My mother set me up on a blind date once in high school. She knew a lady, whose friend’s grand daughter had just dumped her boyfriend under mysterious circumstances. I don’t remember her name, let’s call her Rose.
I drove a Jeep CJ-7, played three sports, and got ok grades. A serviceable guy in most people’s books. Despite some misgivings, I agreed to meet my thrice removed blind date. I never even spoke to her before I picked her up Friday night, 6:30. Rose was beautiful, she knocked my socks off. She wasn’t going out with me because she wanted to. That’s not insight on my part, she told me so as we pulled away from her house. She was just going out with me to get her grandmother off her back. She had to stay out until at least 9 or she would get a lecture. I just kept my eyes on the road, because I thought I had a secret weapon.
I had the whole night planned out. Dinner on my turf, then a chick movie.
I was the delivery guy for a Greek pizzeria. The cook was a friend of mine, and he agreed to cook up a special pizza for us. I thought I could smell it as I opened her car door. My friend nodded to me from behind the counter as we entered. I guided her to a small table by the wall. Her knees stayed precisely together, and her shoulders perfectly square, as I pushed her chair in. I sat facing the kitchen, and the progressively hysterical gesticulations of my friend. He delivered on the pizza, though. Half pepperoni, half double cheese. No thin spots, crisp, but still gooey. It arrived on a sparkling platter. The delivery guy was responsible for cleaning the pizza platters, so I had two days to pick out a special platter.
Rose picked out a slice from the cheese side and started eating. I looked at my pepperoni, then back at her. She looked up with string of cheese twirled around her pinky.
“Ahem! So, ah, Rose. What classes are you taking?”
I can honestly say that I had never heard of Home Economics before she started to tell me all about group crafting. The conversation drifted from one pregnant silence to the next, generally downhill, until I was giving my favorite video game furtive glances every time she looked away.
7:30. Good grief, how long does it take to eat one stinking slice of pizza? The movie starts in 15 minutes!
My friend walked up and bailed me out “Can I box that up for you?”
We made it to the movie theatre just in time. I decided to ditch the chick movie, which was Plan A, and substituted the horror movie, Plan C. She didn’t even blink at the gory poster. I could only shake my head and wonder what relative was in the movie. She still squirmed when the debutante died, and I tried to slip a casual arm around her shoulders. All I got for my trouble was a sharp elbow in the ribs and a hiss. Actually, I think I’m the one who hissed.
Light up watches weren’t common in the eighties, but she must have borrowed one, because she knew the instant 8:30 struck. She bolted up and dragged me out into the aisle. I made sure that I still had my keys, because she was storming towards the exit like she’d stolen them. She was sitting in the passenger seat as I approached my Jeep. That stubborn piece of junk actually refused to turn over the first time. I tried again as Rose slapped me with a dirty, accusatory look.
Life! Movement! We were off. Maybe the horror movie had given me a mean streak, but I leaned towards her side of the jeep as we neared her house. The shifter was knocking against my knees as the brakes squealed the last couple miles per hour. Rose nearly leapt from a moving car. I stopped just as her foot touched the ground. She never bothered to close the car door as she ran up the steps to her house. 8:55 on my radio clock. I wonder if she got a lecture from her grandmother.