As some of you know, I spent a couple days in Chicago this past weekend. To be honest, I spent a day more than I intended but we'll get to that part of the story later. This trip is my annual summer junket to see my MacMurray peeps. You know, the ones who introduced me to burning Christmas trees last year? Yeah, that trip.
(This year the neighbor, Roger, had a new fire-pit toy: a beer launcher. It's a welded metal pyramid with a hole in the top. You put an unopened beer into the hole, upside down, and then set the whole contraption into the firepit. The pressure caused by the heat vaults the can into the air and makes it explode. It was wicked. He also burned a plastic chair for me. I felt bad for the environment until the legs buckled and it got all drippy and Dali-esque. Not surprisingly, the mosquitoes disappeared after we burned it.)
Anyway, I flew Southwest, aka Cattle Call Airlines. On my way up on Friday my boarding pass number was B44 so I was one of the last people to board. As soon as I stepped into the plane I started scanning the seats for an open one next to (or between) skinny, clean people. Right away I spotted a guy sitting on the aisle toward the front who resembled a guy on whom I had a little crush several years back. (It wasn't unrequited but it never went anywhere. The kissing was nice, though.) Intrigued, I pointed to the seat next to him and whispered, "Can I sit there?" He seemed pleased that I asked and nodded emphatically. I mean, c'mon, I'm skinny, clean and cute. Duh.
He started chatting me up as soon as I sat down, asking about the picture on my phone (his was similar), commenting on my breakfast, wanting to know what had made me laugh out loud while I was reading, and expressing regret that the flight was so short, all while looking right into my eyes. His approach was subtle, not at all icky, and I was enjoying it but for some incomprehensible reason I clammed up. I sat there, really enjoying his company, absorbing all the wonderful grown-up attention, but failed to engage. It was like I was 13 years old again. From our conversations I know that he works for a corporation whose headquarters are in a small(ish?) town in Oklahoma with offices in St. Paul, he has a farm with horses, he writes (swoon), and he teaches at an Oklahoma university, but I'm not sure which one. I think he said Oklahoma State but I can't be sure. He grew up in Connecticut and New York and was traveling to see his family out east.
So yeah, I'm a gargantuan dumbass. A cute, succesful man was interested in me and I chose to read and look out the window rather than learning his name. As soon as I got on the ground and realized what I had just done, I texted H and told her about it. I also spent a fair amount of time telling the story over the weekend. Even Cora had to listen to it.
By the way, that woman is an absolute delight and perfect for Eric. They are super cute together and I am thrilled for them both. I still wonder what impression I left as it's a wild weekend and I can be a handful in these situations. Loud. Gregarious. Exuberant. Overbearing. Let's move on with the story before I insult myself further . . .
Come time to go home on Sunday I was ready. The weekend is always a busy one filled with kids and dogs and parties and me moving from one house to another like a nomad in search of greener pastures. I was tired and I'd had enough. It was time for detox and solitude and quiet. Unfortunately, my friend JohnnyB . . . you remember the one? The one who made me miss my flight last year? Yeah, he did it to me again. Only this time there weren't any available seats on the remaining flights to St. Louis.
I'm still not sure what happened, exactly, but I think the first third of the trip to the airport from his house is the same as the route he drives to take his son to his mom's house and he flaked and drove to her house instead of the airport. By the time he realized what he'd done it was too late. He tried to convince me we would still make it but I just knew better. And then we ended up on a highway with more construction than Dubai. We had about 26 miles (or more) left and we were stopped. And it was 5:20. We turned around and I got to spend another night with my friends. Right? Right?
When we got back to the house I got on the phone with Southwest and was making arrangements for a flight the next day. The customer service rep couldn't have been sweeter. At one point she asked me if I missed my flight because I was having fun. With John sitting right next to me I replied, "No. I missed my flight because my friend is a dumbass." Everyone in the group rode his ass all weekend for last year and you know, that story might have died a natural death in ten years or so but this one? Never. He will never hear the end of it. Never ever.
After hearing my story, the nice Southwest lady told me that she was convinced that this happened to me for a reason and that something good was going to come of it. You know where my head went, right? To boys. Specifically, to Oklahoma boy. I spent the rest of the evening daydreaming about running into him in the airport and finally learning his name.
When I got to the airport on Monday - I made it because I insisted that John's wife Laura drive me - I was immediately delayed two hours. With only one chapter left in my library book, I headed to Hudson Booksellers. I took my ole sweet time shopping since I now had two hours to spare and as I was checking out I felt someone walk up to my right. I turned to see who the hell would be so bold as to enter my personal space and there he was: Oklahoma Boy. I almost fell over. He was grinning from ear to ear and said he had seen me out of the corner of his eye and just had to find out how the weekend went.
I couldn't believe my eyes. I'm pretty sure my heart stopped for a second. We chatted for a bit about our respective weekends while I finished checking out. I could tell he was on-the-go so spent the whole time mentally screaming at the check-out lady to PULL HER ASS OUT OF THE MOLASSES AND MOVE FASTER, DAMNIT!!!! instead of implementing my plan to obtain a name or other identifying information. Sadly, just as I was poised to make my move, he raised his arm and said, "Gotta run! I'm glad you had fun!" And he was gone. Just like that. Poof! Gone.
With my friend Jeannie coaxing me over the phone, I did what I could to find him again. We decided that it wasn't stalking but rather a scavenger hunt for a human and that any reasonable judge would agree. The bookstore was directly across from Gate B5 and a quick check of the arrival/departure board confirmed that passengers gathering at Gate B5 were headed to St. Louis. Score, right? Not so much. I never did see him again and can't imagine I ever will but the whole experience was a kick. I may not have gotten his name but I still get a rush when I think about looking up and seeing him standing there. Maybe next time I'll act like a grown woman instead of a dork.