AS WE MOVE toward spring, the days get longer, which of course means the nights get shorter. So certain nocturnal activities get a little more hurried, a little more rushed. “Spring forward,” they say, and that can mean an awful lot of things.
For the two couples seated at the bar, it meant short sleeves, short dresses and a short courtship. Kissing was already going on at the table, and I was doing my best not to notice. Not as easy as it sounds when you are standing three feet away but, as a consummate professional, I did my best.
Courtship comes in many flavors, some subtle and some gross. Let’s not forget that the word itself comes from the late Middle Ages, a time of knights and chivalry, when one “paid court to a lady.”
The romantic notions of that thought got lost in the sloppy sounds of wet kisses exchanged by one of the couples.
“Does anyone here know anything about cars?” announced a new arrival loudly to the entire bar. The couples looked her way briefly before retreating to their embraces.
“Can I get you something?” I said to the slightly discombobulated brunette.
She flung her large purse on the bar, knocking over the drink of a well-behaved solo guest seated outside the volume range of the amorous couples.
“Sorry,” she said dismissively, suggesting that she was anything but that.
The brunette then engaged in a loud conversation on her cellphone.
“I know I should have gotten it fixed last month, but I have a life, you know.”
She waved a hand at me insistently only to raise one finger on that hand as soon as I arrived, signaling me to wait.
I waited briefly while she continued her phone conversation, stating that her current predicament was not her fault. Perhaps in her world, engine warning lights mean “whenever you get around to it.”
Eventually, she waved away another guest who tried to sit next to her.
“I’m waiting for my date,” she said, covering the phone’s mouthpiece.
Said date dutifully arrived. A handshake indicated the blindness of the arrangement.
“My car is broken down outside,” the brunette said to her potential new beau.
“Do you have AAA?” he asked.
“No, do you?”
An awkward start to be sure, but an early spring and two kissing couples can do strange things to one’s logic.
“Do you still want to get dinner?” he asked.
“Sure,” she said. “We can deal with my car later.”
Partway through their dinner, which was interrupted by repeated phone calls, the conversation became more of an interrogation.
“Do you know anything about cars?”
“Do you think you can look at it?”
“Can I leave it at your house?”
“Can I use your AAA?”
“No, no, no, yes,” he said, offering some help without judgment or condemnation.
She, of course, didn’t see it that way.
Her voice started to rise, which caused one of the kissing couples to move farther down before resuming their amorous activities.
“I’m having a crisis here,” the brunette announced loudly into her phone.
“No, I don’t have the money to get it fixed,” she said, more, it seemed, for her present company, than for the person on the other end of that call.
Eventually, her date signaled for the check.
“You’re just going to leave me here?” she asked in a tone wholly unsuited to a first date.
“No, I’m going to get your car towed to your house.”
“Then what?” she practically screamed.
“Then, you are on your own.”
That was not something she wanted to hear.
“I was hoping that you would be a man and take care of me.”
He simply shrugged, noting perhaps the paid-for dinner and the paid-for tow.
“I was looking for a knight in shining armor to come and rescue me,” she said, this time into her phone.
This exchange left me with these thoughts:
• All the armor in the world can’t protect you if the threat comes from the inside.
• The nights are getting shorter and so is patience.
• In order to be treated like a lady, one must first act like a lady.
• Transferring responsibility is often easier than taking it.