Fifteen years (and one month) ago:
Saturday, Dec 6, 1997
Following a night full of jealousies, mixed signals, and disappointments, she found herself back at work bright and early the next morning completely wiped out and desperate to get some sleep. She had called Mr. W. back when she arrived at her friend’s house. It was 2am, but he had said to call him back anytime and that he’d have his phone on and that he didn’t sleep, so she wanted to make sure she kept her word and called him back ASAP.
Unfortunately, she received an automated message that said the cell phone she was trying to reach was not turned on, which she took to mean he got tired of waiting for her to call and so switched off his phone since he hated her guts and would probably spit at her when he saw her at work.
She arrived at work and, though she was relieved to see he wasn’t on the schedule to work that morning, she was both exhausted from lack of sleep and very despondent about her amazing display of her Boy Repelling Superpowers the night before. So, she decided to go home early in hopes of sleeping away her shame and disappointment, preferably with the help of a large shot of warm milk since a night like last night earned her the right to bring out the hard stuff. Since it was a very slow day and there was plenty of coverage, her boss allowed her to leave and so she found herself driving back home on the lonely, snowy roads.
Her family was not home since her brother had a basketball tournament that weekend and so they would be gone all day. So, finding herself home alone, she promptly fell asleep.
A few hours later, she awoke with her optimism tank somewhat recharged, so she decided to give Mr. W. a ring one more time to apologize for not being able to reach him last night like she said she would. Since Mister Coffee Shop ended up being a bust, she truly didn’t want to lose her chance with Mr. W. even though she still wasn’t sure what he had wanted and if there was indeed a chance for her to lose with him.
This time, he answered on the first ring. He was taking his grandma to the races but was so happy she called because his phone’s battery died on him last night and he had really wanted to talk to her, and he stopped by work that morning hoping to see her there but she had already left, but could he call right back once he dropped off his grandma?
Relieved that he wasn’t planning to spit on her, and thinking what useless things cell phones were if their batteries were so unreliable (good luck with those things ever getting popular!), and yet still confused about what he wanted to talk to her about, she calmly and patiently waited for him to call back, not at all obsessively replaying the events of the previous night over and over in her head.
Not only did Mr. W. call right back like he said he would (such a gentleman! Her mother would approve!), but he also said that he had liked her for some time and would she like to go see a movie with him that day. She had just driven the 45 minutes from work back home and the roads were covered in snow so she was a little reluctant to head back out; however, before she could ask for a rain check, he offered to drive out to her house and pick her up since he loved driving in the snow.
WOW. Now this was a guy her mother had told her about- made the first move, called her first (he had her number from the contact list at work), and even offered to pick her up at her house for their first date. He would probably open up the doors and pay for the date, too, all things on the checklist for a good boyfriend her mother had given her. Her crush on him intensified x100.
Almost an hour later, he came and picked her up and went back into town to the movie theater. During the 45 minute drive, she found herself completely flabbergasted at what he had to say. Apparently he had also had a crush on her for some time but really had to work up the courage to talk to her since she was so gorgeous and nice and smart and funny and he felt so intimidated by her, but was SO HAPPY she said she’d go out with him.
WHAT? She had no clue anyone could think those things about her and had no idea how any guy could be intimidated by her (she hadn’t really put anyone in a headlock and punched them in the throat like her daddy taught her), and was so amazed to find that a guy she had been crushing on for months ALSO had been crushing on her for months and he was oh so cute AND he had a cell phone so he was obviously a wise man of the world.
It felt good to have someone go on and on about how awesome she was and how much they liked her and how amazed they were that she would actually say yes to them. She could get used to this.
While watching the movie (Flubber, if you must know), she thought she’d put her new-found Minerva Mink superpowers to the test. So she ever so gently sighed, while rubbing her hands together, hoping he’d get the hint. Then, sighing louder and blowing in her hands, she ever so gently stage whispered, “Wow- my hands are soooo cold,” while touching him on his arm to prove her point. Of course she was envisioning him gallantly taking her hand gently into his (unlike *some* guys we could name) and saying, oh so romantically, “Don’t worry, my sweet. I’ll keep them warm for you here in my manly hands, and then we can cuddle up close and cozy while I whisper sweet nothings in your ear.”
