The Designated Driver
If I had known at the time I was on My Very Worst Date I would have taken notes or a picture to mark the auspicious occasion. Instead, I was focused on getting M home before she vomited in my car. M was a co-worker and M was drunk. Once a week a large group of my co-workers would unwind at a local bar, yet she was the only one in my tenure there to have become so drunk by 6:15 PM that they needed a ride home. I had agreed to chauffeur as I was the only person out of the dozen or so coworkers willing to do so. The complication was that M had asked me out a month prior to this. I showed up for the date in nice slacks and shoes, but we ended up slogging through a muddy corn maze in drizzling rain then eating at a theme restaurant – the kind with cliff divers, a mariachi band, and microwaved Mexican food. It was one of those dates that would have been quirky and cute had I actually been into her, but was annoying since I wasn’t. After the date, I made it clear I wasn’t interested in more and assumed that to be the end of things. By the time the bar get together occurred I felt things were fine and had no problem driving her home.
Fast forward three years. I eventually left the job and am currently dating B who still works at the same place. Recently, she came home fuming that “M is a bitch!” Apparently, when M found out B and I were together she informed anyone that will listen that she and I would make a much better couple as we had already been on “several” dates, not just the muddy corn maze, and we had a particularly wonderful date that night I drove her home. That’s when it hit me. Like the ending of The Usual Suspects or Shutter Island, I watched MVWD come together. While the proverbial coffee cup was dropping I flash backed to M showing up in different, fancier clothes than she had worn at work and a ton of makeup as if she were dressed for a date. I remembered how she had wormed her way into my games of darts and pool. I envisioned her sitting next to me; at the bar, at a table, nearly every time I stood up, she followed. Her cackling, drunken laugh echoed through my head as I thought of how her friends, people you’d think would give her a ride home, were nowhere to be found when the group broke for the night.
Like Keyser Soze’s inept niece, M orchestrated a simple after work get together into an epic date – yet like Teddy Daniels it was all within her mind. The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist. The second greatest was convincing this poor girl she and I were on a date that night.