This one is a slight oldie, and kind of long, but it's definitely a goodie. Enjoy.
It was early February 2012, and I was on my way to meet my date. I realized I left my purse on my dining room table. Not a good way to start.
I gave him a call around 2:45pm. I fortunately had my phone in hand upon leaving my house thinking my purse was in my car. We were meeting at Disneyland; he worked there and could get us in free. (I will never pass up a free trip to Disneyland.)
We had planned to meet in the middle of the two park entrances at 3:00pm, but seeing as I had no cash or card, I had to have his help to park. We decided I would pick him up on the street near the parking structure.
Perfect, I thought. He mentioned hugging when we met to avoid an awkward handshake. Strange, but the thought was fleeting. With my lapse, we needn't have to worry about either.
As I drove up to him on the curb, I noticed he was attractive - about 5'10", handsome face, dark hair. Not bad. I was excited.
We entered the parking structure, he leaned over me, flashed his employee card to the attendant, and we were off to park.
It didn't dawn on my until this moment that trekking through Disneyland on a blind date may not be the best idea. There could potentially be several long, awkward minutes (and maybe hours) to kill in lines. Again, the thought was fleeting.
While on the tram riding to the park, he asked me what ride I wanted to go on first. It had been years since I had been - Nemo was under construction the last time, so naturally I wanted to see if it lived up to the hype they had created years before.
It didn't. I get claustrophobic and motion sickness quite easily, so this was not the best of rides to go on first. But, I survived and we got off the ride to discuss where we would go next.
He suggested that we go on Star Tours next. Not fully remembering which ride this was, I agreed. He bought me a water and we got in line. I think it was about a 45 minute wait. Considering how packed it was, it wasn't too long. As we stood in line with the masses, memories of the ride came flooding back into my mind. I realized that this was, indeed, the worst ride for me to go on. This ride is a perfect recipe for a headache and vomit for someone who gets motion sickness. Not sure what to do, since this was a blind date, I continued on in a stupor of slow breathing and concentrating, trying to force any upcoming nausea out before it had a chance to creep in.
We got on the ride.
We buckled our seat belts and the ride began.
I'm not sure how long the ride lasts, but I am sure that it was pretty dark in there. For that I was thankful, as I think my color may have been somewhere between green and gray. As I allowed my body to flop to the left, and sway violently to the right with each twist, turn, and jerk of the seat I was securely buckled in, I kept my eyes closed, my breathing slow, and forced any unwanted breakfast or lunch to stay put. I could hear the other riders laughing and oohing and aahhhing and I wished desperately the ride would be over. Slowly, with a few bounces and shakes, I realized we had "landed" back at Disneyland.
A success! No puke on me, or anyone else for that matter. But, I knew I needed a very long line and mellow ride after this - I had to let my equilibrium return to normalcy. Before he could mention any ride he hoped to go on, I blurted out, "Pirates!"
NOTE: If you haven't been on this ride, it is quite possibly the slowest ride in the whole park, with the exception of "It's a Small World." I knew that I wouldn't be able to maintain my lunch with "It's a Small World" theme song playing, loudly, for the near 8 minutes of the ride, so I waited for the approval of my ride choice eagerly - moments feeling like minutes.
He agreed. I relaxed. We headed to Adventure Land.
At this point, aside from my close call with embarrassment and trying to keep my breathing even to avoid any future embarrassments, I realized that though he was a very sweet guy, he was not a man that I would want to continue any relationship with. But, since we were at Disneyland and I didn't know when I'd be able to go back, I decided to make the best of it.
The ride was exactly what I needed. Slow. Nothing unexpected.
We walked outside and the smell of clam chowder and sourdough bread bowls caused my mouth to water instantly. I forgot how much I loved this area of Disneyland - the rides, the food, the atmosphere.
I also realized how hungry I was at that moment. He must have, too.
"Are you hungry?" he asked.
"I'm starving!" I tried to conceal the desperation in my voice.
"Okay, give me your three top choices of where to eat."
"Alright. Number one: right here at this clam chowder place..."
"Number two: the Corn Dog cart..."
"Number three: I can't think of a number three. Just not the Happy Birthday cafe. I got sick there once."
He paused. Contemplated.
"Okay, my top three choices...The Hungry Bears Cafe. The Happy Birthday cafe. The [I can't remember what he said]."
This time I paused. Really? Were you listening to me at all? I didn't respond, as I didn't know what to say.
"Well, what are your three choices outside the park?" he asked as we started walking toward the front gate.
