I leave work later than I had hoped, right around five-thirty. I’m trying to get to Springfield via the Blue Line, trying to get there at six. The platform at Farragut West is packed: there’s some trouble on the Orange Line, resulting in single tracking some ways back, so my Blue Line is delayed as well. I’m late.
I get to the Franconia Springfield station right about six-thirty. I called Gordon when I was between King Street and Van Dorn, and we agreed that he would wait seven minutes then leave to come pick me up at Franconia Springfield. The cars at the Kiss and Ride are three deep when I get out and try to find him, but I don’t see him. I walk all the way down to almost the split between the Kiss and Ride and the bus lanes, and I wait.
Then I think about what car I should be expecting. When I met Gordon he had a VW Bug, then he got a Ford Escort, then a Ford Mustang (I even remember his license plate, LHB-507). Then he had a Honda Prelude. I remember all these cars so well. But I really don’t have a fucking clue what he drives now. Oh, wait, yes I do. It’s a Lexus. Babs bought him a Lexus for Christmas one year. I think it’s purple or champagne colored, even. Maybe. Oh, I don’t know. I’m waiting for my friend to arrive in a car I don’t know in a color I’m not sure.
Luckily, when he pulls up he sees me and pulls over. The car certainly looks familiar, but I am sure to forget it as soon as it’s out of sight.
We have dinner at the Hard Times Cafe in Springfield Plaza. Gordon used to manage the Mars Music here, that’s now a Baby-R-Us or something like that. I used to manage the Crown Books here that’s now a donut shop. The hostess who seats us turns out also to be our waitress. I ask her about this, and she says the hostess was just busy at the moment, so she sat us. (It’s only later that I think that this is a good strategy to make sure that customers get sat in your section, if you’re the wait staff. Seating them yourself, I mean.)
She’s a cute little number. She introduces herself as Christine. I give her my usual schtick, “Hi, we’re Gordon and Edward, and we’ll be your customers this evening.” While she’s off to get drinks, Gordon teases me about flirting with her. I’m thankful that he also notes that there’s no real actual desire behind the flirting, though. It’s just sort of habit with me. I’m not trying to pick anyone up. And she’s so young, just a girl, far too young for an old guy like me. Not that I ever picked up a waitress in my life anyway. Not to mention that I am also happily married. I ask Gordon to keep me reigned in, though, to make sure I stay friendly-nice-customer guy and not creepy-older-hitting-on guy.
Later, after dinner, when she’s bringing the check, she asks if I want more water. I’ve had a 23 oz. beer and a tall glass of water, so I tell her, “No, because … ”
And then I hesitate, because I was about to say that we’re going to be driving around in the car, maybe just listening to tunes, but anyway not especially near a restroom for a while, and I’m worried about having to pee later. And really all this is unnecessary. A simple “no, thanks” will do here.
She asks, “… because you’re already hydrated?”
And that just confuses me, the word ‘hydrated,’ and I don’t know what else to say now so I blurt out, “No, because I’m worried about having to pee later.” She laughs and walks away, but then Gordon warns me.
“Creepy,” he says soothingly.
So when she comes back, I apologize to her for being crude. But she just immediately laughs genuinely and says that she was glad that I was honest. She doesn’t seem offended at all. So I think I’m in the clear. Gordon thinks so too. Whew.
But it was close, man.