It really bothers me that I’m the same age as Osama Bin Laden. I would like to believe I don’t look as weathered or as grey or as evil. When I mention this to my children, they also point out I’m not as tall or as thin and that my clothes aren’t as white. How does he keep those garments of his so white? Why, with all our cleaning supplies, bleaches, detergents and machines does someone who is allegedly living in a cave in the bowels of Pakistan wear clothes which appear whiter and cleaner than ours?
I ponder this for awhile trying to think of anything that would take my mind off the evening to come. This evening would be as traumatic as so many and it would take all my strength to muster the courage to withstand it. So I think about things and people as I prepare for this agonizing evening ahead. It thankfully isn’t too hard to become distracted with a 23 year old daughter hanging around. Her main concern in life is whether or not to wax her eyebrows again. She’s adept at the science of small talk and nonsense- quickly jumping from one topic to another with no apparent segue.
“Mom, did you know Jackson Pollack urinated on his paintings?”
“Mom, do you know my friend Maureen is now a lesbian?”
“Mom, did you know my hamster’s eye fell out?”
“Mom, can I have some money?”
….and on and on it goes…to the point where at the end of all this, I’ve forgotten what I was doing, where I was going and what my name is. These conversations, or should I say soliloquies are a lot like Chinese water torture. Nothing extreme but the constant drip, drip, dripping of words is enough to make anyone numb.
The clock is ticking. My palms are sweating and I check the mirror. Maybe I should get Botox injections as I look at my middle aged face. The doorbell rings and I immediately feel the hair on the back of my neck stand up. The dog starts barking and the evening I truly dread begins. I practice my breathing exercises from La Maze classes twenty three years ago and open the door.
A first date. There is nothing worse or more uncomfortable. Okay, sure…root canals and mammograms aren’t fun. But nothing beats the discomfort of a first date. There is no x-ray more penetrating. Every detail is instantly dissected. And even though these guys may seem nice, so did Ted Bundy. I’ve instructed my kids that if I’m ever missing, not to advertise a detailed description of myself, i.e. don’t announce my height and weight. Just say something like this, “Voluptuous, mature woman missing”. It would be bad enough to be missing but if they advertise a description of me, complete with height and weight, I’d just stay missing!
Having been divorced for nine years, my friends feel it their duty to fix me up with dates. I tell them time and time again I am perfectly content to be alone and do nothing. In fact, I’m very good at doing nothing. But this concept is lost on my well meaning friends. They’re not looking for any particular quality in a date- being male and having a pulse seem to be their only criterion.
I hop into Boyle’s car and he tosses me an Entertainment book.
“We can go anywhere you want as long as I have a coupon for it.”
Great, I think to myself. Another wild evening at Denny’s.
The conversation is as anticipated. My eyes glaze over as Boyle recounts stories of deer hunting and bowling, tossing in as many double negatives as he possibly can. I perk up, however, as he utters the remainder of a sentence.
“….but I ain’t never spent a night in jail,” he proudly announces.
Of course I have no idea what leads him to make that comment as I stopped listening somewhere between drinking beer with this buddies and ice fishing.
I come home after a forgettable night. My daughter is watching Fox News which is doing a report on Osama Bin Laden. Turns out he’s actually a year younger than me.