So, you think maybe you've had some bad dates? Yeah, uh huh, sure. Ever had your date interrupted by YOUR JOB?
Spring 2000: The X-wife had moved out months earlier, taking the only working vehicle, emptying the checking account, & leaving me to feed our 2 kids with absolutely NO kitchen skills. Lucky the 3 of us didn't starve 2 death. But I'm not bitter.
Confused, heartbroken & lonely, a co-worker at my then-newspaper job tells me she knows some1 who'd love 2 meet me. She sez this unknown woman is Pretty Hot, too. Bring her on, I say, trying to put on a brave face. My co-worker sets us up.
This unknown woman calls me later the same nite. We talk. She has a nice voice, seems friendly. I make her laff. A lot. She's a great audience. We spend a couple hrs gabbing. We agree 2 go out the following Sat nite.
Meanwhile, the Evil Management at my then-Newspaper job (the Willapa Harbor Herald, Raymond, Wash.; look them up & complain 12 years late, they'll just ignore you -- that's what they always did with ME when I worked there) hatches a plot 2 destroy my life:
Late Fri aft, the Evil Editor tells the rest of us Lowlife Minions that he was told by the Clueless Publisher 2 go photograph the local highschool Prom, 25 miles up the road in Aberdeen, on Sat nite. But Ed sez even tho he's gonna B right down the street at WalMart while the Prom's goin on, he's not gonna bother stoppin in 4 pictures of the Prom Royalty, & he's gonna tell Clueless Pub 2 Pound It.
We cheer. Ed's not such a bad guy sometimes.
Fast-forward 2 Sat aft, I'm getting ready 4 my Big Date. Phone rings. Ed sez there's bn a change of plans. I've now bn assigned 2 photoize the Prom.
Ed knows I have no car, no $$$, no way 2 get there. What he doesn't know is I have a date the same nite. So I tell him this. Can't he find NE1 else? Some1 with a CAR? He's gonna B 5 mins down the road at WalMart with his family -- can't he just pop in 4 a few quick photos?
"No," he sez. "YOU do it, or else you're fired."
I take a deep breath. This has bn building 4 months. It's all a conspiracy 2 get me 2 quit. The writing's on the wall. No matter how good a reporter I am, I'm 2 big a pain in the ass 2 deal with, & they don't know how 2 get rid of me. I won't quit -- they'll havta fire me.
I dive in. The phone conversation quickly descends in2 screaming & threats, all by me. Ed hangs up. I scream some more, then call Clueless Pub.
Can I at least use the Company Van so I can GET 2 the Prom? "No," he sez, "find out some other way to get there."
What the Hell am I sposta do? WALK?
"Cover it, or you're fired."
More screaming & threats, also all by me. Pub hangs up.
My daughter -- a very mature 9 years old at the time, who has chosen 2 spend the weekend with me rather than go see her Mother 4 the weekend on Fri -- has heard me screaming in2 the phone 4 the past 15 mins. She wonders if maybe I've lost it. I reassure her: I HAVE.
There's only 1 thing 2 do. We sit on the couch & wait 4 my date, who's already en route 2 my house. This is going 2 B an intresting evening....
My date -- I can't remember her name, but let's call her Trudy -- arrives within the hour. She's a fairly attractive blonde, pleasant & friendly -- & with a pair of breasts approximately the size of New Jersey. (Thank you, David Steinberg....)
She takes a seat on the couch & I make my pitch: If she doesn't mind hauling me 25 miles up the road to Aberdeen so I can take a few quick photos at the Prom, then we can go out 2 dinner afterward. We can talk on the way there. She can get 2 know my charming daughter -- who I wasn't Xpecting 2 have home for the weekend. I know it looks like a total disaster, but we might B able 2 salvage a nice nite from it if she can forgive me & bear with me.
I wouldn't have blamed her if she'd told me 2 Stick It. But Ghod bless her, she said Sure, Why Not?, I Didn't Have Anything Else Planned Anyway.... & other nice things people say when they're stuck in an Mbarrassing no-win situation.
So we hit the road & talk along the way. She's really nice. She laughs at all my bad jokes. She banters with my daughter. I start thinking I may B on2 Something Good here.
But I'm wrong. The disaster is still ahead.
We arrive. The ballroom is PACKED. It's DARK. There's a TON of highschool kids here. I leave Trudy & my daughter on a bench near the door & promise I won't take long.
It's REALLY DARK. When I look in2 the camera, I can't C what I'm pointing it at. & this lame, primitive early-model digital camera won't focus or shoot without enuf lite. I hang from the ceiling, I pose in lighted doorways, I perch behind spotlites -- there isn't enuf lite in the ballroom 4 me 2 shoot. The flash on the camera won't even kick-in 2 help me lite things up, the room is so friggin dark.
I blow what seems like 2 hrs trying 2 get 1 decent shot. Finally, they announce the Prom Royalty & I drag them outside under some of the ballroom's outside-walkway lites 2 have enuf lite overhead 2 get some faces in focus. I take 1/2adozen awful, poorly-lit, posed photos & realize that's the best I'm gonna get. By then it's nearly 11 pm.
Me, my daughter & Trudy stumble out of the ballroom & set off 2 try 2 find a late dinner. I've learned that in the 2 hrs I've bn hanging from fixtures & begging highschool kids 2 B patient & give me some room, Trudy & my daughter have gotten 2 know each other pretty well. Wish I could say the same....
I am stunned 2 find there's NOTHING still open in Aberdeen. McDonald's is closing down, they won't even serve us up 3 measly cheeseburgers. A really good Oriental-food buffet closed at 10 -- there is NOTHING left.
We all heave a sigh -- my daughter is starting 2 get tired & cranky -- & Trudy drives us back home. It's really quiet in the car on the way back. I don't see how the evening could get any worse.
In the driveway, I let my daughter in2 the house, then turn back 2 the car. "I'm really sorry about this," I begin....
"It's OK," Trudy sez. "It wasn't that bad. I had a good time. You're funny, and your daughter's an angel."
"You're lying," I say. "At least about SOME of it. But will you forgive me? Can we try this again when I don't have to work?"
"Sure," she sez, & smiles. & I think: Maybe this isn't such a disaster after all.
"I'll call you," she sez. & she drives away.
Monday: Trudy hasn't called, of course. I'm angry, the photos I wasted a date 4 look like crap, & nobody at work will talk 2 me -- until my & Trudy's Mutual Friend comes in & stares at me.
"Man, what happened?!" she sez. "You really F'd that one up! Trudy says don't bother to call her -- she's not interested in seeing you again. She says there was no 'spark' there at all."
Yeah, This Just In. No Suprises Here. She was a really nice taxi service, tho....
(This post is 4 Allison, who nudged me....)