Scott answered a personal ad in the Contra Costa Times for a woman looking for a date. People used to run personal ads in newspapers to acquire dates, the same way they advertised open houses and garage sales. This was long ago, before the internet and before online dating. An ad was a commercial, a paper profile, and no one needed to sign up to read it. All they had to do was buy a paper.
When Scott called to answer Helen’s ad, he had a feeling that she could be the one. He invited her to dinner at a Concord restaurant. Her friend dropped her off since they were meeting there, and Helen had no car. The date was going well, and Scott looked forward to driving her home. Their first good night kiss would be less awkward at her place, as opposed to the restaurant parking lot.
When Scott opened the door for Helen to take her home, she climbed in and immediately looked under the passenger seat.
Scott went around to the driver’s side and climbed in.
“Did you lose something?” Scott asked.
“I was just checking to make sure you didn’t have a bag of drugs under the seat,” she said.
Helen had had two glasses of wine. Was she joking? Was she drunk?
“No, I left my bag of drugs in my other car,” Scott joked.
“That’s good,” Helen said, “because I got stopped once when I had some cocaine. I lost my license.”
Scott looked over at Helen. She wasn’t smiling. She was stone-cold serious.
Suddenly Scott’s desire to kiss Helen vanished. He drove her home, dropped her off, and said good night. He never called her again.
Couldda Wouldda Shouldda
If Scott would’ve had another date with Helen, he would’ve learned that Helen had been arrested the night she was stopped with the drugs. Helen would promise Scott to never bring cocaine on any dates. She would explain that she had been clean for six months. They would decide that Escape (the piña colada song) would be their song. However, they would change one line, “I´m not much into health food, I am into champagne,” to “I’m not much into health food, I am into cocaine.” It would be their little joke to remind them of how their relationship almost got off on the wrong foot.
Helen would eventually relapse and go into rehab. They would break up, and Scott would go online again and marry a woman with a dog grooming business and a second home on the Delta.