Sunday, January 19, 2014

Rules of the Road at 67...

I was driving in North Scottsdale this past week and arrived at an intersection that I'm really not that familiar with. It was Raintree and Northsight. I needed to make a left turn there, so I pulled into the left turn lane, naturally. When I got my arrow, it was green and flashing intermittently. I did a quick inquiry into my memory banks from 53 years ago, when I studied the Rules of the Road, in order to pass my driving test when I was 16 and nothing came up. I was at a loss for this combination of traffic instructions. Let me add at this time that I have driving pretty successfully for 52 years and although I've received citations in those years, probably only about 4 or 5 total and they were always for speeding, that's right, I was in a hurry. NEVER for not knowing the rules of the road. Until now! I decided that it means the same thing as a solid green arrow and proceeded forward to make my turn as usual. Suddenly, I noticed just in time, that oncoming traffic was coming at a pretty good clip and they would probably smash into me if I proceeded forward, making my turn. I hit the brakes and just in time, as a plethora of vehicles continued straight ahead. WHEW, I thought, that was a close one. Am I the only resident of North Scottsdale that doesn't know what a flashing green arrow means? Do you?

Telling you all that reminded me of the very first time I'd driven a car. Like many things in my life, I didn't do it the orthodox way that most young men do. It was late into my 14th year on this planet and was I spending the night at my buddy Warren Wiczer's house. His parents were going out for the evening and he invited me. His mom and dad left and Warren and I were sort of the mischievous types. In spite of the heavy snow storm that was coming down, we (really he) decided to steal his mom's 59 Chevy Impala and take it driving down Church Street in our home town of Skokie, Illinois. In terms of the storm, I'd say there was 6 inches of fresh snow on the roads. Warren drove first, claiming he had done it may times before. Naturally, I trusted him. He kept slipping and sliding all over the place, so I asked if I could give it a try? I didn't do much better and it was back to Warren. Neither of us had any idea of how to handle the adversities of the weather and Warren suddenly swerved, hit the brakes and winded up driving up the front yard of some poor guys house, stopping about a foot from his front picture window, where the gentleman sat, watching the storm!

He came rushing out of the house and we were prepared for the worst, but all he did was help us push the old '59 out of his yard and back onto the road. We were petrified that first, he would be angry for almost crashing into his house and second, for being only 14 and driving a stolen car into his yard!

Somehow we made it home that night, back to Warren's house and when his folks came walking in after midnight, his mom asked if everything went alright and of course we nodded yes! Little did she know!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Psycho Lady...

I was going along pretty well in my life and on my dating services. I was interacting with a lot of nice women and one by one, without explanation, they began dropping out of my life. Oh well, such is the way of online dating. One day, I get an email remarking about one of my pictures and it says, "Nice dog, Nice pic!!! I looked at the lady that sent that note to me and didn't find her very attractive, but she was 56 and somewhat nicely shaped, indicated by her height and weight. She was 5' 6" and slender. I read her bio and found her drab and boring and a piano teacher, who teaches classical piano. I swear I read every word looking desperately for some kind of connection, but sadly came up empty. Just to be polite, I replied to her note with a "Thank you for the nice note". Period!  She writes me back, "What does your schedule look like for this week?" A few minutes later, I reply, "I haven't had a schedule since 2005"! I'm thinking that this is the end of it, but no. She replies, Really, no schedule?" I then reply, "Can we do this over the phone?" Her answer is, "Thank God"!!! and offers me her phone number. In spite of the late hour, it's like 10:30 at night, I dial and she answers.

For the sake of the story, lets call her Psycho Lady, but that gives away the end of the story, so lets switch to Candice, not her real name. To my surprise, Candice is charming and delightful and definitely possesses that certain "spark" that I look for in a woman. I can't believe she wrote that horrible profile, because it certainly doesn't reflect her true personality. We chatted along and laughed and joked and told our personal stories. I was excited. She told me that she takes awful pictures and I completely understood and that she looks way better in person. She almost HAD to! We didn't want to hang up and finally after 2 1/2 hours we did. I was anxious to speak with her the following day and could hardly wait to call. 

The next day, at 5:15 I rang her phone again and she politely and coldly explained she was giving a piano lesson and I should call her back in a couple of hours and then just hung up! No niceties, just "click", after she finished her message. I waited about 3 hours and now it was 8 PM, a perfectly reasonable hour to call a lady, right? She picked up and she was her old self, but I did notice she was very opinionated. For example, one of the shirts I was wearing in one of my online photos, she told me to throw it away and another picture that I was kind of proud of, with me coming out of an outhouse in Cave Creek, AZ, a tourist town and NOT a real outhouse, but just place to take pictures, she told me to take that picture down, it's gross. When I tried to explain that it wasn't a real outhouse, she talked over me and said, "just do it!" When someone starts acting in a strange way, you begin to question what just happened and I decided to let it go for now. Then the topic changed, obviously, and she started telling me something from her past about her immediate family when suddenly she began crying, sobbing hard and loud. Well, I didn't know what to do, like most men when a woman starts crying for no apparent reason. I waited and listened and soothed her. She told me she was crying because her father loved her so much, that when he was dying he sent her away, so she wouldn't have to see it. (I would have sent her way for another reason, because she was so annoying!) Not understanding why a woman might cry, after her father has been dead for 30 years, is beyond me, plus in front of a practical stranger? Within 5 minutes of the crying jag, she was laughing and telling me some funny story, about who knows what? Suddenly, without notice or change of topics, she begins crying again and I can't believe my ears! Is this more laughing or is this crying? After listening for a minute of so, I realize it's crying and she begins to apologize, but she's now crying about Harry, a 7 year old piano student of hers that needs a lung transplant or he will die!

Within a couple of minutes, she's yelling that she wants a Mercedes, that she drives a Toyota and wants to drive a Mercedes and do I have a lot of money. Well, it seems that the spark that I spotted the day before went out and all that was left was the bipolar Psycho Lady from earlier in the story! Back to the drawing board...