Originally written March 2010 (*names have now been changed to protect the innocent):
Ah, the joys of Karen's entertaining life...sit back, relax, and let me take you on a classic Utah County dating experience. One for the ages, I'm sure. But as a precursor, I must ask that you please not judge me based upon this story alone. Had you been here, you would concur, I promise. Onward. As with most of my stories, background info is essential................
There I sat, patiently waiting in the best place in the world: the temple. My friend Brumhilda, being a bit more on the high-maintenance side, is always slower than me after we come out of initiatory. But I didn't mind. Sitting in the temple for any extended period of time is a treat....or so I thought. See, Hilda is a relatively newly endowed member, and oh-so-adorably terrified to be there alone. So I'm very conscientious about that, and I stick close enough for her to see me whene'er she comes out of a locker room or what-have-you. So, I chose a chair in the girls locker room, next to the cutest little old harmless temple worker lady. Doh.
Ten minutes later, the not-so-cute-and-harmless-as-I-thought woman had pelted me with a bazillion questions about myself (MAY DAY! MAY DAY!!), during which I had divulged my love for sign (WE'VE BEEN HIT!), and subsequently, she concluded that I was meant for her single son, him being an interpreting student at UVU (aka "UVSC high"). Dang gina. HILDA!!!!!!! *funnier with the actual name, but alas...* Hurry the heck up, Crazy! We can fix your dang make-up later! Oi. Too late. By the time Hilda was ready to go, I had been presented with a little paper and pencil intended for my name and phone number...in the middle of the locker room. Too many eyes watching to just run away...so I conceded. Boo.
Fast Forward a couple of weeks. Here we find Sick Karen lying in bed, coughing up a lung every 30 seconds with the beginnings of bronchitis. She is in the midst of sleeping for three days straight when her phone rings. Does it even register? Nope. Sleeps right through. Good girl. Turns out it was the son calling. Oi. Prudent (and Smart) Karen put it off for a while with a congenial text that warned of her pending illness and how she had no intention of spreading it to anyone. Perfect excuse. Whew.
Fast Forward again. Not to be deterred...he made contact again two weeks later...last Wednesday. Now, breaking from our story for a bit: you should know that I have tried to be a bit more open to dating. Turns out, I really don't like it. :) No, really. I mean, some day I may find someone that makes me like it, but thus far, the new Karen (who gets quite a bit more attention than old Karen is used to) isn't really enjoying it that much. So, I berated myself and decided to be a good sport about going out with Temple-stranger's son...I mean, ya never know, right? No. You do. You always know. Remember that. Also, don't take candy from strangers... Back to the story.
We had decided to do lunch on Saturday (two days ago) at 1:30pm at Zupas...nice, relaxed, cheap. However, on Friday night at 11pm-ish, it dawned on me that the #13 Cougars would be hosting the #10 New Mexico Lobos in a brawl to beat all at the Marriott Center at 2pm that same day. NOT A GOOD IDEA TO TRY TO BE ANYWHERE IN THE NEAR VICINITY. So, I texted Bartholomew and said just that. So, suddenly he changed the plan to 2:30pm (after the traffic) at Carrabba's...a lot nicer restaurant. What the? Fine. Whatever. Free food.
Again, we must journey from our plot for a time. Now, I think I've mentioned in previous chapters that my skin has recently (not so recently anymore) ventured back into the teenage acne scene. Stupid skin. So, in a valiant effort to look my age, I decided to drop my tax return on Proactiv and Bare Minerals make up. So far, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the make up...I don't have the skin care yet. Now, back to the point.
On Saturday, I fought with myself all morning about going. Go. No. Go. No. Go. NO! GO!!! I SO DID NOT WANT TO. However, I'd just received my new fancy make up in the mail, and I decided it'd be fun to have a reason to try it out, right? Whatev. So, after a while, Cordial Karen won out, and yes, I straightened my hair, put in my contacts, and put on my new beautiful make up. Now, you're going to hear me say something (or read it and hear me say it aloud in your head) you've probably never heard before. But, DANG GINA, I looked HOT. :D I know, right? But, actually...it's a little more common now than it used to be. But, really though, it was mostly the make up....but I looked GREAT. I came downstairs in jeans and a nice shirt, but Sheniquah protested that jeans weren't nice enough for Carrabba's. Bah.
