Saturday, July 4, 2009

California Schemin'

Let me give you a quick back story before I go into the events of this evening. Last weekend after the BET Awards, my girlfriend and I were leaving The Shrine. We were high off of the experience, recapping all the details of that evening and entire weekend. As we were making our way across the street we saw 2 very nicely dressed women and a man. One of the women yelled out “Excuse me. Are you guys waiting for the shuttle?” I told her that we were heading to my car. I asked “have you been waiting for a long time?” and she said they had been. Then she asked me if I wouldn’t mind giving them a ride to this offsite parking structure a few miles away. I told her it wasn’t a problem and that I would go get my car & be right back. We came back & picked the 3 people up and soon after they got in we discovered that the 2 ladies were successful businesswomen, both in fields of interest to me and the man was a famous author. (I have one of his books & my girlfriend has several. Also, my best friend has gone to hear him speak on at least one occasion.) The ride to the parking structure was very entertaining. It felt like I was amongst friends. We were all talking about the show (and Don Cornelius’ never-ending speech) and laughing about *Dave ending up at the wrong charity dinner the night before. (He sat through an entire dinner and drinks before realizing he was at the wrong function.) I should’ve known then that dude wasn’t wrapped too tight. The group was very grateful to have been given a ride & all 3 gave me their business cards & told me to keep in touch. So, over the next few days I followed up with each of them. On Wednesday I heard back from Dave. He responded to my email & said that he’d be in town until Saturday morning & to call him “ASAP”. I was excited that he responded so quickly & enthusiastically and called him back right away. We spoke briefly & talked about getting together to have a drink. I called my friends who were familiar with his work & told them and they were all excited too! I was going to have a chance to sit down with this author, have a drink and pick his brain! All of this stemming from being a good Samaritan and going 5 minutes out of my way for a group of strangers. I couldn’t believe my good fortune. So, the plan was we were going grab a drink the following night. (Unfortunately for him he got bumped by a bigger name…I got a last minute call that I had some Foxx tickets waiting for me…lol!) So I sent him a text asking if we could reschedule for Friday and although he was disappointed he said it was fine.

I felt kind of guilty about flaking so 1st thing Friday morning I sent him a text saying “Hey!” And the text message response I got was “Good morning! You lonely and in need of good, strong TLC today? Massages? Toe rubs? Long strokes? Ice cream scoops? Or lollipops?” I was in the beauty supply store when I read this shit. And I almost dropped my phone. I was completely dumfounded. I was stuck for about 5 minutes. I was so blown I forgot why I was even at the store! I forwarded the text to my girlfriend who was with me the night we met Dave. We were both completely blown away! Nothing I had said or done up until that point could’ve been misconstrued as me making an advance at him. My interest in him did not extend past business. That little voice was now screaming at me to cut off contact with this guy. Did I listen though? So here’s where the story begins…

Dave sent me a text today asking if we were still on for "salted margaritas" this evening. I told him we were and that I was about to take a nap. He responded something about me needing the energy. I responded “Energy?” and he made some smart ass comment like “do you need the definition?” That little voice was now clearing its throat. The plan was we’d meet between 8-9 at his hotel and we’d go from there. I was a little reluctant to meet him at his hotel considering the earlier inappropriate comments he’d made, but ignored the little voice and told myself “Christine, you’re trippin” and brushed it off. I just wouldn’t go inside & I’d be safe. I sent him a text around 8:00 and told him I was leaving in a few minutes (to make the 30 mile drive to meet him.) When I arrived at his hotel just before 9:00 I called him and told him I was downstairs. He said “I’ll be right behind you.” Somehow I interpreted this to mean that he was going to get in his rental car and either follow me or lead to our destination or whatever. After sitting there for about 10 minutes, he calls me to tell me he’s lost. Yes, lost. He was driving around somewhere and was lost and was asking me to guide him back to the hotel. I explained that I wasn’t familiar with the area he was in and would probably get him more lost than he already was. He said he was trying to return his cousin’s car. *confused face* All these additional layers started getting added to the evening. Like, why are you driving around lost at 9:00 when we were supposed to be meeting between 8-9? So now I’m sitting in my car listening to this guy read off street names as he passes them. I keep telling him “I don’t know where you are! I can’t help you! I don’t know that area!” And he’s like “now I’m on Compton Blvd.” “Now I’m on such-and-such.” I told him I was going to call him back. I just had to get off the phone because I was getting irritated. Mind you, earlier I had this fool who doesn’t even live in California trying to give me directions to a place I’ve been to a dozen times. BAD directions, might I add. And now Mr. Thomas Guide himself is lost. Smh…

10 minutes later he calls me back and says “ok, so you know where Avalon Street is now, right?” I said “what do you mean do I know where it is now? I’ve been sitting at your hotel for 20 minutes!” He said “ok, I’m down the street at 196th.” Silence. Apparently that was code for “come pick me up.” I sat there and waited for him to say something else. He explained that he dropped his cousin’s car off and was down the street & could I come get him. He’d be on 196th “walking down the middle of the street.” Yes. He said that. Down the middle. So, sure enough I see him walking down the middle of the street flapping his arms. By now I’m wishing this night would be over as quickly as possible. (Many creative types are eccentric right?) So I gave the dude a pass.

