(If you missed Part 1, check out yesterday’s post.)
“Marla,” I said.
“Nice to meet you, Marla.”
I didn’t give him a whole lot of encouragement, but he was a pretty determined young fellow, asking me as many questions as he could think of. And in his defense, I don’t think he was actually hitting on me. In fact, I’m sure he wasn’t. Either a.) he was bored or b.) he was practicing for the young, hot chicks he was sure to meet later that night or c.) he’d already had a little bit to drink or d.) all of the above.
“So, you gonna get wasted?” he wanted to know.
He gave me some other options. We discussed his bottle of “gatorade” he was holding that I could smell every time he opened it. I know my Gatorade. For one thing, it doesn’t smell that strong. And for another, it was the wrong shade of orange. I asked him how long he’d been drinking. He said six years.
At some point I told him I don’t drink.
Utter flabbergastion. “Why the ?#@$* not??”
“Because drinking is something you do when your life is crappy and you want to forget about it. I love my life.”
He went on and on about “liquid courage” and how much I’m missing out. I just smiled.
“C’mon. Your life can’t be that great.”
“No, really. It is.”
They were guessing my age. “24.” “26?” Yeah, right. Nice try. I haven’t looked 26 in at least 5 years.
So, what was I doing tonight?
“Actually, I’m meeting my husband.”
“Ooooh! Rejected!” chimed in his friends.
Then I told them I had three kids.
“Let me guess,” Dan said (at some point I found out his name was Dan). “Boy, girl, boy.”
“Girl, girl, girl.”
My poor husband, they said. That must be rough. Dan did most of the talking, but the other guys chimed in now and again.
“Let me guess,” said Dan, “your oldest is…eight.”
“How about–eight…six…and three?”
“Wow.” My eyes grew wide. “They’re 8, just-turned-7 and 3. Very impressive.”
“Where do they go to school?’
“Ha. Nice try. You stay away from my daughters.”
“Oh, no, no, no! I was just wonderin’.”
Come to find out Brandon (guy on left) and Dan (guy on right) went to the same elementary school as one of my girlies. Brandon had her first grade teacher. They were going on and on about what a great school it is.
“How did you meet him?” I asked, pointing to Sam in the middle.
“We go to the same church,” Dan said.
“You haven’t been to church in 10 years!” Sam said.
“I go on Easter and Christmas!”
“Where do you go to church?” I asked. They told me. They asked about me. I told them and invited them to visit.
“I don’t believe in that stuff,” Dan said.
“God and Jesus. It’s not even real. You can’t prove it.” He was clearly trying to antagonize me. He made a lousy pretend atheist.
“Well, you can’t exactly prove they’re not real,” I pointed out. “I’ll take my chances.” Two more minutes on the COTA bus wasn’t enough time for an apologetics course.
Sam pointed out that I was very wise and that Dan should listen to me because of my experience and wisdom. Nice kid, that Sam.
The bus stopped, the door opened, and I said good-bye to my new friends. And purposely walked in the opposite direction (like I knew where I was or where I was going). I stopped at a bench to pull my cell phone out of my pocket.
Except my cell phone wasn’t in my pocket.
It was on the seat of my mini-van.
Gabe had no idea I was coming. I had no idea where he was. Or where I was. And there were thousands of people. Everywhere.
Split second decision. I took off running. “DAN!!” (I didn’t know Brandon and Sam’s names at this point.)
I explained my situation and asked to borrow a phone. Brandon whipped his out. I had NO idea how to even open it. He was very patient. Then I had no idea how to dial the number. He showed me. I punched in the buttons. Ring, ring, ring… then “Hi, this is Marla. Leave me a message.”
Oh, for crying out loud. Try again. Ring, ring, ring… “You’ve reached Gabe Taviano. Please…”
‘I’m just going to follow you guys.” So I did.
Sam and I struck up an intriguing conversation (if you’ll remember, he’s the one who appreciated my age and wisdom). We talked about life and Gabe and my blog. I told them I might write about them. I gave them the address but seriously doubt they remembered it. Not sure how much they had to drink before we met. And Taviano is a big word, even when you haven’t been drinking.
Called Gabe again. He answered. Quite shocked that I was downtown instead of at home in bed reading. Told me where he was. The guys said they’d get me there. “We’ll make you a deal. We’ll walk with you and keep you safe, and you buy us a beer.”
“Ha! You can ask Gabe. He might buy you one. But I don’t need anyone to keep me safe.”
Finally got close to where Gabe was. They had wanted to meet him but had found some friends and were chatting, so I just thanked them, said good-bye and reunited with my hubby. And really, this post shouldn’t be called “tale of a bratty wife” because I didn’t do anything bratty in this particular segment of the story. The rest of the bratty comes tomorrow.
We had a good time, my forgiving hubby and me, then waited for the bus for over an hour to get home. We were sardine-packed on a sidewalk with a bunch of high-schoolers. Much drama, much profanity, much lasciviousness. After about 40 minutes of it, Gabe turned to me and said, “You said you wanted to homeschool our girls, right? I think this is a lesson to us.” I smiled.
We had to stand up on the bus on the way home and drive home separately. When I got in the van, I saw my phone. I opened it up and there was a missed call. A number I didn’t recognize. Then I realized it was me. Accidentally calling myself from Brandon’s phone. I called him and thanked him again for his help. “Did you have a good night?” he asked. “Yes, thank you.” Sweet kid.
God clearly orchestrated my evening. I know I met Sam, Brandon and Dan for a reason–even if it’s just to pray for them. And guys, if you’re reading this by some chance, thanks again. And since you love to party, you should join us here on August 1. There won’t be any beer, but we’ll have cake. And I’d like to introduce you to Gabe and the girls.
Stay tuned tomorrow–there will be a video of me. Shocking, I know. I hate that kind of stuff. And more brattiness. Hopefully you’ll still like me after you hear the saga.
Have an awesome day!