So. On our second night in Minnesota the Boss and I decide to head over to the Mall of America* for dinner. It was, after all, right across the street from our hotel and, y’all know, there isn’t much going on in Minnesota on a Tuesday night. So we found a Ruby Tuesday’s and sat ourselves down for a drink. Much to our delight we discover that it’s 2 for 1 on draft beers! Love you Ruby Tuesday!
Just because this tickled my fancy, I thought I’d share the details of our tab…
2 draft imports @ $4.29 – plus 2 free
2 draft domestics @ $3.49 – plus 2 fee
1 plate of cheese fries @ $6.99
Grand Total for Happy Hour? $24.87.
For 8 beers and a huge order of cheese fries. Love you Minnesota!
But I digress. That has nothing to do with the real reason for this story.
So, I’m sitting at the bar, thoroughly enjoying my cheap-ass beer. The Boss had gone outside to take a phone call. He got literally 4 feet from his seat at the bar when out of no where appears Joe**. Now let me paint you a verbal picture of Joe so we can all be on the same page… Joe is maybe in his late 40’s. He is a total tow-head and I’m undecided if his white hair was a product of age, of too much sun exposure or was just natural blonde. Um… Joe looks like he’s had a hard life filled with loads of manual labor. And possibly prison time. Truly charming.
His opening line to me?
Joe: “Let me get your opinion on something.”
(Joe shuffles around in a shopping bag and pulls out a jewelry box. Inside is a really sweet, if tee-tiny diamond ring.)
Me: “Oh that’s lovely.”
Joe: “It’s our second date.”
(I am totally stunned… Seriously y’all it was an engagement ring. Or well it would have been when it grew up…)
Me: “Well that’s nice of you.”
Joe: “Yeah she’s had a hard week. She just got out of jail. And her car got repossessed. And she lost her job. So I wanted to do something nice for her.”
Me: “Well that’s real nice of you.” – Notice my vocabulary has shrunken?
(Because at this point I have discovered that Joe is not all that bright. And perhaps I am a tad jaded and things go a bit differently with the dating in Minnesota but, if I were presented with a diamond ring – that clearly was an engagement ring only not really – on a SECOND DATE… I’d run screaming. Seriously.)
(Some awkward silence in which Joe orders a drink and repeats the above conversation to the bartender and I fervently try to will the Boss back into the bar.)
Joe: “You know when I spend a lot of money I need a drink to take the edge off.”
Me: Polite bewildered half-smile. Mental note – Practice staring at toes and looking unapproachable beginning NOW!
Joe: “So where are you guys from?”
Me: “San Francisco Bay Area – we’re here on business.”
Joe: “Oh. You know there is going to be a strike at the airport of Friday.”
Me: “Well we fly out tomorrow so I think it’s okay.”
At this point my fervent willing has paid off and the Boss walks over, sits down and resumes drinking his beer. But Joe? Crazy Joe with the diamond ring? He decides perhaps he needs a male perspective on his second date idea. So out comes the ring, AGAIN, and we hear the sad tale of the girlfriend, AGAIN. Only this time? Joe must have decided that the Boss was a kindred spirit because we start getting details of the date (which is set to take place on Friday). Now the date sounded pretty normal – he rented a hotel room in one of those “fancy” hotels downtown and was planning on getting lobster, prawns and scallops take out from... (wait for it…) Red Lobster. Fine. This is Minnesota after all. Then he describes how he’s going to get some red roses and tie them with black ribbons (?) and that he’s going to sing and play for her.
Yes. Joe is a musician. He plays keyboard. Also, he’s a magician. As in “watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat.” Except Joe’s act involves birds. Birds that he is unnaturally attached to. Birds whose pictures he has in his wallet! I don’t think this story could have gotten any better. Truly, it’s like the blogging gods sent him to me just for my writing (and your reading) pleasure. Because I could not make this shit up y’all! I am not that good.
So, before this post becomes an epic of War and Peace proportions I’ll just say that Joe was thoroughly entertaining. He told stories, most of which I suspect were false, and generally provided amusement for the Boss and me. But of course we had consumed 8 beers. At the end of the evening, when we decided that perhaps cheese fries were not sufficient dinner, we wished Joe well on his endeavor and left him to his solitary and now-watered down bourbon with sour mix. Perhaps the girlfriend*** is just as crazy as Joe and will adore the diamond ring and Red Lobster take-out date.
Because who doesn’t love magic?
*More on the Mall of America coming soon to a blog near you.
**Actually his real name. But I figure it’s safe because 1) it’s not like it’s a unique name, 2) I doubt Joe has access to the internet and 3) I SERIOUSLY doubt that even if he did surf the web that he’d ever find this blog.
***Can we call her “girlfriend” if they’ve only had one date?