Little did I know of the huge and humorous mistakes that awaited me in my immediate future.
So a few minutes before picking her up, I get a text saying that she just got off work. I could sense that she was building up to cancelling, so I decided to be oblivious about it and I asked when she would be ready to go. Then she said that she also had to help set up for the dance at school that night. Aww crap.
I started texting her "You have something else important to do. I understand." but then I was like "No. I've been looking forward to this all freaking day and if she cancels, I'm gonna uppercut someone in the chode." So I said "Skip it. Ghost tour - think about it." And then I waited. At this point, we were already late and we were gonna miss it, but I didn't care. I wasn't in the mood to have my plans ruined on a Saturday night. A few minutes later, she was like "Ok. Let's do it." I was surprised.
When I first asked her if she wanted to come with me, I didn't really think of it as a date. I just knew that I wanted to go on the ghost tour and so did she. I like being around her because she makes me laugh. Perfect company for a ghost tour!
But as I was leaving, Eric was like "Good luck on your date!" and that's when I got all self-conscious about it.
"Is this a date? I don't know if this is a date. I never said the word "date". I texted her to see if she wanted to hang out. I don't text girls to ask them on dates. I call them. But I plan to pay for everything and she's a girl and I'm a boy and we're going out together. She's attractive, and I think I'm attractive. I like being around her. We haven't known each other long enough to be in the friend zone. But I never said it was a date! Is this a date??"
As she came out of The Lofts to my car, I noticed that she looked really cute - especially with that little bow/flower thing in her hair. In a normal dating situation, I would have said that she looks cute. I also would have gotten out to open her door for her. But in my is this a date? confusion, I panicked and all I did was just sit there and pretend to be looking through my iPod for a song. Way to play, Brandon. Way to play indeed.
We were already late for the ghost tour. I knew it wasn't going to happen and I had to come up with a backup plan quick because it was 7:00 and there was a dance at the school at 9:00. The ghost tour is an hour-and-a-half long and they had one at 7:00 and at 8:30. 8:30 was too late because I knew for a fact that she wanted to go to the dance because she loves dancing (and I've seen her dance and she's good at it). I didn't want to deprive her of that. So imagine my surprise when I mentioned that there was a ghost tour at 8:30 and she said that she wasn't in a dancing mood and that she wanted to stay with me. Sweet! It was a pleasant surprise. But we still continued forward like we were going to make the 7:00 tour even though it was 7:10 and we still had to drive for another 10 minutes.
Throughout all of this, we were talking and laughing and having a great time. It was a lot of fun and we hadn't even done anything yet.
"But is this a date??"
I'm gonna go ahead and admit this - I had no clue where we were going. I'm normally really good at looking up where I'm going ahead of time and all that, but it totally slipped my mind. So in my confusion, I panicked and drove us to the DMV rather than the Visitor's Center - the starting point of the tour. Real slick, Brandon. Real slick indeed.
Dating 101 - if you want to ruin everything, take your date to the DMV.
We pulled up to the DMV. I was embarrassed. It was at that moment that we both simultaneously concluded that the ghost tour wasn't gonna happen for us at 7:00. We immediately barrel-rolled (figuratively) and decided to go somewhere to eat. We settled for the first place with an OPEN sign - Pizza Hut.
It was the Saturday before Halloween, so all the waiters and workers were dressed up in costumes. One employee of note was a huge burly cross-dresser with a blue wig (like Ramona Flowers... but huge, burly, ugly, and with penis). He had a little bit of a beard and was wearing a tight dress. He smelled heavily of cigarette smoke. He asked me to donate money to something. He represented everything that I would never give money to. I felt very uncomfortable.
I'd like to point out that even though things weren't going according to plan, I was still having a great time. We hadn't even done anything yet, but the conversation was comfortable and funny. I was having a lot of fun and I could tell that she was, too.
"But is this a date??"
We sat down and stared at our menus. I asked her how hungry she was on a scale of 1-10. She said she was 3 hungrys. I was 4 hungrys. That means that we weren't very hungry, but we were still sitting and having dinner.
Now, I fully understand that the evidence was very strongly stacked in the direction of "this is a date" but for some reason, that hadn't quite clicked in my head yet. Looking back on it, I really should have realized / made that decision earlier, because this halfsies thing wasn't working out. "Do I open doors for her? Do I compliment her? Do I put my arm around her? Do I do that weird thing that I see guys do when they put their hand on the small of her back and guide her around like she doesn't know how to walk properly? How do I behave??"
