...and I never saw her again.

In 2004 I lived in downtown Grand Rapids. I had an apartment about five blocks from the film school where I was interning. The Black Rose, my favorite pub, was between my apartment and the school. I would often stop and have a pint of Guinness on my way home from work. Life was good.

Every day I took the same route to and from work. I knew exactly where the uneven cuts of the sidewalk were and made the easiest and fastest route. I would travel down Ionia Avenue until I hit Cherry, then I'd cut through the always full, over priced Ellis parking lot, then I would cross Oakes at the light and cut through the Van Andel Arena parking lot. This was always tricky because there was one awkward slope on the sidewalk certainly wasn't made to code. When I approached that slope I would always slow down, lean far back in my chair and slowly inch my way up the slope. My greatest fear was hitting the slope too fast, causing my chair to jump into traffic like Bo and Luke Duke. Fortunately, the one time I did hit the slope too fast, my wheel got buried in the mulch beside the sidewalk, stopping me instantly. My torso, however, didn’t stop.

My seatbelt kept me from falling face first into a discarded piece of chewing gum that was stuck to the sidewalk two feet in front of me. I sat in my chair, hunched over with my head between my knees. I had been in this position several times, but only while I was drunk.

I was able to look from side to side and hoped a passer-by would soon be along. After years of putting myself in similar situations that I was physically unable to get myself out of I’ve learned the best thing to do is not panic, pray that someone will soon be by, and pray that she’s beautiful.

Finally, after about ten minutes I saw tan legs that ended in black high heels from the corner of my eye. As they came closer I could tell that she was indeed walking my way. I quickly started to pray that she was beautiful, single, and after glancing at The Black Rose I prayed that she was hungry and drank Guinness.

"Excuse me!" I said, trying not to sound half as pathetic as I must have looked, red faced, hunched over with no doubt that either my boxer shorts or ass crack was sticking out of the back of my pants. "I seemed to have gotten myself stuck!"

She was quick to help. Upon sitting up I saw she was all I prayed for. Her dark brown eyes and dark brown hair matched her beautiful tan complexion. I casually glanced at her hand - no ring. I asked her to pull back on my chair, and after a little jostling around, my chair broke free of what was now a tire wide hole in the dirt beside the sidewalk.

"Have you been like this long?" she asked, obviously concerned.
"Nah" I responded, acting as though it was no big deal, "just happened."
"Oh, you poor thing!" she said.
"I wish there was something I could do to thank you," I said. "I was just heading to The Rose for a bite. Can I buy you dinner?"
"Oh, that's sweet, but I have to get going," she said.

I wasn't giving up that easy. God had set this meeting up, I just knew it. It was fate that I hit that slope too fast. It was fate that she happened to walk past when she did. This moment in time, this very moment was going to be what we talked about when our kids asked us how we met.

"How about a quick drink then? Really, you just saved my life! A quick drink is the least I could do! Do you drink Guinness?"

"I'm sorry, I'm running late. Perhaps another time," she said.

Alas, it wasn't meant to be. But perhaps I'd see her again. Perhaps she'd rescue me tomorrow. "Good enough," I replied, knowing full well I'd be thinking of her all week.

I watched her walk away, hoping to get a glimpse of the car she got in to so I had just one more piece of information about her. I smiled, feeling like the last three minutes of my life was a Dave Matthews song. Sure, she shot me down, but I was so proud of myself. I successfully flirted with a stranger I met on the street. I didn't freeze up or fumble over my words or make an ass out of myself.

Then, she turned around. "Umm, I guess if you really wanted to do me a favor..."

"Anything!" I said, all hope renewed. I knew she had just now realized how charming I was. She was going to let me buy her that drink. We were going to name our first kid Donald - or Francesca if it was a girl. I just had to do this one favor to win her heart...

"You could vote for John Kerry in November," she said.

"Pfft, fuck that!" I yelled, "I'd rather still be stuck in the hole!”

...and I never saw her again.

Posted on April 22, 2012