I don’t know why but I was thinking about this chap the other day and I decided to write about my worst date ever since it’s Friday and we could all do with a little distraction after yesterday’s news. Please know that no one was harmed in this story but we’ll change the names of parties involved to respect their privacy. Please also note that traffic laws in South Africa are very different to here and had this played out in America the story would have ended with a lot more arrests and definite jail time. It would be better if you read this with an open mind.
So I was, for lack of a better description, newly single and ready to mingle when I moved to Cape Town from Johannesburg. Excited to dip my toes in the dating pool. I went with my friends to a club one Saturday night where I met a cute but somewhat dim barman. Joe.
We flirted for most of the night and when it was time to leave we swapped numbers. We subsequently texted back and forth for a few days and eventually decided to go on a date the following Saturday. Nothing serious. Just pizza.
At around 7 on the night in question he picked me up in his red Fiat Uno. He was sweet. He even opened the car door for me.
Conversation at the pizza place was fine. He was very chatty, a little braggy and he knew the servers at the place so he was talking to them mostly and introducing me. He did seem fidgety though but I just chalked it up to first date jitters. I decided to get some tequilas to maybe help us rekindle to easy flirtiness from the previous weekend. Once our inhibitions were a bit lowered I learned that he had a little child and that he and the mother had a terrible break up. I don’t think he was over the break up. He didn’t have much nice to say about her and mentioned that the relationship is strained and that made seeing his child difficult. I sympathized but I checked out. The relationship I had just gotten out of was with a fellow who had a child and I really had no interest in baby daddy drama again. So I figured we’ll just have some fun tonight and keep it moving. In hindsight, I should have just had him take me home at that point.
After we finished the pizza we decided to move to another pub in my hood to be in my comfort zone. On the drive over he casually mentioned that his ex actually worked at the pizza place we just left but she wasn’t working that night. He seemed disappointed. So he took me there for what? To be a pawn in some game? Hmm.
I was a little aggravated and decided to text my friend at the next spot to come save me if need be. I also decided that we should get drunk because fuck it. Please note at this stage we’d only had 2 tequilas each. At the new place I ordered two jager’s and a beer for myself and we talked some more. He was loose jawed at this stage and was more free with information on this previous relationship that I had no interest in hearing about but was ultimately subjected to anyway. I ordered another round of jagers and it was like a light switch. He.was.trashed. After four shots? Really? While heavily slurring he proceeded to tell me that things were bad with his ex because he did something bad. I don’t remember details but there was an altercation with someone (perhaps a new love interest with the ex? I can’t remember) and he ended spending time in jail for assault. Like maximum security prison. Well, that was a first for me. He also told me that now that he’s out he was actively trying to make the right choices. He got a job. He scrounged and hustled to buy the car so that he can see his child more often and be a better father. While he was telling me about his time in jail and his new lease on life I was furiously texting my friend, Lexi, for a bail out. Incidentally, she was just down the road at another pub on a date as well. Thank goodness.
I told him to let’s pack it up and move on. Again, I should have left him there and left but he was quite drunk and it didn’t feel right. Stupidly, I let him drive down the road to where my friend was. Luckily, it was literally one block down but he was in no shape to be driving.
At the next place he had become that annoying drunk. No personal space and just whining and apologizing for being so drunk and trying to dance. Four shots guys. I was incensed. Lexi just laughed. We stayed a while longer and he ended up passing out in a booth. Lexi told me she and her date we going to another bar. I wanted to go with them but Drunky McDrunkerson wasn’t going to make that possible. I had to leave. I grabbed his keys and managed to get him up and buddy walked him out of the bar and tossed him into the car. Four shots.
I realized that there is no way this guy could get himself home and there was no way I was going to let him stay at my place. I decided I would leave him in the car outside of my house and leave him a message on his phone.
As I was driving mister opens the door and starts violently throwing up out of the car. I quickly pulled over and wondered how this date could possibly get any worse. Ha.
I’ll stop here for a second to give some insight on traffic laws in South Africa. In SA we have a high rate of smash and grabs and carjackings. A smash and grab is when you’re sitting a traffic light and someone smashes your window (driver or passenger side) and steals whatever they can really quickly and runs away. Chances are you’ll be stuck in traffic and can’t really run or drive after a thief. So the rule is 1. That you never leave anything important in sight and you never talk on your phone at red light and 2. At night, if you don’t feel safe at a red traffic light, it’s okay for you run the light, essentially. Obviously you have to make sure it’s clear but you generally wouldn’t get into trouble if you were caught doing this. It’s common practice.
