Friday, August 26, 2011

Fire(man) on the Mountain

Admittedly, I'm pretty lousy at this whole dating thing. I was pretty clueless in my 20s and now that I'm single again at "somewhere beyond 40," I'm still in the fog. I'm not used to getting "hit on," probably because it didn't happen in my earlier life. Or if it did, I didn't notice because I was shy and pretty sure anyone interested in me was outta their damn gourd. 

Somewhere along the way I escaped that way of thinking and evolved into my current goofy, relatively outgoing, more social self. I ain't bucking for Julie McCoy's job on the The Love Boat, but ain't hiding behind plants, furniture, taller people, posts... I'm just me and I'm cool with who me is.

But I just don't always pick up on those pick-up cues. I'll be in the middle of a conversation and realize, "Oh, you're hitting on me. Now I get it."

So, I didn't catch on right away that the 80+ year old retired fire chief from a little Sierra foothills town was hitting on me. I was at the annual local car show taking pictures of some very cool old cars when an "older gentleman" walked through one of my pictures. No worries. It's digital. No film wasted.
He apologized for likely breaking my camera or fancy "phone thing" and then, "Oh have you seen that Chevy over there?" and "Let me show you this car" all the while talking about beer and quizzing me on whether I was local, how often I was in town, had I been into the Rubicon in a Jeep, what did I think of the Jeep Jamboree, yadda yadda yadda. I eventually asked if he wanted to see my car, where I was able to pawn him off on my dad because they had things in common -- Jeeps, fire trucks, the invention of television...!
They chatted for awhile about local guy gossip. At some point he realized that not only did I not have any beer, but I did have a chaperone. So off he went to find the other retired fire-fighters and their beer, encouraging me to come on by later in the day and say hi when I see him in town in his Jeep. 
And then there was the guy who wanted to give me his spare helmet so we could go get a beer on his Harley. Strangely, I was standing about 20 feet from the beer tent at the time. But hey, he's only 60-something.
I figured it out, it's a small backwoods town. Everyone knows everyone out there. But although a frequent visitor, I'm not a local. Fresh meat, as it were. And I'm single, have a cool car, and... all my teeth. In other words, I'm a catch!
The next morning when I was leaving to go "into town" for the mail and groceries, my dad suggested I not pick up any more stray old men.

Of course, my friends have been more than supportive in their responses... For instance:
  • He does appear to be harmless and was probably just doing his job walking around looking for hot ashes.
  • You found another Dad?!?!? Or did he just finish watching that Hugh Hefner show?!?  
  • OK, let me think; gorgeous woman, hot car, obviously you could afford to buy him a beer. Wait, isn't it supposed to be the other way around??
  • I think you are safe as long as you didn't give him your phone number, or tell him you would tattoo his name in the small of your back.
  • You didn't happen to be singing 'come on baby light my fire' when he first walked by, were you?
  • Are you saying that the retired fire chief was an old flame of yours? 
  • Feel complimented that you were so nice that you probably made his day. And he hoped his night.  
  • Maybe he thought you were a siren  
  • You rock! Getting picked up by an 80+ year old? Priceless. = )
  • go for it!!!

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