Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Mystery Date

This past Friday, I went on a mystery date. Unlike in the Milton-Bradley board game from the 60's with the cheesy-catchy commercial theme song, my mystery date was guaranteed to be dreamy. This is because it was with MY WIFE.

"Oh, that's so sweet!" the females are saying, while the males are thinking, "Whipped!" Wrong on both counts, conventional-thinkers-trained-by-TV-to-react

My expectations were grounded in reality. Although those who would sell you mutual funds are required by law to tell you that past performance is not an indicator of future success, I know MY WIFE. She always comes through with the goods. I'll give you a few examples of what I'm talking about, but first let's go back to the genesis of this story.


I was at work, doing whatever it is that I do, when I got a phone call.

"Jim Sullivan", I said.

"Hello, Jim Sullivan", MY WIFE replied.

After a bit of small talk, she got down to the reason for the call.

"How would you like to go on a mystery date next Friday?"

"Next Friday? The 1st?"


"Ummmm, sure. OK. A mystery date?"



And that was that. Exciting stuff, eh?


I had no qualms or trepidations about said mystery date because MY WIFE had surprised me a few times before. Those were good times, so why not this, too? For instance, she has twice thrown me surprise birthday parties. I had no clue either time. Considering the circumstances, why would I?

The first surprise birthday party was at a McDonald's. Yes - Ronald McDonald, The Hamburglar, You Deserve A Break Today - that McDonald's. Who throws a surprise birthday party at a McDonald's? MY WIFE, that's who.

There was a particular McDonald's we sometimes went to when we were in my mother's neighborhood, so it wasn't anything out of the ordinary when she suggested we stop there to grab a bite before heading to my mother's house. When we walked in the front door of the restaurant, there were 14 or 15 relatives and friends waiting - my mom, my stepfather, my grandmother, my uncle, nieces, nephews, etc. I ate cheeseburgers and fries, got the love from a whole bunch of my favorite people, and marveled at how MY WIFE could have possibly set this whole thing up with a straight face.

"“You're throwing Jim a surprise party where?"

"At The McDonald's in South Weymouth."

"Golden Arches, Mayor McCheese - that McDonald's?"


"Ummmmm... Black tie and tails?"


The next surprise party, a couple of years later, was at an Italian restaurant in Newton. Again, it was a place we frequented, so I was utterly clueless when she suggested we eat there. Of course, having already had a surprise birthday party thrown for me, I never expected another one from the same source, which no doubt figured into her thinking. We walked in the door and, again, a whole bunch of relatives and friends showed me the love, albeit this time with frutti di mare and wine instead of fries and thick shakes.

I am now very wary when MY WIFE suggests going out to eat anytime near my birthday. This, of course, means she'll never do it again. Unless the idea is to make me think that she'll never do it again and then she'll do it. Yes, I'll still keep up my guard.


Another time, she shanghaied me. Literally, by the dictionary definition, but if you don't know the dictionary definition don't look it up yet or you'll spoil the story that follows.

She said she had a surprise for me, but she wasn't going to tell me what it was. This made sense since, if you tell someone something, then it isn't a surprise anymore.

It was an overcast and drizzly day. MY WIFE led me on a journey, in the subway, to Boston's waterfront. The dark skies and slow rain only added to the feeling of mystery. It's one thing to be surprised at a restaurant, because when you're going to a restaurant you know the worst thing that can happen to you is getting a crummy meal. Being led on a trip to the waterfront, in the rain, makes you think of every noir film you've ever seen. It didn't help that, when we got there, she took me out on this rickety old pier with big gaping holes in it. We stepped over the gaps in the pier - a misstep would have landed us in the drink - with the seeming objective being a rundown and shabby old building at the end of the pier. I was seriously starting to think back on recent events to see if I had done something worthy of being bumped off for.

MY WIFE went inside the building and indicated that I should, also. So I did. She spoke to someone and he handed her a key. We then went back outside, onto the rickety pier again, and MY WIFE told me to follow her, which I did. She led me to a gate that led to some stairs that led us down to an actual dock. Once on the dock, we walked to one of the six or seven boats moored there and climbed aboard. It appeared that whatever it was I was being bumped off for, the job was going to happen at sea.

We were greeted by a woman with muffins.

She turned out to be the owner of the boat, a marvelous little cabin cruiser named The Golden Slipper. Turns out that MY WIFE had seen an ad in The Improper Bostonian that stated that the boat could be rented out as a sort of floating hotel room, so she did and here we were. The Golden Slipper was a lovely place to spend a night. It was 40 feet long, with the below deck area divided into cozy sleeping quarters, a sitting room with TV/VCR/stereo and a comfy couch, and a fully-functional galley complete with essentials such as coffee, milk, and - courtesy of the owner who was just leaving - muffins.

We had a wonderful time! I especially enjoyed sitting out on the deck in the captain's chair, having a smoke and pretending I was actually well-off enough to afford such a nice toy. The small waves lapping against the side of the boat were very conducive to all bedtime activities. All in all, it was one of the nicest nights I've ever spent anywhere.

And so it was, with such a nice track record to comfort me, that I had no fear concerning whatever MY WIFE might have had planned for our mystery date this past Friday.