It was around 1 or 2am and Joe had emptied his tummy and was now fully reclined in the passenger seat in snooze town. Off we went. We came to a red light and there was a car behind me. I did the necessary checks to make sure the coast was clear and proceeded to drive through the red light.
Out of nowhere a small white ford pickup truck comes plowing up the hill from the left and slams into the front of the Uno. Hard. It happened in slow motion. The car spun around for what felt like hours. I vividly remember screaming and grabbing Joe’s shirt by the chest and looking over at his peaceful sleeping body. We finally came to a stop in the middle of the intersection. I gathered myself a bit and started panicking. I shook Joe with all my might but he was dead to the world. I was yelling at him to wake up. How is it possible that he slept through that?
There was a knock on my door. It was the driver of the ford. A youngster. He too, was panicky. He asked if I was okay. I was. I asked the same of him and he was too. He opened the door for me but I was still trying to wake this punk up. Eventually, he started stirring and grudgingly open his eyes and sat up.
I was like “Dude, we were in a car accident. Are you okay?”. He started moaning. Not because he was hurt but because his car was trashed. Can you imaging waking up to that out of a drunken stupor? I didn’t have time to feel terrible just yet because I was still a bit confused. I looked over at the ford. It was ruined as well. It came to a standstill at the opposite end of intersection, the front left wheel completely bent. The young chap was on the phone with, I assumed, the authorities.
Joe and I got out of the car and my knee started throbbing. We checked each other out but we were, for all intents and purposes, okay. The lady in the car behind us was in hysterics though. Her husband was on the phone with the police and he had us sit on the curb. She was shouting incoherently about how that guy came out of nowhere but why did I drive through the red light.
I found my phone and called, Lexi. She came right as the cops came. At this point Joe was distraught. I remember him standing over the wreck with his head in his hands then pacing up and down muttering to himself. I started to feel really awful. Poor guy. first his girlfriend breaks up with him, then he goes to jail and when he gets out a strange girl wrecks his car.
2 police officers came. They were mulling over the wreckage and speaking to hysterical wife. For what reason I have no idea. I think she took over the situation. The problem was that she was telling them that I ran a red light. She didn’t mention that I had stopped and looked first or that the other driver thought he was in the Fast and Furious. I had to get up and give my side of the story. Then the strangest thing happened.
I glanced over at the ford where the youngy was on the phone. He wasn’t there. I stood up to see where he had gone and quick as a flash another white car pulled up in front of the ford. I see Youngy run jump into the car and off they go. He just left the scene of an accident. He just did a hit and run. Literally. The cops didn’t see it. I told Lexi and she said to tell the cops. I spoke to the lady cop and said that the driver of the other vehicle just drove off.
She sighed and chuckled and said, “Well that’s good for you then”. I was shocked.
I was giving the rest of my statement when another fancy car pulled up. A very concerned mother and her son walked over. He seemed in his early 20s. A very rich looking mother and son. It turns out the ford belonged to the son and his friend had taken the car for a quick drive. They came to exchange insurance info, I think and maybe squash this whole thing.
I took them over to were Joe was laying on the curb with his arms over his face, smoking a cigarette. He didn’t have insurance. They asked what they can do. He said nothing, the car was junk. And that was that. I think mom and son just wanted to get the hell out of there. They didn’t stick around long.
Eventually, once tow trucks were organized, Lexi said I should call my brother. Ugh, I was so embarrassed. Thankfully my heavily pregnant sister-in-law was awake and the two of them came to pick me and Joe up. I wish the world would have swallowed me up. I’m a little scared of my brother. He’s like my father sometimes. So you can imagine me telling him I’d just been in a car accident with a guy I just met. I still have to ask him what he thought of that night. I know he was concerned but I also imagine he was just shaking his head in disappointment en route to picking his crazy sister up.
AND he had to give Joe a lift home too. A still very drunk, highly depressed Joe.
I wish there was more to the accident story. But honestly, the other driver wasn’t there to give his side of the story and no one was hurt. So once the tow trucks fetched the cars we were all fine to be on our way.
The car ride to Joe’s was awfully quiet. When he got out of the car he turned to me and said he would call me in the morning.
The following day poor Joe had to take a taxi to my place and I drove him to the police station to get a police report. We were both very apologetic. Him for losing the plot and making me drive and me for, you know, ruining his life.
After walking out of the police station I offered to take him home and he said no he’d just take another taxi. He turned away and walked up the street and I watched a broken man walk off into the distance.
We never spoke again after that. I heard through the grapevine a few years on that he was dating someone so I hope that everything turned out okay for him.
As for me, I went on to experience many a terrible date. But none came close to this story.
Have you had any bad dates that you can laugh about now?