Date, Interrupted

I know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted here. It’s been a long few weeks without a break – tests, tons of work, and a couple of special trips up to my hometown D.C. – one for a date (!), and one for a job interview. So sorry, not sorry, for the delay.

Like this.

The date is the topic of today’s post. It was a nearly-perfect afternoon and evening, but I promise I’m not going to write sappy hogwash about bucolically strolling around the Washington Monument under a backdrop of thousands of kites, although that’s exactly what we did. If you’re looking for that, look for a blog with pink frills and prominent background pictures of roses (or maybe Chelsea Handler and Tucker Max, if that’s your thing). But those of you who know me well know that I am absurdly picky and the mere fact that I even went on a date, much less wanted to write about it, is at least noteworthy.

(Andrea, my date, actually suggested I write about what happened. See? She’s a good one!)

Okay, so if you were paying attention you’ll note I said the date was “nearly-perfect.” Why not 100% perfect? Well, read on:

After an afternoon of said strolling around, Andrea and I went to a bar in Dupont to watch the Kentucky – Louisville Final Four game. After concluding that all Kentucky fans are misguided, evil people who sold their soul to the devil in exchange for John Calipari and Anthony Davis (well, plus that $200,000 suitcase Davis got) and that the game was going to be a blowout, we left at halftime to find dinner somewhere. We stumbled into a nearby diner and were seated in a booth, next to a family of six.

As dinner went on, Andrea glanced up and noticed the basketball game had suddenly become close. Since my back was to the bar’s television, I scooted around to her side of the booth so I could see (and to have an excuse for sitting next to her, but that’s besides the point).

Suddenly, the 5- or 6-year-old boy at the table next to us began to cry. The dad immediately stood up to pick up the kid and started carrying him out of the restaurant. I thought that was a little odd, because kids cry all the time and any parent of a kindergartner has long passed the phase when they whisked a kid outside just for crying, but I didn’t really pay them much attention. I was… er, otherwise distracted.

As I turned my attention back to the game, I looked over just in time to see Andrea grab the collar of her jacket, pull it up, and duck. The next couple of seconds happened in slow motion:

Thought: Hmm, that’s odd. Why would she be ducking? Maybe someone spilled something, like a waiter spilling a glass of water. Hopefully just water.

Sensed: That was a strange noise. It sounded like… I don’t actually know. Also, how come that kid suddenly stopped crying?

Sensed: Something wet just hit the top my of head. Probably that water I was thinking about.

Thought: Oh no. That sound does not line up with a spilled glass of water, does it? And that wet thing doesn’t feel very cold…

I looked over at Andrea, who is at this point holding her hand up to her mouth trying to keep from exploding with laughter. She looks a complex mix of horrified and entertained; this cannot be good.

I blinked.

Looking in the opposite direction, the family of six is staring at me in total silence, with all four remaining family members slack-jawed. One of the children, a teenage girl, has frozen with a piece of pizza halfway to her mouth. Behind me, and the booth, the dad is standing holding his formerly crying child, looking equally shocked.

Turning back to Andrea, I said, “Did that kid just throw up on me?”

She nodded.

“Do I have vomit in my hair?”

She nodded, still fighting a strong wave of mirth. (Actually, she was openly laughing at me by this point.)

I’ve had kids throw up on me before. I’ve dealt with worse wet things as an EMT and even as a camp counselor (you’d be amazed, really). But I’ve never gone from being a charming, witty gentleman having a nice dinner with a date to being rendered an emesis basin. This was a first. Politely, I excused myself to go to the bathroom.

When I saw myself in the mirror, I realized I had gotten off easy. Luckily, it looked like the kid had just drank soda too fast or something, because there wasn’t anything particularly… particulate about what was on top of my head. But it was sufficiently disgusting to take drastic measures: With a waiter washing his hands next to me and awkwardly looking on, I turned on the tap and stuck my entire head under the faucet. Odd dinner behavior, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

When I came back, Andrea had finally controlled her laughter. I was lucky: Andrea, as a teenager, had been a victim of a similarly-horrifying date event. While out to dinner with her then-boyfriend, a group of battling and unruly children behind them (with helpless parents, apparently) flung a piece of flank steak at them. The meat hit Andrea in the back of the head. So she, astoundingly, already had experience with projectiles in restaurants, and had controlled herself upon my return.

I, on the other hand, thought this was the most hilarious thing to happen to me in a while, maybe ever, and didn’t stop snickering about it until… okay, I still am. The family next to us still didn’t know how to react, until the father came over and offered to buy us drinks. We declined, opting to get out of there before Mt. Vesuvius erupted again.

So that’s the “nearly” part of the “nearly-perfect day.” The best news? I’m seeing Andrea again this weekend, and we’re going somewhere that is guaranteed to not have vomiting children. Success!

(Actually, the best news is that the kid was eating pizza and not Indian food, but what I said sounds better.)

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