He got in my car smelling like fried chicken. I asked him “was someone cooking in the house you just left? You smell like chicken.” And he started telling me some story about going to a soul food restaurant and them messing up his order and him not getting to eat and that’s why he was lost. (As I’m thinking, why are you going to get soul food when we’re heading out at dinner time?) Dude got in my car smelling like Sunday after church! I started to drive & was going to make a u-turn but he starts guiding me through the residential area. And then he made a CARDINAL mistake. He started commenting on my driving. I approached a speed bump and he said “whoa! That just snuck up on you didn’t it?” I said “No? I saw it.” I mean damn, I slowed down and crept over the speed bump. Then I approached the corner, looked down the dark street and didn’t see any cars coming and proceeded to make a right. Mind you there was no stop sign at the corner. So he made a comment about that too. “Boy, you just turned and didn’t stop!” I said “Today isn’t my 1st day driving, you know.” This fool has been in my car all of 60 seconds and he’s already about to get pushed into traffic. We started driving down Avalon and he asked me “what school is that?” I told him it was Cal State Dominguez. And he said “huh?” That’s when I realized…dude can’t hear. Then he broke cardinal rule #2. He touched my radio. And proceeded to bitch about Jay-Z’s new song. He said “I’ve yet to hear this entire song.” I said “you heard it the other night at the show!” Of course now I realize, he probably didn’t hear shit that night. He would’ve been better off sitting in a seat FACING the teleprompter.

We continued driving down Avalon trying to find a restaurant to sit down at and have a drink. I’d had a huge lunch so I wasn’t really hungry but at this point needed a beverage to take the edge off. The energy in the car was kinda weird and I was hoping that us getting in a social environment and having a cocktail would help. He continued to bug me though. Like, as I’m preparing to turn and park in a spot he says “there’s one!” No shit. I’m practically in the spot already fool. We start walking into Chili’s and he’s walking FAST & several paces ahead of me. I assumed this was because he was trying to beat me to the door so that he could open it for me. Well, part of that is correct. He WAS trying to beat me to the door. If I had been just a few feet more behind him, the door would’ve hit me in the face! There was a gentleman holding the 2nd door open and Dave busted right on through that door too. I thanked the man for holding the door open for both of us (the fool should’ve taken over door duty for the man standing there. Smh.) We get inside Chili’s and this is where the true hilarity ensues.

Dave walked in towards the bar area and plopped his ass down in the 1st empty booth he saw. I told him I had to go to the restroom and immediately went to try to pull myself together. When I returned I ordered a margarita. He had all of these questions for the waitress about the margaritas and when she realized he couldn’t hear her responses she offered to go grab some waters and give him a little more time. My drink got dropped off at the wrong table and was then returned to the bar so I ended up waiting 15 more minutes for it to be remade. I felt like an alchy. I was fiending for that drink so bad! I’m sitting across from this fool who is slurping his margarita like it’s a bowl of gazpacho. Not even lifting the margarita glass...just sticking his snout down in the glass and sluuuuuuurp! So he looks at me and asks “How often do you arch your eyebrows?” I said “Uh...I don’t know…every few weeks?” He says “that’s a serious arch!” sluuuuuuuuuuurp. I said “um, thanks?” Didn’t really sound like a compliment. He ordered an appetizer…some fries with a bunch of cheese & bacon on them. He couldn’t hear the waitress when she asked if he wanted a ½ or full order so I just answered for him & said full. When the fries arrived, I took a few & put them on my plate. He made some comment about ranch & how he knows a dude who puts ranch on everything. He then proceeds to take ketchup and completely drown the entire order of fries in ketchup. I took my napkin, sat it on my plate & put my fork down. He saw this and said “aw man! I’ll take the part that has ketchup.” And picked through the fries trying to eat only what had ketchup on it. That was the entire order! Next he mentioned that he needed napkins so I called the waitress over & asked for napkins. As she’s walking away he yells after her “can you bring back some napkins?!”

