One Saturday when I was in eighth grade I was on the way back from Fayetteville, Arkansas with my grandparents as we’d gone up to watch my uncle’s football team play the night before. I was riding along watching the beautiful scenery of the Arkansas countryside pass me by, happy as a clam, when I got the unfortunate phone call. My mom had taken one of my younger brothers to get a haircut and a woman had approached her, since my mom was wearing a t-shirt from the school she taught at and apparently this woman had a son that went to that school. It turns out the woman had a son in the eighth grade, the same grade as me. The woman asked what my name was and my mom, completely unaware of child safety protocol gave this stranger my name. The lady was thrilled apparently and said that me and her son were great friends and he always talked about me and we should get together sometime, so my mom and this other mom arranged a play date between their fourteen year old sons. My mom relayed this to me over the phone like I should have been thrilled. I had plenty of friends whom I actually made plans with when I wanted to hang out, rather than my mommy set it up for me with the other kid’s mommy.
His name was Cameron Molter, who’s name alone conjures up visuals of people drowning in a pool of molten lava as they try to escape the company of the most boring person in the world. We weren’t friends. We weren’t even really acquaintances. I don’t even think we spoke before the I showed up at his house for our play date, but the lies of his mother had decided to ruin my Saturday afternoon and I was not one bit happy about it. I don’t remember how long I stayed there but I told my mom to pick me up as soon as possible, but as often happens when you’re in a situation you don’t want to be in, time slows down and it feels like you’re there a lot longer than you actually are. I guess it also seemed to take forever because the entire time I was there, I just sat in his room and watched him play James Bond on Nintendo Gamecube. He had two controllers but apparently I need to observe him in order gain enough knowledge to play a game I’d played many times before.
When he finally deemed I was ready to play he handed me his controller, all the while talking my head off in his mumbling voice that I couldn’t understand. I played for less than a minute when he got fed up with me for passing over some magic goggles or something so he quickly snatched the controller back and that was the end of my video game fun for the day. I remember seeing my mom pull up in the driveway and I couldn’t wait to get out of there so I opened the child lock that was on this eighth grader’s door and walked outside to freedom. His stupid mom came out to the car and lied to my mom about what a fun time we had and that we should do it again, so once again without my consent, a playdate was set up for me with this idiot. As we drove away I told my mom that there was no way I was going over to that guy’s house ever again. I don’t know if she ever called and cancelled but I never had to hang out with him again. He left school either that year or soon after and I never saw him again, but I’m always a little wary that my mom might bump into his mother somewhere and I’ll end up having to watch him play X-box 1 as a twenty-six year old.