39 First Dates

Unique may not be a sufficient adjective to describe this first date.  This first date proves that it doesn’t matter what activity one chooses, it only matters that you have fun doing it.  Even if that activity is working until your hands are blistered in a sweatshop manufacturing bike tubes.  Yeah.  That actually happened.


My date picked me up in time for me to experience a good hour and a half of rush hour traffic with him as we made our way to pick up another couple to join us for dinner and our date.  It was my first double date (unless you count the race date where I found myself on a date with both my friend and his wife [now my friend, also] instead of the fellow I was set up with).

We went to a restaurant where there was an extreme shortage of menus (even though the place was almost completely empty), so the four of us were forced to share one.  Except for the “Chef’s Specials” menu.  I guess they over-ordered on those because we each got our own.  The forced sharing theme continued throughout the evening as we found ourselves sharing a single salad and, eventually, a single dessert.  We each received our own entrees, though, so that was good (even if the food wasn’t).  Actually, my steak wasn’t awful, but I have no idea how my date managed to eat his.  Who orders a steak well-done?  Ew.  To clarify, the sharing of food was the restaurant’s doing as well.  Apparently they only randomly and sporadically provide dinner salads with dinners in order to foster a “sharing is caring” environment.

The conversation was a lot of fun, although my date did spend more time talking to the other couple than to me.  It’s understandable, really.  My date and I each knew the other couple independently, but really did not know one another.  We met once about 100 years ago, I think, but I don’t actually remember any concrete details from that evening.  I recall only vaguely that there might have been some conversation about cycling.  That is also not at all surprising because all three of them cycle pretty regularly.  Which is probably why what happened next is not much of a stretch.

We took a brief tour of the Razik Bicycles facility (I know a guy who knows a guy) and then proceeded to wind and consolidate bike tubes for the remainder of the evening.  That probably sounds like a lot less fun than it was.  The air conditioning was out (see?  sweatshop), but it didn’t stop us.  After all, bike tubes aren’t going to wind themselves.  We listened to music, and laughed, and told stories, and worked.  At the end of the evening, I had completed less than a third of one tube, and my thumb was completely blistered.  I gained a whole new level of respect for those who make handcrafted, one-of-a-kind bicycles for a living.  There is a lot of labor that goes into each and every one.  It also made me want one even more than I did before this date.  I wonder how many additional dates it would take to earn a bike.  If the date had gone poorly, I would have asked for one as a consolation prize.  But it didn’t; it was a lot of fun.

My date and I hard at work; isn't he handsome?
My date and I hard at work; isn’t he handsome?
Intricate work is difficult when your gloves are two sizes too big
Intricate work is difficult when your gloves are two sizes too big
Putting my degree to work.
Putting my degree to work.

After “work”, my date drove me home.  Even after the long night and the nearly 60-mile drive to drop me off, we still stood on the porch and talked for almost two hours.  I think we said goodbye about eight times, and I know I turned the door handle to go inside more than once.  Finally, when we realized it was nearing 0300 – and knowing we both had work in the morning – we said goodbye one last time.  My date then clotheslined me with his arm in an attempt to give me a quick [one-armed] hug.  Awkward goodbyes are getting to be a habit with me.  All in all, it was another fun experience, though.  I would totally do it again.

Incidentally, I actually had an opportunity to test ride a Razik Vortex a few weeks ago.  They aren’t kidding when they say these bikes are light, fast, and strong.  I could pick one up and hold it out using only two fingers.  My two fingers.  And I have weak hands.  I think it weighed all of 14 pounds.  And most of that was pedals.  Plus, they look really freaking cool.  I mean really cool.  The one I tried was trimmed with orange (although it wasn’t yet painted), but they had a really awesome yellow one, too.   Maybe if enough Hitchhikers order bikes, they will send me one as a way to say thank you.  Quick!  Everyone go order one today and tell them Stubbs sent you.


11 down.  39 to go!




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4 Responses to 39 First Dates

  1. Ghazi says:

    Pfft. Bicyclists… send ’em back to Europe where they belong. :p

  2. Walter says:

    A “well done steak” is a misnomer. If it is, it isn’t. If it isn’t, it isn’t.

    Wait. Does that mean it never existed?

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