I procrastinated for a day before ringing Shaniqua( not real name! sic), but she still sounded happy enough to hear from me. We arranged to go out the following night. Dinner not having worked out too well before, we decided to go and see a a show this time. Kci & Jojo.
In a masterpiece of planning, I neglected to buy tickets beforehand, and when we drove out to the venue we found that the gig had a total of 12 losers in attendance thanks to out tropical rains.
Seeing as I wasnt about to join some lame folk, we walked back to my bike at a safe thirty-nine centimetres apart. "What do we do now?" she asked.
How about strip naked and make love on the back seat just to sate my animal lust?
"How about we go into Cineplex and see a movie?" I suggested. Okay, she said, and I rode back into town.
Sandra bought a giant tub of popcorn and a big watery Coke at the popcorn-and-watery-Coke shop in the foyer, and then we strolled along to Cinema Three and plunged into the gloom. At that instant I realised what a ghastly blunder I had made. I hardly knew her and we were going to a movie together. I'd be sitting next to her not knowing what the hell to do with my arms.
And so it turned out. It was like I was fourteen and clueless—thanks to not having been on a date in ages.
Okay: to be honest, u never had much experience of this kind of thing once u stop doing it. I forgotten the moves. And if I knew them, I couldn't bring myself to try them. The "yawn and stretch" seemed too obvious a way to get my arm around her, and I didn't have any other flashes of inspiration.
At first, figuring I had a whole movie's worth of time to manoeuvre in, I was fairly calm. I watched the advertising slides with an equanimity that usually escapes me when the ads are showing.
And I didn't even flinch when the idiot up the back who was flyin popcorn through the air managed to crack me on the skull with one. I don't think Sandra noticed, because she was watching the trailers as intently and quietly as I was.
But when the main feature came on, things got no better. My mind was busy testing out options for amorous advances, like a chess computer calculating the ramifications of each particular move for the next twenty rounds of play. My calculations always seemed to end with "Black slaps White in the face and storms out of the theatre; checkmate", so I wasn't getting very far.
Now and then I would dart a glimpse at Sandra, hoping that I might catch her staring at me with adoration, which would certainly make things easier—but she watched the screen as if she was going to be tested afterwards for her recall of insignificant costume details.
Worse still, my complete lack of peripheral vision—I need start waering spectacles—meant that every stolen glimpse of Sandra became a major exercise in camouflage and logistics.
I couldn't just turn and stare for fear of being too obvious about it, so I had to ease my head and neck through a slow pan to the right until she came into view.
Or I'd have to turn obviously but distractedly as if attending to an irritating itch or a stray Jaffa bullet. If Sandra had been watching, she'd have thought I had some kind of nervous tic, or that I'd been taking some serious hallucinogens or extascy.
Why, I agonised, are these historical costume dramas so bloody long?
Three hours I was stuck there, sweating, straitjacketed, my limbs beginning to ache, my mind exploring dozens of alternative universes in which Sandra and I were snogging throughout the movie, or Sandra was humiliating me in a public cinema with a can of Mace and a well-timed scream for the police.
By the end of the film I'd achieved the sum total of zilch: for all the bodily-contact we'd had, I might as well have been sitting next to a Hell's Angel who was carrying a cricket bat and wearing an expression that said "You touch me, you die"..