Right before Christmas, my friend Haley called me to go to a concert at one of the local college bars. Of course I went, even though I didn't even know the band or any of their songs. Crown and Coke was on special. I was there.
After far too many drinks, I headed to the restroom. On the way, there was a guy standing near the stage wearing a beat up cowboy hat. Me, being the snarky person I am, had to say something (though what it was, I don't remember) and then continued to the restroom. After coming out of the bathroom Mister Cowboy Hat was leaning against the bar and called me over to talk. About what, I don't remember. I do remember him asking for my phone number and I quickly rattled it off, followed by "Or whatever..." and left him standing there. I didn't think I would ever hear from him.
A few days later, I started getting text messages from him and we started talking. Cut to New Year's Eve.
I rolled out of bed at about noon. And my phone rang at about noon-thirty.
"Hello?" I asked.
There was a long, long pause (during which I repeated "Hello?" twice more).
Finally, right before I hung up came a response: "Hey. It's Cowboy Hat."
"Hey, what's going on?"
Another long pause. Seriously, the whole conversation could have only lasted about a minute and a half but the long pauses on his end made it closer to a five minute phone call.
Eventually, I got out of him that he was at his cousin's house in a nearby small town and they were bored. Would I like to come over? I was thinking maybe six or seven that evening, have a few drinks and then go home. His answer: "Now."
Luckily, I was scheduled to dogsit for a friend, and was waiting until the dog was to be dropped off at four or so. I told him I would call him back then to get directions to the house. Even more luckily, the dogsitting was cancelled. So, I got all gussied up (I looked good, dammit) and figured, why the hell not.
As I sat at the kitchen table, notepad and pen at the ready to jot down directions, I called Cowboy Hat back. "Do you know where the town is?" "Yes." "OK. You're going to come up on a flashing light." I wrote that down. "Are you at the light yet?"
I'm sorry. No, I'm not at the light yet. I'm sitting at my kitchen table writing this all down. You know, like when I said I'd call for directions I meant that I would call for the directions not call as I was driving down the highway. It was agreed that I would call when I got to the flashing light.
While there was a small alarm going off in the back of my mind, I still was going to the house and really hoping he was taller than me. I'm an idiot.
As I approached the flashing light (the whole flashing light thing should give you a good idea of how small town we are talking...) I called Cowboy Hat back.
"Do you know which way is North?"
I paused. "Isn't that the way I'm going?"
"Well, go North when you get to the flashing light."
To me, that meant continue straight. Heading north. The N on my dashboard compass confirmed that much. As the conversation continued, he asked if I saw him yet as he was walking down the road to meet me. I didn't. I did, however, see a car wash and a Sonic. Apparently, going North means turn left. As in, go West.
I met Cowboy Hat as he walked down the road to meet me. That should have also been a warning sign. Instead, I let him jump in Clooney and we went to his cousin's house. As we walked to the door I tried desperately to make some sort of conversation, considering there was none in the car.
"So," I began. "Have any big plans for tonight?"
"Oh yeah!" He answered. "Big plans."
"That sounds ominous."
He grinned and nodded. Again, I am an idiot.
Inside, we met his cousin's wife. She was a nice middle-aged woman, fashionably dressed and with nice hair. She gave me hope that I wasn't going to end up chained to the basement wall and stuck eating fish heads for the rest of my days. She suggested either going out and seeing the horses or staying in and talking. Cowboy Hat thought staying in and talking would be better and booked it out of the living room like Napolean Dynamite. I had no choice but to follow, right?
In a bedroom. Oh my gosh, he's gone to a bedroom. And he's laying on the bed. Really? Really? I take a corner and try to act normal, all the while praying this doesn't go really bad.
I'll go ahead and say now. There is no way that Cowboy Hat and I could ever have a relationship together. No way, no how. To start, the guy does not talk. As in, I might as well have been speaking with myself. Talk about awkward. Finally after not getting anything out of the guy, I asked the question guaranteed to get me some results.
You see, I knew that he wasn't in college, and I knew he wasn't in high school. But I didn't know his exact age. So I asked it, "When did you graduate high school?"
His answer caused my heart to stop. Caused my mouth to follow open. And was a serious *headdesk* moment. "In May."
Judas Priest. "Oh my God. You're a kid," I declared loudly. He (in the same fashion he'd been doing all day when I said something) smiled and nodded. I tried to move away and quickly began to plot my way out of there. The kid was eighteen. And I was not. Judas Priest!
In a very high school way, he put his arm around my shoulders. Oh. Em. Gee. "I don't know you that well!" I said as I attempted to shrug his arm off of me. When that didn't work (now his hand was resting on my lower back) I awkwardly jangled my keys, as I usually do while bored or uncomfortable.
For Christmas, my father had given me a great gift: a pink pepper spray keychain. Apparently this caught Cowboy Hat's attention. "What's that?"
"Oh," I replied, mistakenly thinking he was talking about one of my other keychains. "It's the horse keychain my mother gave me."
"No, that pink thing."
"Oh! That's my pepper spray. It's for when boys get fresh."
The joke was lost. As was the teeny little threat. When all else fails, do something rash. So, in order to get away from Cowboy Hat I threw my keys across the room and leapt to my feet to retrieve them. About then, his cousin's wife knocked on the door. She loudly told Cowboy Hat that he needed to get ready because she needed to take him to meet his mom. Awesome. So, not only was he eighteen, he also didn't drive. Great. I am an idiot.
"So," He said. "We're meeting at the steak place for dinner. If you want to meet us there at 5:30..."
I cut him off, "Actually, I kind of have plans. You know dinner plans. So, I better go. Sorry about that!"
He walked me to my car and stood jerking at the driver's side door while I tried to tell him that it was locked and if he'd get out of my way I would gladly unlock my door. Instead he abused my dear, sweet Clooney. I got the door open and was about to leap in when he went in for the full frontal hug. Thinking quickly, I turned it into one of those one-arm friend hugs...the type where you kind of just meet them from the side and double pat their shoulder before letting go again. And then, I leapt into my truck and drove like a bat out of hell.
As my tires hit the highway, I called my roomie. "Oh man, have I got a story for you."