To Go Out or Not to Go Out, that is the Question
One Thursday after work I dropped by a local “Cheers” type tavern that I used to frequent (I am a notoriously reluctant cook) for some chicken tenders and the Hornets game, none of which was as easy as it sounds, as I was landscaping back in those days, meaning I had to go home, shower the grass clippings and fertilizer off, re-dress, and go back out when I’d just gotten off work at 6:30pm and had to be back at the shop in the morning at 5:30am.
TJ’s, in Pineville, NC is… or maybe was… a truly great, if fairly typical, watering hole; small enough to seem intimate, friendly waitresses, good food, pool tables, darts, and TV’s… you know the place. Barely awake, I was washing my fries down with a cold beer when the waitress brought me another one, along with a note on a napkin, “Boring game. When is someone going to score a touchdown?” (It was a basketball game.)
There weren’t a ton of people in TJ’s that night, and many were coupled up. I was able to narrow the possibilities down to three or four suspects, but none seemed to be paying me any mind. Now, as I stated earlier, I came to TJ’s for dinner quite often, and I knew my waitress Allison pretty well. Well enough that she didn’t hesitate when I asked her which one sent the note. ”That one, up there.” She even pointed, to my embarrassment.
The woman was sitting with a friend. She was obviously a little older than my twenty-six years and was dressed as though she had some money (and probably a husband), but this was not my first rodeo with that type, so I asked Allison for a pen anyways and, being more a reader than a writer, I quoted some old, remembered poetry on the same napkin she had used and sent it back via it’s original courier.
Perhaps I could stick around a little longer.
Being a bit flushed for shyness, the woman was soon at my table. “Did you write that?”
Ahhh, a quandary. Technically I did write it “down”, but? So I smiled instead of lying. “That was Shakespeare.” She returned my smile, and sat without invitation. She ordered another round, and waved her friend over so that they could both pepper me with questions. It was soon 10:30, the ballgame on TV was over, my eyes were heavy, my 4:00am wake up alarm getting closer, and closer.
”I have a boyfriend,” she said.
I was also “sort of” seeing someone. “O.k.”
She leaned over the table then and kissed me. It was a really long… really, really nice kiss. It was such a long, nice kiss that I had the feeling her “boyfriend” might be on the way out.
We are married now. I am telling this story because today is Pooky-Bear’s and my 24th wedding anniversary. That simple decision to go have dinner and watch the ballgame changed my life forever for the better.
There is a simple morale to my story. If the choice is to stay home, or to go out? Always go out. You never know what wonderful things might happen.