Monday, March 10, 2008

The Imaginary Date

Yesterday afternoon while I was working on the dishes, Gordon was doing his homework in the kitchen and grumbling about "some dumb assignment" that one of his teachers had assigned.
"Here, read this." He thrust the assignment page toward me with a look of disgruntled disgust. I scanned the page. The assignment required students to come up with and carry out a creative date that followed a specific set of guidelines. The date had to cost less than $5 and any transportation involved had to be green, so no gas-powered vehicles allowed. It had to involve the use of a creative invitation which would then be turned in along with a one-page summary of the date. Of course, it was due the next day.
"Gordon, this sounds really cute--It could have been fun!" I said, handing the page back to him and getting back to the dishes.
"Well, I think it's dumb. What are we supposed to learn from this anyway?!" Gordon sighed and started typing out an imaginary date summary.
"Can I quote you as saying that this assignment is dumb?" he asked.
"No, I told you I thought it was cute."
"Okay, can I say you thought it was a dumb assignment, but kind of cute?"
He went back to typing.
"So, what are we doing on this imaginary date?" I asked.
"Making cookies and playing pool."
"But I don't like cookies."
"It's an imaginary date. Imagine that you like them."
He went back to typing.
"What are you using for the invitation?" I asked.
"That's what the cookies are for."
"But don't you actually have to turn the invitation in in class tomorrow? So we actually have to make the cookies?"
"Yeah, I guess we should." Gordon finished typing up his summary of our date and we went up to the store to get cookie ingredients. According to his imaginary date write-up, he made cookies decorated with frosting to look like billiard balls as way of inviting me out to play pool with him. At the store we picked up refrigerated cookie dough, cream cheese frosting and a food coloring set. Back home again, Gordon put the cookies in the oven and we set to work mixing colors and frosting for our pool balls.
"Okay, we have red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. With two balls of each color--one solid, one stripe--that gives us twelve balls, plus a white one for the cue ball and one black 8-ball, right?" I asked.
"Yeah, but I think there should be fifteen balls total, so we are missing a color." He responded, puzzled. We couldn't think of it.
"Okay, I'm going to call our personal pool hall expert, Caitlin." I picked up the phone and dialed my sister's number.
"Hi, Jill." She said.
"Hi. Listen, I have a pool question for you. What is the seventh pool ball color?" I asked, explaining the situation briefly.
She thought about it, discussed it with her friend Ashley, and got back to me, "I have no idea. I just can't think of it right now. Maybe you could Google it?"
Good idea, I thought, but we don't have Internet at the house. I said goodbye to Caitlin and dialed another number.
"Hi, Jaima." I said, "I need you to do some quick Internet research for me and find out what the seventh billiard ball color is." She got right to work.
"Okay....looks like....maroon?" She said, scanning a web page.
"Great, thanks," I said goodbye to Jaima while we got to work trying to make maroon using the red, yellow, blue, and green colors we had bought. We finally got it to a dirty mauve color and decided that was good enough. Gordon put the colored icing on the cookies and I wrote out the numbers in black gel until we had one whole beautiful set of pool ball cookies. We took a couple photos, shared an extra cookie (dipped in all the leftover colored frosting, of course) and put the cookies away, so he could take them to school.
"So now what should we do?" Gordon asked. "I still have some time before heading out to meet with my study group."
"Well, we could actually go out and play pool." I said.
"Okay, that could be fun."
The closest bar to our house is Chan's Dragon--a strange little dive that doesn't allow patrons to open tabs and is generally full of drunk, middle-aged people at any hour of the day. In Gordon's imaginary date write-up, I believe he described it as the mysterious, smoky type of bar you'd see in old black and white detective films, but that might have been giving it a fair amount of extra credit. Nevertheless, the drinks are cheap and there's usually a pool table free, so it's become something of a regular hang-out. We played pool for a little over an hour. Gordon gave me plenty of do-overs, but he won in the end anyway which was fitting, I suppose, since that's how he'd ended his imaginary date write-up as well.
"Thanks for the imaginary date; It was really fun," I said as we were leaving.
"No problem," he replied.

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