The year was likely 1999 maybe even 2000. I was an aide at the hospital in this small no nothing town in which I live. I’d made friends with numerous nurses and other aides at the hospital. This lead me to helping out when their home computers blew up. That’s right, back in the days of dial up computing I was often called upon to fix their computers so they could wait whole minutes to stream enough of a video to watch it.
Ok so lots of people at that time were dialing up past dial up, but not these people, and not around here.
I found myself In the hilly region of land that grows Hillbillies, and I settled into the only nice house in the area, to fix the computer. I don’t remember now what exactly was wrong with the computer, I just know her internet connection was faulty, and I had to troubleshoot for quite a while before I made it connect.
While fighting with the infernal contraption, I made friends with some girls my own age. I headed home that night, happy with a job well done and a friend/client that could watch Kiss videos again.
This lead to a long standing friendship with both of her daughters, Marie—the eldest, and Patricia, years passed as they do, and Marie was married with a child on the way, and Patricia was dating very seriously the same guy she’d dated since school had let out.
The Year was now 2001, and I was single. I ran into both Marie and Patricia at the local grocery store, and we planned to hang out again sometime soon. I gave them both my number, and we said goodnight.
How was I to know that both Marie and Patricia were racking their brains for someone to set me up with? It wasn’t like I sat around pining for a guy, but apparently since they both had guys; I had to have one too.
To me it was out of the blue, I got a call from Marie (the oldest daughter) who made her pitch as if she’d done it a million times before.
“So, I have this friend, and you’re going to love him! He’s so sweet, and kind. Please say you’ll meet him, we’d all go meet together so it wouldn’t be like a date date, and you could go out with him if you like him, and then it would just be perfect!” I liked these girls, they were well on their way to being my friends, so I said “Sure why not.”
If you haven’t learned by now what that means, you haven’t been paying attention.
Now this is long before the “Sure why not” became a thing. It was a fledgling phrase at this time, and so you might be thinking it will turn out better for your old pal Madison. You’d be wrong.
WE set up the date/not date at the bowling alley. Now this bears noting: Two months before the date/not date, I had sprained my ankle. This was no ordinary sprain, this was “If you had broken it, it would have hurt less.” And “Wow I didn’t know a foot could swell to that size.” This sprain was beyond any pain I have felt to that point, and has only been outdone by one single injury in my life.
I still walked with a limp at this time, but with each passing day it was getting better.
As it was my right ankle, and I’m right handed, and when I bowl (badly I might add) I slide on the left foot, letting the right slide behind me… This puts considerable strain on the already strained ankle. I seriously should have thought about that before scheduling this date.
Back on point.
I should have asked to describe their friend, but this was a true blue Blind date. All I knew for certain was that this guy was nice. No strike that, he was VERY NICE, and that I’d love him.
We’d decided to meet on a Saturday, and I got dressed up, dolled up, and I looked like a million bucks. Ok so, I personally thought I looked like 10 bucks, but I digress.
I got out of my little green clown car, and walked inside the alley. Marie and Patricia were there waiting on me. They met me at the door.
“Aren’t you excited?” Marie asked exhuberantly.
“I know Bill is! He’s talked of nothing since we set this up. We told him you were a wonderful friend and very smart. He’s nervous though so he’s bringing….uh… well he’s bringing a friend.” Patricia droned off at the end.
“Yea so I think I’m just gonna go home, I don’t feel comfortable and I think I need to check on my dog.” Yea that was a good excuse right? Better than I need to wash my hair?
“NO! He’ll be here any minute, he just had to go pick something up first!” Marie interjected, she paused then continued. “I mean he’s really great, and he is so looking forward to this.” I sighed knowing I’d been beat.
“Ok.” I sighed, and we went into the arcade to wait on Bill and his friend. “You guys are going to stay for the whole night right, you’re not leaving me here with two unknown guys right?” I think my unease was growing exponentially.
I still wanted to leave so I started to pace back and forth in front of the jukebox, before deciding to put a dollar in and pick out a few songs. I’d picked my last song, and turned around, just in time to hear Patricia say “Oh here he is!”
Now I thought he might be an odd duck, you know what with having to be set up, but I wasn’t expecting what walked in through the door. The guy looked like he had the unfortunate luck to be a water baby. His head was uncomfortably too large for his body. In fact In later retellings I would come to call him a bobble head. Cruel? Perhaps, but also true.
Bill walked in with a much more attractive guy, who I quickly learned was his brother Mike. Bill had also brought in a very heavy bouquet of fresh cut flowers, rather odd ugly, fall flowers. I am not sure where he bought them, but I’d suggest if you are going to buy a woman flowers, make absolutely sure they don’t look like the season vomited.
I was raised to be polite, so I didn’t bolt out right on the date with Frankenstein’s monster and his brother-friend. We started to play a few games of pool, and when I scratched one too many times for Bill’s liking he attempted to ‘teach me’ how to play pool.
His arms wrapped around me, and I clammed up. No let’s be honest I nearly had a seizure. I didn’t want to look at this guy, and he was touching me. This date was dead In the water. I quickly suggested we change to bowling.
I feel the need to point out, it was a good deal that I wasn’t able to drink yet, because I would likely have ralphed on his brown faded tennis shoes.
As we got our lane ready and our rent-a-shoes on, I realized I needed to use the ladies (I’m not sure if it were to empty my bladder or vomit, but I rushed off.
As soon as I got inside the lavatory, my two friends started babbling away with phrases such as “What do you think?” I told them the truth, that I wasn’t interested in Bill. That’s when Patricia said “Well what about Mike?”
“Mike’s cuter, but I’m on a date with Bill, that would be rude.” We washed our hands and headed back to the lane.
We had a good time, I won which was surprising because the last time I’d bowled I’d been 10. And on the 8th frame when I released the ball, my ankle popped this loud crack that echoed through the Alley. I fell down mostly from shock, because when I stood up my ankle didn’t hurt nearly as badly as it did before. Along with being severly sprained I would assume the joint was also rather jammed as well, and with the constant stretching caused by sliding to release the bowling ball, I guess I’d finally loosened it all up enough to release.
After Falling I played up the injury (though it was better than when I started) Mike offered to help me bowl my last two frames, but I declined and thanked Bill for a lovely evening. I hobbled out of the Alley, and headed to my car.
But as my luck generally dictates, I did not get away scott-free. Bill rushed up yelling “Wait!” I did, and he handed me a teddy bear he’d left in the front seat of his car. “Here, this is for you.” I took the bear, and really didn’t want to. I wanted no false hopes on his part.
But somehow I ended up with the little ratty thing, and he leaned in for a kiss, I deftly turned my head and gave him a short chaste hug instead.
“I gotta go, have a good night!” I waved at him, and drove home as quickly as I could. I took a shower, and washed the date off of me. MY phone rang numerous times while I was showering, I didn’t answer it. I finally listened to the messages. It was as I expected. Familial calls to see if I had fun on the date, and three or four messages from Patricia and Marie. I decided to call them back later on, and curled in bed with a good book.
Books were safer, they rarely looked like bobble heads.