Episode VIII: The Columnist and The Cartoonist

This was supposed to be the ‘easiest’ column I’d ever write. Yet I have never sat so long at my desk and just stared, listening to music, not getting a single word out. While it’s one thing to nail out a story about some event from my past, no matter how heartbreaking or sincere, it’s a whole other challenge to write about something that happened yesterday, knowing that the person involved in the story will be anticipating reading it, and that future events could be influenced by what I say.

That said, here is a full account of one of the most surprisingly enjoyable dates I’ve been on.

As you may be aware, the Courier held a contest to win a date with me. When Alamir brought the idea up, I agreed, half-thinking it was a joke. Just when I had all but forgotten about it, I was given the contact information of the winning contestant. Thank the stars above he was attractive and witty. Devan had a keen sense of humour, and shared my interest in over-abundant text messaging. My new phone threads text conversations, and in the three days preceding the date alone, we had messaged each other just shy of 400 times collectively.

We met for dinner at 7 pm at Bandidas on Commercial, and waited outside for our table. When we were seated, our server apologized to us for our wait out in the cold. Truth be told, I was so focused in conversation that I hadn’t really noticed that my hands were icicles by the time we stepped inside.

Conversation was fun and engaging, ranging from Lady GaGa, to our parents’ professions, to realizing that we had each dated gay brothers – from the same family, nonetheless.
Two litres of sangria and a half-eaten plate of nachos later, suddenly everyone else in the restaurant was gone. Chairs were being upturned and the lights were dimmed. We had sat there for four hours, and how fast that time had gone was probably a good sign. The concept of time passing is a funny thing. The same amount of hours I’d spent at work shelving books at work had gone so slowly, yet when we got up to pay our bill, it seemed as if we’d just sat down. We caught the Skytrain together, and departed at our respective stops. Before I knew it, another four hours had passed, and I was laying in my bed with my phone's text count heavily increasing, before I passed out at 3 am, likely with a ridiculous smile still on my face.

All the following day I attempted to write my account of this date, but didn’t know how to let it come across as smooth and eventful as I wanted it to. But then I realized that was so far beyond the point. Though this may be the least shocking or overly dramatic piece I’ve written, it’s by far the most ‘real’ thing I’ve felt in a very long time. And that is such a relief, let me tell you.

That night Devan and I had our second date, or “first e-date”, talking to each other until 3 am on video chat while he worked on his comic and I worked on this piece. There was something oddly romantic in that moment, as post-modern and silly as it seems, us both working on creative endeavors accounting our experience the previous night, knowing they’d be printed in the same publication. It’s almost as if we are creating personalized pieces for each other, than getting to turn it into a public forum. There’s something strangely satisfying in that as well.

Do realize how lucky I felt after this. It could have gone the absolute other way. A date contest? That could be a recipe for a horrible disaster. Luckily, it was anything but. Date number two is scheduled to be a night out at Planet Bingo next week. Don’t tell Devan, but I’m gonna wear a bow tie.

// JJ Brewis

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