Monday, October 1, 2012

Times Change

Once upon a time, long long ago, I went on a date. I wanted the girl to remember it, so I did a little planning before hand and asked her to be ready in the mid morning. I picked her up in my shiny new poor man's Corvette, and we drove off to Flying Cloud, the little spur airport on a bluff overlooking the Minnesota river.

There, I pulled my Piper Comanche out of it's hanger, flight tested, boarded both of us and took off for a surprise journey. We flew due east until I reached the edge of Lake Michigan, and then turned south, following the shore for an hour or so. We dawdled a bit out over the water once I was within range to point out Soldier Field, the Shedd Aquarium and the Navy Pier, and then we landed on Meigs Field, at the time an operating airport on the water's edge and within spitting distance of downtown Chicago.

We caught a cab and zipped down to Rush Street where we found a pleasantly darkened blues club for a sandwich and a chat. A few musicians were there noodling on and around the stage, so we stayed and listened for a bit before heading down to State street where we walked and talked and took in the sights. I took her into Macy's, as at the time the store was fairly famous but not operating in Minnesota, and I had her find a clothing souvenir. She chose a nice multicolored winter scarf made of some exotic material, and then we were off again to the airport, where we took off just at dusk and I circled over the lake a few times so she could see the city light up from the Sears Tower to halfway to Texas. On our way home, I turned on and off every set of landing lights at every small airport between Milwaukee and Minneapolis while telling her they were all waving to their queen, and then finally landed, put away the plane and set off for a local bistro where we had a few Bailey's coffees and listen to a friend of mine who was playing and singing at the club that night. At last, we headed to my house where we did the you know what.

I tell you all this because Linda and I went on a date Saturday.

We piled into my rusting pickup truck and drove to the nearest indoor shopping mall. Parking in Sears lot A, I opened my driver's side window so I could reach out and open my door, as the inside door handle broke some time ago and I can't afford to fix it. She walked, I hobbled through Sears, where America shops, past the salespeople hawking their appliances and the young female cashiers glancing at their watches and cursing their luck that only 2 minutes had passed since they'd last looked at their watches, and headed for the central atrium of the building. After climbing down a flight of stairs, which I had to crab walk, we looked about the food court, a collection of fast and ethnic quickie eateries, and chose the Japanese place because as Linda said, "it's good, and it's really cheap!" We purchased our 4 dollar bowls of cabbage and noodles and then found a nice unoccupied plastic table whose previous occupants' crumbs had been conveniently deposited on the floor and not left to rot in plain sight.

There, we people watched, a little. I pointed out that a woman near us looked just like someone I knew on-line, but then of course had to explain that no, she wasn't the high school teacher or the shrink, yes she lives in the US, remember I told you about... and so on until she got it, and by then I realized it didn't matter since she'd never actually seen her so someone else looking like her wasn't going to get a reaction. We chatted a bit about this and that, finished our McJapanese meals and set off again for the parking lot. Within an hour and a half, we'd done the whole date thing and were home in time for me to finish a story I was writing, and she to watch a little of some reality show I can't stand (which means it could have been any of them), just after we hugged and both complained about being tired enough to take naps.

Man.... Times have changed... Poor Linda...

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