That Time My Blind Date Stood Me Up Because She Was Going to Jail

I must preface all of this with a statement: This story is true. I changed one name because this is a real story and I don’t want to offend anyone, but it’s a story that I’ve been telling to friends for years and that I finally figured I’d write down. So here it goes.

My mother is wonderful. She is loving and caring and always wants what’s best for my brother and I. But, I am 26 now and you can kind of tell she’s getting antsy for me to be in a relationship that eventually leads to grandchildren. This manifests itself quite often in sentences that start like, “There’s this great girl I know that you should so on and so forth plus other words.” When she says that now I always refuse the offer for two reasons. The first is, when I meet the girl of my dreams I don’t want our story to start off with, “Well, my mom!” The second reason is this story I’m about to tell you.

In 2011 my life was a weird roller coaster full of long hours at work (which I was traveling every week to Long Island for, staying for 5 days, then coming home for the weekends) and treating myself badly. That’s all I did for a solid year. Within that year my mother started to offer up female candidates for me to meet and after a while of vehemently refusing, I said yes. Mostly to make her stop asking, but secondarily because, “Hey, it might work!?”

Her name was Greta. She lived down in New Haven, 30 minutes away from where I reside, and worked with my mom. All my mom knew about her was that she was a nice mid-twenties human being who always got a ride to work, played roller derby, and was not a lesbian. Oh, how did my mom know that last part you ask? Well, that got handled pretty quickly with this pointed sentence from my mother, “So, you gay?” To which Greta replied, “No.”

So as modern technologically based love stories go, I added her on Facebook. I was spending my weeks in a hotel so I had a lot of free time on my hands which I  used that one week to talk to Greta constantly. We told each other about our lives, I told her I liked drumming and writing, she told me she liked hitting people while on roller skates – so it was going well.

The next week I decided to take a leap. I hadn’t gone on a proper date in a very long time so I just came out and asked her. And she said yes! I was flabbergasted. We were going to go to a coffee house that’s near her house (she didn’t’ have a car so driving somewhere wasn’t an option) and meet around 12pm on Saturday for some dark coffee and light conversation.

The entire drive down I had all the windows open and the music blasting to try and keep me from sweating bullets while my mind raced about what I had chosen to wear and what I’m going to say and more importantly, where I’m going to park my car in New Haven so that someone doesn’t steal all of my belongings. I finally parked around the corner (still 20 minutes early) and wandered my way to the coffee shop. This place was awesome – filled with Yale professors grading papers and Yalie students being students who go to Yale. I was a bit out of place with my forest green plaid long sleeve and dark jeans, but Greta and I had talked recently about how she loved dark flannel shirts, so I went for it. I go up to the counter, look at the menu that is one million options long, and say “the double espresso please” because I’m an idiot.

After I got the tiny shot glass of a drink I sat down and started looking at Facebook, the way you do when you’re trying to pass time. While not paying attention my body decided to drink the espresso like it was a normal coffee, so within 5 minutes it was all gone. Still 10 minutes to go until she arrived and my leg was now in a full blown tremor. I saw a newspaper on the ground near me and picked it up because every moron spouting their opinions and personal records on Facebook were making me angry so I opened up the newspaper to read. It was a bit of a futile endeavor though due to the fact that my hands were shaking so badly I couldn’t read any of the words. So I put the newspaper down and found a clock above the counter. Still had 5 minutes. So I sat in silence for what I thought was going to be 5 minutes.

5 minutes passes. I’m watching the door like a hawk and checking my phone for the time every few seconds. She’s not there. 10 minutes passes, nothing. 20 minutes, nothing. I called her phone number, it was turned off. I Facebook messaged her, got no response. Half hour late, nothing. Called her again, still turned off. At this point I had a little bit of hope left but my buzz was leaving me so I got another drink – it was a regular coffee this time.

40 minutes late, nothing. The coffee I ordered came with a napkin and back in those days I had a pen in my pocket at all times for some reason so I took it out and started drawing. Pointillism is the kind of painting that is just little dots up close but when you zoom out it makes an actual picture. I decided to try it out with a painting of palm tree on a tiny island in the middle of a lonely ocean. Not a metaphor at all.

When I looked up from the finished drawing, she was an hour late and my coffee was all gone. So, with my symbolic tail tucked between my legs I got back in my car and drove home. That weekend I told my friends about the date that wasn’t which they said they were sorry about and I started to move on with my life – a life where people ditch me for utterly no reason….that is, until we got to Monday.

My Mother had called to ask how the date went on Saturday and I had told her she didn’t show up which was odd, because I thought we were getting along well. My Mom, the protective lion mother she is, was not at all happy with her son being ditched and marched into school on Monday preparing to demand an answer. But low and behold, Greta was not there. In fact, no one knew where Greta was until the end of the day where a notice came from the State of Connecticut expressing to her place of employment that Greta would not be showing up for a very long time.

Turns out Greta had committed her 3rd DUI in 3 years about 6 months prior to the date day. In this final DUI she caused a 4 car pileup on a bridge that injured 4 people including an infant. Greta was taken to the hospital and after being cleared was told to wait in her bed for the police to arrive to ask her questions. So she did what any fine upstanding citizen would do – she waited for the doctor to leave and then fled the scene. The next day the police found her at home hiding in her closet and brought her to jail. She posted her bail, and had a court date set. That court date was the morning of our date day, where she was told she would be going to a Connecticut based correctional facility for 3 years for her crimes. After she got this news she apparently wasn’t up for coffee.

