We met at a party in an Upper East Side apartment. I was eating cheese, she was eating crackers. I offered her some of my cheese, she offered me some of her crackers, and pretty soon we were both eating cheese and crackers.
I gave her that stupid line “Do you come here often?” She said, “Yes, every day.” Shocked, I asked, “My god, is there a party here every day?” She said, “No, I live here.”
Feeling somewhat embarrassed that I was an uninvited guest, although “uninvitees” at singles parties are quite common, I said, “Your roommate invited me.” She said, “I live alone.” That didn’t make me feel any better.
But when she offered me another cracker, I felt safe.
As the party wore on, it became obvious that this was no ordinary girl. She greeted her guests with the warmth and enthusiasm usually seen only among married folks. For one terrifying moment I thought perhaps this was not a singles party, after all. But when I overheard a small group of people discussing how they had just come from two other parties, I knew I was at a singles gathering — married folks don’t go to three parties in one night. One couch is all they need.
I noticed the hostess carrying in a large tray of hors d’oeuvres with some difficulty. I rushed over and asked, “May I help?” She asked with a smile, “Eat or carry?” I answered with a chuckle, “Very funny, you don’t expect me to carry that thing.” We smiled and we chuckled.
After helping her place the tray on a table, I struck up a conversation. We found out we had a lot in common. She was from San Diego, I was from Brooklyn — but we both hated Des Moine. She was a zoologist, I was a computer consultant — but all her monkeys were trained to read “hexadecimal dumps.” She liked flying, I liked water sports — but we could have a great time in a life raft filled with helium. She liked classical music, I liked punk rock — but we could dye our hair green and listen to the Boston Symphony Orchestra. She liked long, lavish, gourmet meals – I liked breakfast in bed, lunch in bed, and supper in bed — but, if we got married, we could have a bed in the dining room and be together all day. I just can’t begin to tell you how much we had in common.
As we spoke, I complimented her on her rug. She said she didn’t have a rug — I was standing on her cat. I felt really stupid. Her cat felt a lot worse.
She asked if I could run into the kitchen and see if there was anymore soda in the fridge. I was afraid this would happen. I knew if I helped her with that tray, I might soon be running errands for her. But I had no choice. It was too late to go to another party.
Searching for the kitchen, I realized her apartment was a lot bigger than I had imagined. After circling through the dinette and study several times, I finally stopped to ask for directions. The guy who gave me directions, said he worked for the phone company and had been trying to find his way out of the apartment since he installed a phone in the kitchen. I said, I didn’t realize she had a new phone. He said, it wasn’t that new anymore — he installed it three weeks ago.
When I finally returned to the party room with two big bottles of Coke, all the guests had already left. She asked, “What took you so long?” I said, “I took the long route.” She asked, “Why?” I said, “I hate drilling through walls.” She asked, “What am I going to do with two big bottles of Coke now?” I said, “Well, if it’s a space problem, I can take them home with me.”
Needless to say, the situation was serious. Here we were with two big bottles of Coke and no guests to drink them. But, it’s these kind of grave predicaments which set my neurons, brain cells, and alpha waves into high gear. Promptly, as though requiring no thought whatsoever, I suggested, “Hey, why don’t we sit down and drink them up ourselves?” Her face lit up. But her grin worried me.
For the next hour and a half, I was “force-fed” two huge bottles of Coke. It was an unusual hour and a half, to say the least. I drank, she talked. Between gulps I had enough time to say, “I understand.”
As I swallowed the last few drops, dawn broke. With the rays of the morning sun filtering in through the shades, we exchanged phone numbers and I prepared to leave. She offered to make breakfast. But after a “Coke transfusion,” eggs hardly seemed appetizing. So, not to offend her, I said, “I’d love to, but I’m double parked.”
As we said good-by, we both knew we would be seeing a lot more of each other in coming months. And so we did. We had a long and meaningful relationship. Actually, it was long. I’m not sure what it meant. But I learned a lesson from all this: Coke can keep you awake all night.