Story Sent in by Janice:
Greg and I had spoken online for a couple of weeks. He asked me out to dinner, and I accepted. He seemed like a nice, happy positive guy who worked for a foreign aid nonprofit.
When we sat down to dinner, though, he was in a rotten mood, and made it obvious by the way he flopped into his seat and gave everything, me included, a dark look.
"What's wrong?" I asked him.
"Society. That's what's wrong," he replied.
"Everything sucks," he said, "Everyone's content to just go about on their way and they don't realize how much they're being screwed out of everything due to them."
I asked, "Did something happen today? You seemed in a good mood over the past week."
The waitress came by for our drink orders. I ordered a diet soda. Greg said, "I'll order whatever wasn't made on the backs of foreign slave labor."
The waitress said, "So two waters, then," and she left the table.
I asked Greg, "Is this a good time for us to be meeting up? I mean, we can reschedule if–"
"Society will be just as screwed next week as they are this week. Even more so, perhaps, so now's great," he said.
The waitress came by with the waters and she told us about the specials. She mentioned a lobster bisque, and Greg remarked, "Slave labor." She went on to go over a roasted half chicken, and Greg repeated, "Slave labor!" again.
I asked the waitress for a few extra minutes. Greg looked over the menu and seemed to brighten up a bit. He asked, "So, how was your day?"
It was an excuse to talk about something safe and benign, so I jumped at it. I told him about work, about a promotion I was expecting to get the following week, and about how I planned to save up enough to spend a year abroad.
"Hiring slave labor for that?" he asked me, cutting in.
"Um… no. I'm carrying my own luggage."
"Oh, that's right," he said, back in his own little world, "Slaves aren't paid."
I hoped to ignore his curious overtures and I went on with, "Well, I'd like to find a roommate, or at least a friend to help me split costs. I'd spend a few months in each place, although I want to brush up on a few languages–"
"Slave labor…" he muttered again.
The waitress came by. I ordered the bisque and a hummus wrap. Greg asked if they had iced tea made with fair trade tea. The waitress said she'd go check. She came back and said, "I'm sorry, I don't think so."
He shook his head, stood up, straightened out his clothes for a solid 10 seconds, then said, "Very well, then I shall drink… LIFE!" and he left the table, the restaurant, and two very confused people.
The waitress turned back to me and said, "Um… was this a first date?"
I replied, "Yes. Likely a last date, too."
She smiled at me and said, "Bisque's on the house."
The waitress and I became good friends, and by a spectacular set of circumstances, she was the one I ended up traveling with to Europe. So, I suppose, all's well that ended well.
Greg, I found out, left his job not long afterward, and apparently moved to Florida to work with a contractor on draining swamps. Plenty of life to drink there, I guess.
Story Sent in by Janice: