Misery Loves Cocktails
Vicki had the following prompts to choose from:
Amy – The man with the shovel kept appearing at that same spot
Cameron – Making words out of numbers on an upside-down calculator
Erika – I thought it was just a glass of water, until it wasn’t
Jen – Opening line: Watermelon Juice and champagne cocktails make for a sweet hangover.
Warning: All of the events you are about to read are based on my true story. Beverages have been changed for detail embellishment.
Watermelon juice and champagne cocktails make for a sweet hangover. At least I was in good company when the four glasses of sweet, sweet danger hit my lips like water. My roommate and I woke in a headache of hysteria as we laughed over my misery from the night before. If only this sweet concoction had been available to me last night, I could have put my watermelon champagne goggles on, although, I don’t think it would have helped.
To summarize the meet-cute, which ended up being a meet-awful, I had been asked out on a date by a dude who stumbled upon a little, quaint bakery that I frequented. Being in a terrible funk of a mood, I looked the part with no make up, messy side-braided hair, yoga capris, surf shirt and Vans shoes. Can you say hot? But this guy (to be known from now on as Bakery Boy) talked his way into my cold exterior while I chomped on a chocolate croissant, and I went with a “yes girl” attitude and accepted a date. I mean, how bad could a guy be if he thought I was attractive and funny enough in my homeless looking state. I made it through a bit of an awkward, but not terrible, first date with Bakery Boy. My jury was out on him so I decided to give date two a try.
It was terrible. Note to self: trust the gut. Something came over me that told me that this was going to be a complete waste of my time. New to the world of dating – yes, that’s right, new to dating – I talked to a few guy co-workers about the upcoming date and funnily enough, they gave me the OK to bail. However, if I’m going to be a bitch, I’d rather do it to someone’s face rather than give a lame excuse like “Oh, I got food poisoning at lunch,” or “I have to deep condition my hair.” So I did what any girl, I think, would do: I sucked it up, looked forward to a free meal and left to meet Bakery Boy for a 7:15pm date.
On my way out, the roomie gave me a quick “have an open mind” pep talk and said she would meet me out of a drink later.
It’s five minutes before 7:15 and he calls me, just like he did on the first date.
“Hello?” I said.
“Hey Hey! Uhhh, where are you?” he said in a tone like I was already standing him up. Yes, he did this to me on the first date, too, only I was one minute late.
“Uh, well, it’s not 7:15 yet. So I’m on my way to the restaurant.”
“We were supposed to meet at 7.”
Having the compassion that I do, I immediately felt a pang of niceness. “Oh, sorry. I thought you said 7:15.”
“Nah, I’m just kidding. I did say 7:15.” I wish my massive eye roll was visible over the phone. When retelling the woes of just this part of my date to the roomie later that night over those watermelon champagne cocktails, she slammed her glass down and said she would have turned the car around right then.
White knuckling my steering wheel, I said through my gritted teeth: “OK, so I’ll be there at 7:15.” I hung up and dreaded the night even more. However, I was a bit curious on a more psychological level to see just how insane this guy could be.
I showed up to Cattleman’s, which if you haven’t been, is wonderfully decorated in a terribly tacky western-style, and I think it was probably the first established building in Livermore, probably in 1859, just as the wild frontier was emerging. I met him at his car where he gave me a hug, tried to lean in for a kiss – that I happily denied – and immediately jabbed me for being two minutes late.
“I guess I’m just more punctual that you are.” I let that one slide and didn’t respond to his attempt to jest me. “I think they might give our table away since you’re so late.”
“REALLY?” I exclaimed. He noticed my shortness and tried to play it off but we shuffled our way into the saloon-like doors, our spurs clicking on the worn floorboards.
I moved my piece of hay to the side and tipped my 20-gallon hat up and saw it was dead in there. Only the crickets were chirping. I had the urge to walk to the hostess stand in my chaps and ask where I could find Curly because he stole my horse and was wanted with the sheriff. I contained myself, though, and we walked to the front to claim our reservation. My eagle eyes saw that the name had been crossed off. Oh, this will be fun, I thought.
“Did you give away our reservation?” Bakery Boy asked to a waitress who happened to be standing there.
“Yikes, I guess the hostess did. I’m really sorry. We will get you seated in just a minute. I’m really very sorry.”
I chimed in with a happy sing-songy voice. “Oh that’s OK. Don’t worry about it.” Again, the restaurant was feeding crickets.
But he turned to me. “See? They did give our reservation away because you were late. I kind of want to meet this guy who took our table.” I started to see some hidden rage and wondered if he had just been released from his most recent anger management session.
“It’s no big deal. They aren’t very busy and I’m not starving this time,” making sure to mention that he didn’t feed me in a timely manner on our first date.
He paused for a minute. “Yeah, I think I want to find out who this guy is.”
But thankfully, our table was ready. As we were led to our trough via the Oregon Trail, I looked past the point of no return. Bakery Boy turned to me and said, “I’m going to try to get something free out of this.”
My jaw dropped and I knew I was officially in the deepest shit a girl can find herself in.
We sat down and the flannel-mouther painfully started the report building conversations only to soon be interrupted by the waitress when she asked if we wanted something to drink.
