Patterson Gets A Date For the Holidays
Lou Ann Steele
Seaman Patterson was in a dilemma. He wanted to do something special for this coming New Year’s Eve to mark the starting of the new millenium.
Normally on the Christmas shore leave, he would go over to Seaman Kowalski’s parents’ home to celebrate Christmas.
To the Kowalskis, Patterson was another son and part of the family. Mrs. Kowalski would throw a holy fit if Patterson didn’t show for a family get together. One year as a joke, Ski made up two sets of fake adoption papers for Patterson and his parents making Patterson "legally" adopted into the Kowalski family.
For the rest of the holiday leave, Patterson and Kowalski would hang around their apartment, which they shared, run errands, tinker with their cars and motorcycles, visit friends and shoot pool at the local pool hall.
This year he wanted to take a date out for New Years Eve for dinner and dancing, but he had a problem of always being shy and tongue tied around girls that he met and therefore not having much luck getting a date when he wanted one.
The Seaview, thanks to the persistence of Lt. Commander Chip Morton, finally got computers on board that were interneted. Most of the computers were for research, accounting, officers’ reports and administrative work. But for the crewmen’s morale, Mr. Morton saw to it that two computers with intenet access were placed in the Crew’s Mess for the crew’s use.
There were strict rules for the crew’s internet access. The user could only be on for thirty minutes a day and there was a posted sign up sheet at the computer station so that anyone who wanted to use the computer could pick a scheduled time and not have to wait in line for the computer to be free. There would be no down loading and the computers could not be used during radio silence, while on top secret missions or during any kind of emergencies.
Half of the crew were using the computers to access their emails and to send letters to friends and loved ones. The computers allowed the crew to get news from home without having to wait for the mail to catch up with the ship during long voyages.
Patterson had heard that there were websites on the internet where guys could meet and communicate with girls. That started him thinking. He could use the internet to meet girls and possibly get a date for New Years Eve. The problem was he had never used the internet system before and with thirty minutes time limit on it’s use, most of the crew were too busy with their own personal business on it to help him learn the system.
One day he entered the Crew’s Mess to get a cup of coffee and found Chief Sharkey sitting alone at one of the tables. He grabbed a cup of coffee and rushed over to the Chief’s table. "Hey, Chief, I need to talk to you. I need some advice. "
Sharkey looked up. "Have a seat and tell me what’s on your mind, Kid."
Patterson dropped into the chair across from the Chief, leaned forward and in a low voice that only Sharkey could hear said, "I need help learning how to use the internet."
"Damn, I thought you were going to be serious here. You have been hanging around Kowalski too long." Sharkey admonished disapprovingly.
"I am really serious about this, Chief!" Patterson said hurt that Sharkey thought he was pulling a practical joke on him. "I need to find a date for this New Years Eve and someone told me you can meet girls on the internet."
"Why don’t you meet girls the normal way? You’re an okay looking guy. I’m surprised you’re not beating girls off with a stick. "
Patterson’s face started turning a little pink with embarrassment and with a shrug of his shoulders he admitted, "I have a hard time talking to girls. I don’t know what to say to them."
"So you think by writing to a girl on the internet you stand a better chance getting a date?"
"It couldn’t hurt and I am desperate, Chief!" Pat answered back.
"Well, Kid, I unfortunately can’t help you. I don’t know the internet system either. I do reports and inventory on the computer and that’s it. But if you are serious about this, I suggest you go and talk to Mr. Morton about it. He knows all of the computer systems and he might give you a fast class in interneting. "
"Oh, I don’t want to bother him with this." Patterson was horrified at the thought of going to Mr. Morton with something personal as this.
"If you are serious about this, he is in his quarters right now working on administrative reports. This would be the best time to approach him. Ask him. He can either say yes or no. It won’t hurt to ask."
Patterson sat there thinking for a couple of seconds weighing his choices, made some kind of mental agreement with himself and nodded his head , " You are right, Chief! He can either say yes or no. I’ll go and ask him right now. Thanks a lot!"
Pat got up from the table, deposited his coffee cup in the dish pan and made his way out the door to Mr. Morton’s quarters.
A few minutes later there was a quiet knock at the door. Chip Morton looked up from his paper work to the closed door. "Come in."
The door opened and Patterson took a step inside the door. "Mr. Morton, can I talk to you for a second?"
"Of course, Patterson." Chip motioned with his hand to the chair in front of his desk, " Have a seat." Once Patterson was seated, Chip leaned back in his chair and gave his visitor his full attention. "What’s on your mind?"
Patterson felt his face burning with embarrassment and he fidgeted slightly in the chair. "Well, Sir, I need help learning to use the internet."
"You haven’t showed any interest before now. Why now?" The Exec asked curiously.
"Well, Sir," Patterson cleared his throat nervously, "I would like to have a date for this New Years Eve because of the millenium and I was told you can meet girls on the internet."
