Story Sent in by Mary:
Jeffrey gave me an address at which to meet him for date number one. It was a gas station and convenience store. When I arrived, I called him, thinking that I had the place wrong. He said, "Nope, that's right. They have a table and chairs just inside the front door. Meet you there!" He hung up.
I went inside and indeed, next to the ice cream cooler and potato chip rack, there was a torn bridge table and two folding chairs that had definitely seen better days. A few customers were strolling up and down the aisles. I wondered why he had wanted to meet there, and I paced the aisles, myself.
He came in with a stuffed canvas bag and a clipboard. "Hey," he said, giving me a one-armed hug, "Let's sit down." He walked toward the table and chairs.
I asked him, "Where are we going to dinner?"
He replied, "That depends on you. Have a seat."
Both seats were stained, one with dark splotches, one with lighter ones, but neither looked like the sort of seat I really wanted to use. He put his bag on the table, sat down on the dark-stained chair, and motioned to the other one.
"Can we just go to dinner?" I asked.
He said, "You know, I feel a lot more comfortable sitting here, just to start. I'm sorry, I kind of want to do this."
"Have a seat and I'll tell you."
"Tell me, and I might have a seat. Is this a date or isn't it?"
He stood up and stepped closer to me with the clipboard. He showed it to me. It had a hand-written list of local restaurants. He pointed up and down the list and said, "Where someone likes to eat says a lot about their personality. So tell me, Mary: where do you want to go for dinner?"
I pointed to an Italian place I knew of, less then a couple of miles away. He said, "I wanted to see if you were fun-loving, which is why I'd prefer dinner here, at this table. We can get anything you want in the store. What do you say?"
I replied, "I don't really want to eat at a gas station, tonight."
He nodded, then sat back down and said, "How about this: I eat here, you go to your little restaurant, and then we reconvene and compare notes? Food, price, ambiance, et cetera."
"You don't want to do dinner together?" I asked.
"If it's here."
I left him there.
The next day, he sent me an email that said, "If I wanted to mail you something, what's the address to which I could personally deliver it? I don't trust the postal service with something of such gravity."
I didn't respond, even though it might have meant that I was missing out on something as important as a free bag of chips or a gas station hot dog.
(Greetings, ABCotD readers. Still on a road trip across America. Posts will still appear every day, although the daily timing might be a bit wonky for a few weeks. Then again, depending on my Internet access, you may not notice a blip at all. If I'm traveling through your area and anyone wants to grab a coffee, then give me a shout at abadcaseofthedates at gmail dot com. Today, I'll be along I-70 (eastbound) through Utah, and tomorrow I'll be in the Denver area. - Jared)