Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bumper Stickers, Hospital Visits, and Happy Plates - Part Two

*** Continued from previous post!!***

Back in the day when I was still participating in the grueling world of dating, my very dear friend – we’ll call her ‘J’ – was rushed to the hospital. Being a doting friend, I headed to the hospital the minute I received the call. At some point in time, I needed to leave her room.

That was my first mistake.

I should have insisted on staying through whatever it was that prompted me to leave! But no … I was polite and ushered myself to the waiting area. It was late evening, and the waiting room was quiet and empty. Except for a hospital employee dressed in scrubs. I remember thinking that he was cute … and had nice hair. And, I have to admit I wasn’t terribly disappointed when he started chatting with me … then flirting … and eventually asked me out.

Second mistake … agreeing to the invitation.

From what I had seen and heard that evening at the hospital, I pegged him to be the rugged, four-wheel drive-driving, sporty type of guy.

So, imagine my surprise when, upon walking out to his car on our infamous first (and last) date night, I saw a large, dull-butterscotch-colored, 4-door, boat-like sedan … plastered with political bumper stickers. P-L-A-S-T-E-R-E-D!

As my eyes quickly scanned the myriad of opinions shared via the bumper stickers, everything in me wanted to turn and run! I decided to give him a chance. First impressions can be so misleading (by the way … they can also be right!).

Say it with me … mistake #3 … giving him a chance.

As we drove to the restaurant, talk radio twittering away in the background, he regaled me with all the reasons music radio was bad-bad-bad, along with all the brain-related benefits of talk radio. A topic that bored my early twenty-something self to tears.

I began creating escape plans in my head … he continued to chatter about talk radio, as I attempted to figure out the logistics of opening the car door and doing some type of maneuver that would effectively and safely fling myself from the car, allowing me to land safely on the freeway and quickly escape from being run over by the hundreds of other 60-mile-per-hour-moving cars on the road. After all, I reasoned, I’d landed safely after parachuting out of a plane … how hard could it be to apply the emergency-landing drop and roll movement I’d been taught to an escape from a moving car?!

Needless to say, I stayed in the car.

We arrived at Red Robin, ordered, and attempted to make conversation. As the food on our plates dwindled, he decided it would be a good idea to order dessert. Red Robin had one of my favorite desserts - apple crisp - so, I folded and ordered along with him.

That was when he looked at me, then my plate, then up at me again, and asked, “Aren’t you going to make your plate happy?”

“Hmmmm?” I questioned, not certain I’d heard him correctly.

“If you want dessert, you need to eat all the food on your plate. You need to make your plate a Happy Plate,” he matter-of-factly explained.

“You know … I’m getting a little bit full. I think I’ll take the rest to-go,” I replied carefully, not wanted to ruffle any last vestiges of his sanity. After all … I still needed to get home safely.

Mistake # …. well, I’ve lost count … anyway, that would be letting him drive me to the date location.

Dessert arrived, thank goodness, and I dove into my haven of apple crisp. But, once again, I quickly got full and had to stop eating before finishing. I hoped and prayed that he wouldn’t notice my very unhappy plate. Actually, it was a bowl. With deep sides. So, I thought there might be a chance that he wouldn’t see the remnants of apple crisp still sitting inside.

Of course, he did. But, this time, he went a step further. After confirming that I was not, in fact, going to be personally making my bowl happy, he took the bowl, spooned what he could of the remaining crisp, and then LICKED the bowl clean.

At that point, I remember my shoulders slumping a bit, as I looked around to see if anyone I knew was in the restaurant and watching this whole pitiful story play itself out. Then I turned to my date, and watched him blissfully finish licking the bowl. “There,” he proudly stated, “now it’s happy!”

Unlike me … who was quite the opposite of happy, and just wanted to get home.

But, no. As luck would have it, a Halloween store had opened up in the same complex as Red Robin. Not a nice home décor-type Halloween store, with stylish pumpkins and cute decorative ghosts. But, the freaky Halloween store, with gory masks and fake blood and cackling voices and grotesque creatures hanging from the walls and ceiling … and that stale, funky smell of I-don’t-know-what.

