Okay kids, time for another installment of Dilemmas with Emma. Today’s story springs from another internet-assisted meeting. One is ever-hopeful that this date will be different from the others – the absence of chainsaw and baby confessions surely isn’t too much to ask?
My curiosity spiked when I received a message from this particular guy, as he mentioned that part of his job required him to dress as a panda in public. Who knows, maybe this should’ve been my cue to move right along, but I was intrigued and wasn’t ready to count him out just yet so replied to his message.
Bing – another message arrived. “Hi Emma, hope you’ve had a good day. Work was full on for me. What’s your plan for the zombie apocalypse?”. End of message.
What does one reply to such a question?! I thought he must’ve been joking and just throwing in a random question to offset the tedious ‘getting to know you’ obligatories. We had arranged to meet for lunch already, so I sent back some sort of witty reply and thought nothing else of it.
Lunch date day arrived and we got off to a pretty good start. I got the low-down on the panda job, which turned out to be fundraising for a wildlife charity. Bless. The conversation was flowing reasonably freely, although he did give extremely detailed answers to everything I asked him. For example, I knew from his online profile that he wasn’t from New Zealand, so I asked how long he had been here. Without even slight exaggeration, his answer contained all of the following:
- How many countries he had lived in
- The name of each country and which years of his life he spent there
- A list of each school he attended throughout his education – 18 in total
- How many square metres the last few houses were
- What his father did for a job
- A blow-by-blow rundown of every accident he has ever had, aided with sound effects and scar viewings
I tried really hard to stay engaged, but was resenting his apparent lack of self-filtering / conversation skills. When it was finally his turn to ask me a question, guess what it was?
“So, what is your plan for the zombie apocalypse? You really need one you know.”
The guy was serious. His group of friends had conducted meetings where they documented ‘Plan Z’. It was at this point I realised I had made a huge mistake in laughing off the previous zombie-related question and needed to bring this date swiftly to an end. Conveniently my allocated parking time was fast running out, so I used this as my reason to leave.
Here my friend, is where you learn that assertiveness is not my strongest quality. Mr. Zombie/Panda didn’t take the parking hint and decided to walk me to my car. Once there he asked whether there was a park nearby we could go to. Rather than asserting myself by ending things and going home, I tried to take advantage of how little he knew Auckland by saying there were no parks close by. Unfortunately he had GPS and found that Western Springs was only a few minutes drive from our location. Before I knew it, we were heading there in our cars.
We walked around the park and he began to reinforce the pressing need for me to nail down a plan for the looming zombie apocalypse. This was really starting to creep me out! Thankfully he had a cousin’s birthday to attend, so after a lengthy stroll we returned to our cars, I quickly said goodbye and jumped in my car. As I was about to drive off (as fast as I possibly could), he approached my car window again.
Mr. Zombie/Panda had lost his keys somewhere in the expanse that is Western Springs! If it had been anyone else I would’ve insisted on helping to scour the park but there’s no way I was going back. I was not prepared to be part of Plan Z! I left him there and sped off.
I breathed a sigh of relief when I got home, and made a mental note never to go on another internet date ever. It was only an hour later though that I received a text message from him. He’d found his keys and just wanted to follow up on the zombie plan! I give up!