Performer: A Perfect Circle
Songwriters: Billy Howerdel, Maynard James Keenan
Original Release: Thirteenth Step
Definitive Version: None
When my lease ran out and my time in Cleveland was up at the end of March 2004, it was a bittersweet departure. In the past year, I had gotten a lot of valuable work done, learned a lot about myself and fallen in love with the city.
But I was leaving for a good reason. After being a baseball fan my whole life and spending the past year with it as my daily avocation, now I was actually going to have a job in professional baseball. I never was going to be on the playing field, but I still made it to a certain degree, even if it were just the minors.
I was feeling as good about myself as I had in a long time, so now was the time for the final step of my rehabilitation. One of Laura’s friends decided to take it upon herself to play matchmaker with me back in town. Kathy asked whether I minded if she set me up on a blind date with one of her friends from work. She gave me the hard sell: She’s smart, pretty, takes good care of herself …
Well, she didn’t need to bother. If the friend were breathing and had all the proper equipment, that was good enough for me. I figured that Kathy wouldn’t set me up with a loser, and I was game. It would be something more to learn about myself.
There was one problem, Kathy said. Ah, so this is the part where she tells me she has a hairlip. She’s a vegetarian, Kathy said. Yeah, and the problem is … ? Well, I didn’t care about that, as long as she didn’t mind that I wasn’t. Kathy said she didn’t.
Then I asked, so have you told her that I’m a 40-year-old living at home with my parents? No she hadn’t. Um, OK. My guess was that information would go over like the Hindenberg, so let’s just keep that to ourselves for now, shan’t we? Kathy then passed along the name, Vicky, and a phone number.
I had just found an excellent Indian restaurant not far from where I lived that I reviewed for The Dispatch, and I knew it had dozens of vegetarian entrees on the menu, so I decided meeting there for lunch would make a good introductory date—low pressure, good food, in and out, see how it goes.
I called Vicky and she, as thoroughly prompted as I was and equally intrigued, readily accepted my offer. It was low-pressure, but I also followed through on something I had decided in Cleveland—I wasn’t going to cheat myself. I wasn’t going to smother her, but I also wasn’t going to play any games.
Before I got to The Bombay Grill, I stopped off at the Big Bear to buy a basic flower bouquet to present and got there early to make sure Vicky wouldn’t have to wait for me. I was by the door when I saw a blonde woman make her way to the entrance.
I had no idea what Vicky looked like other than she was blonde, but I thought this might be her. It was, and the surprise was that she was as advertised—slim and very pretty. Geez, I hope Kathy didn’t oversell me …
Anyway, we had a nice lunch. Vicky got an aloo dish, I think; I assume I got rogan josh. (I don’t remember.) The conversation flowed effortlessly, well past the expected wrapup point. In fact, the restaurant, which closed between lunch and dinner, was packing everything up before we got the hint.
Lunch was a success, and we decided to meet again later that week for drinks. She told me to call her. So far, so good.