I have never laughed so hard in the first 10 minutes of a date than I did on my date with Adam McGrath. As we walked to the car he noticed a bird was perched on the driver side of his rental car, on the tiny ledge at the base of the window of the back seat. The bird seemed to be staring right at us…I had to explain that this “creeper bird” was part of a contingency that had literally taken over my house during my 2 weeks in Europe. My roommates were dealing with the same birds sitting on the ledge outside of their bathroom, watching them, constantly, and intently.
As we got in the car, the bird did not flinch. As we began to drive down the road, the bird still did not flinch. Man this bird was hard core! I watched the bird closely as Adam gunned it, and was completely amused to see the bird literally hunker down with his wings to become more aero dynamic so he could maintain his post. Surprisingly he held on! Perhaps you had to be there, but we could not stop laughing. The experience created a light and cheery mood which carried on throughout the date as Adam kept me laughing with our conversations.
We drove to a local favorite, Pita Jungle, for dinner. The restaurant is known for being earthy and caters to vegans, vegetarians, etc. It has a fun vibe, and some great food – especially the hummus! Over dinner I enjoyed getting to know about Adam and his interests. We share a love for the band 311, and can appreciate a good concert. As we talked I had several stories come to mind that were experiences I’d nearly forgotten from my past. I realized how great it has been to be going out with so many different guys who bring different things to the surface for me.
After the grub it was time to explore the Desert Botanical Garden with a flashlight tour. There are hundreds of different cacti and other desert plants and flowers throughout the garden, all beautifully light up. They have stations set up where you can learn about bats, tortoises, and Adam’s favorites: snakes and scorpions. We were actually lucky enough to find a king snake in the trees – yes, he was IN the tree. The garden was all out of flashlights for us to use (apparently it was a popular night), but Adam was very resourceful and found a widget on his smart phone for a flashlight – and it was one powerful flashlight! So we were able to see the snake even behind several layers of branches. At the actual snake station we were able to touch a different king snake which was surprisingly smooth. I could tell how much Adam was loving this part.
How could we top the snake encounter? Our next station was the scorpions, a delightful little critter that we’re lucky to have in abundance in Arizona (hopefully you can feel the sarcasm on that one…). Though they are a pest, they’re actually pretty fascinating, and can give a snake a run for its money in the cool category. Perhaps the coolest thing about a scorpion is that they glow under a black light. They have a protein in their exoskeleton that has fluorescent properties. Even a scorpion that is black under normal lighting, will turn a bright glowing blue/green under a blacklight. Adam found this to be pretty impressive.
The park was closing so it was time to head on to our next adventure. As we walked out, we passed what might be my favorite thing at the Garden, which oddly enough isn’t a plant. There are stunning green and clear glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly right at the entrance. Chihuly is the one that did the glass flowers on the ceiling of the Bellagio in Vegas and the tall red sculpture in Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City.
When we returned to the car I felt like I was in Abravanel Hall at a performance as Adam gave me a demonstration of his percussion skills on the steering wheel. Adam has a dream to become a member of the Blue Man Group and he is doing everything he can to obtain it. He bought a drum kit, is taking lessons, and practices diligently. I was really impressed with his passion for and commitment to his goal. He really does have a sense for the beat!
It was time for a treat and Adam had a great place picked out – Subzero Ice Cream. Given his profession as a metallurgist, it was perfectly fitting to get ice cream that is created by using liquid nitrogen to flash freeze the cream and mix ins you’ve selected. That place really is such a fun experience – not your normal trip to the ice cream parlor. They even let us put our fingers in the liquid nitrogen (you just have to pull them out quickly!), and showed us how quickly it evaporated when you threw it on the floor. Truly a one of a kind experience! Again, I could tell that Adam was really enjoying the experience as well.
Over our ice cream I asked Adam if he had a celebrity lookalike. With his response he busted out an impersonation that had me rolling with laughter. Who is the celebrity look alike you ask? You’ll have to watch to date to find out! As I said, this guy had me laughing all night. What a gift for laughter, and what a fun date.