After I changed, I looked even better. So, I left the house reluctantly, and went on my way. About half way there, I got a text from him, "I'll be wearing a UVU t-shirt and tan jeans." ........What?........ "What?" on a few different levels: 1) I WAS wearing jeans! dang. 2) Tan jeans? Really? Uh oh. See, I was nervous that this person, whomever he may be, was a lot younger than I was...mostly because his mom had told me that he was going to school at UVU to be an interpreter (a BA degree )...so I assumed he was younger. However, the foray provided by the "tan jeans" comment alerted me that we were in for the TOTALLY opposite problem. Oh man...
As I pulled into the parking lot, I actually caught sight of him walking into the restaurant. Honestly? (...don't judge...) I had to force myself not to drive away...my most recent misgivings confirmed at first sight. As I watched the balding plait of what can only be described as a 30-something year old (maybe older) trudge into the restaurant WITH HIS LAPTOP BAG IN TOW I thought, Oh dear heaven above... HF and I had a real good chat after that. I actually sat in my car for the next 10, maybe 15 minutes allowing the incessant inner-warring between pride and courtesy to run amok. Finally, after a lot of talking aloud to myself, I decided that HF understood that if I went on this stupid date, it should be my ticket straight into the celestial kingdom, husband or no.
When I got inside, he was nowhere to be found. Seriously nowhere. Carrabba's has quite the waiting area, but still...at 2:30pm, there just aren't that many people (plus all of Utah County was cheering on the Cougs....who failed, btw). There was, however, one little old lady sitting there watching me and for a split second, I almost upchucked at the thought of his mother being there as a spy...but I'm pretty sure it wasn't her. At least that's what I told myself to clam down. Anyway, couldn't find him anywhere. I must have looked really confused because the hostess said, "Can I help you?" "Uh...maybe?" "Are you meeting someone here?" "Uh...maybe?" "Well, there was a single guy in here, but he went to the bathroom a long time ago." ....................Nice. (If I weren't a nice person, I would have left right then.)
He did finally come out of the bathroom, laptop in tow still. I stood up to greet him, and bless his heart, he almost fell over backward. He came to quickly and asked where I wanted to sit (he had apparently asked where we could sit before??). I chose the room off to the side, not for any other reason but this: I figured with the laptop in tow, he probably intended to show me something dealing with sign language (that having been the ONLY connection his mother had made)...which meant he'd probably bust out some sign at some point, and I HATE signing in public, everyone stares at you. So I chose the room off to the side...plus, the crazy man had a computer with him...who does that?
Anyway, so we sat down, and he busted the laptop out, right away...weird. Then, SERIOUSLY, the 2nd, MAYBE 3rd thing he said to me was this, and I quote, "So, my mom researched your name..." .....................................(so caught off guard I simply stared and continued swallowing the water that had SO NEARLY projected from my nose just moments before, as he misread my indignation as interest)...................."Ya, she did! And apparently, if you go back far enough, we're related." And then he smiled a terrifying smile that was probably meant to be flirtatious.
WHAT THE WHAT?!?!?!? Did you? Just? Really? Seriously....where's the camera? Am I on some awful LDS dating show? I mean, seriously...with that line? Are you freakin kidding me?
And it only went downhill from there. I was carefully trying to discern what I should order, not wanting to order something extremely pricey if he didn't, but he said, "Order whatever you'd like, truly. It's all at your feet." (whatever that means) I actually opened my mouth to order a steak and shrimp combo I had been eying, but just then he cut in, ordering first, and got a SALAD. What? Shnat...change the mind quickly. (I ordered Cannelloni instead...but OH MY it was divine. The only reason worth being there, actually. Stuffed with shrimp, scallops, and lobster. Heck ya. Yum.)
Actually, there was one part of the discussion that was fascinating, and that is that he used to be deaf. He fell off the table when he was 6 months old and hit his head so hard that it jolted the bones in both of his ears loose. No one had any idea until he was 7, when he had reconstructive surgery on both ears. Unfortunately, one of them couldn't be healed, but the other has 70% hearing in it now. That part was very intriguing.
