Jim seemed to chatter anxiously during that first phone call. I'm not a big phone-talker. I'll text you till my fingernails are broken but I do not like to spend a half hour on the phone making small talk. I talk on the phone to make plans to meet in person. Then the small talk can commence. This initial conversation with Jim lasted 20 minutes too long...so about 23 minutes total. I may have said 16 words (squeezed in edgewise) in that full 23 minutes. I was worried that I'd be nervous and wouldn't know what to do with awkward silences. Nervous, I was not. Annoyed, yes. My friends suggested he was just nervous. Sure, maybe he was nervous. That's right.
We settled on plans for dinner and a movie. (Cliché as it is, there was nothing else really going on in town that night. And I would soon be very glad about the decision to see a movie as it gave me an opportunity to not hear him talk.) I chose a place for dinner with low lighting and pseudo-romantic ambiance...with great veal.
I really like good food. More importantly, I like rotini.
Rotini is like number 10 in the picture (it may actually be a picture of fussili, but they're so similar, I wouldn't know the difference). The noodles that were brought to the table with my veal were not 10s. They were 8s. Excuse me?
As the waiter, turned to walk away, I say (well, scream, I guess), "THIS IS NOT ROTINI."
His eyes were big as saucers when he turned around. "Yes, it is," the young sassy thing replied.
"NO sir, it is NOT. Rotini is tightly twisted. It is plain to see that this is a LOOSE twist, is it not?"
"Well, ma'am, that's what we've been serving as rotini."
"Hmph. Well, you can tell your management that this is NOT rotini and I am disappointed. I expected rotini with my veal."
As the waiter cowered off into the kitchen (where I presume he didn't tell the management that I was disappointed because no free drinks were acquired), I looked at Jim.
I don't have words to describe his face. Astonishment? Embarrassment? Terror? Arousal? I can't say for sure.
Oh my stars, I've just screamed at the waiter about my noodles in the first 20 minutes of my date. I could have crawled under the table. Instead, I sucked down my vodka tonic so quickly I got the brain freeze and apologized for probably 3 minutes. Then I decided to stop talking about the infernal noodles and ask this kid some questions.
Within a few minutes of allowing Jim to talk about himself, he'd forgotten all about the noodle incident and seemed to become entranced with the sound of his own voice. He told me everything. Every bit of employment he'd had since he was 18, his salary at each job (including his current salary - in detail), all his ex-girlfriends' logistics and ethnicities.
"Another Vodka Tonic, please?" Number 3.
(By the by, I was able to smooth things over with the waiter with a little innocent flirting. I'm irresistible, even when the noodles aren't quite right.)
My eyes were beginning to cross as he prattled on and on about watching Harry Potter in Spanish, about pranks he and his co-workers play on each other, about the driving he does all over the country for his work. Number 4, please.
I should also mention that by this point I was sweating profusely. So sexy.
We met for dinner at 6:30 and the movie we planned to see didn't show until 10. What was I thinking? Oh, I was thinking we'd have plenty of time to discuss baby names and china patterns.
As the evening crept on, I thought a good way to kill some time would be to go to the bathroom for a while and text all my friends about my current circumstances. But the bathroom in this place was absolutely sweltering, and I couldn't stand to stay in there longer than I needed for business purposes. When I walk out of the bathroom, there sat Jim. He'd moved from our table to sit at the table directly in front of the bathroom door. Startled, I almost groaned an 'oohgeez' accompanied by an eye-roll when I saw him sitting there.
"I think they're ready for us to leave," he says. What? No, they aren't. We're giving them our money. There are still other people here. I didn't have it in me to argue. To the theater.
We were early, of course, and sat awkwardly next to each other as we watched those stupid pre-movie commercials. And Jim talked. I couldn't tell you what he talked about during this time; I was doing my very best to keep my mind a complete blank so I didn't scream something about noodles or Harry Potter or vodka.
The lights dimmed and the previews began. You know how the volume comes up when the previews are starting to let you know things are about to get serious? Know what that inspires? Jim to lean closer to my ear so I can hear him talking about the Mayan calender over the booming sound effects. When the movie started, I looked at him with big, obvious eyes and gave him a big, obvious "shhh." He didn't stop until he finished his thought. How terribly open-ended the evening would have been, had he not been able to finish telling me all the end-of-the-world theories of which he is aware.
I cannot say that he wasn't quiet during the show, but I will not lead you to believe that he said nothing. I ignored him. I divided all my energy between enjoying the movie (which I really wanted to see) and avoiding any physical contact with Jim (so as to not lead him on). He was all over my arm rest and I could see that he was trying to lean in for a hand-on-the-knee or some other variation of a movie-theater-move. But I was pulled in like a frightened turtle.
We both enjoyed the movie and were able to talk about it all the way to our cars. I gave him the usually-meaningless sideways hug and shouted, "Talk to you on the internet," as I ducked into my car.
There has been no further contact between Jim and Lucy.
Internet date number one completed. I paid money to put myself through this?