Taking the Plunge


Aileen had an antique store in downtown Hayward with her husband. The business grew from their first 450 square foot shop until they’d moved into a store that was 3800 square feet.  Her husband did the refinishing business in the workshop, and she ran the shop.  Life was good until Tom got lung cancer.  Suddenly Aileen was single at the age of 44. 

Aileen slowly got back into dating. She didn’t mind going out with guys from San Jose (30 miles away), because that’s where she was from. She was involved with the Hayward Chamber of Commerce and didn’t want to go alone to a big party.

The good-looking guy she’d met online would be coming from work in San Jose. He needed a place to change into party clothes.  Aileen was friends with Julie, who had a restaurant next door to where the party was, and also with Mona, the massage therapist who rented the place above the restaurant. 

Mona gave Aileen a key so that the date could change his clothes after she had left for the day.  Dale showed up for the date, Aileen showed him Mona’s bathroom, and he got dressed Then he came out with a funny look on his face.

“Uh, do you happen to have a plunger?” he asked sheepishly.

Aileen didn’t know if Mona had a plunger or not, and she wasn’t there to ask. Aileen went down to the restaurant to ask Julie for a plunger. What a weird predicament regarding a new guy. Aileen had just wanted to walk into the party with a guy so that her fellow chamber of commerce people would stop making comments to her about her deceased husband. She had wanted to move on with her life. She didn’t want to be the widow at the party. She wanted to feel normal again.

There she was, standing in a fancy Italian restaurant, waiting for a plunger. Dale was such a good-looking guy. All of her girlfriends would think so.

Aileen took the plunger back upstairs and handed it to Dale. He took the plunge, and they proceeded to the party. But the lingering thought of what he’d done in the bathroom was a bit of a turn-off for Aileen as she stood there at the chamber party biting into her spicy meatball. Romance doesn’t need to be reminded of bodily functions gone awry.

Such a story reminded this author of a similar day when the Russian window installer took his lunch break, ate his goulash and potatoes, and then clogged up the toilet in the hall bath.  Fortunately, she had a bunch of house guests at her beach house that day, so when she gagged on the job of plunging the toilet, a friend stepped in to take over.

Aileen and Dale didn’t go out again.  It was just too soon to deal with clogged pipes and such when she hardly knew the guy. What did he think he was doing, taking care of business in her girlfriend’s toilet while she waited outside? 

That was the number 2 reason why the date didn’t work out.

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