The reason she didn’t have a car and didn’t drive to work herself was that she couldn’t have a car. Legally. The Government didn’t let her. I didn’t know if I felt better or worse about the situation. On one hand I understood the predicament she was in. What was she supposed to say to me over coffee, “Oh my future? Well, probably a lot of working out and not talking to strangers! Hope I look good in Orange!” Probably not the most uplifting of scenarios for her. On the other hand if I had just gotten convicted and sentenced to jail (which she had to report to 3 days later) I would have needed a drink badly – and what better person to pull out of a coffee bar and into a real bar than a complete stranger. Then you very obviously run away with them. This movie writes itself.

Needless to say I haven’t seen Greta since…in fact I never met her in the first place. But out of all the date stories I have, this one is probably the most interesting to tell and easy one to speculate on. And because I fancy myself a bit of a novice screenwriter I just HAD to try it out as a script. So, CLICK HERE – this is the first 10 minutes of a movie based on what I thought should have happened between myself and Greta, but with new characters names and a fictional back story. Hope you enjoy it.

 

My Go to Date Meal

I don’t go on many dates. In fact, before I begrudgingly signed up for an online dating service, I never went on dates. I had girlfriends in High School and College but I don’t ever remember them and me making future plans that felt like dates. That might be why they are all ex-girlfriends…hmm.

Dates to me, are highly romanticized and happen way more often in movies that I watch than in my own life. When I think of a real date I see a nice restaurant (nice enough that I wear loafers but not so nice that I’m wearing a tie) a small table with a white tablecloth and two chairs across from each other, and one of those fake candles that do the flickers and everything to make them look super real. Follow that with some overpriced steak and wine and/or nachos and beer and there is a date. Also having another human being that agreed they are on a date present is crucial.

More often than not I have gone on stay at home, cook something, and watch a movie dates – which I actually don’t consider dates. I consider them chill hang out times that involve my favorite things listed above plus a lady friend.

When it’s my turn to make a meal on those types of occasions, my options are very limited. I grew up with a mother who was a fantastic cook and had hot meals at the table almost every weekday night, so I never actually had to learn to make anything for myself. When I got to college I had two years of dining halls in which I would sneak out boxes of cereal and fruit and never make my own meals. The closest I got to making my own meals the first two years of college was when my roommates and I would order wings and then I poured honey mustard on top of them and called myself a master chef.

When my junior year rolled around I moved into an on campus apartment which doubled the cost of living if you didn’t get rid of your meal plan. I thought this was absolutely no problem and went head first into the year thinking I would be fine.

I was insanely wrong.

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Mine looks nothing like this…I think what I’m feeling right now is shame but I can’t be sure.

After two months of eating nothing but ramen, bagged rice, and hot pockets while begging underclassmen to swipe me into dining halls, I figured that I should probably learn how to cook something rather than eat like a lucky homeless guy. A meal my mother made that I always enjoyed was kielbasa and rice. This meal was an easy starter for me because half of it was something I was already a skilled producer of: bagged rice. I went out to the local grocery store that was conveniently right next to the liquor store and bought the cheapest kielbasa I could find. I felt like I was already half way to the finish line.

The first lesson I had to learn the hard way was that before you put anything on a frying pan you have to cover it in a substance that limits food sticking to it. Needless to say, most of the first batch of kielbasa I tried to make got stuck on the pan and never got into my mouth. After that I decided to go big or go home and cover the entire pan with enough “I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter” to make Fabio blush.

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Fabio is a smug SoB

The second lesson I learned is that when you put enough “I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter” to make Fabio blush on a frying pan, the butter liquefies and then explodes, scolding your entire body.

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Mine looks way more like this. I know it looks tragic but it’s actually delicious.

I took about a week off after that, but as some old western guy says, when you fall off your horse you have to get back up on the saddle except when the horse gives you second degree burns in which case maybe just keep the horse in the stable for a while and watch Seinfeld reruns for a solid week. Then get back up on the horse.

The next time I tried to make the meal it went much better. I put a normal amount of ICBiNB on the pan, only turned the heat knob up to 7 instead of however high it could possibly go, and cut the kielbasa up just small enough to cook quickly but not so small that they burned to a crisp in seconds. I also wore protective gear just in case of what I was then calling “Butter-Lash” that included ski goggles, full arm silicone lined cooking mitts that cost more than making the meal multiple times, and a specific hoodie that I wouldn’t mind stomping into the ground if it lit on fire. Add some maple syrup to both the kielbasa and the white rice for flavoring and it makes for a great and simple meal that is easy to make the third time while looking like you are cooking meth in your dirty basement.

So, every time someone says to me “why don’t we stay in tonight? We can watch a movie and I’ll cook…” I always cut them off with, “How about I cook?” Then I get an endearing smile and I make them a fantastic meal. Thankfully no one has asked me to do this twice because I would be royally screwed in that situation. Also, if I ever have to learn to cook something new, I will definitely have to find a new pair of goggles.