I went on a date this Wednesday, well sort of. It wasn't really a date considering she is already dating some 19-year-old guy. Too young for her, but also a glaring red flag for me, and which also meant I could view this as a social experiment rather than something I could royally fail at.
Still, she is cute, appears above average intelligence, and most importantly, and likes to braid my hair. She does a damn good job of it too. So along with caution, I threw about one hundred-eighty dollars to the wind in the hopes of leaving a lasting impression on the young woman.
Everything that could go wrong did, starting with a four-hour late departure, to the late night trip home without a heater. Our arrival in Santa Monica left us with about and hour and a half of remaining sunlight, and my friends were already calling wanting to meet up. We sparked a bowl up in the mall parking structure on the first floor, which effectively rendered me an inarticulate bag of misfiring neurons. Everything looked bright and in IMAX 3-D, it seemed the "Red Dragon" she had brought was making this the most vivid and intense walk to the pier I have ever experienced, especially with out the proper eyewear.
Just then, a smooth talking panhandler accosted us...
"What a beautiful day out today, isn't it?" I nodded, knowing where this was going. "That is a fancy looking coat you are wearing sir. Your hair looks really nice as well. I see you are all dressed up to take your lady friend fishing..."
Marcy was awkwardly holding a fishing pole while hiding behind a cheap pair of knockoff aviators. The panhandler proceeded to tell her that it was sweet of me to take her fishing, and I deserved a kiss for that. He eventually got to the point and asked for some change. I told him I only had a twenty and that I was sorry I couldn't help. He tried to steer me to vendor for change. I said sorry I can't and then looked at him, silently telling him not to push his luck. He got the message and went to another mark, restarting his routine. We walked around him and as I passed, he seemed to involuntarily mutter nice hair when he glanced at me.
Too much reality, all too soon.
Afterward, I gave her money and had her buy a cheeseburger and Sierra Mist at the Harbor Grill. The cheeseburger ended up being the best thing I would purchase that night:.. It was photogenic, at least she thought so. I could give a rat's ass; I was too busy trying to keep myself occupied with the fishing pole. I used a French fry and chewing gum for bait. Anything to get her attention from the fact that I was terrified of her at this point. It would seem the dragon's influence was making me more self-conscious neurotic by the minute. What dumb idea. Just then I felt a mischievous presence. I knew they were there before even turning around. "These guys couldn't sneak up on a dead person" I said to her, trying to sound as confident as possible. It was then a small family noticed I had massive resistance reeling in the fishing rod. "You got something?" They were really interested. "Yeah, and it's big.... the size of a pier." It took them a second to get it. Luckily Chip managed to untangle it, and walked to the parking garage to put the pole away and smoke another bowl.
We ate at a restaurant at the end of the pier called the Mariasol Cocina Mexicana which was staffed with fifty thousand Spanish speaking waiters and busboys that sound like they all were using megaphones to talk to each other. The service was poor, and we were seated next to a cash register, far from any window, so we didn't even get the view we paid for. All this and no one was saying anything because we were all stoned. All of us, except Bennington, who manage to use that to his advantage as he systematically, poked fun at all of us.
Although I knew this venture was to doomed from the beginning, I did kind of like the girl and didn’t want her to hate me, and I was very weary of Bennington the whole time. The last time he and I had partaken of the drink amongst mixed company, he ended up throwing hash browns at my boss and a female acquaintance from the bar we had came from. I knew that this would be a bit of a tightrope act, and could see Bennington was holding back when in her stoned stupor she asked if the food items under “Ensaladas” were salads. He told her yes several times, yet she kept asking. To my surprise he held back but I on the other hand… Well, my Spanish is atrocious and I recognize this. I consider myself ignorant on the language, but this, this was too much.
“Are you fucking kidding me?!? The word “salad” is in the word “Ensaladas!!!” I covered the “En” and “as” and sarcastically asked “See? It says salad.” My friends looked at me and I knew, this time I was the jackass in this social experiment. Still all she had to do is read the descriptions for five seconds and this all could have been avoided. I then tried to change the subject by commenting on our table..
“Why are we seated here? We should be by the window. We should move, no one is there now.” No one said anything, for a while. Then there was a general consensus that it would be too much trouble to flag down a waiter.
“Fuck the waiters, we should just do it, take it by storm.”
Nothing but an awkward silence… a really long one. On a scale of awkwardness; 1 being and an event like accidentally belching in front your date, and 10 eating breakfast with your parents the day after walking in on them; this rated somewhere around the time Nash and I walked in on this guy with pants around his ankles, whacking off, just going to town right outside the public restrooms at 7th Street Park. This was right up there. Just then Jeremy spoke up.
“By storm…” Jeremy chuckled. "You crazy bastard."
“Ok, that was seriously a thirty second delay” I said.
“Yeah but you said it so casually…” Chip replied. Then one of the megaphone sounding waiters brought us our food. I was relieved, and we all had something else to concentrate on.
Once we got into the Bowling Alley it was time for drinks. The bartender looked at my I.D. "1978... Dog or cat?" she asked me. I assumed she was asking me my Chinese zodiac animal. "Horse" I said. Everyone became perplexed. "A horse did this?" At that point I realized she was talking about some teeth marks that Nash's dog had imprinted my driver's license near my date of birth. I explained my bizarre answer and we all laughed about it. Marcy didn't want to drink so we mustered as much peer pressure as possible and succeeded in talking her into getting a rum and coke after our first round of drinks. The bartender asked me again for my I.D. "I'm the guy with the horse" I replied. She laughed and then poured a straight shot of spiced Bacardi with a splash of coke for Marcy. She probably drank a fourth of it at most.
Bowling turned out to be fun with Bennington dominating the first two games. I ended up in second, and then third, and finally I tied Marcy for first in the last game. Afterwards we watched Hell of the Living Dead, an over dubbed Italian zombie flick which 1/4 of consisted of ridiculously obvious stock footage which was funny for about twenty minutes. An hour later, we left exhausted and cold in a noisy car with no heater, and a skipping CD player. All in all, it was exhausting trying to keep a conversation going, trying to be interesting. I did manage to accomplish what I set out to do… leave a lasting impression... even though everything that could have gone wrong did. All that matters is that I tried.
Now that I got that out of my system, I can be feel better about being single and get back to pointing out the cynical history behind St. Valentine's Day.