For those unfamiliar with military short hand doing Recon or a Recon Mission is a none engagement mission where you are sent in to gather information and intelligence on an enemy operation. You’re supposed to unobtrusively watch who comes and goes from a building, if you can get into the venue you’re watching you might eves drop on conversations to gather intel, work out all the entrances/exits, security systems, how many people are carrying weapons and so on. The big thing is getting in/out with if possible 0 violence and preferably without the people your watching knowing what your doing. The official term is a Reconnaissance Mission which is just way to long so Recon is what it get’s shortened to.
Everyone in my life old friends and new friends where firmly on the same page with the view that I lack some required skills when it comes to finding nice guys to date. Mainly I lack the ability to read body language or signals so flirting with me is useless as I just don’t notice it happening. The slightly bigger problem is I don’t have a “danger genuine crazy person” filter and the crazies somehow know this so I have the strangest ability to attract people with alternative views of reality which I don’t pick up on until way to late. So yes I probably do need professional help in finding nice guys to date however I also apparently suck at picking companies to provide this service. So having struck out 3 times on the Matchmaking Companies and being way over the online dating (AKA pickup) sites I needed to find a new method of meeting nice guys.
This was 2010 and for some reason Speed Dating was becoming all the rage in Brisbane so my work girl pals hatched the plan that Speed Dating might be it for me after all I have a very limited attention span for people who irritate me. However knowing that I apparently lack the ability to make rational choices about good or bad dating services and have no crazy people filters it was decided that me and whoever was available would do a bit of Recon and check out the venue and type of people that go speed dating before I actually joined up with any of the companies offering this service,
After checking out several websites we discovered there was going to be an event the following Wednesday at The Fringe Bar in The Vally. 2 of my girl pals Andrea and Nichole where both free that night to come with me and basically make sure I didn’t do anything stupid and to keep any crazies from following me home. Since parking in The Vally is a nightmare we decided on one car so we left Nichole car at Andrea place and I drove my car in. After only 3 trips around the block we found a spot on Constance Street (one way street) right outside the bars side entrance. I checked the signs posted on the pole next to the car and as far as I could tell I was legally parked.
We where a little early so we got drinks, ordered off the menu and settled down to see what would happen. BTW side note the food at The Fringe Bar is awesome and comes in generous portions. Turns out the speed dating is held upstairs in the private parties rooms but the mustering point for the participants was literally the lounge area behind the bar table we sat at so we got to see all the participants and hear the does and don’ts rule. When the organiser turned up she thought we might be waiting for her and she was really nice, we fibbed and said we’d come for the trivia night which was starting later.
Slowly the people tricked in and they seemed human. There was the normal assortment of people who’d evidently just finished work, the one’s who’d gone home and changed and the players looking for their next victim but no one appeared to be an axe wielding psychopath which is always a bonus. The rules sounded simple enough girls stay put, guys move on after 10 min when the bell tinkles, you make a score on your pad against their number, at the end of the night the score cards are gathered up and if you and x guy have a mutual attraction you’re contacted with each other details. I was thinking this seems ok, Nichole and Andrea didn’t see any thing that made them go “ahhh dudett bad idea”. Signing up on pay day was looking like it might be a good idea at that point in time.
We did actually end up staying to play as a team in the trivia night and won which recouped the money we spent on dinner and drinks plus scored us some free vouchers for buy one dinner get one free and 50% off drinks on the same night. I let Andrea and Nichole have the vouchers since both have partners and it meant they could have a night out without killing their budgets.
At 23:00 we wondered outside to go home. Wondering up Constance Street we got to the spot where my car had been parked to discover a white van not my midnight blue Mitsubishi Lancer. We all looked at each other and said “this is where we parked the car right”? . We walked up and down a bit more me clicking my car keys to open the car and make her go BLIP BLIP since my unlock/lock is connected to the horn it’s hard to miss my car unlocking.
Finally with a feeling of “OH SHIT” I rang the local police to report my car as having been stolen. After being transferred to 3 different police stations (yes Fortitude Vally has 3 of them in close proximity) the tired sounding Desk Sargent informed me that no my car hadn’t been stolen it’d been towed by the parking inspectors at 18:45, which was about 15 min after I parked it. Turns out that at the very top of the parking sign pole is a small sign that if you have perfect 20/20 vision and are about 7 foot tall you could read that informs you that on Monday/Wednesday and every 3rd Friday between 18:30 and 19:00 it’s a tow away no parking zone with no explanation as to why!
Andrea rang her partner to come collect us and bless Dylan he did but while waiting for him to arrive we had at least 6 cars slow down and 1 asked what our hourly rate was. Up to that point I think we’d all forgotten The Vally after dark is still a place where you can find street hookers, street dealers and the oddballs of society just about every night of the week.
While we waited for Dylan I rang to find out how to get my car back. The girl that answered the phone wasn’t all that bright but did tell me that to pick my car up before midnight would be $500, between midnight and 02:30 the price goes up to $950 so like what did I like want to do? I said I’d come round now and get the car at which point she informed me that like I couldn’t do that cause like Johnny who’s like the night manager was in Ipswich at some accident so like he’d like might be back at like about 02:00. At this point I didn’t know weather to crack up laughing or cry when Andrea asked if I could get the car before work in the morning. I was informed by the gum chewing chick on the phone that who seemed to say “like” after every 3rd word that like the holding area was closed between like 02:30 and 07:00 so like ah yeah I could come by after like 07:00 in the morning to get my car oh and like that would only be like $300.
Next morning at 07:15 I rocked up to bail my baby out of the holding area to discover that apparently they didn’t open till 07:30. However Gav the day manager was there and was nice enough to let me in and offer coffee while I filled out the paperwork to get my car back. Turns out not only did I have to pay the $300 then and there to get my car released I also had to pay a $250 fine to the local council within 30 days or face criminal charges. All up my Recon Mission ended up putting a $550 hole in my budget, as well as an explanation to my boss as to why I was late to work the next day which he found hilarious and a fair amount of stress I could have done without. I took it as a sign from the goddess that Speed Dating was not going to be a good idea and scratched it off the list of “how to me HIM” ideas.