreed to venture through.
It was a disaster.
I was sixteen and he was the nephew of a friend. I’ll call him Joe.
I hadn’t looked forward to it all week, and I wasn’t entirely certain why I agreed.
My friend made her nephew sound alright and I didn’t have a steady boyfriend.
“Melissa, I think you’d like my nephew. His name is Joe, and he’s about your age.”
I found out that he worked at a grocery store in my hometown and went to a “rival” school. He played football (which I found considerably less than attractive).
My friend gave him my phone number and Joe and I made plans to go to dinner and a movie on that upcoming Friday.
I should have just cancelled it when he was nearly an hour late. He had passed my mom and dad’s and ended up in Troy, which was a considerable distance in the opposite direction.
He finally arrived at my house and off we went. I was decked out in my favorite jeans, sandals, and a pretty spring blouse.
I chatted about my school, friends, interests, and my own job. He talked about his and things seemed to go okay. But I was doing the lion’s share of the talking.
He asked me a few questions but nothing was overwhelmingly impressive.
Then we attempted to eat dinner. He asked where I wanted to go and I said Red Knapps. It was close to the theatre too. Convenient!
He parked in the front and we went inside. The first thing he asked was “do you think they take checks?”
I should have known. That should have been my cue.
I should have walked through to the back entrance and left. I could have called my mom. She’d have come to my rescue.
Needless to say, they didn’t take checks.
Neither did the other four places we went.
I finally suggested going to Subway. I could get us each a sandwich with the cash I had, and it was near my own workplace, should I have to run.
The movie theater didn’t take checks neither.
By that time, I was tired of checking every place we went for their personal check policy.
I suggested he take me home.
“Okay, thanks. See ya.” I said, turning for the door to his truck.
And there he was. Right in my face and going for a kiss.
In situations that I find even remotely threatening, my instinct is to fight.
I curled my right hand into a fist, thumb out because I hadn’t learned that lesson yet, and planted it right into his face.
I could tolerate a lot, but do not invade, or crowd, my space.
Disgusted, I got out of the truck, without a word and slamming every door, and I sprinted to my back door.
Once in the safety of the house, my mom asked me about the date.
“It was a disaster!”
I told her about the checkbook.
I told her about the fist to the face.
She laughed. Honestly laughed about my blind date from hell. Then she told me about a few of her bad dates from the past.
I went to bed and wrote that off as a story I’d giggle about in the future.
The future wasn’t the next day when Joe came into my workplace and asked me for a second date.
“Do you want to come over and watch the fight with me and my dad?”
“No, I don’t think that is a good idea.”
I don’t remember exactly, but I don’t think he called after that.
I saw him a few times in the grocery store, but I avoided him like the produce department was flammable.
I wouldn’t go on a perfect first date, blind or otherwise, for another nine years. And again, I’d rush into the house, proclaiming “I’m going to marry that guy.”
My one and only blind date was a disaster. But it did make a story worth laughing at. Like today, when I was jogging and making up stories about everything I saw.
I hope the young man in my neighborhood had a great night, even if he wasn’t going on a date.
And if he did, leave the danged checkbook at home.
If he even has one?
Do people even use them anymore?
Ironically (or not), I do. I still do.
Joe probably works to develop wireless banking technology.
But at one time, he had a checkbook. And he thought it was cool.