A funny thing happened on the way home from a track meet…
I think I have mentioned before that me at 18 was nothing short of a total douchebag, I apologize to my parents everyday for it. Before I tell this story, I will apologize again, I’m really sorry for being a douchebag.
It was winter track season of my senior year in high school and I was on my way home from a track meet. About 30 minutes into my drive, I hit a stretch of traffic that left me in a slow crawl for 15 miles. Hitting random stretches of traffic in New Jersey is not unusual.
FACT: New Jersians spend half of their life sitting in traffic.
Luckily, my teammate was carpooling home with me and helped to pass the time with Rent duets and celebrity impressions. To set the scene a little further, it was pouring rain and we had both finished a taxing track race; the 400 meter hurdles. If you are familiar with track, the 400 meter hurdle race is harder than childbirth, you might as well jump off a building when you find out you have to run it. Anyways, as we passed the time…we came to notice an admirer driving a Honda Accord next to us.
He was probably about 23 or so and had big blue eyes with curly blonde hair styled like Matthew McConaughey’s. My teammate and I were instantly captured by his smiles. The flirting was subtle at first, his car would pull up next to us, he would flash a smile and take off again. We would inch up to his car, blow a kiss and giggle as we pulled away. After about 20 minutes or so of this traffic flirting, things started to get more complicated. We began writing notes and putting them up against the window for him to read like, “UR HOTT” or “HONDA’S GOT BACK”. One even read, “HONK IF UR INTO US!”. Childish yes, but so much fun up until my stomach started growling. As I was getting closer to a Red Lobster restaurant, my hunger could no longer be avoided.
“Damn, i’m starving.” I said to my teammate.
“Me Too! We should stop for food at Red Lobster, get some cheesy bread”.
“You just read my mind but I’m broke, I spent my last $10 on hair spray last night. I wanted to go all out for 80’s day at school tomorrow.”
“Ugh I’m broke too, I have about $5 left in my bank account.”
Then an idea hit me…I wasn’t sure if it would work but I was willing to try. After all, Red Lobster cheesy bread was at stake here.
“How bad do you want cheesy bread right now?” I asked.
“I might sell my leg for just a bite.”
I rolled down my window as we caught up again to Mr. Honda and motioned for him to do the same. “Hey there cutie! We were going to grab something to eat at Red Lobster, want to join?” I yelled across the lanes.
“Uhh, ok? Yea Sure, meet me in the parking lot.” He yelled back.
Sweet, Mission Cheesy Bread was in motion.
We figured out early in life that men will do whatever necessary to get laid, even if it means buying dinner for complete strangers. A free meal at Red Lobster was going to happen.
First things first, we needed fake names and cover stories because after all, this guy was a complete stranger. She would be Carmen, the 23 year old zoologist. I would be Carrie, the 24 year old Park Ranger. We tided up the details of our stories and prepared to exit the car with our new identities.
When Mr. Honda stepped out of the car, I immediately regretted my decision to go through with the plan. He was 5’2, almost the size of a large hobbit. I also noticed his left shoe was higher than the right shoe and he parked in a handicap spot. “Why hello beautiful ladies, what an honor it is to eat with you BOTH.” He said with a slight lisp as he limped toward the entrance to the restaurant. I put my head into my hands as he opened the door for us. I will definitely be going to hell for this one, I just wasn’t above using a handicapped man with a lisp for free cheesy bread.
As we sat down, the cheesy bread was delivered to our table, my teammate and I scarfed down all 6 rolls. Mr. Honda Hobbit was too busy talking to notice. We found out his name was Howard and he was born with one leg shorter than the other. It never stopped him though. He went on to describe how he played basketball on the weekends with his wheelchair buddies. He also worked in construction building houses for charity. He did mention however, that currently he was suspended from his job due to a pending criminal investigation, which included some sort of assault with a nail gun. He was asked to quit work until it resolved. Cool, Howard the Honda Hobbit was a dangerous handicap criminal and here I was sharing a meal with him.
Howard really wasn’t so bad, minus the assault thing but when his instinctual male-mind kicked in toward the end of our dinner, things got weird, “So what are you ladies up to tonight? I was thinking we could move this party to my place.”
Trying to be as nice as I could, I made up an easy-out excuse, “Well, Carmen has to get home to see her parents, its been a while and she misses them.”
Howard then replied, “That’s a shame, well if Carmen can’t make it, then how about you and I go back, Carrie? I’ll take you home, wrap you up real nice and make you squeal like a piggy!“.
I almost vomited in my mouth. Not only did Howard just quote Deliverance with a lisp but he was pushing hard to make sure this dinner was worth his money. This was check-mate. How would I get out of this? If I told him to get lost, we would be stuck paying for the bill with our non-existent money and if I went home with him…well, that was never an option. I wasn’t going anywhere with some criminal, half-midget in a Honda named Howard.
Acting quickly, my teammate grabbed my hand and held it to her lips, “Actually Howard, we are a couple. Carrie is coming home with me to meet my parents and we are worried about how they will react to this whole thing so we just wanted some company to keep our mind off of it.” She squeezed my hand to get me to play along.
“Yea, we are most definitely a couple. We aren’t into guys, strictly girls. We are totally on the straight and narrow…erh in a gay kind of way.” I answered.
Thank god Howard the Honda Hobbit had a heart, he smiled with sincerity and said, “My pleasure ladies, sorry for the mix-up. However, I’d love to hear how you two met. I’ll throw in dinner with dessert if you can stay a little longer.“
So there we were sitting with Howard over dessert explaining the intimate moments of how we met and became to be a lesbian couple. Carmen shared her coming out of the closet story and I, as Carrie, shared mine. Howard was intrigued by our experiences and even got a little choked up at one point as we described our future dream wedding together; we had both decided to wear wedding dresses. Mine would be pink.
After dessert was finished, Howard paid the bill and walked us out to our car, hugging us goodbye. He thanked us for the company and wished us well. We got into my car and sat for a moment to adjust to the entire situation.
“Did we really just do all that for cheesy bread?” My teammate asked me.
“Yea, Cheesy bread just turned us into lesbians.“
I started up my car, turned on the Rent soundtrack and continued my drive home in silence.