The Dutch Girl
This is the time of year to renew old acquaintances and catch up on each other's lives. Of course, it goes without saying that it can be exhausting with all the holiday festivities, but it is the time of year when the phone rings with old friends and something other than bills fills the mailbox.
I was reeling from reading yet another computer-generated Christmas letter when the phone rang this week. Kirk was on the line, spreading a little holiday cheer in my direction. He would never take the time to write a letter about how his life was exceeding all human expectations like some of my college friends, so I accepted his offer for dinner on Wednesday night.
A little background on Kirk is in order and, frankly, I am vague on the subject. One summer a while back we had met at the bar at P.F. Chang's and drove over to Teller's to follow mutual friends. Neither one of us knew very many of the crowd we were following, so it ended up the two of us standing at his trunk. I vaguely remember him showing me his golf clubs, and it wasn't even a Big Bertha, my personal favorite. Why would a guy think this would impress a girl he just met?
Now I know I should have just run down Erie screaming at this point, but it must have been a slow summer for me. Kirk and I ended up dating for three or so months. It ended over the phone with an abrupt click and that was that. The relationship doesn't really register on the Richter scale, but hey, it's Christmas and I forget why I hung up that summer long ago.
Wednesday after work we agree to meet at Encore Café on Tylersville Road as it's sort of midway between our private abodes. He is enjoying a glass of wine when I arrive and so I join him for a Merlot. Our pager goes off, and we move into a cozy booth that's private and warm on a cold winter's night. Kirk hadn't been to Encore before so he was a little surprised to find such a fine dining establishment stashed between Coldwell Banker and a video store. But indeed the owners of Sturkey's have done a fine job here with both atmosphere and menu.
As Kirk brought up the fact that he would be buying my meal again, I was beginning to remember our previous relationship. This was not a good appetizer to choose. Smiling, I reminded Kirk gently that I had gotten off the corporate track and foregone the pleasure of making big bucks to pursue the lofty goal of raising my own girls through puberty. Keep in mind, I am working three part-time jobs and spending my life savings to do so.
Proceeding through the ordering process he commented that I did buy him a cup of coffee once, and I began to hear the voices of the past. Is this the guy who needs to remind me how much everything costs? Wow! My memory's failing me because I would have preferred Campbell's tomato soup tonight if I had to kiss his ass for an entrée. At this particular moment, I wanted to tell him that, while he was easy on the eyes, he was the cheapest date in Cincinnati, and he might want to look in the mirror if he ever wonders why he is fortysomething and unable to maintain a steady relationship.
As the food began to flow from the kitchen in delicious fashion, he must have forgotten who was paying and started to enjoy himself. I carried the conversation with interesting anecdotes from life, which is polite dinner conversation in my book. It occurred to me (besides talking about his golf) that he did not have much to say. Not that golf can't be interesting. It just helps if you are there on the green or on the fairway — particularly in the middle of December. Plus Kirk had never invited me to play golf, even though I do like to play a little now and again.
After dinner and a cup of decaf, we found ourselves standing beside my car and I politely thanked him for the evening. He said, "Aren't you coming over?"
"No, I left my Christmas lights on and I have my puppy to get home to. Plus I have to work tomorrow."
"Oh, come on over. I have to save lives in the morning, and you only have to save books," flowed out of Kirk's mouth.
Excuse me. Since when did chiropractors save live? And while merchandising books isn't my highest calling, it does help buy groceries. Believe me, there won't be any coming anywhere, even though it is Christmas. In fact, I hope Santa brings Kirk a Dutch girl for Christmas. Not a girl from Holland, but one who can pay her own way.
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