I wish I could remember all the awkward things that were said, but I've been concentrating on forgetting them instead. :) Oh it was bad. Ooohhh it was bad. At one point while he was ranting about something (still not sure what), he waved his hand as if to brush something annoying away and said, "But that's football. I hate football, so that's not important...." Seriously...this man is the anti-Karen. No matter how many times or different ways you say it, the fact is, "My parents really need me," is NOT an excuse for still living with them (having never left) at age....who knows....but old enough that it's problematic. The sweet little waitress was brilliant and came in to check on me more than usual...she was great. About half-way through I realized that I had forgotten to call my sister for backup. I intended to have her call me at a certain time so I could use it as an excuse to leave if needed, and I COMPLETELY forgot! DOH! When I realized it, I must not have hidden it very well, because my eyes got all big and he stopped his story and said, "Are you ok?" "Uh..yes, yes I'm fine." I then proceeded to devise a plan to get my cell phone out of my pocket and text said sister...'you can't do that, he's RIGHT THERE! So!!?!? Well he's deaf, not blind you idiot, he will SEE it!'
At some point (it's all a hazy blur now), he busted out his HOMEWORK on his laptop and asked for help on figuring out how to sign it. I knew it. Excuse me? If I'm supposed to be your tutor, you should be paying me, not buying me food....awkward. He also had brought along all sorts of gadgets to show me. (??) One of them was actually quite cool, but only because I'd use it in my ASL classroom, but still, he handed it to me and let me play around with it (unsuccessfully) for a second before he 1) GOT UP, 2) WALKED AROUND BEHIND ME...ya, you see where this is going. No worries, Healthy, Anti-dater Karen has cat-like speed and reflexes...I ducked out of the way with such finesse, he didn't even seem to catch it. I then continued to lean over so far I was in danger of falling out of my chair until he walked back to his seat...but just to be sure nothing was misread, I spent the rest of the time with my arms folded and legs crossed...AWAY from him. Out of nowhere, while we were still sitting down he said, "Well, maybe we could get together again some time." Uh, that's a he-- no. "We'll see," was all I said.
Luckily, I didn't need my backup plan after all. Shortly thereafter, the waiting staff came in and started arranging the room for the evening rush. He was like, "well maybe we shouldn't stay too much longer." I jumped on the idea, "Yes, actually, I have to meet someone in ten minutes...uh...wow that was great timing." And I stood up. No, I didn't have anyone to meet. Yes, I lied. No, I don't care...even to this day. I actually started to leave while he was still packing up all of his gadgets, but he did catch up with me and hold the doors open. I had had enough. As we walked out and down the steps, he said again, "Well, so..." I said, somewhat abruptly, "Well, thank you for lunch and good luck with your homework." I had conveniently parked VERY NEAR the door for precisely this reason/scenario. I was in my car before he could even blink, basically. Oi. Oh dear heaven.
I acted very normal and even suppressed the giant shudder that was building inside my spine until I was out of sight. As I drove away to my meeting with no one, I GOT A TEXT. Ya, that's right...before I even LEFT THE PARKING LOT. Oh my. I slipped into a parking space on the other side of the mall and headed into Nordstrom to engage in retail therapy. The ADT (After Date Text) contained the following, and no, I'm not kidding: "Karen, I enjoyed your countenance...." amongst other things. (See. Told you it was the make up. ;) ) WHAT THE H? oh my. My countenance is flattered, thank you. But no, I have no intent to ever see you again actually...sorry. Since I told him I'd be meeting someone, I didn't dignify it with an answer until about 6 hours later. After much deliberation (truly, we were nice and we tried to think of the best way to cut off the conversation completely but still be congenial), I sent the following: "Thanks for lunch." Done and done. Two hours later, he texted me again and gave me his email, professing to have some really funny emails he wanted to send me. Nope. I didn't even answer that one. It would not be right to answer...as I am a-feared it would lead him on (in some odd way).
It has been two days now, and I am recuperating. :) I'm certain that, other than being a funny email for you, this storied "30 years old and still single in Utah County"-esque date can be chalked up to nothing short of a waste of time...though I may return to Carrabba's for more of that divine cannelloni...
We hope you've enjoyed your evening of entertainment, here, at Karen's House of Dating Horror. Please allow time for your eyes to adjust to the lights as they come on, and file out courteously, row by row. Thank you for joining us. Drive home safely, and we hope to see you again next time...as it is sure to occur again....