Drink Much?? by Patricia Griffin
I continued to search the personals but didn’t rerun my ad as it was just too costly for me. I made a few phone calls but could find no one who made me feel I wanted to meet him in person. That was okay. I had lots of time and learned that indeed, patience IS a virtue.
A friend called me one day and asked if I would like to meet her husband’s uncle. I asked her what he was like and she began to describe this wonderful, single, handsome, well off fellow that I should meet. Well, with a build up like that how could I refuse? I said it would be okay for him to phone me and if we got along on the phone, I would probably agree to go out with him. He called the next evening and was utterly charming. He had been divorced for years he told me and was looking for a new partner. It seemed like we had a lot of the same likes and it was easy to talk to him. We made a date for the following Saturday night. I gave him directions to my home as he insisted on picking me up and meeting my daughters. Since he was a relative of a friend I told him I would relax my rule about giving out my home address. He said he would see me at seven o’clock and that we would go out to dinner. I was excited about our upcoming date as we both liked each other on the phone. Saturday afternoon I started my preparations for that evening with Robert. I took a leisurely bubble bath, washed and styled my hair and debated what to wear. Choosing something to wear on a date is the only time I wish I was the male. It must be so simple to put on a suit for a more formal date and opt for favorite slacks and shirt for something more casual. Finally, by a quarter to seven, I was ready. I could tell by the smiles on my girls’ faces that I looked pretty good.
The doorbell rang at exactly seven o’clock which made big points with me. I never keep anyone waiting if it can be helped and I was impressed that he was punctual. I opened my front door and before me stood a really nice looking man clutching the biggest bouquet of spring flowers I had ever seen. These were obviously for me as he handed them to me and I invited him inside. I was so excited to have these beautiful flowers. My ex never bought me flowers and what woman do you know who doesn’t love to receive them for whatever occasion? I excused myself to get a vase and put them in water. He took a seat in the living room and made small talk with my oldest daughter. She said later he was very polite and made her laugh a couple of times. He complimented me on my appearance and we both were genuinely happy to be going out together. Outside he opened the car door for me and a nice car it was. I have never had the luxury of driving anything better than a used car. It was exciting to know that this man was good looking, polite and the owner of a very new, expensive automobile. I felt very special.
He told me he had made a reservation and named the restaurant. It was one of the better ones in our area and I was delighted to be going there. When we arrived he suggested a drink at the bar while we waited for our table. I ordered a glass of white wine, which I enjoy, and he had a highball. I noted that his drink disappeared really fast. I was sipping mine and we were making small talk. While waiting twenty minutes for our table, he ordered two more drinks and they went down just as quickly. I was a bit concerned and told him that I was not a drinker. He assured me that he was feeling a little nervous and that the three drinks would help him relax. As our waiter approached, I asked him if he was going to order anything more to drink with our dinner. Well, a bottle of wine would be nice, didn’t I agree? I suggested a half carafe might be a better choice as I would only have one glass with dinner. He agreed to this and we proceeded to choose our entrees. Talk flowed easily between us and it was obvious we were both happy to be with each other.
Part way through dinner I excused myself to use the powder room. I always like to check my hair and makeup as I like to keep looking good throughout my date. When I returned to the table there were fresh drinks in front of both our places. I was now thoroughly disappointed in the quantity of liquor he was putting away. I didn’t touch mine but he seemed oblivious to my concerns. The one thing I did know was that he would be driving when we left the restaurant as we had taken his car. I mentally counted the three at the bar, the almost half carafe of wine and now, a liqueur which he had ordered while I was away from the table. Make that two liqueurs as when he noticed that I was not drinking mine he asked if he might have it. At this point I felt that if I didn’t say something to him the evening would continue to deteriorate for me. He seemed to be having a great time! As diplomatically as I could I reminded him that he had told me on the phone that booze was not a problem for him. I also reminded him that I was not interested in dating anyone who had more than a social drink when the occasion called for it. Well, you never saw such a change come over anyone as it did him. He got quite snarky and implied that I was a Miss Goody Two Shoes and that I should relax and enjoy myself. He also pointed out that he could handle his liquor and I reminded him that drivers that were sure they could handle their liquor caused most of the tragedies that occurred on our highways. By this time our evening together was going downhill like an out of control toboggan. I told him I thought I would like to end the date and go home. He really got angry with that and turned from a charming and sweet guy to Mr. Nasty. I was going to suggest we go to a nightclub and dance he told me. I answered that Nooooo that wasn’t going to happen. By this time this man was drunk. I excused myself and sought out a telephone. The waiter helped me find a number for a taxi and I asked that the cab come right away and gave the dispatcher the address. I waited in the foyer and my last glance back at Robert told me I had done the right thing. He was busily ordering more to drink.
When I was home safe and sound the sight of his flowers so pretty and innocently sitting in the vase on my coffee table saddened me. What had started out with such promise had ended on a sour note. I called my friend and told her what had happened. She was horrified and the next day, after some family-related phone calls, called me back to report that her husband’s Uncle Robert was the family drunk. I never heard from him again and that was okay with me. My true concern was how he would get home without killing himself or someone else by driving drunk. I admit I phoned the police and gave them his license number and where they might find him. They impounded his car and sent him home in a cab. I like to think I saved a potential accident happening to an innocent driver. Needless to say, I never heard from Uncle Robert again.