“Wow, that was, eh… that was interesting,” Beth said and rubbed her hands together as the stepped into the chilly night air.
“Yeah, who knew wrestling was so… complicated,” Doug replied stuffing his hands into his pockets and tried not to think about the massive failure the night had turned into. Reaching his Jeep, Doug hit the unlock button on the keyless entry and they both silently climbed into the vehicle. Ten minutes into the drive, the humming heat emitting from the four small vents was the only sound- both passengers where deep in their own thoughts.
The night had started out well enough; the first date for both of them in months, Doug and Beth had been looking forward to the evening for over a week. Doug had taken significant care in planning the entire night, first they would enjoy a delicious meal at Beth’s favorite Barbeque place (the fact that Beth loved barbeque was just one of the many reasons Doug was completely smitten) and following dinner they would drive up the mountain a bit to one of the last drive-in movie ‘theaters’ left in the state for a double feature. Perhaps a little low key, but that was their style.
Arriving at the restaurant, Doug and Beth were disappointed to learn their favorite server, Melanie, was off that night but didn’t give it a lot of thought as they were directed to one of the over-sized wooden booths. Glancing through the menu, they were soon greeted by their new-on-the-job server, Duncan. Taking their drink orders, the 6 foot 2 hulk of a guy seemed personable enough, but to be honest Doug was more concerned with which side to choose- mac ‘n cheese or baked beans, and didn’t really give Duncan much thought.
Fast forward forty-five minutes and Doug could tell you just about anything you wanted to know about their apparently very talkative server who happened to double as a pro-wrestler on his off nights. Somehow an off-the-cuff remark Doug made about breaking a chair had spiraled into a forty-minute information session on their server’s wrestling alter ego- a character who thinks he’s a five-year-old, independent wrestling and everything in-between. Their romantic dinner for two had transformed into two front row seats to the life of Duncan. By the time they were able to tear themselves away, Doug and Beth were exhausted, all hopes of salvaging the date had pretty much gone out the window after learning how to suture an eyebrow back together and staunch further bleeding with Vaseline.
“You still want to go to the movie?” Doug asked, breaking the silence. Beth continued to stare blankly out of the windshield for a few moments before looking over to Doug and with a hint of a smile replied in her best Hulk Hogan impersonation, “You better believe it, brother”.
Laughing, Doug reached over and squeezed Beth’s hand, silently thanking her for taking everything in stride and maintaining her sense of humor after such a bizarre dinner. Pulling into the entrance of the drive-in a few minutes later, Doug suddenly slowed the Jeep down before bringing it to a stop a few yards from the gate. Looking up from her blind search for chapstick in her black-hole of a purse, Beth wondered why Doug had stopped before following his gaze to the marquee in front of them. In black letters about three feet tall against the white relief of the marquee read: TONIGHT ONLY! DOUBLE SHOWING OF THE WRESTLER.
Exchanging a look that if given voice would have said, “No. Freaking. Way!”, Doug threw the Jeep into reverse and spewing gravel in their wake the couple sped away from the drive-in, manic laughter just audible from their departing vehicle.
The Not So Fantastic Reality:
The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:
ONE: You know those people that strangers, for whatever reason, feel obliged to open up to and divulge their inner most thoughts, or life history? Yeah, I’m one of those people. For as long as I can remember, strangers have approached me, in stores, in restaurants, in parks, just about any public place and just start talking. This is always a little awkward for me, I’m terrible at small talk and as an ‘80s kid “Stranger Danger” still jumps immediately into my brain. So today, while enjoying some lunch with Andy at Smokey Bones, our server, who really was very nice- if not a little overbearing, begins to talk to us about his other gig- as a wrestler. He seriously talks to us throughout the entire meal and even walks us to the door. Bizarrely interesting, I can’t say that I discouraged his monologue, after all this was a 6 foot 2 barrel chested wrestler, blowing him off didn’t seem like it would be the wisest of decisions. Lots of interesting people out there, kinda makes me glad to be such a stranger- magnet… sometimes.
Love & Squirrels.