Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Date From Hell

["Let Inga Tell You", La Jolla Light, published June 2, 2011] © 2011 (Note:  The Light version removed references to the guy being a lawyer.)


I was interested to read in a recent Union-Tribune article about a web site where people can vent about disastrous dates.  Where were these people twenty-eight years ago when I needed them?

 I was engaged to my first husband at nineteen and totally clueless about dating when I was divorced at thirty-five.  But I can say with some certainty that I learned more from my first date as a newly single woman than I did from the next thirty:

  A woman lawyer friend invites me to a cocktail party at her downtown law firm. Well, midway through, a good-looking attorney (Mistake 1), who in retrospect was already a bit sloshed (Mistake 2) invites me to go to a “fundraiser” with him after the party.  This sounds innocent enough (Mistake 3) and I accept (Mistakes 4-7).
  So off we go in his car (Mistake 8) and I wonder when we get there why there are three police cars out in front of this house.  When we go in (Mistake 9), I discover that this is a fundraiser for an organization that was trying to legalize marijuana.  My date was a criminal lawyer (which actually may describe him more than the type of law he practiced) and kept disappearing into a bedroom with some other people, from which he would emerge incredibly bright-eyed and cheery.  I also couldn’t help but notice that he consumed incredible quantities of alcohol –some fifteen drinks.  Several times I suggested that I was ready to go home but he said he wasn’t ready yet and I didn’t want to be rude.  (I have long since concluded that if we treated our spouses even a quarter as nicely as the jerks we subsequently date, divorce would be virtually unheard of in America.)  It never occurred to me to just call a cab and leave (Inexplicably Idiotic Mistake 10). 
At 2 a.m., I finally insisted that we leave. In my opinion, he’s far too drunk to drive so I insist on driving his incredibly expensive sports car even though I was never too good on stick shifts. He’s so out of it he lets me. Fortunately, there’s not a lot of traffic at 2 a.m. and I finally maneuver this vehicle into my driveway.  I invite him in for coffee (Mega-mistake 11) since he’s in no shape to drive while I ponder what to do with him. 
While I’m making coffee, I glance into the living room and there he is, snorting what I am sure must be cocaine off my coffee table – right next to The Runaway Bunny!  I tell him I am calling a cab and he is to vacate himself from my home immediately.  I suddenly realize that he is going to have no idea where he left his car, so I thoughtfully put a note in his shirt pocket saying “You left your car at…”  (Mistake 13; I should have had it towed to Tijuana.)  On his way out the door, he stops by my refrigerator and grabs an open bottle of wine which he drinks on the curb in front of my house until the cab comes.
He doesn’t come to pick up his car for three days.  When he does, I am polite (Mistake 14) and say, “I see you’ve recovered.”  He looks at me blankly and says, “Who are you?” 

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