Instead, he shivered and said, “Wow- your hands are like ice! Do you have gloves to put on?”
As her overly dramatic, romantic daydream deflated like a whoopee cushion, she turned her focus back to Robin Williams, her hands firmly stuck under her armpits to keep warm.
After the movie, since he loved and had played basketball in high school, he offered to drive her to her brother’s tournament, which happened to be 20 minutes past her house. Why not, she thought. He’s an amazing guy and I know my family will love him as much as I do. Besides, his love of basketball will instantly bond him with my dad, thus ensuring we’ll have his blessings to get married.
At the tournament, she found that her mother wasn’t feeling well and had gone home early, so unfortunately she wouldn’t get to meet her new son-in-law until later that evening when he dropped her back home. However, he hit it off instantly with her dad and brother and she could tell he was going to fit right into her basketball obsessed family. Her sister? She was a little more skeptical and thought he was just a little too nice and not nearly sarcastic or snarky enough to fit into this family, but she was only in seventh grade, so what did she know about true love?
After the games, they drove back to her house where he was invited in for a little while. Her mother, still not feeling well, had barricaded herself in her bedroom and refused to come out, even though her love sick daughter really, really wanted her opinion on Mr. W.
Her little sister wanted to eat some pudding, so, sensing an opportunity to showcase her cooking skills yet again, our little cook obliged by taking out a box of Instant Jell-o pudding and triumphantly poured out the 2 cups of milk and started whisking with gusto. Her sister asked if she could whisk the pudding, but there was no way she was going to share the spotlight, so she made some joke about her sister’s lack of muscles and continued whisking away.
“Oh…that’s so mean!” Mr. W. said. “She’s so sweet and little! You should let her help you.”
Her sister looked up at him with a puzzled look on her face and then gave her big sister a look that said, “Where did you find this weenie?” and then she went off into her bedroom where her stuffed animals had more testosterone than that loser her sister just brought home did.
After eating their pudding, it was time for him go take his leave. She saw him off, struggling with her romantic hope that he’d kiss her good night and her mother’s rule of no kissing on the first date.
He ended up being the perfect gentleman she knew him to be and didn’t force a good night kiss at the door (where her dad and brother were watching him behind her clueless back), and instead told her he had an amazing day and would call her tomorrow.
She had completely forgotten about Mister Coffee Shop. She was replaying her perfect day over and over as she turned on her computer and waited for the modem to finish its five minute love song as it established a connection to this amazing new thing called the “world wide web” where she could “log in” to her University provided “e-mail” account to see if she had any “e-mails” from her professors.
When she was finally able to log in 15 minutes later, she gasped so loud and was in such shock at what she saw.
She had received an email with the subject: Surprise!
*actual email received- edited for personal info only*
Sat, 6 Dec 1997
Yep it’s me! I found your Email address. Well you know I am a computer geek- I know my way around on a computer system! I also found your phone number, is this the correct one: 555-YESS? I came by to see if your car was there at work, but I guess you had already left. Oh well you missed the prank I was about to do. Haha!
How is scratchy, does he miss me? I am sure he does! Well I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend. I have tons of homework that I need to get started on. What a pain!
See you soon!
Mister Coffee Shop didn’t ask her for her number the previous night but had actually regretted his foolish decision and instead took the time to look her up and find both her number AND her new-fangled “e-mail address”???? What a powerful thing this “computer system” must be and how amazing he must be to know how to use it to its full potential.
Was he pursuing her?? Did he like her, after all?? He looked for her at work?? HE’S SOOO CUTE! Wait…what was that about a prank? What does all this mean???
It meant that Mister Coffee Shop- we’ll call him Mister R from now on- was back in her life. What implications this had- what any of the last few days meant- was still an enigma to her. All she knew was that there were two guys who had pursued her ON THE SAME DAY and that her dateless losing streak was now over.
It was a very good night which ended up being a very good start to a very interesting week....
(Part Four of this tale can be found here.)
*For those of you who don't know who Minerva Mink is, and for those of you who also grew up obsessed with Animanics*