So while we sat and looked at our menus, I decided that it was a date. The only problem is that my behavior had already been established for the night - I didn't compliment her; I didn't open her door; I didn't break the touch barrier; I didn't do anything date-like. And I couldn't suddenly change my behavior mid-date. That's weird (right?). I was all kinds of confused and didn't know how to handle the situation and I was starting to panic; and when I panic, I make really, REALLY dumb decisions (like driving to the DMV).
So I decided that we were on a date, but that I was going to keep my behavior consistent for the night in order to keep from freaking her out or anything. If we went out again, THEN I'd treat it more like a date.
Life is complicated when you're me.
We were sitting there talking and laughing and stuff and then I was like "I want to get to know her" so then I started asking her all of those date-game questions like "What Are Your Top 5..." and "Brief Life Story - GO!" She caught on quickly and played along, returning questions and asking me personal (but not TOO personal - just the right amount of personal) questions. It was fun to get to know her. She's a person that I knew, but a person that I didn't know about (if that makes sense). I won't share anything that she said to me - I don't know which bits of information are sensitive and which are free game. The point is that there was a mutual interest in getting to know each other, which is good. And it was a lot of fun.
And now here's the highlight of the date:
We decided to share a pizza. I told her that I like cheese pizza. I'm fine with toppings on it, but I prefer to just have a good ol' cheese pizza. She didn't object. I'm not sure if she was just being nice or was too afraid/timid to say that she wanted a different kind of pizza or what. But we decided to get a cheese pizza.
Then we decided to get an extra cheese pizza.
Then, in our weird and humorous way of making fun of cheese pizzas, we decided to get an "ALL OF THE CHEESE!!" pizza.
So when our super-cool waitress named Renae came and asked us what we wanted, I said we wanted an "ALL OF THE CHEESE!!" pizza. She asked if we wanted the "Super Duper Cheese Lots of Cheese OMGCHEESE" pizza. Lauren and I looked at each other for a split second. I knew what she was thinking.
Renae had never seen that kind of pizza up close before (and she works there). It was like Bigfoot. No one gets the OMGCHEESE pizza. Ever. So imagine our surprise when we saw it.
I'm not sure I've ever seen so much cheese in my entire life. I really can't describe it with my vocabulary - that's how cheesy it was. Imagine flattening out the pizza dough, spreading the sauce over it, and then taking like 9 full blocks of cheese and placing them on the dough - no cutting or shredding - just solid blocks, covering the thing in garlic, and then baking it. It was kind of like that (only BIGGER!!). All the cheese was still all melted and gooey (and really hot - I burned my mouth and now it has that weird fuzzy feeling). The bread was still a little doughy and soft. And it really didn't feel like there was a lot of bread there to begin with. It was like the bread was scared of the pizza, too, and was trying to hide. It really was an intimidating pizza.
So once we were done laughing at how funny our pizza was, it dawned on us that we now had to eat the thing.
Being lactose intolerant runs in my family.
That's when a series of unfortunate mistakes began. It was a huge thing of garlic and cheese - a date's worst nightmare. I had a choice, and I didn't have a lot of time to weigh the options and the outcomes of the choice. The way I saw it, I could either eat the garlic-y cheesy pizza and say goodbye to breaking the touch barrier that night; or I could not eat anything (making her feel fat or whatever) and roll the dice on the touch barrier.
I ate. And I ate well.
It really wasn't fair for The Universe to spring such a difficult decision on me just moments after deciding that I was accidentally on a date. That's just too much to handle in such a short window of time. "DATE! PIZZA! DECISIONS! RITE NAO!!!"
I really did feel bad for my body - no one deserves that kind of punishment. A little cheese doesn't really hurt anything. A lot of cheese means that a storm's a'brewin. And we still had the hour-and-a-half ghost tour coming up.
"Hey! I've got a great idea! Let's take Brandon and fill him up with cheese, and then walk him around Lexington for an hour-and-a-half! What do you think will happen?"
I felt like a time bomb. I'd like to say that hindsight is 20-20, but if I'm gonna be completely honest, foresight was 20-20 on this one. With each bite of cheesy pizza, my 'inner fatty' and my 'inner charismatic stud' wept in each other's arms, crying out in pain - "Why, God? Whhhyyyyyy???"
Throughout all of this, I made yet another mistake - I wasn't paying attention to how much water I was drinking. I really wasn't all that thirsty, but I still managed to drink at least 5 glasses of water. That's just not a good idea when you're gonna be walking around for the next hour-and-a-half with no access to a bathroom.
Lauren was no different. She ate the pizza as well - and I'm 100% certain that she was also fully aware of the explosive ramifications.
We were both on a date. We had both just eaten garlic-y, cheesy pizza. We both had too much water to drink. There was no turning back now; we had hit the point of no return.
TO BE CONTINUED