I set out on the ten-hour drive a bit tired from staying up too late. I debated about putting on an audiobook, fearing it would make me even sleepier. I went with the radio instead, figuring I was probably going to be driving through places where radio stations would be few and far between. It was a good choice -- I heard songs I hadn’t heard in years. I entertained fellow drivers with my “Push It” seat dancing. I rejoiced at hearing “November Rain” the whole way through, silently cursing those radio stations that cut off the greatest endings of the best-ending songs: “November Rain,” “Layla,” & “Hard to Say I’m Sorry.” I gave my best impression of a heartbroken woman as I sang along with “Nothing Compares 2 U.” I started to worry about my sanity when I found myself interpretive dancing to “Wind Beneath My Wings.” Flyyyyyy, flyyyyyy, fly high against the sky! So high I almost touched the sky . . . It was going to be a long drive. I checked the clock. I’d been on the road for half an hour. A long drive indeed.
There’s not much to see between Albuquerque and Amarillo. It’s not a drive I would recommend. The only scenery along the highway are little gas station/tourist shops, but I didn’t stop at any of them. The most intriguing one had a big sign advertising “Road Kill Apparel” and I was tempted to go in and see if this meant t-shirts with pictures of road kill on them, or actual items made of road kill, like a coon-skin cap made from a real raccoon they recently scraped off the highway.
My Texas date was worth the boring drive, though. I met up with mystery man number two at a dock in a Dallas suburb where a gondolier was waiting for us. It was chilly, but we got blankets and hot cider to keep us warm (cuddling seemed out of the question, having just met the guy). We drifted along Lake Carolyn and the Mandalay Canals in the Las Colinas area of Irving, and I knew that this would probably be one of the most romantic dates I’d go on during this adventure. The gondolier sang some Italian song and said that the tradition is to kiss when you go under a bridge. We passed. Not that he wasn’t cute enough to kiss. He was. And he was smart, too. And -- get this -- Lutheran! Not that that’s a requirement, but it does give a guy some bonus points.
When I was planning this trip, I had to decide whether or not to tell all of the guys I’d be dating that they were one of fifty prospects. I could think of a few pros and cons. Some examples:
Pro: If I should happen to meet the man of my dreams, we’d be laying a foundation of honesty.
Con: If I should happen to meet the man of my dreams, he may demand I stop the traveling and dating and be with only him.
Pro: He may think I’m adventurous and be attracted to me.
Con: He may think I’m adventurous and spend the entire date asking where I’ve been and what I’ve done rather than telling me anything about himself.
Pro: If he knows I’ll be writing about our date, he may go out of his way to do something fabulous, like meet me at the top of the Empire State Building or take me for a hot air balloon ride.
Con: If he knows I’ll be writing about our date, he may go out of his way to do something fabulous . . . and after he’s won my heart, revert to his real style of dating: sitting on the couch, drinking beer and watching ultimate cage fights.
Mr. Texas knew he was one of fifty, and I think went into it viewing it as a one-time only thing. He was willing to help me out with a date in Texas, but he wasn’t interested in going any further than that, which was disappointing because he’s pretty much everything I’m looking for in a husband. I know you can’t tell that from one date, but I found myself wishing I wasn’t moving on to Oklahoma quite so quickly.