LABELED: The Smarter the Car… by Christina Morris

As most romantic stories start out, I met Andre one night wasted at a bar. My best friend was visiting me from New York and we were celebrating his presence in LA at Birds, our favorite local bar.  I'm not exactly sure how the first meeting happened, but I remember thinking his glasses were hot. He had very striking features, decent style and the Clark Kent thing always seem to get me. I had just started hanging out with another guy, but didn't want to put all my emotional dating eggs in one basket. We exchanged numbers and planned to hang out apres le new year.

 

After I made my Holiday rounds to NY, I was back in the city that I call home. Andre had texted with me a few times while I was in New York, so I thought it was only polite to let him know I was back. He ended up inviting me to a "party" his friend was having and I decided to invite my friend Preston along. I figured it was a good buffer and if all else fails, I could hook up with Preston.

 

We went to the party and it was pretty weird. Everyone was nice enough, but it was more like a college frat after party than anything else. The guys were older than me, but lived like they were 18, which was slightly horrifying. Not much really surprises me as I've been in this city for almost 5 years now, but I still get the wave of naivety and the overall shock when it hits me that some older men truly still live like boys. I try to accept it and embrace the inevitable, but know that eventually the cool girl act will fade and if we really did date, I'd have to ask him to clean up his act. 

 

Fortunately, it never really got to that.

 

After sleeping together a few times, mostly wasted and always involving tying my hands together, I decided to throw in the towel. I didn't really think we were sexually compatible no matter how much I admired the fact that he was open and adventurous. I stopped talking to him for a while, but my friends urged me to give it one more shot.

 

"Why not see what happens?  How bad could be be?"

 

I told them many times, he wasn't bad by any means, but I could see right through his act. He was a tutor, but lived in LA to pursue acting/stand up comedy/improv/everything that will never make him money. I admire the arts, but I also think at some point the back-up plan should be put into play and we should accept the fact that not all nerds are allotted the same kind of fame as Jason Schwartzman.

 

Of course, I gave in and decided to give it one more try.

 

We agreed to go to a movie. I was excited because it was the new Wes Anderson film (yes, I actually did like Wes Anderson prior to the pseudo hipsters ruining his cool factor). He informed me his friend was also going to be attending the movie. Hm, okay, no issue with that.

 

He then texted me the first red flag.

 

"Get your seat next to 38L"

 

Excuse me? Now, I am very open to paying my way through life (and having my parents help me), but going to a movie with a guy that I have slept with earns me at least one free ticket. Especially when there's S and M involved.

 

"What, you didn't trust me to get the snacks?,” I replied. figured I'd at least make a light joke about how fucking cheap he was being.

 

"My buddy got the tickets. I'll take you out to lunch before the movie"

 

Okay, redeeming. Cute, thoughtful, airing on the side of romantic, or as close as this generation of male will ever get.

 

The next day, after not hearing from him, I texted him asking what time he was getting me.

 

Red flag number 2.

 

"There's a lot of traffic, can you actually meet me at my place"

 

I went with it. There was in fact a lot of traffic that day. The "LA Marathon," AKA people trying to prove that they're better than everyone, had crowded the streets and blocked off a lot of the side roads where I resided. I decided to walk since he didn't live that far and it was a beautiful day out.

 

When I arrived, he was cooking food. 

 

"I figured I'd cook instead"

 

Hm, okay. I thought it was a little odd since he didn't know me that well yet. But I had invited him over for curry once (whole other story) and maybe he was trying to return the favor.

 

So, I waited for him to finish, only to find out a lot of what he made wasn't food I particularly cared for. Best not to offend, I ate around it as much as I could and urged we leave with enough time to catch the movie.

 

We get to the movie, watch it, and it was great.

 

As we're leaving he realizes he can't find his parking ticket. This lost ticket means he is out a whopping $12. I do not say that with any judgment attached. On the daily I am essentially scraping to get by, but when I'm really desperate I make sure to always park outside the lot and you best believe I am not sitting in an $18 movie.

 

We get into his car, a Smart Car nonetheless, and he informs me of his genius plan to get out of paying.

 

"So, I'm going to basically just stop the car and wait until they let me through. I'm sure I can argue my way out if it."

 

"Why don't you just pay it?," I asked, wondering if that was even a thought that crossed his mind.

 

"I'm not fucking paying that."

 

We pull up to where you pay and I already start to slink down in the passenger seat. I gaze out the window staring at the woman hoping she will somehow give into his stupidity.

 

"I lost my ticket"

 

"Well, Sir, that will be $12"

 

"No, see," he shows her his movie ticket. "We just came out of the movie, I just don't know where I put the parking ticket. Can't I Just pay the regular price?"

 

"I'm sorry, but it’s out of my control"

 

"Why?"

 

"It's not up to me, Sir, please pay the $12, there is a line of cars behind you."

 

I'd just like to take this time to note, that on the walk to the car when he was shuffling through his wallet, I saw that he did have cash in his wallet. So, this is why I did not offer to pay. He lost his ticket, it was currently not my problem.

 

He argued for a few more minutes. She continued to inform him that she couldn't do anything.

 

She looked into the car and asked me what I was doing with him.

 

"I don't know, this is pretty bad," I said, mortified that even the parking attendant was taking pity on me.

 

As I sat back after responding to her, Andre turned to me, stared me in the eyes and said, "Ready?"

 

"For what," I asked.

 

"GO!"

 

He puts the car in park, takes the key out of his car, and runs up the parking garage.

I sat there and just watched him run up the level as fast as he could. 

 

Security came over to the car and asked me to at least move it. By this point, I had reached my limit of embarrassment, which pretty much started the moment I stepped foot into a fucking Smart Car.

 

"Ma'am, please can you move that car?"

 

"I don't have the keys."

 

"Well, we're going to have to call the police."

 

I took that as my cue to leave. I barely knew this guy and made sure the parking attendant, security guard, police officer he was calling and all the cars lined up behind me knew this.

 

As I walked out of the parking garage, once I was in the clear of the eye line of everyone who saw what happened, I couldn't help but crack a smile.

 

I thought to myself, how fucking bad can one date get. I was kind of relieved that my opinion of him had been so spot on.  

 

I called my best friend and asked her to pick me up in the McDonalds parking lot on Sunset.

 

You know what they say: "The smarter the car..." or at least that's what they should say...

 

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