7 \ The Last Laugh.

September 2013
At some point I joined Match, probably in August. Widening the net. With Match, you have to pay to get any use out of it, so, in theory, sets a higher bar. The people on Match are different from those you find on OKCupid. Not really my people. Lots of people in the suburbs. Dressed in camo. Posed with hunting rifles (not being ironic). Hook ’em signs. Skydiving pictures (I’m really glad you got that out of your system). Despite this, I did end up going on a few dates.

7 and I texted for a few days or more (looking back, too long, and after this encounter I moved to cut out texting altogether, especially in trying to get to know someone). At one point I mentioned I had met a few crazy people (well, just one really). She asked what I meant. I told her. She told me she was bipolar (this is all over text). Ok. I’m not sure what this meant. I did have two friends that were (later diagnosed) bipolar. Both had violent episodes, and ended up doing some time. This should have given me pause. Instead I looked on the internet – ‘what is it like to have a bipolar girlfriend’? What I found didn’t sound too terrible, especially if they stay on their meds (well, that’s the challenge, isn’t it?) and you know what to expect.

We had a phone conversation. It was fun. There was a bit of a connection. I remember driving south, and the sky lit up by a lightning storm – Texas light show. We continued to text, but not set up a date to meet just yet.

Sometime soon after she texted and asked if I wanted to go to a comedy show – she had won tickets on the radio. (Many years previously I had worked at a comedy club – cold calling businesses and giving away tickets – ‘It’s free, there’s just a two-drink minimum, you’re going to get a few drinks, right?’. It wasn’t too difficult, but sucked. I remember the owner coming in one day. Things were a little slow. He said something like ‘I need to send my kids to college, you all need to get your asses in gear’. That was my last day on that job.)

Okay, so she asked me, I said yes. She asked if I would mind if her co-workers came along. Like 10 of them. I said okay, being open and up for anything apparently. She then said, it can’t be like a date, you’ll have to be an old friend or something, they will make fun of me. Again, I played along – that’s cool. Well, how did we meet? What’s our story, I asked? I came up with a story – we met at Magic Camp, learning to do magic tricks. Super dorky. Super funny. Okay, she laughed. That’s awesome. Oh, one more thing, don’t call me by the name I’ve been using – use my ‘real’ name – that’s what they know me by. Um, okay. At this point, it didn’t matter – I was game for whatever lie ahead.

Before the date I hit a toy store, looking for magic tricks. Hey, what if our story was revealed and someone asked the inevitable ‘Know any tricks?’. I wanted to be prepared. So I got a deck of trick cards and learned a few tricks. Fuck yes. Ready.

I offered to pick her up (I know, I know). She lived about 30 minutes away. A bit of a haul, down a dark windy road, and kind of in the middle of nowhere. It added to the mystery, I told myself. Found her house. Knocked. Heard dogs yapping, movement. I waited. I knocked again. Dogs still barking, and after a few moments, the door opened, and she backed out as she attempted to shush the dogs and close the door. She was tall, and her hair was pulled back. She looked different from her photos, but she was attractive. A hug, a hello, and off we went.

The moon was full, and shone through the passenger window, casting a pale glow on her white skin. The conversation started slowly, then started to flow a bit, driving the 30 minutes or so back up towards the comedy club. We arrived and met a group of people – the coworkers – just inside. Introductions weren’t made, so I introduced myself over the course of a few awkward minutes, deck of cards in my jacket pocket. We sat as a group at a long table, she was next to but kind of behind me. Continued to be awkward, and then, mercifully, the show started. It was fairly funny, and g-rated, but prohibitive to carry on any sort of conversation with my date.

Show ended, we said our good-byes, and I was disappointed that no one asked how we met, and that I didn’t get to do a magic trick. We trekked back down to her place, chatting laboriously, and then I dropped her off and she darted into her home, dogs yapping. I jumped in my car and headed home, via a bar for a whiskey. Or three.

We texted a few more times after that, and then it stopped. Which was fine. Again, looking back, we could have been friends. But we haven’t communicated since. Texting is a terrible way to communicate. The worst.

Update: We did in fact meet again. I was with some friends having a drink and she was at the same outdoor bar with her friends. And a big friend. Quite big. Her boyfriend. Many pints in, at some point I figured out it was her and went to say hello. We had a good laugh, and a chat, and I was oblivious to the death stares I was getting from her beau and his thick-necked mates. Despite, this, I made it out in one piece and went about my business.

A few months later, we saw each other on Tinder, connected, and agreed to meet to catch up. The brute was a dud and she had booted him. We had dinner, a laugh about me almost getting my ass kicked, and caught up again. Just as friends do.

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