Call and Response to Un-OLWG #168
“It’s his thing,” Linda said.
“The ringtone. Disco Duck. He’s…well, a friend, and….Anyway, it’s his thing.” Linda shrugged.
“I’d completely forgotten about that song.”
I said it with a smile, but not to be encouraging. I didn’t want to talk anymore about Disco Duck, her phone, or her friend Chip, who she assigned as her get-out-of-jail-free card. We sat in silence, neither of us knowing how to make our way out of this particular paper bag. So, I apologized, again, for running late.
“Totally OK,” Linda said. “Like I said, I was early because I’d not heard of this place. Wasn’t sure where I was going. I like to plan, you know? Make sure where everything is, and…But…whatever. Anyway, I am sorry about the…phone. They say it’s…anyway, like I say, I like to plan…”
The waiter mercifully arrived with our appetizers. “One arancini with peas and mozzarella, and one bruschetta with white bean, prosciutto and arugula. OK?”
We nodded. Finally, synchronicity.
“More wine?” the waiter asked.
I said yes; she said no. Back to disjointed, awkward moments. We hadn’t even made it through appetizers.
My daughter-in-law’s gentle reprimand echoed in my head and I wish to hell I heeded her warning. Dinner at the Fare and Feed with a woman I met online was now the last thing in the entire world I wanted to be doing. Should have gone for the coffee thing, like everyone said. Should not have even tried, in the first place. Dating really is just for the young, inexperienced and recklessly hopeful.
“No, that’s fine. I’ll pass. Water’s fine.” I said to the waiter. A blatant, and, frankly, dishonest gesture, but at least I’d be called safe at base. What I actually wanted was to be called out. And a Scotch, if I had the balls. Might as well make it a double.
“Well, shall we?” Linda divvied up the appetizers onto two plates.
“Ever been to Italy?” I asked, excited to discover a path out of our little circle of hell.
“Ah, yes. Years ago. You know. Before job, marriage, kids, blah, blah, blah.”
“The land of fat men in Speedos!” I cheerfully quipped. Linda raised her eyebrows. Jesus, was this strike three? I wished for her phone to throw aspersions again with its vibrating Disco Duck. Or, maybe I’d get lucky, in the other sense, and she’d just leave. I wouldn’t consider it rude. I’d be off the hook! I wondered why I hadn’t thought to make an arrangement for someone to call me.
“Cats, is what I remember, actually.”
“Cats? The musical?”
“No. I mean, cats, wandering around. Lots of old tabby cats. Everywhere you went, there were cats.”
Prompts are: running late; a fat man in a Speedo; an old orange cat