I explained the connection. Awkward silence. Somewhere in there floated the silent acknowledgment that our families thought we were really big losers. Change of subject. "So, you're working late." (It was 9:00 P.M.) "What are you still doing at the office?" Only now does it strike me that he thought he'd be able to just leave a message.
"I'm deciding where I should go tomorrow," I said. (It was Thursday.) "What do you think, Palm Springs or Sweden?"
There was a small silence, and then Morty made the mistake of asking me to elaborate, listening politely as I launched into detailed particulars . . . and kept going. Somewhere during my near-monologue I remember thinking that, wow, Morty the Accountant seemed cool; I wish I could remember the three words he got in edgewise to give me that impression. I found out later that he called his sister immediately after and told her never to give his number out again.
I didn’t know that, of course, so when I returned from Palm Springs I called him, and we agreed to meet. He offered to pick me up from my building (classy), where I made him wait in the lobby while I frantically tried on outfits (less classy). Maybe my mom was right, I clearly needed help.
As I rode down in the elevator, I felt that familiar bubble of pre–blind date excitement building, equal parts hope and possibility right before you meet someone, when they could still be anyone, including someone great. But over ten floors, I steeled myself: He seemed nice, sure, but the odds were slim that he'd be cute.
I stepped out of the elevator. There was a guy sitting patiently on the couch, waiting. He stood up and smiled, hand out. I shook it, saying hi, but inside my head I was yelling things like He's cute! He's tall! He has hair! After all that, Morty was a babe!
We stood there, smiles a bit more genuine, possibly out of relief. "I was thinking we could go to the Hudson," he said as we walked out, sounding faintly pleased with himself. The Hudson Hotel had opened less than two months before, and it was the current hotspot du jour, complete with the obligatory celebrities and models. Great date place—if you were a celebrity or a model.
"Don't you think we'll have trouble getting in?" I asked, brow a-furrow. Morty looked at me with faint annoyance.