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Crazy dates (cont.)
Finally, to break the stony silence, I said, "That's good. Eventually, when you get married, you can have a baby." I honestly wondered if she had forgotten to take some important medication to balance her mentally that morning.
I wanted to make it abundantly clear that I was committed to remaining a virgin until my wedding night. There would be no baby-making activities after Outback Steakhouse.
After we slid into the booth at Outback Steakhouse, I thought, "OK, things can only get better." But, unbelievably, they got worse.
The waiter sat down two ice waters with lemon and a straw in each. Personally, I don't like drinking from a straw, so I pulled mine out and proceeded to bring the glass to my lips.
Before I was fully cognizant of what was happening, Mary lunged across the table toward me, bellowing "Noooooo!" at the top of her lungs.
It's hard to embarrass an outgoing talk show host. But I'm sure I was turning three shades of fire engine red.
Everything was in a horrid slow motion. As if I was about to swallow a poisoned drink, she grabbed my glass out of my hand, spilling it down my shirt and into my lap.
"Mary, what on earth are you doing?" I demanded.
"These glasses have lots of germs. My sister was once a waitress and she told me that they don't properly sterilize things in the back."
"Well, I've worked as a waiter and the dishwasher got so hot every time it was run that steam billowed out of it. Not to mention that there are very strict health codes in place to protect the consumer. We're not in some developing country Mary. We're at Outback Steakhouse in San Antonio, Texas for heaven's sake!"
"You can never be too safe," she countered.
"Psycho!" I thought to myself.
The conversation turned to a recent topic on my talk show - shock jock Howard Stern and how beyond the pale he was.
"Really? What's wrong with him? I think he's funny."
My eyebrows skyrocketed to the top of my forehead and I clenched my teeth, turning my lower lip down all in one involuntary swoop. At this point, I was beginning to wonder whether Mary had a walk with the Lord at all.
After explaining in detail why, from a Biblical perspective, Howard was the antithesis of anything good, I asked her what she enjoyed doing in her free time, desperate for some sane conversation.
"I like to take my young nephew out to dinner to his favorite Chinese restaurant."
"Smooth sailing ahead," I thought, comforted by the potential normalcy of the next topic.
"Whenever we walk in or out of the restaurant, I always encourage him to rub the Buddha statue's little belly. They usually have fruit offerings in front of it."
"Oh my," I thought, as I began to develop an Excedrin-sized headache. "I hope she's just pulling my leg." I waited for the other shoe to drop. It never did.
"You're kidding, right?"
"No, why?" she asked, looking surprised.
"Well, to start off, it violates God's Top Ten List."
"What do you mean?", she inquired, as if I was the one coming from left field.
"How about 'Thou shalt put no graven images before Me,'" I insisted.
"We're just rubbing the little Buddha belly. It can't hurt anything."
"What is that? Your back-up plan in case there really is no God? Like buying a rabbit's foot for luck?" I asked incredulously.
"I don't know. Something like that."
I couldn't ask for the check fast enough. On the way home, I think she asked me for a third time what my brothers did for a living. I patiently answered her for a third time.
At this point, I felt as though I was in the middle of the 1993 movie "Groundhog Day" where Phil Connors, a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania TV weatherman played by Bill Murray, is having the worst day of his life... over, and over again. I felt like I was having the worst date of my life, and through her inability to remember what questions she had already asked me, it kept repeating over and over again.
As we neared my point of freedom, the drop-off in front of her apartment, she bellowed in triplicate and at NASCAR speed once again, "I've got to go to the bathroom! I've got to go to the bathroom! I've got to go to the bathroom!"
"OK. I'll pull into this gas station right here."
"Are you kidding?"
"No," I replied. "It's the nearest toilet."
"Those gas station bathrooms are disgusting!" she insisted.
"Just put some toilet paper down on the seat," I said, getting exasperated. "If you have to go that badly, it's your best bet."
"No, no, no! Just drop me off at my apartment, and I'll go to the bathroom at my place."
As we pulled to her gated apartment complex, she suddenly remembered that she forgot to bring her remote control gate opener.
"Adam, Adam, Adam - I gotta go right now."
"I can drive back to the gas station," I offered meekly.
"Oh no! That's not an option. Just pray that someone drives up here quickly."
Thankfully, someone pulled up at that precise moment. I pushed the pedal to the metal, flying over three speed bumps, concerned that my engine was about to drop out on the pavement.
Meanwhile, Mary claimed that the bumps were jostling her bladder into the danger zone. It was all a blur toward the end. She threw open the door, scrambled up the steps to her second floor apartment and raced inside. And that was the last I saw of her until my obligatory double date the following Monday. That's right. I went out with her one final time. Hey, I wanted my friend Todd to witness my "Groundhog Day" date in person.
He told me later that my story didn't adequately describe how strange she was in person. I found out through the grapevine later that she got married within about two months. I guess she really was anxious to have that "baby, baby, baby" like she had indicated to me on the Outback Steakhouse date.
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