“Excuse me?” I ask.
More near-silent lip movement.
“Sorry?” I say formatted as a question.
“Do you live here?” he says, finally in an audible tone.
“Yes,” I reply imagining he’s about to ask for directions.
“Do you want to get coffee some time?” he asks.
Okay, is this really how it’s done? Drive by pick up? Perhaps I should be flattered, but the lack of precision to the event leaves me less than.
“Uh, that’s kind of random,” I say, not certain how else to respond to a stranger, motor running, tossing out an invite from ten feet away based on, uh, how I walk my dog.
It’s been a dry spell. Very dry. Drought dry. But no, sir, I can’t leap to for a drive by. I can’t believe you are very discerning. I can’t accept an invite that way. I can’t. I’m sorry. Maybe if you had parked, walked down the sidewalk and appeared to have happened upon me, struck up conversation. Maybe if you’d at least given me something to go on besides, “He drives a black SUV and speaks the same language as I.”
The driver pulls away, and I continue towards the park with Speck who always gets a lot of action in the sniffin’ meet ‘n greet scene. Despite his diminutive size, he’s very bold in his encounters. I’m the one who grows cautious when the bigger beasts come bounding up imagining my precious one carted away in the jaws of a stranger.
But it wasn’t caution that kept me from exchanging numbers with Mr. SUV. It just felt off. LA has a reputation for being a tough place to meet new people. We move through space in our encapsulated vehicles, our portable homes, my trunk stuffed with every need a whim could desire. That is, except for one. The chance encounter. I love them. Crave them. Smile over them. Some people prefer the fix up, a history laid out in advance, a guarantee of civility assured by a mutual friend, but not I. I like mystery and happenstance.
But again, the drive by factor. Looking back, I’d now like to question this guy on his method. I’d like to sit him down like an investigative reporter removing my personal role in the story and ask, “What prompted you? Is this your normal m.o.? Has it worked before?” I’d like to know if he headed out with the cruising in mind or if he’d leapt forth on a whim. I mean, when I said how random it was, he didn’t come back with a witty reply. He didn’t work to lure me in.
Being the initiator is tough, and in response to Mr. SUV’s gesture I have decided to put myself in the driver’s seat by pledging to reach out and launch my next encounter. The one thing is, I plan to get out of the car.