An old friend of mine (known over 20 years, since high school) who we will call Anya once was convinced to go on a blind date. This was in the mid-80’s and I believe this was either right before she met her future husband or after she had met him but they were “taking a break” at the time.

Being a painfully shy person, Anya asked if I would go on the date with her. I agreed. The gentleman (and I use this term so very loosely) was to pick us up at our apartment and we would then proceed on the date. I don’t remember what his name is but let’s go with Jarvis, shall we? (Side note, does anyone know a good baby name dictionary online? I could start carrying my Best Baby Name Book in the World book around with me again but that just brings up so many questions. No, I am not pregnant!)

I’m usually a pretty good judge of character (well, at least when I’m not the person involved in the date. If I was going out with him, I’d probably think he was wonderful) and I hated Jarvis. The very minute I saw him. I believe in both love and hate at first sight. He just irritated me for no apparent reason. Here’s a brief description (please keep in mind that this will not be favorable because I hated him): tall, heavyset, blond, florid…think John Goodman but not as good looking or cuddly. He is wearing dirty jeans and a flannel shirt and looks like he wandered onto a farm, took a bath in a mud puddle and combed his hair with a rake. He has put absolutely no effort into this date and I resent this for Anya’s sake.

Introductions are made, Jarvis is informed that I will be coming along on the date. This appears to be all right with him. Then he makes fatal flaw #1. I am leaning over the counter in the kitchen while he and Anya are talking. He gets up, walks past me and slaps me on the rear and makes some comment about my big ass (And my response is to then haul off and stab him multiple times with the fork I keep just for this occasion). Well, no, actually I just told him to never touch me again and he really shouldn’t be talking. Both Anya and I are “big girls” but he’s definitely a “big boy” in not the favorable concept this would imply.

Somehow the date still proceeds. Jarvis escorts Anya to his car, I sit in the back seat while she is in the passenger seat. We are going to go to his house. Why? No clue. On our way there, we drive through Minneapolis. It is rush hour traffic, it is hot, sticky and the air conditioning does not work in Jarvis’ junky, seen better days car. So the windows are down all the way.

The light turns red. Jarvis stops at the crosswalk. A very distinguished, handsome black man in a suit…picture Will Smith in 20 years in a pinstriped gray suit, carrying a briefcase (Yeah, that handsome)…starts to walk across the crosswalk. Because, y’know, that’s what the crosswalk is for, right? Jarvis, at the top of his lungs, with the windows down all the way, says “I guess I got to stop for the ‘derogatory word that starts with an N’.” Fatal flaw #2.

I lean forward and smack him across the back of the head as hard as I can. I am furious. I hit him so hard my hand is shaking (or maybe that’s from keeping myself from strangling him) from the pain. “Ow!” he cries! “What was that for?”

With all of the disgust I feel for him running rampart across my face, I say calmly “I am part black and I didn’t appreciate your comment.” (this was before I found out my Dad made the whole thing up, see the post just before this) Now, you would think he would apologize, right? Not just to me but to the extremely handsome black man, right? Yeah, keep dreaming.

“You don’t look black. How was I supposed to know?” This is his response. This is his idea of an excuse for being a worthless human being. I don’t look black. So it’s okay that he made this remark because the guy crossing the street was black? No, I don’t think so. For the rest of the trip to Jarvis’ house, I subject him to the lecture of how this world would be a better place if we would stop judging by color and accept people for who they are (and in my mind I continued with who the hell did you think you are, you are white trash scum who can’t even put on a pair of clean jeans for a date!) Anya just sat there. Didn’t say a word. Jarvis would look at her, try to excuse himself with some lame reason (“He was crossing the street in front of me.” “The light was red, you moron!”), and would set me off again. Finally, Anya turned to him and said “You might want to shut up and let her calm down.”

We get to his house. He shares said house with his father and his sister. He mentioned something about his Mom leaving a few months ago. I bite my tongue to keep making any remarks I may regret later. He opens the door and we enter…

Hell. Jarvis takes us through the kitchen. “This,” he says proudly. “Is our kitchen.” Imagine, if you will, a sink piled high with dishes. And the counter has dishes on it. And the smell, oh God, the smell, of rotting food. And huge, black flies are buzzing around, having a little fly orgy on top of the rotting food, landing everywhere. There was not one inch of clean counter space, clean table space, clean floor space. The floor had paper strewn from one corner to the next. The table had the remains of breakfast, possibly from 1976 from the looks of the mold cultures growing in the milk. I am allergic to mold. If I touch it, I break out into hives. If I breathe it in, I have problems breathing. If I ingest it, I will be come ill (and yet, I still love bleu cheese dressing. I’m such a rebel. An occasionally ill rebel)

The tour continued. We walk, holding our breath, out of the kitchen and into a hallway. Jarvis is taking us to his bedroom (ooh, baby, I can hardly wait, let me rip off all of my clothes and do you on your kitchen table! Smear some mold on me, you sexy thing!) so we walk across the hall and up the stairs. Now, even though we didn’t spend much time in the hallway, I notice several litter boxes, full to the brim. If you have ever experienced the joy of a full litter box, with the acrid amonia smell of cat piss, multiply it by three. Yes. It was that bad.

Both Anya and I are cat lovers. She asks “Oh, you have cats?”

Jarvis replies “Cats? No, we only have one. A kitten.” Anya and I exchange a look of horror. One kitten. Three litter boxes. Three full litter boxes. What is going on here? What does this family do? Just put out a new litter box everytime the old one gets dirty? If you have ever owned cats, you will know that cats don’t like dirty litter boxes. Eventually they start kicking it out of the box. And then it ends up on the floor. And then you bring guests over and it seriously creeps them out. And then they start itching their skin rapidly because they can just feel all of the germs and microbes climbing all over them. Oh, my God! What am I doing here! Get me out! Get me out! It is amazing what one can convey in a look of horror.

Jarvis leads up the stairs and there, on the landing, are some oddly shaped stryofoam thingies (thingies, the technical term for anything) lying about haphazardly, surrounded by another two full litter boxes. Jarvis looks at them, mutters “Damn cat” and picks them up and puts them on the window sill in the landing. He then turns to Anya and I and so very sincerely says the following: “I apologize for this mess (indicating the fallen stryofoam thingies). The cat must have knocked them down. I’m so sorry you had to see this.”

Yes. He apologized for some pieces of styrofoam that were askew. Both Anya and I exchanged another look. I, using my eyes, conveyed to her “Styrofoam? He apologizes for styrofoam? How about the fact that I’m going to throw up any second from the disgusting disaster that is his house? How about the fact that this place reeks of mold and cat piss and God knows what else and Oh my God, what is that moving over there in the corner? Is that a mouse? Aaaaaieeeeeeee!” Anya uses her eyes to convey “Can I help it that my insane friend Smirna thought it would be a good idea to fix me up with a guy who she only knows because she’s been talking to his friend through a chat line? Can I? Calm down. You will not throw up, you are overreacting. It’s not that bad. Okay, yes, yes, it is but he drove and we have no way to get back home so we’ll put up with for a few more minutes before we run screaming away. No, that’s not a mouse. It is a kitten.” This kitten was quite cute, it was all we could do to steal it and take it to a house where it would be adored and would have a clean litter box.

I don’t remember much else about the experience, only that Jarvis completely annoyed me and I informed Anya that under any circumstances was she to ever date him. But this was a conclusion she had drawn on her own, thank God. I do remember taking an hour long shower after getting home. Yuck.

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