I look up at the clock. Almost 8:30 and perfect time to call it quits.
Jack looks at me shaking his head, and says, “I don't think you have ever bowled that horrible and that good.”
“I know. You were consistent, but I wasn't even close.”
“Yeah, a 132 and a 257. I will stick with my 172 and 177.”
“I don't know. Those explosive games are fun.”
“Thanks for coming along Pete, it was fun.”
“Hey Jack, don't take off yet. I want to make sure I still have this date thing.”
“Sure, no problem.”
So I work my way back up to the counter. Angie is there.
“Hey Pete, I'll be done in just a bit so just have a seat over there.”
I signal Jack over and say, “Go ahead. I will talk to you later.”
Jack waves to me as he walks out the door. I scan the room to find something, anything, just to keep m mind from wandering and shattering my brittle confidence. I mean, I don't know anything about her. She could seventeen for all I know. She could be seeing other people.
Ok. Just calm down. Look at that fat guy on lane 4. Ok. Wow, he has seven strikes strung in a row. Not bad. He is stepping up on the alley for his eighth and . . . oh no. He got a gutter. Ok, this is not helping. Maybe there is a TV in the bar. Of course, Angie said to sit here. Maybe she is taking pictures for some vast internet joke. Maybe she is running a background check on me.
Enough imagination, she doesn't have my last name and so what if she wants to make a fool of me. I want to have fun. I want to try and see if I can get something to work. You have been on dates before. You know what not to do. Do some reconnaissance. Shoot you have gotten so far.
Angie walks out and comes over to me and says, “I let the next shift know who's still bowling, but I need to stop at home to change. Is there anything you need to stop and do before dinner?”
“If you don't mind a bowling ball in your trunk until after the movie, I think I am fine.”
“Not a problem. But I'm going to ask you to wear a blindfold. I really don't need any stalkers.”
“I'm kidding. If I had that concern I wouldn't have went out. Shoot I don't normally go out with people that I have met while I have been working.”
We start for the door. So what should it be? Light conversation or should I start probing for information?
“So do you like working for a bowling alley?”
“Just there to give me a little extra pocket change. College really drains the funds.”
“Wow. So what's your major in?”
“Biomed. So what do you do?”
“I'm a engineer for one of the firms in town. I studied Industrial Engineering in college. So what year are you?”
We find her car just around the corner of the building. As we are getting in, I remember what another one of my friends had told me about cars and people. The car and the state of the car will reflect the owner completely. He said a lot of it would break out their psychological profile plus some of their needs. So as I get in I start doing the look around. Everything seems to be fairly clean but no spotless. There were some leaves on the floormat and on the backseat was a jacket. Oh and there was no hint of smoke in the air.
“I'm a senior. So when did you graduate?”
“Two years ago. And not a minute too soon.”
“You didn't like college?”
“No, I loved college, but I'd reached the end of my funds. Each year it kept getting closer to what I had left in savings and every summer I would boost it up the best I could doing any internship I could find.”
“So are you originally from around here?”
“No, I used to live about 500 miles south of here.”
“Don't you miss the warm weather?
“Sometimes. But also went to school in Minnesota. Now that's a frigid state. So are you from around here?”
“Basically. I have lived within this general area of the country for quite a while now.”
So as we drive to her place we talk about some of our favorite things in college. Turns out that she has taken a lot of history classes on top of her normal classes. She also listed some of the professors and their quirks that had helped her through various classes. And there was the big surprise that she didn't want to work at a bowling alley forever, but , she didn't really know what was in her future. So we get to her place, which is a fairly large apartment complex.
“Wow, you live a long way from work.”
“It's closer to campus. I prefer to walk to class and drive to work. Cheaper parking. If you want to come in you can. I don't expect you to wait outside.”
“Ok. So not living in the dorms?”
“No, I decided to move off campus with my college roommate. Seemed cheaper at the time.”
“Well it is, just there was a high initial setup type expense hat I didn't expect.”
As we walk in the apartment, Angie says, “Make yourself comfortable, I will just be a minute.”
I walk over the couch and sit down. Things are going really great. I don't feel nervous anymore. I feel comfortable. I don't know how this forbodes. This may be bad. Look Pete. Don't think about the future. Just have a good time and let the future take of itself. Of course that is easier said than done.
She seems to have a pretty nice apartment. It has all the usual attributes of a college apartment. The kitchen is the size of a closet. The living room is decent sized but there is no dining area. It looks like there is a hall leading back to what I guess would be the bedrooms and bathroom. So what about the zest? I look behind me at the wall and there is a Magritte print in a frame. Ok. That is something at least. Of course with two people can you really personalize in the 9 months that you are in an apartment for school.
Angie comes out from the hallway looking stunning. Of course, she looked stunning at the bowling alley too. She is wearing a well cut grey shirt and jeans. But her smile just adds so much more to it.
“Ah it is so much better to get out of the work clothes. I really hate the hawaiian shirt we have to wear and the tight black pants. Just not comfortable.”
“Wait till you have other work dress codes. They're all different. So do you live here year round.”
“No, I have been going home every summer. When you do that it doesn't make any sense to decorate the place.”
“Oh, I was just going to ask if that Magritte is yours or your roommates.”
“Yeah it's hers. One of her favorite artists. I'm more preferential to some of van Gogh and many other painters that do landscapes.”
“Same here. It is so much nicer to look at a crowded street, a lake with sea gulls near it, or even a solitairy haystack in the middle of a field at dusk than to look at a bowl of fruit or case of Miller Lite on a table. I'm not really into portaits of people I don't know either.”
Angie laughs and asks, “Have you seen a painting of a case of Miller Lite?”
“Uh no. But maybe I should do one?”
“You're a painter?”
“No, I wish I was. My talents don't range into skilled arts, just into arts that I can wing it through with as little pure talent as can be.”
“Well are you ready to go?”
“Any place in mind?”
“Do you have any thing that you can't eat?”
“Not that I know of.”
“Ok, how about Thai restaurant downtown?”
“No, that sounds horrible.”
“Uh well how about . . . “
“I'm kidding. That sounds great.”
“You had me there.”
“Let's get going but you're going to have to help with directions. Don't go downtown very often.”