He was ecstatic over the discovery of this store. Me … not so much. Surprise, surprise. But, being a nice person and a tad concerned about his mental state, I went along with it … walking with him through the store and feigning amusement and delight over the Goth and gore.

Thankfully, the evening ended with me safely arriving back home, sharing a kind thank-you and goodbye, then quickly high-tailing it to my apartment where I promptly locked the door and ran to the window, peeking through the blinds to ensure his car had driven away.

My worst date ever. But, one that immediately became a favorite of my dearest, closest friends (including my now-hubby!) and has lived on through the years via ‘Happy Plate’ comments sprinkled here and there just when you need a laugh.

So, thank you, Happy Plate Guy – wherever you are … and, please, stay where you are – for giving me such an unusual, unique, implausible, and – in hindsight – amusing experience.

And, there you have it … the story behind my aversion to political, preachy bumper stickers and, come to think of it, similarly-themed talk radio shows. Admittedly, it’s highly probably I would have developed those dislikes on my own. How lame a story would that be though?! It’s so much more entertaining to just link it all back to Happy Plate Guy. :-)


Suzanne Casamento said...

Wow, that sounds like a truly awful date! Political bumper stickers, happy plates and scary costumes = FREAK.

Keri Mikulski said...

Oh my. You have to put this in a book. :) q

Kelly Polark said...

That is a funny story! Little does Happy Plate Guy know what an impression he made!

CC said...

Ewwww! He LICKED it clean?????

PJ Hoover said...

Funny! It had me on the edge of my seat!

Jeff B said...

Just read parts #1 and #2.

Amazing how given enough time (and hopefully several miles of distance) how funny an experience like this can be.

Thanks for sharing that story. You truly had me laughing at it.

Kelly H-Y said...

Suzanne! Yes ... very scary! :-)

Keri ... I agree! Thanks for mentioning that!

Kelly - so true ... I've never forgotten ... I was just waiting to get it down on paper!

CC - Truly! I was surprised beyond words when it happened!

PJ - I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

Jeff - So glad you enjoyed it! Yes ... time does end up lending a whole different perspective. In this case, frightening and humiliating became quite hilarious!

Beth Kephart said...


Rebecca Ramsey said...

This is too incredible.
You MUST put this in a book.

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

he's probably reading your blog :0

Kelly H-Y said...

Beth! My thought exactly! :-)

Becky! Truly!! I agree ... I have to figure out a way to work it into one somewhere! It's better than anything I could have made up myself!

Shelli! Aacckk ... I hope not!

Sherrie Petersen said...

That is just too funny! I was squirming with you in Red Robin. Although I would have ordered the Mud Pie :^)

Kelly H-Y said...

Sherrie - Oh ... the Mud Pie! My mouth is watering just thinking about it! Yes ... that would be a very good choice too ... but I definitely wouldn't have been able to finish that one either! :-)

Unknown said...

...gotta go load my dishwasher now : )

Anonymous said...

grueling world of dating

This says it all!

Anonymous said...

Oh man, and I thought I had some bad dates over the years. Happy Plate guy wins just slightly over the magician I dated who kept making red balls appear under the teacups. AND THEN A FREAKIN' BUNNY.

What About The Girl? said...

The way you were retelling this story made me feel like I was the one on a date with the Happy Plate guy. This is very funny! I could not stop laughing the moment you were contemplating your escape from the car!

Serenity said...

Oh my gosh. This story is why they say truth is stranger than fiction. Seriously.

Kelly H-Y said...

KLo! Hee, hee! Too funny!

Meredith! Yes it does! It was the only word that seemed appropriate! :-)

Tara! No way! Red balls out from under cups ... AND a bunny?! I think that's right up there with the Happy Plate! That is hilarious!

Girl from Cherry Blossom St. - Oh, that makes me so happy that you enjoyed it ... and felt like you were there! Glad you got a good laugh out of it!

Serenity! You said it! Truly ... I couldn't have ever made such a story up!

Kelly H-Y said...

Oops ... Serenity ... I meant to say 'never' made such a story up! :-)