“Beer.” I said abruptly. As soon as it arrived, I cut the dust and downed the hatch. I felt like I needed to slide my empty glass down the long table to a bartender on the other end and wait for the “what’s troubling you, sweetheart?” talk.
I opened my menu but before I could even look, Bakery Boy recommended the “Dinner for Two” and said it was the best deal. Interesting on multiple counts. In one sentence, he had successfully proved that he knew all about the menu – upside-down mind you – and threw down the cheap-ass card. And it wasn’t the best deal, because if I got a $17 steak and $5 beer, it still would have been less than the $70 bill he picked up. Fail on his part.
“Well, I think I’ll get either the filet mignon or rib eye.”
I didn’t want to announce my order but I felt obligated. “I’m going to have the prime rib.”
“Oh good, I was hoping you would say that so I could have some.”
No. Uh-hu. Boundaries buddy. One thing you need to know about me is that I don’t share food willingly. There are a few exceptions to this rule and those people know who they are. I’m territorial when it comes to food. When I explained this as bluntly as I did just now, he was majorly taken back. I knew at this moment, there would be no third date and he would be lucky if I didn’t get off this rickety wagon and make my own trail to freedom. But I stayed, for the sake of research.
The meal was ridiculous. Bottomless bread, bottomless salad, a heaping mound of “tumbleweed onions” for an appetizer, main course with heavy side dishes, and dessert. The Dinner for Two could have easily been called the Family Meal Deal. There is a reason why America is fat and Cattleman’s is a proud contributor.
The appetizer came out seconds before our entrées and the waitress apologized profusely, which I accepted and moved on. The manager even felt the need to come by and say that he would take the appetizer off the bill. Fine by me. I had already determined that I wasn’t paying anyway. But Bakery Boy couldn’t go without making the following comment: “Looks like we got something for free after all!” I looked for something to gauge my eyes out with.
When my prime rib was placed in front of me, I dived right in. About half way through our meal and continued awkward conversations, I peered up at him and saw him looking at my food and then at me. And then back at my food. And then at me. Annoyed, I asked, “Would you like some?”
“Well,” he said slyly, “I have only been eying it since they brought our food.”
Ugggggggghhhhhhhhh! I cut off a good piece and just slopped it on his plate. Anything to get me through this night faster. But it wasn’t good enough.
He inspected the meat. “Oh, there’s a lot of fat on this piece,” he said perplexed. He cocked his head, squinted his eyes and said, “Did you give me that piece on purpose?”
My face went into shock. Openly irritated, I cut off another, bigger piece and threw it down on the plate with a forceful: “Here!”
I went back to eating with a smirk for my assertive action. After a few seconds, I looked up to see him studying me and he knew he pushed a button. Really, he’d already pushed all my buttons by this point.
There was no way I was finishing my food or the dessert, so at least I got some leftovers and massive chocolate cake out of the night. When the check came, I ignored it. I wasn’t about to do the check dance where I pull out my card and he would offer to pay, because honestly, I think he would have “let me” pay half to empower the woman in me. That would be bullshit. I thought about proposing him to pay me for this night; however, I think that’s illegal. I looked everywhere but at the check. After about 5 minutes, he picked it up. He laid the bill in the middle of the table so I could clearly see it and stammered as he talked out the tip he was going to give. I looked at the ceiling for about two minutes while he figured this one out.
Finally, the light at the end of the trail was approaching fast. I took my shopping outlet-sized doggie bag and walked passed the hostess stand where Bakery Boy took two handfuls of mints. Fucking free loader.
“Would you like one?” he said as he offered me a stolen mint.
“No thank you.”
“Uh, fine,” he replied in an offended valley girl voice.
Upon walking out, he still thought the date was going well enough to ask if I wanted to continue to hang out. Explicit tourettes was happening in my head, but I composed myself to politely say “no” and walked to my car. I tried to escape so I gave a quick hug to rid him from me along with a half-assed “bye”.
“What? No kiss?”
The amount of times I pick my jaw off the floor this night was making my arms tired. I made a snap decision. I’ll never see this idiot again in my life, and I got a free 15-course meal. I can sacrifice one peck on the cheek. Gross.
I immediately made it to my roomie at the bar to recount the events of the night over sweet, blissful alcohol. We laughed at my misery and I felt good again. As we drank and laughed the night away, she bet money that he’d call me. I countered and said that I was so cold that there would be no follow up. It amazes me that some people actually think their social behavior is OK. I had been experiencing a lot of negativity in my life over the past few months, but at least I knew I could present myself as an acceptable human being in public. Never thought a pat on the back would come in the form of spending an hour and a half with a total idiot.
Hung-over moments like these make you appreciate the friends you have, no matter how far away they seem in proximity or in emotion. Those sweet drinks are just what a girl needs to heal sometime. Not because of the alcohol, but because of the connection you feel and conversations you have when you’re with someone, anyone, who truly understands you. And that’s why watermelon juice and champagne cocktails make for the sweetest of hangovers.
*In case you’re wondering, yes, he did call me again, but I let it that one go to voicemail.
Vicki Taylor lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and loves to write about the horribly humiliating events of her life and welcome others into her personal chuckle hut. In between working and working out and working out her mind, she puts pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) in an attempt to open up her life to others in her official start of her first novel. She lives an active lifestyle, has the best dog in the world and enjoys adventuring anywhere that will have her.