The Blind Date That Almost Never Happened

I felt a little like this by the end of this saga.

Ten years ago today, in the midst of the hellacious Tropical Storm Allison, my wife and I got married; however, our little adventure came very close to never happening.  I had been on blind dates before and wasn’t exactly one to turn up my nose at a chance at a night out.  So a coworker and cubemate of mine, took it upon herself to set me up on a blind date with an old high school friend of hers.

I knew absolutely nothing about the girl I was being set up with; my friend refused to show me her picture, thinking that I would judge her just by her looks.  I was told she was a school librarian.  I thought this was a strange coincidence as the last blind date I had been on was also with a school librarian.  This blind date, arranged by the commander of the Naval outpost where I worked, was with a quiet, mousey, stereotypical school librarian.  She was perfectly nice, but fairly bland, and when my car broke down in the middle of the date and I had to have us taken home by a tow truck driver, I decided that there wasn’t going to be a second date.

Back to this situation and I didn’t have too high of hopes.  But, as I often do, I said what the hell and went for it.  The girl I was to go out on a date with lived in Dallas (another black mark given my Philadelphia roots) and would be visiting her family for Thanksgiving.  My friend arranged for us to go out the Friday after Thanksgiving.  She gave me her phone number and I was supposed to call her before Friday to confirm that we were on for that night.  My friend who set us up was also going out-of-town for the week, spending time in Florida with her family.

So I call the number I was given on the Sunday before Thanksgiving.  Their phone rings and an answering machine picks up.  A woman’s voice is on the recording saying that “they” weren’t home right now.  The woman answering does not say what her name is on the recording.  I leave a message, but something seems strange about the whole situation.  I have a feeling that I didn’t call the right number.  There was something about how the woman said “they” that made me think she wasn’t talking about a roommate.  I dialed again and got the same message.  I don’t leave a message, but hang up when the same answering machine picks up.

Then, I wait.

Monday passes.

Tuesday passes.

It’s the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  I call the number I was given one more time.  The same answering machine picks up.  I leave another short message.  Again, I feel like something is not right with this situation.  At this point, I talk about the situation with my roommate, an old fraternity brother of mine, and we both agree that it’s fairly unusual to get stood up on a blind date like this, though it was definitely within the realm of possibility.  Again, the friend who set me up was out-of-town and this was before the cellphone was ubiquitous.  I had no way to get in touch with her.  The only information I had beengiven was my date’s first and last name and the town she lived in.  I didn’t have an address.

So my roommate and I did the only thing we could do, we pulled out the phone book and starting looking up her last name.  Unfortunately, since this girl I’m being setup with lived in Dallas, I didn’t know if she’d be listed or if her parents were listed.  The other unfortunate part is that her last name was Magee.  Now that’s not Jones or Smith, but it’s not exactly uncommon.  As we’re flipping through the phone book, I remark to my roommate that this is pretty desperate, isn’t it?  He shrugs, gives me a what’ve you got to lose remark, and we picked out the first number in the list that has the right last name and is in the right Houston suburb.

The phone rings, I ask for the woman I’m supposed to go out with and, lo and behold, we called the right house.  My friend from work had given me the wrong number.  The number in the phonebook was a second line in the house that her father had not yet bothered to shut off.  Victory!  Almost.  She gave me her address, directions to her house, and of course the right phone number.

Friday rolls around.  I head out in my sporty, leased Toyota Corolla.  At this point, I’ve lived in the area for six months, and I’m driving through a neighborhood I’ve never been in.  My directions say to take a left right after the fire station.  I pass a municipal building and wonder, was that it?  I turn, I take another right and then another left and I’m lost.  Again, I have no cell phone and I don’t know where I am.  I pull over and an old couple pulls up to the house where I had parked.  I do something completely out of character and ask if I can borrow their phone.  They let me and I call and get directions, again.

I do finally find the house, we do finally go out on a date, and we buck tradition and decide to go out again the next night.  Three months later, we were engaged.  Eighteen months later, we were married and ten years after that, we have three little girls who are very glad my roommate and I decided to flip through a phone book and take an extra step for a chance to go on a blind date.

For the record, my friend from work accidentally gave me her sister’s phone number, who was married, hence the “they” in the message, and who was with her on vacation in Florida.

My kids will probably think this picture was taken before the advent of color photography.

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