I’m no expert in affairs of the heart. I never had any boyfriends in junior high or high school. There was one guy in the 6th grade who I think liked me, and I was so shocked that I remember calling him from the pay phone in my dorm and asking him, “So, I heard you liked me... so like, what exactly does that mean?” So, I turned my attention to smoking cigs, drinking beer and driving any car I could lay my hands on - things I could excel at. While I had zero dates, if you were looking for a joy ride in a borrowed car, or a fierce game of quarters, I was your go-to girl.
Things picked up a little in college, took a major nosedive in my mid-twenties, and then, I just sort of bypassed dating altogether until I met my husband.
However, I have had one quick love affair. It lasted the span of a red light turning to green. But, it was as intense as any of the great ones, in my opinion.
It was over the summer and I woke up early. I had quit boozing it and was feeling, in general, out-of-sorts. I was in the throes of a low-grade - what’s the point of all this shit again?
Because I was still breathing, I got up, grabbed the dogs, and headed out for a walk. When I got to my corner, I was standing there weighing my options for where to get a coffee that early in the morning. Then, I heard the unmistakable rumble of a Shelby Cobra coming up a completely deserted Madison Ave. The crosswalk clicked over to the flashing white walking figure and I started to cross the street, and as I looked over my shoulder, I saw that unmistakable blue color pull up to the light - a 1965 427 Shelby Cobra roadster. It's one of the most powerful and beautiful cars ever built. With its Ford engine adapted by Caroll Shelby off a British design, he set out to create one of the most powerful v8s with its speed topping out at 165 mph, and basically just the most boss car of all time.
The driver of this particular 427 was tall; I’d go so far as to say he was tall, dark, and handsome -- though it was hard to see him clearly. He was wearing a black knitted skull cap and he had some sort of scarf tied around his neck. Not like a corny driving scarf -- more like a sweater or something wrapped around his neck.
Anyways, there I was in my own early morning get up standing at the curb diagonal from the Cobra, staring at this elusive and rare car; sort of just taking it all in. The sinister rumble of the V8 at the red light, the handsome driver sitting atop the beast like some kind of Viking god.
Now, I need to point out here that when you drive a car like a Cobra you expect some stares, and one gets used to staring through the stares... like famous people do. But this was different since we were the only two people on the avenue at that exact moment in time, he couldn’t help but see me staring at him. And so he stared back with a look that was part self-conscious and part bewildered, mixed with a little bit of fear - like what’s this chick gonna do? I’m pretty sure my mouth was hanging open. I just stood there and the world came to a complete stop. A Coup de Foudre; the thunderbolt.
And that’s when I made my move. I lifted my bent arm to my waist and with a short but powerful thrust I gave him a “thumbs up”. It was one of those perfect moments. It was just cool. The kind of cool that had eluded me countless times before in my life. But this time I got it right. And He smiled. But it was more than a smile; it was an acknowledgment. An acknowledgment of a mutual respect. Then the light changed, he cranked the wheel, hit the throttle and took a hard right turn onto 86th street pulling off a perfect half donut burnout. And then he was gone, only the smoke from his tires lingering briefly.
It was a perfect moment. Totally satisfying. Because it was as surprising and unexpected as love at first sight, but as complete as any actual love affair. It was enough.
One of the things I have struggled with is the idea that, as humans, we seem to always want more. More of something that feels good. I guess I've been as guilty of this as anyone. But I've come to the conclusion that connections no matter how long or brief they might be, those experiences, those connections (and you know them when you have them) are the real deal. They are honest, pure and simple, and when I'm enjoying one that’s when I feel most alive. The most complete. The most human. And that’s what it’s all about because it’s easy to lose your connection to being a human. And at the end of the day no matter how hard you try or how far you stray your still just a human.