What in the hell am I doing? I am standing in front of the Jade Garden, a Chinese restaurant here in Mt. Vernon waiting on a girl named Laura who is meeting me on her lunch break. I am ten minutes early, so I have a little bit of time to try to figure it out.
I met Laura through a Yahoo Personals ad. We had only talked to each other twice, and that was by using Yahoo Messenger. Right now I am feeling pretty much like a yahoo myself.
I remember when I used to make fun of people who used online dating services. In fact, in its own little way, that is what got me into this predicament in the first place.
About four years ago my wife and I separated for the third time and I moved to Florida. While I was there I decided to put an ad on Yahoo Personals. After I finished it, I reminded myself I didn't believe in online dating, and never looked at it again.
We eventually got back together about eight or nine months later.
Last February 14, I woke up expecting to tell my wife Happy Valentines Day, and instead the bed was empty. I went out to the living room and she was on the couch. She looked up at me and said, "Happy Valentines Day. Get out."
She was holding a couple of pages worth of printer paper and on it was my personals profile from Yahoo. It seems that when I had upgraded my Yahoo subscription, when I started my own business, Yahoo started to update all of my personal information automatically across the board. Even though I had not looked at that profile since the day I made it four years ago, it was showing me as active.
Someone decided to print out the personals ad that said I was active in the last day and give it to Jenean. She wouldn't hear, or believe, any explanation about what had happened. Beings we were having a rocky relationship anyway and coupled with the fact that I didn't see the point of being with someone who wouldn't trust me I did what she said. I got out.
I ended up getting a bright idea a few weeks ago. Beings the original personals ad was in a way responsible for breaking the camel's back, I would use it to meet someone new and see if I couldn't get this old camel walking again.
Now why I would put an ad up, when I have already determined that they are lame and I make fun of people who do use them, is still a mystery.
It may have something to do with the fact that I am 34, don't like the bar scene, and being pretty much anti-social I don't know anyone.
Anyway, I put my ad back up, sent out a few letters and received a few. Now here it is two weeks later and I was now about three minutes away from the first semi-real date I had been on in close to eight years.
The temperature is about 100 degrees today so I go inside of the lobby to wait. As I am looking at the brochures for different attractions in Southern Illinois, the door opens and Laura walks in.
Great, my time to figure this out is up and I still don't know what I am doing.
There seems to be one bonus to all of this though, she looks like her picture. Even better than her picture actually and I thought she was cute in it. She is about 5'1", short blond hair, and deep blue eyes. She is wearing Capri jeans and a blue checked shirt with Pooh and Tigger.
Overall, for just a quick glance, I think I may have gotten lucky this time around. She is very nice looking.
"Have you been waiting long?" She asked.
"Nah, only about 10 minutes."
We move through the hotel lobby where the restaurant is located and start towards the dining room. The waitress seats us at a booth and takes our drink orders. After we both order tea, Laura stands back up and asked, "Ready?"
Nodding my assent, we head off towards the buffet. Being the carnivore I am, I start taking only meats. Sun Tzu crispy chicken, pineapple chicken, mushroom pork, peppered beef; well I guess you get the idea.
Her tastes appear to be more human than mine are. A little of this, a little of that, some rice, some crab, some chicken. She looks over at my plate loaded up in sauce-covered protein. I shrug as well as I can with one shoulder and tell her that vegetables get in the way of the real food.
Seated back at the table I can't get over how pretty her eyes are. Uh-oh, she has caught me staring at her. Not good for the first date, get together, or whatever this is classified as. "So, where do you like to go fishing?" I figured this would be a safe question and I hoped it would sidetrack her from realizing that I was staring. From talking to her last night I knew that she loved fishing just as much as I did and that she had went the night before.
"I go just about anywhere I can. Last night I went over to a friend's house. He is the CO for the Young Marines and he was going to help my daughter. She got her help and I got to fish, so it worked out fine.
"Oh yeah, don't let me forget. I'm supposed to bring a plate back for my friend at work."
"If you do forget, just blame it on me. She doesn't know who I am so I'm safe." Hmm, I even got a grin out of that. Even I thought it was lame when I was saying it.
After a few minutes of talking and getting to know each other better, I looked down and noticed my plate is empty. I don't remember eating all of it, but unless she was grabbing food off my plate when I was blinking, I guess I did.
I got up to go for seconds. I know I don't need anymore, but it was good and I'm enjoying myself. It's been a long time since Scotty has been happy. Okay, so maybe I'm not happy, but I am close enough to it right now that it doesn't matter.
I still can't get over how pretty her eyes are and how attractive she is in general. Try to forget about her eyes. You just about walked into this poor guy and his egg rolls. Try to remember where you were sitting. Oh yeah, over there.
We were talking some more about everything and nothing when I start noticing an influx of people coming in. I am guessing it is probably close to 1300 hours. "What time do you have? I quit wearing a watch once my arm was in this sling."
She glanced down and told me it was a quarter to one and it was time for her to be getting back. I take the check off the table and move towards the register to take care of the bill, while she goes to get her co-worker some food.
As she is walking back up to the register with the take-out, I notice how short she is. Then again compared to my 6'4" frame many people are short.
"You weren't kidding. You really are 5'1". I think I'll start calling you Elf." She grinned at the comment and mentioned how her daughter is almost as tall as she is. At least she didn't get mad at the Elf comment. I'll take that as a good sign. I meant it as a compliment, but beings she didn't know my fascination with fantasy-fiction she couldn't have known that.
We walk out into the million-degree heat. "Thanks again for having lunch with me." I tell her.
"Thank you for inviting me."
Here's the part where I have always have problems. Do I walk off, shake hands, hug, or flee for my life before she pulls a glock out of her SUV? She solved the problem for me.
"How about a hug before I go." I bend down noticing for the second time in less than three minutes how much shorter she is than me.
Oh yeah, this is a very nice package to hug. I would have preferred a kiss, but let's get real for a moment, shall we? One, I don't even know her last name. Two, I barely know anything at all about her. Three she knows nothing about me. Four, I don't want to rush anything. I want this to turn out to be a good, solid, strong relationship.
Wait...Did I just say that? No, I couldn't have. I don't want a relationship! Do I? Damn, I guess I do. Huh, who would have thought I would be thinking "relationship" this early in the game. Oh well, I like her and am hoping to see her again. If I'm lucky I didn't scare her off.
"Why don't you give me a call tonight, okay?"
"Sure thing. Thanks again." She unlocks the door to her big black SUV and off she goes.
I hope I have an opportunity to add more to this story. Why? Because I think we just clicked.