"St. Pete or Bust! 2000" story # 6

Salvadore Dali Museum, Florida           October 1, 2000

On the agenda for "Date of the Week 3" was touring the Salvadore Dali art museum and painting pictures afterwards to present to our dates.
     Charity's fellow portrait-swapper was Brendan, a laid-back Trinidadian. Meanwhile, I asked out a girl and I didn't even know her name. She spells her name "Mae," but how would you pronounce that? I asked her out (without saying her name, only calling her "you"), because of her cute Boston accent where she doesn't pronounce r's and every adjective is "wicked." But more importantly, she's an art major.
     I'd invited a bit of a specialist for the evening. Charity's date was an international business major, but Mae was a "hired goon" and certain to paint me a nice portrait. MODERN ODDYSEUS' DATING ADVICE # 3 - When you have a talented date, try to get them to make you something that's valuable and that you need (such as a pretty wall decoration). Mae accepted my offer. Even luckier for me, she was bringing her friend from Chile, Blanca, so I had two lovely tag-team dates.
     Mae and I really enjoyed Salvadore Dali's artwork. I said "Wow!" and "Crazy!" every other minute. Dali had made some weird paintings of fruit bowls flying off tables and fish shooting through time, but in every one he'd somewhere hidden his wife. The best painting was 14-feet tall, called, "La Toreador," of a bunch of Venus De Milo sculptures, but hidden magically in the painting were a large bull-fighter and bleeding bull - plus Dali's wife in the corner crying for the poor bull. Mae compared some of Dali's works to what she was capable of doing - I couldn't WAIT to see the painting she was gonna make me!
     After the museum, we asked a small, elderly woman outside to take our picture. Her social skills reminded Charity and me of the "Dance Nazi" from our first date, and we nicknamed her "The Inept Photographer." She handled our camera with the same experience that I'd handle a rocket-ship. The thought of winding film was completely foreign to her, and we had to help her between each picture. I layed in front of the group for one photo, and she yelled, "Weeewooo!" at me. For such a helpless old lady, she was feisty.
     We went to paint our pictures, and we decided the theme for the paintings should be "My Perfect World." Unfortunately, Mae couldn't make it for this, so Blanca took over. But Blanca is also an art major, so I still had my "hired goon."
     Brendan's "Perfect World" had a bottle of rum pouring into a discolored ocean. Charity's "Perfect World" included her pajamas, Elvis Presley on a surfboard, and a hamburger with orange meat and green bread. My "Perfect World" had a roller coaster, a coral reef, a baseball field, people eating ice cream, a hitchhiker, and my hero, the Crocodile Hunter. The people I drew shared only one physical trait, and that was that they'd all been involved in horrible accidents. The skill of our paintings seemed especially bad when I thought back to Dali's masterpieces I'd seen earlier in the day.
     Blanca's painting was very pretty, though. Her portrait was 80% sky, as many of Dali's were, with swirls of yellow, green, and blue. The rocky ground was a mixture of dirt brown and clay red. It's very nice, and it'll go straight up over a bare spot on my wall. I imagine it'll stay there for a long time - atleast until I get a date with someone who can weld stain-glass windows.

All these dates require money, so I went on a casino cruise the other night to try to win big playing blackjack. Don't be fooled by the illustrious name, a "casino cruise" can only be described in one way: very, very boring. You sit at a blackjack table watching card upon card upon card being dealt, surrounded by lots of rich old people who don't say or do anything but lose money quick. The funniest thing I heard all night was a drunk lady who said, "Wow, I actually won a hand!?" Considering the money she was losing, I don't know why SHE thought this was so funny, but I laughed.
     After thousands of cards and hundreds of hands, I was bored. But, I'd won $150. I told some guy, "I'm slowly but surely building my fortune." That was until Steve, or "Mr. 21" as I like to call him, started dealing and I could hardly beat him. It was amazing how frequently he got 21. He tried saying something like, "Well, everything evens itself out over time." I told him, "$5 chips are going to have to start falling out of your ears for you to even out for us, Steve."
     Steve's ear-trick never happened, so I tried to make up for all the recent boredom by placing a $100 bet. This got my heart pumping, but the excitement only got larger when the dealer dealt me two aces and I had reach deep into my wallet to DOUBLE my bet. $200. B-boom, B-boom! (Imagine that's my heart) I could barely open my mouth to tell the dealer what to do. What was going to happen to Justin's hundreds?
     ...I got a oh-so-happy 21 with one bet, but a paltry 13 on the other - so I broke even. I bet $100 on the next hand, and I lost it. How sad. But, I left the cruise ship with the same money I came in with, so my future dates won't be canceled due to bankruptcy.

That doesn't mean the dates can't be canceled due to something else. I don't mean to alarm anyone, but the "Date of the Week" Program is in a state of urgent distress after this past week's date got canceled. Tomorrow is Sunday, the last day of the week, and no date is planned.
     I should've seen this coming. On my roadtrip to school this year, Luke had told me he looked forward this semester, "to watching the failure of Justin's Date-of-the-Week Program." Is the "Date of the Week" Program doomed? Is this how it all ends?
     Oh, and I don't have any money either - I spent it all.
     So, tomorrow my mission is set. To find a date, who doesn't mind paying for me, so that the prosperous "Date of the Week" Program will be SAVED!
     ...Tune in to the next "Modern Oddyseus' Travel Annals" to learn the dramatic conclusion!!!

- Modern Oddyseus You can cut the pressure with a knife!

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