Hard lessons learned in St. Paul the other day. I was in the final leg on my trip home from work and turning onto my street, nearing my garage, I spied a beautiful young woman up ahead of me on the sidewalk, casually strolling along in the cold, late afternoon air. She was tall and slender, yet generously curvaceous in all the right spots, which was apparent even under her red sweater and stylishly unzipped ski jacket. From beneath her white knit hat, long golden braids poked out on either side, framing her face and her flawless alabaster skin, her cheeks tinged pink courtesy of Jack Frost. She was in a word, perfect, and I swear I saw her wistfully gazing off in the distance at the last fleeting robin's egg blue of the day time sky as the sun reluctantly slipped beneath the tree tops and roof lines that make up the western horizon in these parts. She sighed. I sighed. Then I got work on a quick algebraic equation, ultimately surmising that if I hurried up just a little bit, she'd be passing my garage just as I would be pulling up in my car and jumping out to manually open the garage door.
Needless to say, a huge opportunity and one that doesn't come around too often in my neighborhood. For whatever reason, old people and distinctly not beautiful people are the norm here in the residential familyland of inner city St. Paul. Thus, knowing the stakes were high, my heart raced and I checked my look in the rearview mirror, adjusted my scarf and gave my top coat lapel a quick ketchup stain cleansing with my thumbnail and some saliva, all while picking out just the right smile to wear and just the right vocal tone to affect upon greeting her.
By the time I reached the garage, I had the perfect presentation picked out. The smile would be sly, yet also convey innocence and joy. Upon making eye contact with her, the right hand corner of my mouth would raise ever so slightly as if I were beginning to smirk. A split second later, upon catching the totality of her attention, I'd break into the full smile, as if I were about to start laughing, yet I'd catch myself before a sound was made. Then my eyebrows would raise as if I'd just then recognized and fully comprehended the beauty of the woman before me. Then I'd softly bite my lower lip, as if I were nervous, in a boyishly charming way. And then I'd say "hello", in a soft, slightly hoarse voice, just louder than a whisper.
This was going to work, I knew it. She’d blush, smile back, and say "hi" followed by a girlish giggle. And then spontaneous conversation would ensue. I'm not sure who would say what next. But there was no question it would happen, such would be the electricity of attraction vibrating in the air between us. And then we'd be laughing. And then she’d be giving me her phone number. And then 40 years later we’d be looking back on the grand romantic adventure that was our lives together and we’d be laughing again at the sublimity of fate, throwing us together at precisely that spot in front of my garage at exactly that moment, in the cold January twilight of 2003.
A warm wave of confidence washed over me as I opened my car door, got out, and strode toward the predestined intersection of her, me, my garage, and the future. It was all falling into place. She arrived right on schedule, her head turned my way, her big baby blues looked into my own, the right side of my upper lip began to rise and with it the killer smile to be delivered and ....... I heard a man shouting. Actually, screeching is a more accurate description, screeching like a stuck pig. I turned my head toward this sound and I then heard angry words, frenzied histrionics about .... tax cuts.
My God, it was Jason Lewis. In my angel headed distraction, I left my car door open and the radio was on LOUD to the local talk radio station. And now, at the critical moment of my existence, Jason Lewis was engaged in the violent process of disabusing some caller of the notion that the richest 5% of Americans aren't paying their fair share. Just as he was wailing "WHAT YOU LIBERALS DON'T SEEM TO UNDERSTAND IS...." I turned my head back, just in time to catch my lovely future bride rolling her eyes, scoffing in my direction, and rushing past me and away down the street, forever. I stood there for several minutes, not believing what had happened and just listening. (Fade to black)
Looking back now, all these days later, I can’t deny that Jason's words were factually accurate, and I guess knowing the truth about progressive tax brackets and their affect on the distribution of government revenues does give me some solace. But I'll always wonder if it all would have turned out better if only I were listening to some bore ass leftist on MPR.