I’ve two stories to impart today which will go under separate posts. The end of this one is likely to upset a few of you who have come to know me through my writing for it sets my halo a tilt by a good margin. The events of Saturday night were as dramatic as could be expected, but for all the wrong reasons. Admittedly, this blog has become somewhat of a confessional for this mid-life crisis or wayward journey of mine; but I’ll continue to tell my story – as objectively as possible – come what may.
This entry is a follow-up story to last week’s commentary about my unexpected decision to spend MLK Day with a perfect female redheaded stranger – at her invitation – while our kids enjoyed each other’s company. As you’ll recall, I was a bit stand-offish, if not fearful, given everything that’s happened (or hasn’t happened) over the past few months. We accepted Becky’s invitation to attend her little gathering on Saturday. Little did I know what drama awaited me that Saturday afternoon.
To begin with, it didn’t take long for the drinks to start to poor. My glass was filled with my usual nemesis – red wine (you would’ve thought I’d learned my lesson by now). Almost immediately, Ms. Becky started in on me, introducing me to her other friends as her “playdate” as each new couple came in. I was a bit uncomfortable at first until she got me alone in the kitchen and teased, “I saw you blushing.” That pretty much signified what I was in for all night. As she began to drink, she became a bit more flirtatious – sort of making lewd comments and teasing me in front of my other half, and even her husband. Trying not to appear like a stiff, I responded back in kind. My other half immediately pulled me aside and yelled at me, “Don’t embarrass us. Her husband sort of made a face when you responded.” Ok, now I”m between a rock and hard place. What am I to do? Say nothing and appear a dolt, or try to make light of it all. No matter what I do – I’m always wrong!
Soon it was time for the presentation (not sure what it was – one of these things where they sell foods, dips, etc). I enjoyed the conversation and trying out the various offerings. At one point, Becky came up behind me and caressed my back. It was sort of bizarre to say the least. After all the food had been tried, the social activity picked up, and the drinks really began to flow. Becky continued her bantering, and came up to me saying “Ha, playmate, you’re lucky you didn’t see what I said about you on Facebook.” I got a little defensive by the comment, and responded, “Why, what did you say? Anything bad?” She replied, “No…. oh, you’re blushing again.” After prodding me a bit more, I looked right at her and said in a quiet voice, “Listen, you are going to get me in trouble.” She became slightly annoyed, frowned, and said, “Ok. I’ll stop.” That tells me that she knew exactly what she was doing.
About twenty minutes later my other half says to her, “I sent you a Facebook request.” For some reason that bothered me and I turned to Becky and said, “You’re friends with her on Facebook?” Becky responded, “Why are you jealous?” I don’t know why, but in that instant I became bitter, and withdrawn. I got drawn into Becky’s little game, and I felt she was punishing me for putting an end to it early.
I grabbed my drink and walked out of the kitchen; I headed to the living room to regroup by myself. This isn’t unusual for me to do at a party – sometimes, I like to escape the loudness of the group atmosphere, and retreat for a few minutes of solitude. So I sat in an unlit room gazing at my phone, and looking up at the golf game on TV. In comes Becky, who plops herself right next to me. She starts, “Oh what’s the matter [Carter], you’re mad at me? You don’t like me anymore?” I responded to her, “No. It’s not that at all, I like you, you’re very nice. You just don’t understand.“
She said, “Oh I understand. I really do understand.” she smiled. ”You’re upset that I’m friends with her on Facebook. I’m not going to get in the middle.” Then what do you think happens next? In comes my other half and sits on the couch arm right next to me, glaring, “What are you talking about?” I responded, “Nothing.” Sensing the tension, Becky got up and went back to the kitchen to leave me with the heat. My other half asked me again, “What are you doing [Carter]?” I responded, “Nothing, I was just sitting here minding my own business, chilling out.” I got up and went back in the kitchen to avoid further interrogation.
I returned to the kitchen, and said to my other half, “I think we should go.” Overhearing me, Becky says, “Oh, the party’s over, [Carter] wants to leave.” My other half went over to talk to some of the other guests, while I was left to stew in my outrage alone. Becky looked over at me smiling.
Time passed, and I got distracted, and had another drink. Again, I adjourned to the living room to check Facebook and chill-out. No sooner than two minutes go by, and Becky comes in and towers over me. She starts, “You’re being anti-social. Let me have your phone.” I responded, “No, I’m just checking my statuses. What, did you come looking for me?” She plops down next to me, and all I can think is that my other half is going to come in and rail me for hanging out in a dark room with Becky on a couch. WTF! She said, “I noticed you were missing and I came looking for you. You need to socialize.“
I said to her, “You don’t understand what’s going on. There is a lot going on.” She said, “I know. I can see that. I’m not going to get in the middle.” I can’t remember what was said next. I was probably a little ornery because she was – at minimum – pestering me. I returned to the kitchen. She followed, Becky and I had an exchange, but I’m not quite sure what it was about, nor can I remember what was said. I remember her saying at the end, “Screw you.” and I said, “You should be so lucky.” She then walked away, turned and came back to me and cracked me hard across the face. She said, “My husband will kick your ass.” She walked away. I was like OK – what just happened? Did this girl just slap me in the face?
The night resumed to normal – if you can call it that. I talked with this one guy about World War II history or something for a while over liquored coffees. I totally avoided Becky for the rest of the night – I had enough drama for the evening. Twenty minutes more and we were ready to leave. I shook a few hands, and walked out the door ahead of everyone. Becky yelled, “Good night, [Car....ter]!” I was frustrated at that point, and didn’t even give her the satisfaction of a partial acknowledgement.
Karma punished me though. On the way to my car, I slipped on the ice going down knee first. Later, I found that I had cut myself open so deep that I bled through my pants. I was more pissed that I scuffed up my new cowboy boots then anything else.
On the way home, I passed a cop waiting in the bushes. He chased me with lights and siren going. I turned to my other half and said, “This is f*cking it. I am screwed. I’m going to jail and that will be the end of me.” In truth, I wasn’t really that bad because I had consumed a half-dozen pieces of pizza, but I was tense, and these days even one drink could get you tossed in the slammer. The cop asked me for my license and registration and pelted me with the typical questions, informing me that I smelled like I had been drinking. I won’t get into the details of the dismal and frightening episode. To make a long story short, after quizzing me, and realizing I was good enough to get home, he let me go with a warning, urging me to slow down.
I was lucky. You have no idea how freaking lucky I was. Friends of mine have faced worse situations for less offenses (and less consumption) by just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. They call them traps for a reason.
On Sunday morning my other half looked at me and said, “Well, someone up there is looking out for you.” No truer words were ever spoken. I was given a second chance. And notwithstanding all that I have been through, I cannot tell you how lucky or blessed or whatever I was to have escaped a DUI charge, loss of license, and loss of quality of life. This is one Mulligan that I’m not soon to forget. Oh, and by the way – this bird is on the wagon.