"Well, there are areas on the internet where you can meet people like the chat line, personal ads, pen pal websites and clubs, but you have to be very careful not to give out too much personal information about yourself over the internet system. There are a lot of hackers, viruses and people who abuse the system. " Chip warned. He started tapping his pen on the desk as he started thinking. "I don’t have a date for New Years Eve either. We have been pretty busy lately with assignments. I think we have only been in port for a total of three weeks since March and now it’s October. Sometimes this job doesn’t allow much time for a social life."
Chip stared at Patterson thoughtfully for a minute or two in silence then said, "Normally, I wouldn’t do this because some might think this is favoritism , but I would like to help you out. Let’s just keep this between the two of us"
"Of course, Sir." Pat happily agreed.
"I will show you how to log on and off, set you up an email account so you can get and send messages and I will show you how to search for information. Then you are on your own. " Chip shoved all of his paperwork aside, moved his chair to make room for Patterson and moved his keyboard over to where both of them could use it. "Move your chair over here and let’s get to work."
Pat eagerly moved his chair behind the desk next to Morton and began his lesson. Within the hour, he had an email account set up, learned how to search for information, how to save things on a floppy disk and how to reboot if necessary.
"Now that you are comfortable with the system, let’s start hunting for personal ads." Chip clicked on the personal ads.
Patterson scanned down the columns in amazement. "This is getting complicated already…men for women, women for men, women for women, men for men, alternative lifestyles, pen pals, long term and short term relationships. Can’t we simplify the search?"
"Let’s look at women looking for men for the California area and see what it shows." Chip clicked on that category. "What age do you want to look at?"
"Let’s go for thirty years olds." Pat replied.
As both men started looking at the ads, Chip started whistling in amazement and Patterson’s face began to turn beet red as he read some of the things the ladies were wanting in a relationship. "Maybe I am not cut out for dating after all, Mr. Morton. I can’t imagine doing some of these things." Referring to the ad he just finished where the lady was wanting a man to do some rather kinky things in their relationship.
"Most of these ads are for people wanting sexual relationships or people looking for marriage. What we need to look at is pen pals. People looking for friendship. Let’s try this website." Chip clicked on to a website for pen pals and asked again for what age Patterson wanted to look at.
"Try thirty year olds again for a start in the California area." Patterson answered.
The website revealed exactly what Patterson had in mind. Chip also seemed to be very interested in the site as well. He book marked it so he could go back to it later.
"What interests do you want me to check?" Chip asked.
"Check animals, education, sports, art, engineering, movies, music, philosophy and travel." Patterson answered as he glanced down the list.
"What about hobbies?"
"Check camping, computers, crafts, games, photography and automobiles." Pat answered again as Chip continued to check mark down the list.
"Here we go…this is more like what you are looking for. What you need to do is to go through these lists and find someone you are interested in, copy her information on to a floppy disk so you can refer to it later if she writes you back. Write her a short email about yourself and ask her if she would be interested in writing to you. Then take it from there." Chip advised as he glanced down the list of ads.
The phone on his desk began ringing just then. Chip automatically picked it up. "Morton, here…Yes, Admiral, I will be right there." He hung the phone up, wrote down the website for Patterson on a piece of paper and handed the paper as well as a floppy disk into the seaman’s hand. "You are on your own now. I have to leave for a meeting with the Admiral. If you have any problems, let me know."
Patterson immediately got up and followed Mr. Morton out the door. "I really appreciate the help, Sir."
They went their separate ways…Chip to the Admiral’s Quarters and Patterson to the Crew’s Mess to sign up for computer access.
A few hours later, Patterson was sitting alone in the Crew’s Mess staring at the computer screen at an ad for a girl named Jill who lived in California.
Age: 32 Yrs Old
Location: San Diego
Interests: photography, art, music, travel, education, sports, engineering, movies, philosophy and animals
Hobbies: camping, computers, crafts, cave exploring, hiking and tinkering with cars and motorcycles.
Hello, my name is Jill and I am looking for someone who shares my interests to write to me. At this time I am only looking to make new friends. I work for the Park Service and my favorite past times are camping, traveling around on my motorcycle, visiting historical sites, having picnics by the sea and going to an occasional movie when there is something on to see. If you would like correspond with me, just drop me a line. I am single with no children.
She sounded so interesting and it looked like they would have a lot in common. So he copied her ad on his floppy disk, wrote down her email address, went to his email site and composed a reply.
Ref: Your ad for pen pal
My name is Patterson. I saw your ad for pen pal and I would like very much to correspond with you. I am not sure what you would like to know about me so I will follow your outline. We share the same interests including photography, motorcycling, traveling and visiting historical sites.
I am a seaman who works on a research ship and I would love to correspond with you if you are interested. Please drop me a line.