I was to meet MY WIFE at her place of business at 6pm, from where we would go to wherever it was we were going. I usually get out of work at around 5pm, so this gave me plenty of time to drive there. As it turned out, I had even more time. As it turned out, I should have used it, too, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

My boss decided to let us go around 4:30 or so, in order to get an early start on the long weekend. It surprised him slightly when I told him "thanks, but no thanks". I explained that I was meeting MY WIFE at 6pm, so it wouldn't do to leave so early.

"Where are you going? What are you doing?"

"I don't know."

"You don't know?!?"

"Nope. It's a mystery date."

He understood, actually. He was the one I had called to tell him that I had been shanghaied when I missed work the day following our night on The Golden Slipper.

I hung around the office until about 5:20, doing some minor bits of work, and then hit the road with what would have appeared to have been plenty of time to get downtown. I decided to forego the Mass Pike and instead took Route 9, saving the toll.

It was a mistake. By taking Route 9, I put myself right into the middle of pre-game Red Sox traffic. By 6:00, I was still only on Boylston Street by the Prudential Center. I finally reached where MY WIFE was waiting for me, 20 minutes late, and beeped at her as I passed by, headed for the parking garage by Government Center. After leaving the car at Center Plaza, I walked back to meet her. Since I didn't know what it was we were doing, I hoped that my lateness didn't ruin things.

Thankfully, whatever we were doing wasn't going to happen until 8pm, so it was OK. Actually, she wanted to have dinner first, so we went to The Kinsale, an Irish-themed pub/restaurant on Cambridge Street. We enjoyed a nice dinner - roast pork loin for me; scallops and crab cake for her - and then started walking in the direction of Quincy Market.

Along the way to whatever it was, we stopped to look at some entries in the Cow Parade, a collection of fiberglass bovines scattered across the city and painted in whimsical themes by various local artists. It was fun, but I had been assured that this was NOT the surprise.

We walked all the way down to the end of Faneuil Hall and then started back up the other side. When we got about halfway, MY WIFE led me inside. I still had no idea where we were headed. As we actually reached the middle of the inside of the building, I finally got it. We were headed upstairs to The Comedy Connection.

The Comedy Connection, as you might have guessed, is a comedy club. OK, that would be fun, but whom were we seeing?

I looked at the poster with pictures of the performers. Excellent! Josh Blue, recent winner of Last Comic Standing, was the headliner. Appearing with him were two of the comics eliminated prior to his win, Michelle Balan and Kristin Key. This was a tremendous surprise! I thought that Josh Blue was one of the funniest people I had ever seen and MY WIFE knew this. When she happened to see an ad for his appearance, again in The Improper Bostonian, she bought the tickets.

If you didn't see this edition of the show, I'll tell you just a bit about Josh Blue. He has cerebral palsy. He does a good deal of material about his disease, but with or without that material - with or without the disease - he is just plain flat-out hilarious. A great deal of his humor is visual, and even the material that doesn't have to rely on sight is spectacularly enhanced by his one-of-a-kind delivery, so I won't try to transfer much of it to the written page. I don't think I could do it justice. Suffice to say, if you see that this guy is coming to a club in your town, go. You'll laugh so hard you'll get a headache from the lack of oxygen. I did.

The openers, Michelle Balan and Kristin Key, were both good. Key is so blue she'd make old-time "party comediennes" like Rusty Warren blush. Balan isn't afraid to trot out a few swears, either, but her material - since she is a bit older than either Key or Blue - is slightly tamer. Josh Blue works in a manner befitting his last name, which he acknowledged might have been a surprise to the audience that has only seen him on the TV show. He said that, if they were dismayed by it, to just pretend that he had extremely well-timed Tourette's Syndrome.

Well, what else can I say except that it was a great time and I thank MY WIFE for another sweet surprise. I'm sure it's not the last one I'll get. And whatever the next one is, I'll again have no worries about it before I find out just what it is. I implicitly trust MY WIFE, and that's no joke.


Sassy said...

That's so sweet! I hope we can always have dates like that, too, even after being married for many years. :) Your wife is a sweet lady, and you are one lucky guy!

Stu said...

Fantastic! I think that kind of stuff is really great, to have your wife surprise you like that, it's really thoughtful. And to have it be what you like, to have it be built around you (instead of around her, which can happen*), that's awesome.

* No, I'm not talking about my wife, but a previous girlfriend or three.

Anonymous said...

You'll excuse me if I steal the idea for a mystery date and use it on My Lovely Wife.

Suldog said...

Sween - By all means, steal. If and when it happens, write it up, OK?

Stu - You have a much nicer woman now, of course. As you deserve...

Sassy - I have no doubt that you'll be able to pull off great dates for the rest of your life, with your personality.

Anonymous said...

Awesome, I only saw a couple episodes of Last Comic Standing but Josh Blue was definitely great.

Awesome also applies to your Mrs. She's an inspiration to all of us who try to do special things for our significant others. Thanks for the excellent read :-)

Suldog said...

Glad you like it, James. Yes, MY WIFE is indeed special, and I am one lucky dog.

Stu said...

Also, I think Josh Blue is really great. I hope he continues to craft his act.

He reminds me of a time when I was attempting stand-up. I was a warm-up for a guy with CP who slew that night. His best joke was: "I went on a really bad blind date the other night. Her dog wouldn't shut up throughout the entire movie."