Here's something to ponder: Is it considered a bad date when you have no idea that it's supposed to be a date? I suppose that's the ultimate bad date: when one of you thinks it's a date and the other doesn't. That's what happened with Ian.
A while ago, I was going to a work-type conference that was hosted at my old college. I was quite interested in the subject matter; some of my friends from college were also going. We were going to crash at Lisa's house (who lived one town over from the college), eat dinners together, and get caught up.
In the midst of all this, I happened to mention this conference to Ian, whom I had met several months before at a different class in Austin. I had ended up sitting next to him during the two day class, since there was an open seat next to him. He had kind of latched onto me, even inviting himself to a dinner I was going to with a friend who had driven in from San Antonio. Overall, though, he seemed pretty harmless. A little socially inept, but harmless. And since he lived over 1000 miles away from me, I saw no harm in sharing my email address with him when he asked for it.
The next day, I got an email from Ian, saying that he was also going to the conference at my old college. Ummm....ok. I was unaware that he was even interested in the subject matter. (At the class in Texas, he had given me the impression that he specialized in a different area ) But, whatever. I told him that I'd see him there.
On the day before the conference, he texted me several times, asking if I wanted to get together and have lunch or dinner or walk around the campus or drive around the town. I got all of these text messages in one fell swoop as I left work, ready to drive the 3 hours to Lisa's house. I texted him and told him as much. "Oh. I thought you were getting in today. I guess I'll have to wait to see you." Yeah, I guess so.
Let me take a moment here to mention that generally, people who are socially inept have something else going for them. They may be brilliant research scientists, or artistic geniuses, or skillful computer programmers. A socially inept person discovered the theory of relativity. Another socially inept person brought us Beetlejuice and Sweeny Todd. Ian, on the other hand, was not only socially inept, but had very little else going for him. He wasn't that smart. He wasn't very attractive. He had a body that looked a lot like Grimace, the McDonaldland pal who liked shakes. Ian also was a horrendous dresser (coming from me, the self proclaimed slob, THAT says alot), a bad dancer, and had a poor sense of humor.
So why did I even stay in touch with him by email? Because he was a nice person. He was clueless, but not a jerk. And his cluelessness was actually a bit endearing ... from afar. However, after that four day conference, I didn't find him nearly as endearing as I once did. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
The beginning of day one of the conference -- that's when things started going downhill.
(to be continued)