A couple of days later, he finally got back on the internet and found her reply waiting for him.
Ref: Pen Pal
I would love to write to you. I work for the park service. Tell me more about yourself. How old are you? Are you single? Do you have children? What do you do on your ship? What do you do in your spare time for fun?
I work for a near by park doing various jobs-customer information, camp ground reservation, security, customer relations, search and rescue, fire fighting and whatever else is needed to run the park. My favorite past time is to get on my motorcycle and travel around taking pictures. I like taking both black and white as well as color pictures.
Let me know more about yourself.
Several days later after a special assignment, Pat finally got back on the computer.
Sorry it took so long to get back with you. I work on a research ship as I told you earlier and there are times when I can't write back to you as often as I would like because of the work we do or because of other reasons that I can't go into. So if you don't hear from me for a week or two, please don't think there is something wrong or that I am no longer interested in writing to you. It is just the quirks of my job. I will write as often as I can to you.
I am 32 years old, single with no children and I am 6 feet tall.
Because of the ship that I work on, all of the seamen are required to do various jobs on board the ship. I do guard duty, scuba dive, maintenance, security, work with electronics, sonar technician, nuclear technician, and so on. Whatever that needs to be done on the ship.
I love photography as well. I also like working with both black and white as well as color.I also like taking off on my bike and traveling around to see people and sights. We will have to do that one day together. Take our bikes, camera and camping gear and travel around the country side.
What do you like to do after work to relax? What do you like to do for a date?
Several days later her reply came back.
As to what I like to do on a date. To tell you the truth I don't date much at all. I can't seem to find anyone I really want to go out with. I am not saying I don't want to date. Just saying that I haven't found anyone I can communicate with and who I share any interests with until I started writing to you. I rather say at home and read a book.
But to answer your question, I like going somewhere where they play easy listening music, go to movies, go on picnics or go driving out into the country.
Usually after work, I go home and putter around the house and sometimes when I am restless, I take off on my Harley Davidson and drive around the country side and blow the cobwebs away.
Tell me more about your life on the ship. What is it like to be spending alot of your time on a ship.
Life aboard the ship I guess is a little weird. The only windows on board are at the Observation Nose of the ship. I work on a submarine. Sometimes it is hard to know when it is day or night. Wework in shifts and you have to learn to sleep with people talking and moving around and the lights always being on all the time.
I work for Admiral Nelson who is a great scientist in marine biology. Our captain is Captain Lee Crane and our Exec is Lt. Commander Chip Morton. I wouldn't work for anyone else. They are very strict, but fair minded at the same time. They all have pretty difficult jobs to do and I wouldn't be in their shoes for anything. I wouldn't work for anyone else.
Mr. Morton is responsible for me writing to you. He was the one who taught me the internet and showed me the pen pal website.
Enough about me, what about yourself?
Patterson and Jill continued to correspond back and forth through the month of November into December getting to know each other better.
I was just informed today that we are going to get our Christmas shore leave as planned which will be December 20th unless there is some kind of an emergency. Would you be interested in meeting me and spending some time together while I am on leave?
I would love to spend some time with you during your leave. I have some vacation time saved up and can take off for two weeks while you are on leave depending on what you have planned.
I spend Christmas every year with my friend and coworker Kowalski at his parents' home, but the rest of my leave is free. I have to be back to work by January 3rd. What do you have planned for New Years Eve? Would you like to go out for dinner and dancing?
I would love to go out with you for New Year's Eve! Why don't I pick you up from work and we can go out somewhere to talk and get to know each other better and take it from there.
I will make dinner reservations for New Years Eve, but I am not going to tell you where because I want it to be a surprise. I will tell you when to pick me up as soon as I know. My buddy Kowalski is going to take my gear home with him so we don't have to deal with my luggage.
Patterson emailed Admiral Nelson's secretary Angie to ask her to make dinner and night club reservations for him as well as to order a heather floral arrangement for Jill. He also asked her to make security arrangements to allow Jill to wait for him at the security booth at the Seaview's dock area which was normally out of bounds to anyone but crew and crew's family members.
I have made arrangements for you to come to our dock area. I have forwarded you directions how to get here and when you get to the security booth at the front of the Nelson's Institute, just tell them your nameand that you are here to pick Seaman Patterson up at the dock. They will give you directions how to get the dock area. Just wait at the security dock booth area and I will be there as soon as I can. We will be docking around 11am and I should be able to leave around 12:30pm. So I will meet you at the bootharound 12:30pm. If something comes up unexpectedly, I will email you or they will tell you at the security booth. I am eager to meet you. Take care.
December 20th, the Seaview docked on time and everyone was in a festive mood except for poor Patterson who was as nervous as a bridegroom. He was worried about what to wear to meet Jill. Worried about his aftershave being too strong or not strong enough. Even worried that she might not be there when he got to the dock security area.
