Sunday, I didn’t want to hang out at the house by myself so I set out without a plan. The ol’ Harley was calling my name again so I saddled up and took off, heat be damned. An adventure awaits. I just knew it! My job was to find it. I ended up in the bookstore, a favorite wandering ground of mine, aimless and full of wonder (and wander.) Two hours later I exited with a cheap paperback titled “How to Attract Anyone, Anytime, Anyplace: The Smart Guide to Flirting.” Now, anyone who has spent any length of time with me knows my standard problem-solving attack plan. Step two typically involves the accumulation of knowledge by way of books. (Step one is the Zen-like “Become one with the problem.” In this case, the problem is pretty easy to become one with since it’s, uh, my problem – find some new acquaintances.) So, here I sit under a poor excuse for a shade tree outside Barnes and Nobles on North 183, the same road of the infamous tire tube-top adventure, with a funny new book in my hand. Ok, great. But that didn’t really fix my original problem – I didn’t want to hang out at the house by myself. So, what do I do? Ah! Book + reading + people = coffee shop! Minutes later I was headed to Dominican Joe’s off South Congress.
Now, mind you, it’s well above 100 degrees outside and the ol’ Sportster’s air conditioner doesn’t work very well above, say, 80. The trip was miserable. Imagine 100 hair dryers blasting away at you for 20 minutes. Actually, I’m pretty sure the hair dryer treatment would have been more pleasant than the punishment I was getting. But, hey, I had a mission and the mission was good. I love a good mission.
Arriving at a completely packed DJoe’s I ordered the only coffee drink I enjoy (iced café mocha) and was relieved to see a guy making for the exit, backpack in hand. I quickly claimed his seat and settled in for some quality reading time. It didn’t take me too long to notice Her. At the table just to my left, barely two feet away, she was working on her shiny new Mac Book. While she worked, she was absent-mindedly rubbing her leg, hiking her skirt up in the process. Now, I’m a gentleman but it was quite a distraction with all that skirt hiking going on just right over there. It didn’t help matters that she had all the physical features that help make a woman attractive, too. But I’m strong-willed, polite, didn’t stare and jumped back into my book. Kind of. Ok, maybe I stole a glance or two but it was because I was stretching my eyes. Really.
An hour or so later I heard a sound from my left that you never, ever want to hear. It’s such a terrible sound that any laptop owner within earshot physically cringes. Some even cry. The whole lot of DJoe’s coffee drinkers turned to look my direction with big eyes. The sound, of course, was of the lip of a large glass hitting a table followed immediately by a splashing of large amounts of liquid. Fortunately, the table was safe. Her laptop had absorbed most of the spill.
She looked horrified. Another gentleman across the room immediately jumped to his feet to fetch a stack of napkins while the rest of the crowd tried not to faint. She turned her laptop sideways to drain the sticky liquid and glanced over at me with soulful eyes. I told the wounded stranger that it’d be ok and that she needed to take the battery out of the computer right now. She quickly acted on my advice and then asked why. That’s how the conversation started.
About an hour later, we had talked about computers, steaks, weather, movies, the economy, and about every other small talk subject that could be brought up. It was strange to me and a little dreamy but not as in oh-how-romantic dreamy but more like is-this-what-I-think-it-is? dreamy. She was a sharp conversationalist. Each time the conversation began to fade, she’d ask another question that breathed in new life. It was all very easy and even pleasant.
Once, as the conversation was fading and she was withholding the rescue breath I’d become used to, my head exploded in a million thoughts. The split-second lasted seemingly for hours. Should I let it die? Should I go back to my book? Maybe I should keep it going? Nah, can I? Should I? I shouldn’t. Then, without consulting with the two arguing idiots inside my head, I did it. I asked her a question. And we were off running again. It was fun.
After some time, there didn’t seem to be a natural continuance of our chat so we were both letting it fade. Eventually, an uncomfortable silence set in. Then I did it again. (In for a penny, in for a pound, I always say.) I said something like “Beer like you now drink somewhere would?” Unphased by my impressive grasp of the English language, she quickly responded with “No, but call me and let’s go to a movie sometime this week. Here’s my number.” And it was done. Just like that.
I guess my new book works.