Thursday, June 09, 2005

Dinner dates

I finished work early today because I had a date tonight. I needed clean clothes (underwear) and it was time to do the laundry. I was running out of everything and didn't feel like taking the tags off my 10-year-old formal gown. Dinner was not a formal affair tonight.

Downstairs the Psycho was talking to the landlady on the deck in the sunshine. He said hello and I said hi. We're such conversationalists. Then unlocked the door and disappeared into the laundry room. The landlady came through from her massage room to check her towels in the dryer. She told me I didn't have to go back upstairs around the outside of the house; I could go through her apartment. When I came back outside Psycho (the landlady's name for her psychic friend) was working on the cement block retaining wall, the one I had planned to work on Sunday. We talked while he worked, getting to know one another, swapping esoteric views. He's a very intelligent and interesting guy, and he didn't hit me upside the head with the shovel when I offered help and suggestions on fitting the cement blocks together. I'd say that's tolerant.

Psycho and I are about the same height, but I'd say he's probably a tad older. I'd also bet he was a redhead at one point in his life. There are a few cinnamon strands in his beard but the dead giveaway is his green eyes and freckles. Add jeans, blue chambray shirt and a ball cap and you begin to get the picture. There is humor sparkling in his eyes and clearly evident in the crinkles around his eyes and the aura of joy around him.

I had planned to go back upstairs and bring down another load of clothes to wash when the first load was ready to go into the dryer. Didn't work out that way. We ended up sitting on the deck talking about spirituality, definitions of reality, Nostradamus, quantum physics and truth just for a beginning. We also talked about writing and history and people. It could have lasted for days at the rate we were going, but we scratched the surface. It's a beginning.

Psycho needed to discuss something with the landlady and I had to get ready for my date. I didn't want to be late and I still had to fold and put away the dry laundry, get a shower, do something with my hair and get dressed. That would take a good half hour and I didn't want to be late. My date was set for six.

I went back upstairs, laid out the laundry and headed for the shower. When I got out I couldn't find the top I laid out. I still can't find it. I ended up wearing something from the closet (no, not the gown). The phone rang while I was still naked and wet. It was my date wanting to know if I was almost ready. I was.

Downstairs I knocked on the landlady's door and she was ready to go. We were going to walk up to ront Range Barbecue. A light mist drifted through the cool air as we walked toward the restaurant past the park where yesterday groups of older couples were picnicking in the last warm rays of the sun. The carriage driver and Rusty were clip-clopping past us up 24th exchanging small talk and hellos. It was a beautiful evening, cool, soft and perfect.

At the restaurant we settled into a table, ordered drinks and talked until the busboy came up, red-faced, blushing and hesitant. "Would you mind if we moved you?" he asked tremulously.

The landlady and I looked at each other and smiled. "Not at all." We picked up our drinks, he picked up our condiments and led us to a booth with a window seat -- right where I wanted to sit when we got there, but it was already occupied. It was also quieter with no one shouting into their cell phone.

Dinner arrived: hamburger and a tomato, onion, cucumber salad for the landlady and BBQ ribs and brisket with green beans, corn muffins and the same salad for me. She had some kind of honey wheat beer and I had a margarita (no, not the sissy slushy kind) and water, lots of water.

Dinner was good, really good, but the conversation was the best part of the meal. I found out the landlady is a chocoholic -- but I already suspected as much.

After dinner we walked back home past the park in a light drizzle. There was music. A band was playing 40s and 50s music with a bit of swing and jazz and a little burlesque music for the novelty acts. Both of us were dancing to the music and would have stayed but SOMEONE had to go to the bathroom and couldn't hold it. Good thing we were close to home. I unlocked the door and the landlady raced for the bathroom. When she came back (a decidedly relieved look on her face and her eyes no longer swimming) we went out on the porch and listened to the music and talked while Pastor took a bio break.

The sun was hidden behind gray clouds and the light was fading slowly, the neighborhood wrapped in hot horns and brass, pulsing drums, and seductive woodwinds while the saxes wailed. The air was cool and laden with the scents of misty flowers, fresh cut grass and fertile earth. Good food, good company, great conversation and music.

This is living.

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