It’s the 14th day of February and if you’re in a relationship, you know what today is.
Heck, even if you’re single, you know that today is Valentine’s Day.
As for your dear narrator, this will be the twenty-third consecutive V-Day I have spent together with my lovely wife.
I vaguely recall what my last February 14th was like as a single person (the year would have been 1993 for those of you keeping track of such things). Given my dating history, it is a good and wonderful thing that I have found the love o’ my life and do not have to swim in the dating pool ever again. As an example of said sad “history”, I take you back to the ending months of 1992. I was living in San Diego at the time and after almost two years of being a single guy, I decided to try the dating scene.
What immediately followed in the three months that spanned December 1992 and February 1993 were the episodes I labelled Date Disasters #1, #2, and #3.
This is the story of Disaster #2.
After living in my apartment for a few months, I received a letter from the local electric company invited me to a hotel ballroom to learn all about the exciting energy-saving programs this utility had on offer. It was only 90 minutes of my time and I had nothing else going on during this day of the week, so I decided to follow my mother’s advice and “Go, you might meet someone.”
As it happened, I went and I met someone.
I arrived a tad after the speaker had already begun his presentation and I found the closest empty seat that I could to avoid disturbing all the other people who knew how to be on time. I plunked myself down in a seat and found myself next to a woman around my own age. I looked at her as I placed my seat on the seat and she glanced at me.
It is at this point in a story that the narrator would provide a physical description of a newly-introduced character. The narrator could say she had short brown hair, blue eyes, and wore a tan sweater with faded blue jeans. The narrator could say she had long blond hair, brown eyes, and wore a boa and a trench coat. As I am the narrator here, my problem here is that I can’t for the life of me recall what she looked like. What I can impart to you is that her name was Olivia.
To make what could be a novel-sized tale short (and really, you shouldn’t be spending all of your free time reading a blog anyway), we wound up chatting with other because there is only so much interest kilowatts, heat expenditures, and BTUs can generate. After a fascinating conversation revolving around the weather, the Padres, and Eric Idle (he of Monty Python fame and wit), I was ready to summon up my courage and give her my phone number.
However, in a first, and never-repeated event, in your kind narrator’s life, she handed me her number as she left.
I called her up and invited her out to dinner at one of my favorite sushi restaurants in the Mission Beach area of America’s Finest City. We had a thoroughly delightfully time as she told me of her time growing up on a ranch in Wyoming. After dessert, she asked if we could skip our planned movie as she invited me back to her apartment.
Mentally raising one eyebrow, I agreed.
One of the first things she did in the privacy of her own place was to light up a joint.
Short of faking a ruptured kidney, I tried to leave as quickly as decorum would allow.
It’s not that I don’t like people who do drugs, but I don’t like people who do drugs. She may have been the most engaging raconteur, a gourmet cook, crack puns left and right, and know the titles of every episode of Star Trek, but all that is meaningless if drugs are involved.
I would have one more Date Disaster and after three debacles in a row, I vowed – on this day 24 years ago – that I was giving up on dating, relationships, and women.
That vow lasted for a week.
That’s my story.
P.S. As for the details behind Date Disasters #1 and #3 in that saga of woe, well…those are horror stories for another holiday.