Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Are you married?

In the past week I have been flirted with by two men—both Irish and both well into their 70s. As I stood in line at the grocery store with Leo in his perpetual perch in the buggy, the man behind me decided to chat me up. He was about 75, big and burly with a reddish, whiskery face and bushy eyebrows. His first question was "Are you married?" That's one way to start a conversation. Next was, "where in the States are you from?", rapidly followed by "deep in the heart of Texas". People have notions about things. Ireland is all sheep, Guinness, and rain. Texas is all snakes, tequila, and desert. Of course neither are more than generalizations of places that are many things plus those.

Back to Mr. Whiskers—he laughed and told me how he was supposed to play in a pub in Dallas once but didn't go; he remembered the name of the pub, McSomething's. As I paid and struggled to cram my purchases in the bottom of my buggy while Leo howled I thought, "Oh, yea, I'm one appealing mama." Right.

My other flirty septuagenarian is someone I've seen daily for the past 4 years. He never smiled or acknowledged me or the kids until about 6 months ago. This coincided with the sporting of a bright new button up shirt he wears with a tie, suit jacket and brown trousers. He walks somewhere every morning with a carrier bag and huffs his way along at a brisk pace.

So, he started saying good morning. That turned into a regular thing and in the past few weeks I've gotten the brightest, fullest smile you've ever seen. It really cheers me right up because it is so genuine.

And then on Sunday as I passed him on the way back home with my newspaper, we engaged in the regular greeting/weather commentary. Something like: Good morning. Good morning. Lovely mornin'. Yes it is. We're right to get out and enjoy it while we can. And then, the ultimate. One of the sweetest things any 'stranger' has ever said to me….."It's always a lovely morning when I see you", accompanied by his bright, boyish smile. Seriously. It almost made me cry. I guess it's not really flirty in the true sense, more like kind and innocently lovely.



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