Negative Nelson Is In The House!
His profile said he was 6’2”.
I’m 5’7”, so I walked into the restaurant to meet him wearing three-inch heels, standing 5’10” tall.
He was waiting in the hostess area, seated on the banquette.
When he stood up, he was 5’2” tall, if he was an inch!
I towered over him by nearly a foot.
I kind of felt like Godzilla stomping through Tokyo, with all of the little locals scampering around, as I crashed through the streets.
Not a great start.
We get seated, and his first comment to me is, “I’m sure you noticed that I’m not as tall as my profile says I am. I don’t know how that happened. It must be a typo or something.”
He doesn’t say, “I’ve been looking forward to this,” or, “You look nice,” or, “I’m so glad we’re meeting today.”
He launches right into justifying why he is Shorty McShorterson, in real life.
It seems like he wants to talk about it. “Okay, Shorty. Let’s talk about it,” I think to myself.
“We’ve been texting back and forth for almost a month. Why didn’t you mention the typo?” I asked.
“I guess it never really occurred to me,” he lied. “Besides, it shouldn’t make a difference how tall a man is anyway.”
My inner voice was telling me to let it go, at the same time telling me, “Shouldn’t I have been given the opportunity to make the determination whether or not your height was an issue for me?”
Inner voice: “Deep breath. Give the man a chance. God knows you’re not perfect.”
Our server came and took our drink order. Negative Nelson chose that moment to let me know that he didn’t believe in tipping – that it was rip off, and he refused to participate.
However, I chose that moment to order a double bourbon on the rocks.
A blind man could see where this conversation was heading…
I tended bar for nearly a decade, and knew that servers and bartenders were paid a pittance as an hourly wage, and relied on tips for their survival. I told Negative Nelson this.
He just kind of pish-poshed the idea, as he waved a hand in my direction, while reading the menu.
Time to change the topic.
I asked him what he did specifically – all I knew was that he worked for the city.
There is no way that I could have been prepared for the barrage of pessimism that came hurtling across the table, in a tidal wave of negativity.
“I hate my job! I hate my supervisor! My supervisor is a dumbass! My supervisor doesn’t realize how important I am! My supervisor would be fired without me covering up her messes! I should be the damn supervisor! The people that work for me are the biggest losers that ever walked the Earth! Seriously, the people that work for me hate me, and I hate them!”
His diatribe of hate continued for what seemed like forever. He finally stopped when the server came back to take our order.
“Chill out, man. This isn’t your Anger Management group.“
We ordered, and I looked at the server with pleading eyes, hoping to convey to her that this was the worst first date EVER, and to please move this along as quickly as she should.
My eyes conveyed, “If you get me out here as fast as humanly possible, I’ll send you and the entire kitchen staff Christmas cookies for the rest of your lives.”
She winked at me.
Complete and total relief. She knew what was up. I had an ally.
Negative Nelson made a comment about how overpriced the menu was.
I’m pretty sure the man had cobwebs growing in his wallet.
Then he made a comment about how expensive everything, in general, is.
In an attempt to intercede this locomotive, which was chugging straight toward Everything-SucksVille, I asked if he was born and raised in the area.
It really seemed to strike a nerve with Negative Nelson.
It was like playing Battleship with someone who could see where all of your ships were placed.
It was as if he couldn’t wait to tell me that, since the area had exploded with oilfield businesses, oilfield employees and oilfield work, no one who made a “normal wage” could afford to live here anymore.
Wait a minute. Hold the phone. Stop the bus.
I’m an oilfield employee, working for an oil company, earning an oilfield wage. Now, you’re talking smack about me.
“Dude, that’s not cool.”
Negative Nelson seemed to sense my thoughts, and just came right out and asked, “You think you’re better than me because you make more money than me, don’t you?” just as our server placed our dinner plates on the table in front of each of us.
“Oh, thank the Lord!” I silently prayed. “Please let this end quickly.”
It seemed like our server wanted to hear my response to Negative Nelson’s accusation, hoping I’d rip him a new one – so she just kind of hovered.
“I’m happy to oblige, Ma’am!”
Giving Old Negative Nelly the 1,000 yard stare, I said:
“I’ve made an investment in this community. I’ve purchased a home. I buy almost everything locally. I defend the community when people talk badly about it. I don’t think I’m any better than anyone else, and – hear me, and hear me well – how much money I earn is truly none of anyone’s business, including you.”
Our server hid her smile and then asked if we needed anything else…waited for a split second, and then split.
Negative Nelson chose this moment to drop the bomb that he had four ex-wives and five kids – all under the age of 18 – the youngest of which was 4 years old.
He was 53 years old with a four-year-old child.
Of course! The reason why he was so angry about the cost of living was because he was paying child support out the wazoo, and probably alimony to four ex-wives, too – all because he was either too lazy or stupid to practice safe sex and not marry every woman who went to bed with him.
In my entire lifetime, I’ve never eaten a meal as fast as I did that evening.
He bitched about paying child support. He bitched some more about his job. He bitched about how he hated all of the people that had moved into the community to work, because there were more jobs than there were people to fill them.
Yep, he actually complained that there were too many jobs.
Negative Nelson was so incredibly and incessantly negative that he was literally sucking the air out of the room.
I could feel my thoughts turning negative, just by being in his presence.
I was seriously worried that my face would wither like an old tomato, if I had to listen to this jackwagon for much longer.
“If I fake a heart attack right now, will they call 9-1-1, or can I just say I’ll drive myself to the hospital?”
Ending the tsunami of negativity and getting away from him was my number one goal in life, at that particular moment.
While he was bitching about, literally, everything, I reached into my purse, opened my wallet, pulled out my credit card and motioned for our server.
When she arrived tableside, I handed her my card and said, “I’m going to prove to this man that all oilfield workers aren’t bad people, and we aren’t trash – by paying for his dinner. Please close out our check.”
You’d think that Negative Nelson would’ve hit the roof, or at the very least found a way to complain about it, but he didn’t really have much to say. Maybe that was his plan all along. I’ll never know.
I tipped that server as if I’d just won the LOTTO Jackpot.
I bet it wasn’t more than 4 minutes from the time she set the plates down in front of us, until the time I paid the check. God bless that lovely woman!
We left the restaurant. I was practically jogging toward my car, but my damn heels were slowing me down.
Negative Nelson kept pace with me – even with his short, stubby legs – and says, “This was great! Would you like to go out again some time?”
Are you freakin’ kidding me???
I stopped, turned to look him in the eye, and said, “I wish you the best, and I hope you find the person you’re searching for…but I’m definitely not her.”
I spun on my three-inch heel and headed for my car. He was saying something in my direction. I didn’t hear it, and I damn sure didn’t stop to ask him to repeat it.
Once in my car, I actually squealed the tires while pulling out of the parking lot.
As I drove home, I started receiving texts from Negative Nelson – one after another, each text a little angrier and uglier than the others.
I pulled over, onto the shoulder of the road and blocked his number and drove my ass directly to Dairy Queen.
I needed some happiness in my life – STAT!
Ice cream makes everything better.