I finally got my margarita and that drink didn’t stand a chance. I killed it. As I’m drinking, he gives me his philosophy on “stretching” a cocktail. He takes his water and pours it into his empty margarita glass & said that there’s still alcohol on the ice so when you pour water over it, it’s like getting a 2nd drink. You’ve got to be kidding me! I ordered some chips & salsa and another appetizer as my entrĂ©e (since the last one got ruined) and he ordered a steak. The TV’s were on in the bar area so I was glancing up at the ball game…just anything to get my mind off of this nightmare of an evening. The limited conversation focused on a few topics:
1. Him and how fabulous he is.
2. Me not being as talkative in person and how he felt let down.
3. Him asking me continuously what I was thinking about. He said this was one of his favorite questions to ask people. He asked “do you know what people usually say when you ask them that?” I said “they say ‘nothing’”? He said “yes!” I told him that was just a nice way of saying ‘none of your damn business.’)
Our food came and not a moment too soon. He complained about the size of the steak & how he needed A-1 so I flagged down our waitress & asked for some A-1 just to shut him up. He had another theory about how asking for steak sauce can be perceived as an insult. Then he asked me how many pairs of shoes I own (random, I know) and at one point started singing “I Will Survive” but he didn’t know any of the words so lyrics were replaced with ‘da-da-duh-duh-da’. He asked me who that song was by & I said “I think it’s Gloria Gaynor” to which he responded “the water is WHAT?” He then insisted that the song wasn’t by her because he’d never heard of her. *sigh* Another highlight of the evening was when he reinacted kung-fu movies he remembers from his childhood. He did about 10 different voices, including the old man and a girl’s voice. All while chewing his steak & spitting out the fat. By now we were done with our meals. I had the waitress wrap up the chips & salsa and told him he could take them back with him. He was taking the fries too. He said they could get warmed up later. I asked “your room has a microwave?” and soon discovered that he was staying with his cousin. He wasn’t even staying at that damn hotel he had me meet him at! I’m cursing this waitress under my breath because she leaves for 10-15 minutes at a time and I am ready to GO! I finally make eye contact with her and she brings the bill. He looks it over and can’t believe that it’s $62. I told him that wasn’t bad considering he had 2 margaritas, I had 1. We had 3 appetizers and he ordered a steak. He looked at the bill again and said “how much is the tip? Like $10?” I said "yes, that would be fair." So he throws down $10 and said he’ll “take care of her”. Now I’m thinking “wait a damn minute. Why would he just put down $10? I know this isn’t about to happen.” So we’re both just sitting there, I’m waiting for him to pay so we can bounce and now he’s scooted down in the booth so his legs are taking up ALL free space under the table. I’m contorting so that his legs wont touch mine & so that I’m not BETWEEN his legs. I was completely disgusted. So we have a discussion about that. He said he wants to be comfortable & told him that his stretching out to be comfortable was making me uncomfortable. And he starts AGAIN with how disappointed he is with me. Oh, but this is after he said he wished that he’d had a room so that he could’ve give me a massage! I let out a high pitched “WHAT?!” Even his deaf ass heard that! I told him “I’m sorry I’m such a disappointment. I think it’s time to go.” And he said “ok” still not reaching for the check. So I said “Uh, do you want me to put some money on that check?” And do you know what this fool said????? He said “I thought you were paying.” DAHELL???? I said “WHAT?!” He said “well you said you wanted to go get some drinks so I thought you were paying.” Are you kidding me? My hands were shaking. I was trying so hard not to lose it. I said “are you serious?” It became the chicken and the egg. What came 1st, him suggesting we get together or me suggesting we grab a drink. I’m sure he suggested hooking up & I said we could grab a drink. Whatever the case may be, he actually had the AUDACITY to think that I drove 60 miles round trip to come take his raggedy ass out to dinner? I mean, if we had been there discussing business like I’d hoped, I could kind of understand. This guy gets paid to speak in public so I know his time is valuable. But shit, so is mine. And my gas. And I just picked this mf & his friends up earlier in the week and drove them miles to their car, not expecting anything in return but DAMN! Where’s the gratitude? So, he asks me how I wanna do this (divide up the bill) so I took it and said “well, I had ONE margarita, you ate ALL the fries, you’re taking the chips home, and I had the egg rolls. I never eat more than I can afford.” He still kept saying “well you said you wanted to get drinks!”

After a few uncomfortable minutes I excused myself from the table & went to the bathroom to call my girlfriend. She answered the phone laughing. She knew whatever I was calling her about was going to be funny. I told her “girl, this fool just ordered up all this food & expects me to pay...and I’m walking out on him.” She was stunned. I left the bathroom and tried to leave out the back door & it was locked. I was hiding in a corner near the kitchen (so that he couldn’t see me) and motioned for this waitress to come over. I knew that I had to play up the situation so I told her “I’m on a really bad date and I want to leave. Can you get your manager to come over & unlock that back door?” She said she’d go get him. I guess word got around the kitchen quickly because I’m standing in the entrance of the kitchen & all of the servers are walking over to see what’s going on. One girl had her hand on her hip pointing at me saying “That’s right girl! That’s right! You leave!” Our waitress walked in & saw me and thought there was a problem with her service. I told her “I’m trying to tell the manager that I’m having the night from hell & I want to sneak out the back” and she said “yeah, that guy is a little weird”. The manager asked how was the food going to get paid for. I said Dave would pay. I slipped the waitress a $10 and told her I was sorry. The manager unlocked the back door and all the servers cheered me on as I RAN to my car, jumped in, and drove off. A few minutes later I got a text from him saying “I guess the last laugh is on me now. Thanks a lot!” and a final text that said “California scheming!” Yeah, I really picked you up on the street and gave you a ride AND drove 60 miles round trip and drove up ¼ tank of gas to scheme a $20 meal out of you. Fuckouttahere.

The night wasn’t a total loss though. I stopped off at the 7-11 on Avalon and purchased 4 bean pies…

*Name has been changed to protect his trifling broke ass but if you private message me I’ll tell you who he is.