Sharkey finally got him to wear a copper colored polo shirt and brown slacks because the colors looked nice on him.
The Seaview received an unexpected visitor as soon as it docked. Angie, the Admiral's secretary, came on board with a large picnic basket and a mischievous smile on her face. She told Mr. O'Brien, who was in the Control Room still in his uniform, that she needed to see Lt. Morton and Seaman Patterson in the Observation Nose immediately.
"And merry Christmas, Frank." Angie added with a smile.
"Merry Christmas to you too, Angie. I will get them for you right now." Mr. O'Brien picked up the mike and said very officially, "Mr. Morton and Seaman Patterson, please come to the Observation Nose immediately. You have a visitor waiting. "
"Thanks, Frank" Angie and her basket made their way to the Observation Nose which was deserted since everyone was either getting ready to leave or was at the Christmas party.
A few minutes later, Chip Morton followed by Seaman Patterson entered the Observation Nose to find Angie and her basket.
"Hi, Guys! I have the things you wanted and some things you didn't think about." Angie reached into her basket and pulled out a floral arrangement of roses and baby breaths and an envelop and handed them to Morton. "Here are your flowers and your reservations for the Disneyland Resort's New Years bash and two hotel reservations for New Years Eve for you and your date. "
She then turned back to her basket and pulled out another floral arrangement of heather and another envelope and handed them to Patterson. "And you have a reservation for two to the Irish Happening for New Years Eve."
"Now something neither of you thought about." She went back into her basket and pulled out a teddy bear dressed in a sailor uniform and handed it to Patterson. "This is for your date." She dived back into the basket and came out with another teddy bear dressed up in the 80's Saturday Night Fever outfit and handed that one to Chip. "This is for your date. Both girls will love them. "
Both Chip and Patterson thanked Angie for going completely out of her way to help them with their dates. "I was just happy to help my favorite guys out." Which made Patterson blush slightly. "I saw your girls outside waiting at the guard booth at the dock. You won't be able to miss them." Then she turned to Patterson and asked, "Do you know how to slow dance, Pat? There is going to be alot of slow dancing at the Irish Happening."
"Actually, I'm not much of a dancer." Pat confessed.
Angie went back into her basket and brought out a tape recorder. "No problem. I will give you a fast lesson. Shouldn't take but a couple of minutes and then you can go out and meet her. Chip, you slow dance don't you?"
"Of course I do." Chip answered wondering where she was going with this.
"Good, I will use you to show Pat how to dance." Angie turned on her recorder and the song "Moon River" started playing. She positioned herself in front of Chip. "This is really simple. Just do as Chip does."
Chip placed his hands on Angie's back and they started dancing to the music.
"Now just move back and forth like this to the music. This is the simplest way to slow dance." Angie instructed as she danced in Chip's arms.
Chip and Angie continued to dance for a couple of more minutes and then Angie told Patterson it was his turn. She stood in front of him and instructed him where to put his hands. "Now move slowly back and forth to the music. "
Patterson moved slowly to the music and after a few minutes realized it wasn't so hard to dance after all.
"What the devil is going on in here! We don't allow this type of behavior on this ship!" Admiral Nelson bellowed. He had been watching the lesson with some enjoyment. "If anyone is going to dance with my secretary on this ship, it should be me!" He looked at Angie, "May I have this dance?"
"Of course, Sir. " Angie said with a big smile. "Watch him, Pat. He dances the other type of slow dancing."
Angie stepped into the Admiral's arms and they danced around the room to the song of "White Christmas".
When the music stopped, there was a loud applause coming from Captain Crane, Mr. O'Brien and several crewmen who were on their way out of the ship and caught the dancing couple in the act.
"Now Gentlemen," said Angie "You see why the Admiral is such a lady's man. He knows the right moves."
The room filled with painful groans from the bad pun.
"Pat and Chip, you have dates waiting." Angie reminded them.
"We're gone!" Chip answered as both of them kissed Angie on the cheek and dashed out of the ship to meet their dates.
When they got to the security booth at the Seaview's dock, they saw why Angie knew their dates were waiting for them. There was a tall female with long red hair dressed in casual clothes, holding a paper sign with Patterson's name on it, standing next to a Harley Davidson motorcycle.
The other girl had short blonde hair, medium height, also wearing casual clothes standing next to a red convertible with it's top down and she was also holding a sign that had Chip's name on it.
"Patterson, this was a very good idea. I am glad you thought of it. " Chip said as he hit Patterson on the back with his free hand.
"Thank you, Sir. You were the one with the internet know how. I think I am going to like this shore leave."
"We had better get to them first before Crane and Kowalski does. Merry Christmas, Patterson."
"You too, Sir."
Both men with smiles on their faces went through the gate to their awaiting dates.
Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.