The Whimper of Chance

Dearest Rachel –

It’s not exactly axiomatic, but it should go without saying that it’s the misadventures in life that make some of the best stories. This wasn’t the kind of misadventure where the worst possible thing happened, so it won’t be the most ripping of yarns. And yet, it had all the potential to be both something great or something terrible, and I at least took the chance to find out what might happen. The fact that it ended with a whimper rather than a bang (poor choice of words, I suppose) was rather beyond my control.

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve joined a social networking site (not Facebook, mind you; I’ll have no more to do with that then what’s connected to your name). It functions roughly the same way as Facebook, though, as far as I know, with friend requests and group and news feeds and what have you. All the usual stuff, you know. And while I’ve made several friends from the whole PJ Media connection, I’ve also gotten a few requests out of the blue. And since I’m a “speak when spoken to” type, I usually honor these requests, and start chatting. It’s how I met Victoria, as you will recall. It’s a dicey proposition, according to some people, but as long as it stays digital, what harm is there in it, really?

The other day, however, someone chatted me up, and promptly asked me where I was from. It’s a fairly standard question, to be sure, but after I gave my stock answer of ‘Chicago,’ she pressed for specifics. That’s a little more unusual question, since most of the suburbs that surround the city are unfamiliar to non-natives, and the names would mean next to nothing to them. But hey, she asked, so I figured I might as well oblige. Lo and behold, she not only recognizes the town, but announces she lives in the next town over – presumably, as close as across the street.

“Just realize,” she says, before adding, “So how’s it gonna be, baby?” It’s not the sort of banter I’m accustomed to, but it’s the sort of thing that suggests I need to respond to it. So I do, about as lamely as possible:

“How’s what going to be?”

“Are you going to hook up with me or not?”

Oh… kay. Not wasting any time here, are we? In fact, given how that phrase could be interpreted, I could easily be out of my depth. To be honest, if she meant ‘hook up’ in the sense I’m used to hearing it used these days, I had every intention of telling her she was talking to the wrong guy. I know that I’m not cheating on you, now that you’re gone; our vows were ‘until death do you part,’ so I’m off the hook if I were to find a relationship with someone else. But if this gal is really just looking for someone to schtup, then she’s probably done this before, and will likely do it again, and that’s not the kind of gal I’m looking for.

So I played dumb, and asked her what she meant by that. Interestingly, she actually responded that she supposedly meant just going on a date. As much as I’m not sure whether that’s really what she initially meant, or whether she meant more than that, and just backed down because of my responses, I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt at this point. Besides, the boys had just left to meet with some of the guests of honor at Logan’s family’s restaurant (and having eaten late in the afternoon with Lars, I decided not to join them), and the house was empty and quiet. Were I to take someone out to dinner, even a complete stranger in a self-orchestrated blind date, it would at least be something to do to drown out the deafening silence.

I knew I was taking a chance, but what was the worst that could happen, apart from being stood up and having to go back home and spend the evening there by myself? I was already doing that at this point, so what difference would it make? At least, I might yet have an relatively interesting story for you.

That last paragraph was foreshadowing, by the way.

Anyway, I agreed that a date sounded fine, and asking when and where she would like to go. “Your place will be fine,” she responded.


I was starting to wonder if maybe I was being put on. I’d just gotten her to back down about what she meant by ‘hook up,’ and now she’s suggesting coming over to my place? She can’t possibly be serious about this.

Still, one must eat, after all, and this mercurial girl might yet be an interesting one for dinner conversation, if clearly ‘the kind you don’t take home to mother,’ as Rick James put it. At least with the remodeling work, I had an excuse not to have her over to the house, but I continued to press my suit by offering to meet her for dinner.

She then, quite reasonably, asked me to give suggestions, and I discovered I was at something of a loss. I mean, sure, there’s the Station, but sushi for a first date (particularly one that didn’t look like it would pan out to anything I could live with) seemed like overkill. But most of the other places I’m familiar with around here are either fast food or sports bars, neither of which seemed quite appropriate, either. I finally suggested the latter, although I also mentioned the Station as an option until it became clear she didn’t have a preference between the two – why waste ammo on the big guns, in that case? – and the original meeting time flew by as I waited for a choice.

We appeared to agree to meet at 8 at Rep’s, and I drove over there to meet her, only to notice a text message that she didn’t “have any cash with me to pay my gas fee.”

The phrasing this girl was using… it never ceased to amaze me. At first, I thought she was concerned that by not having ready cash, she couldn’t take care of her end of the restaurant bill, which I assured her was no problem – if nothing else, I come from a background where the guy pays on a date, anyway – but the phrase ‘gas fee’ didn’t make sense in that context. Eventually, after a little questioning and a few two-word answers on her part, it was clear that she didn’t have enough for gas in her car to meet me anywhere, and preferred to be picked up. Considering I was already at the restaurant, and it was in her own town, that seemed odd, but again, picking up the girl used to be traditional date behavior, so I didn’t have any real problem with that. All I needed was an address to pick her up at, and I asked her for it.

That was the last I heard from her. I sat outside the restaurant for the better part of an hour, waiting for a reply; I wasn’t going anywhere until I knew where I was going, but without a response, I couldn’t even do that. I sent a few text messages to repeat my request, but after an hour of silence, I let her know I was giving up, although I let her know “we can try again another time if you’d rather.”

And so, I was back where I started, spending the remainder of the evening at home – although not alone as such, since the boys were pulling into the driveway at the exact same moment I was. The evening had come to an end, not with a bang, but a whimper.

Not that I’d necessarily want it to end with a bang, although this girl had made several implications that it might have.

Copulation was, I’m sure, Marilyn’s uncomplicated way of saying ‘thank you.’

Nunnally Johnson, on Marilyn Monroe

I’m not going to claim to be all virtuous and holier-than-thou (I think I’ve made it clear that I miss our times together, after all), but I’m really not interested in a fling or a one-night stand – nor am I interested in a girl that appears to be herself. When you come down to it, girl like that isn’t so much a friend or even a companion, so much as an amusement park ride. Still, I may have been reading too much into her words – and even if not, the dinner conversation could have been fascinating.

But it’s all moot at this point. Still, I’d hope you found this story more interesting than if I’d just stayed at home, watching YouTube videos (which is essentially what I ended up doing for the rest of the evening in any event).

Anyway, I’ll keep in touch as things continue to unfold. Keep an eye out for me, honey, and wish me luck – I’m clearly still in need of it.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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