36 First Dates

How do you make a 14-year-old girl extremely jealous?  Simple: Go on a date with one of her biggest crushes.  Yes.  Yes, I did.

Once upon a time, I thought it was remarkable that someone waited over a year to take me on a first date.  Not so much anymore.  This first date waited 20 years to ask me on a first date.  You read that correctly.  Two entire decades.  That’s right.  The envious 14-year-old girl is actually me… because I finally did something she never could.

A little background information:

When I was in 8th grade, I had a crush on a boy who was in several of my classes.  We occasionally exchanged notes [I still have a few of them].  We drew on each other’s legs during English [I have no idea why, but it must have seemed like a good idea at the time].  We even got married once on the bus on the way home from a “Language Day” trip for school.  I think.  I don’t actually recollect how or when it happened; I just have the notes we passed back and forth frequently threatening one another with divorce [it was clearly a very healthy relationship].  I continued to crush on him into high school until the 10th grade, but nothing ever came of it…

Enter Facebook and fast forward until 2013 when I was suddenly very curious about what happened to some of my classmates.  I tracked down a number of them virtually, only to discover that my older siblings had been right all along.  They had told me to stick with the nerds and the geeks because they were only going to get better with age.  And everyone did.  Except me.  The only thing I got was new shoes.  Seriously.  I posted a picture of a group of us on Facebook from 9th grade and one of my current friends posted the following comment which illustrates this fact:


Exactly the same.  Except for the shoes, of course.  To be fair, my friend couldn’t see my shoes in the picture, so he wouldn’t have known they were new.

At any rate, I made contact with Ye Olde Crush, and we casually interacted (read:  hardly at all) for about a year until we suddenly found ourselves in the same city on the same weekend…

The Date:

This may come as a shock to most of you, but I was late for this date.  I thought I was going to be pretty close to on time, but I wasn’t.  Not even a little bit.  I am, apparently, [way] less than 10% smarter than the new parking meters that were installed downtown.  It took me well over 30 minutes to make the payment.  Fortunately, he was riveted by a giant textbook, the title of which alone requires a membership in MENSA to comprehend, and hardly noticed my tardiness.  Okay, that isn’t true.  Not the part about the book, the part about my beyond-fashionably late arrival.  He totally noticed, although he did his best to forgive me.  I would have called ahead to give him notice that I was running late, except I didn’t have a phone number for him, and I was stuck using my phone to communicate with an automated system that kept insisting I don’t have a valid Canadian postal code, even though I’d conceded that point the first time she brought it up.

We met at some little restaurant that I don’t recommend unless you are really jonesing for some beet juice.  Everything else on the menu was pretty forgettable.  And not just because they didn’t serve meat.  Although that alone is reason enough for me – at least until they figure out how to cultivate steak trees.  But don’t just take my word for it; he was unimpressed by this place as well.  Looking back, you would think it would have been obvious to avoid; I mean, the restaurant was named after a bar of soap.

It turns out my school-days crush is now a vegan hippy and almost 180 degrees my opposite.  I cannot pretend to understand (especially since I didn’t ask) what makes someone walk away from red meat and bacon, but I support those people 100%.  It leaves more for me, just like my aversion to chocolate leaves more for those who love it.

After chatting for a couple of hours, we moved to his brother’s coffee shop so we could both go to work.  It was easily one of the coolest coffee shops I’ve ever been inside (granted, that isn’t saying much because I don’t spend much time in coffee shops, but I’d bet that even if I did, this one would rank really high on the list).  His brother gave us a tour of the shop before we sat down, and I learned more about coffee in five minutes than I’d ever heard the rest of my life combined.  I still wouldn’t trust me to make a cup, though.  It sounds way too complicated to get it right.

We set up shop and immediately set to work on our individual projects.  At some point that afternoon, his sister arrived, and later his mother.  Wow.  From a 20-year-old crush, followed by a 17-year absence, to a first date, and now meeting the family.  Just look at me now, fourteen-year-old me, who spells her name with a silent “Q”.  Our date ended rather abruptly because his mom said he had to go home.  Or somewhere.  We made tentative plans to get together again the next day to go hiking.

We didn’t go hiking on Saturday.  We decided to go dancing that evening instead.  My atrophied dancing skills aside, it was a lot of fun.  I think I only stepped on his feet five or six times after he kicked off his shoes [See what I mean? Total hippy].  Conversation never lagged; it was kind of surreal how easy it was to talk to someone I never really knew.

After dancing, we drove up to the top of one of the canyons to stare at stars (oh yeah, he’s an astronomy nerd, too).  That didn’t last long.  It was cold and way past my curfew.   He drove me back to my dad’s house and helped me walk the boys.  As we said goodbye, we decided we might as well go for broke and get together one last time before he had to leave town and made plans to get breakfast on Monday.

We didn’t get breakfast.  One would think we’d have learned from our previous experience of making plans in advance, and not even bother with the formality.  But we didn’t; we pretended to solidify breakfast plans, and then we went hiking instead.  But not really hiking.  More like trail walking and rock scrambling.  It was a fun little excursion up to a bunch of rocks overlooking the valley from an angle I’d never seen.  Never one to time a good time, we sat up there way longer than our schedules permitted.  We scuttled the rest of our tentative plans in exchange for a lunch, which also lasted longer than intended.  Welcome to every day of my life.

After lunch, we found ourselves back at the coffee shop, where his mother broke up our date (again) to take him to the airport.  I’m starting to think she doesn’t like me very much.

And that makes 14.  Just 36 to go…

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