A Date on Thin Ice

I met this guy at a party in college; let’s call him Stu.  He attended a well-known university not far from mine.  He seemed kind of shy but that was endearing, so I chatted him up until he asked for my number at the end of the night.  I was a sophomore and he was a senior, so of course I felt all cool. The first night we went out, there had been a huge blizzard the night before. The snow was piled up to our waists.  He parked near my dorm and then we walked to the subway station…single file.  He stayed about three feet ahead of me the entire time and didn’t say a word; I felt like I was being taken on a guided tour of my neighborhood.  We went to a movie, and then he suggested we go to a nearby café for hot cocoa.   Finally, I thought, we’re going to have a conversation!  But as I sat and drank my cocoa, he read a newspaper.  He didn’t even want cocoa himself.  Then I went home.  I guess it was kind of a date by myself that somebody else paid for.

Believe it or not, there was a second date.  I suggested we go ice skating.  I printed out a set of directions (this was pre-smart phones) and he picked me up at my dorm in his car…but he ignored my directions and just started driving.  He was a terrible driver.  He would speed up until he was right behind a car, and then swerve around it.  This was a single-lane boulevard, not a highway.  We were listening to NPR, and I remember wondering if my last moments of life were going to be spent listening to a reading of someone’s new bird book.

We drove on for about twenty minutes, until we were far away from any points of reference I would have known to reorient us, and then he said, “Well, I have no idea where we are, so I hope this is the right direction!”  and let out this huge chuckle.  I swallowed, my heart in my throat.  This is it.  He’s doing this on purpose.  He’s going to kill me.

“Um, can you pull over so we can look at my directions?”

“Eh, I’m not too worried about it, we’ll figure it out.”

Within a few minutes, the road we were on had ended.  We were on I95 seeing signs for Cape Cod.

“Okay that’s it, Stu. You need to get off the highway right now and pull over.”

He chuckled again, as if we were out on a fishing expedition and I couldn’t handle the waves.  But he pulled off at the next exit.  I directed us into an abandoned parking lot (smart move) and when he stopped the car, I found a map on the floor.  As he was looking at it, I noticed a case of really nice binoculars on the floor by my feet.

“What are those for?” I asked.  He didn’t answer.

He figured out how to get back to campus (it was really just a matter of retracing our steps) and drove me back.  When we were almost at my dorm, he said, “Well, now that we know where we are, want to go ice skating?”

I couldn’t tell if he was joking or not, so I just said, “No…I think I’ve had enough for one night.  Thanks.”

And that, thank God, was the end of Stu.