"Um, I haven't tried it, but have always wanted to try the La Jolla Bakery."
No answer. Still walking.
"Okay, um, I love the Rainforest Cafe."
"No. I don't do the Rainforest Cafe."
"Got it. What about the Mexican food restaurant? I think it's called Tortilla Joe's?"
"Hmm...no. I like the ESPN Zone..." [and he mentioned two other restaurants that I don't recall.]
I was kind of at a loss at this point. It was almost 7:00pm on a Saturday night. I was starving, my back was starting to hurt from the cold and an injury the previous summer, and we weren't getting any closer to making a decision of where to eat.
We continued to walk through Downtown Disney.
We were nearing the Rainforest Cafe. Oh, I thought, maybe he changed his mind!
He looked at me.
"We're going to ESPN Zone."
Slightly flabbergasted, I replied, "Okay." What else was there to say?
As we entered the restaurant, he flew by some men who were standing near the hostess station and started putting his name in. I asked them, mortified, if they were in line waiting. Fortunately, they weren't.
The wait was going to be about an hour. He looked at me, and I said it was up to him.
We left and headed toward Tortilla Joe's.
Again, the wait would be about an hour. He told me he couldn't wait that long. I reminded him that at 7:00 on a Saturday night we would be lucky to find anything shorter.
We stopped. He thought. He remembered a place.
"There is a restaurant at one of the hotels. Do you want to try that?"
"The Storyteller's Cafe? I like that place. Let's go."
We started walking toward it. Finally, a decision!
"The wait is about 20 minutes," the hostess cheerfully replied.
Done! We will get a bowl of bread soon enough! At this point, it was almost 7:30 and I was starting to get shaky.
"They even have a buffet," he told me, "but I forgot to ask how much it costs...But I'm not cheap!"
What an interesting string of thoughts.
"You get a discount as an employee, so it shouldn't be too bad." I tried to calm his nerves, as I could tell he realized he was thinking out loud. It didn't bother me.
"Do you want to get the buffet, too?"
"No. Honestly, I never eat enough to make the cost worth it."
"Do you need to go to the bathroom?"
"Yeah, I could go."
"Okay, I'll take you to my favorite bathrooms. They have doors and walls that go all the way to the floor and ceiling, so you get plenty of privacy, if you know what I mean."
What? Seriously, I don't want to talk about that on a first date. Things were starting to go downhill.
When we got to the bathrooms, I realized he was right. They were nice.
I decided to hang out for a bit. I took out my phone and texted my mom.
Hey Ma, I'm still on my date. In the restroom. Not feeling it. I'll call you when I'm on my way home.
Are you still there? I'm making dinner if you want to stop by.
No, we're about to have dinner. Call you soon.
I walked out and the buzzer-thing had gone off. Hooray! Time to eat!
We went back to the restaurant, checked in, and were seated. He got his buffet plate and got a plate-full.
"Please, eat," I encouraged.
"Are you sure? You don't mind?"
"Not at all."
At this point, I could not control my hands from shaking as I buttered my roll. I took my first bite. It melted in my mouth. Delicious.
My mood was getting better.
Though not diabetic, I could feel my blood sugars balancing out again and I was starting to feel more like myself.
Having walked around for nearly four and a half hours, I was allowing myself to sink into my chair. I couldn't remember a time when I sat in a more comfortable chair.
The whole time this was happening, he was happily chatting, as I'm sure he was experiencing similar emotions.
I noticed he continued to talk with his mouth full. Gross.
Then I noticed the way he cut his meat. Really?
He held his knife like one would hold a microphone. I don't know why, but I couldn't seem to stop looking at the way he held his knife. Something was off. Why was he holding it like that? Why---
I had to force my eyes away.
A quick glance.
How did I not realize sooner?
Four and a half hours and I am just now noticing!?
He had no fingers.
I'm such a jerk. He HAS to hold his knife like that!
The date after that was uneventful.
My chicken salad came; the chicken was undercooked. I sent it back. It was pretty good. Not as good as the bread.
We finished our meal.
He asked if I wanted to go to California Adventure, but as it was 8:30pm, I was spent and declined.
I had to be up early the next morning for church and my back was aching something awful.
He was disappointed.
We started walking back toward the structure. He seemed to get a renewed sense of excitement, and had a bounce to his step. We walked up to my car, I gave him a quick hug to avoid anything unwanted, got in the car, and drove away.
The day's event started to sink in. What an interesting date.