I’m not dating material, obviously. You’ll find all sort of socks in my couch and beer in the fridge where the milk should be.
My roommate is half husky, half wolf — my fur baby. But I would never use the term “fur baby” or date someone who did. Yikes. Just shoot me if I ever mention “fur baby” again.
I don’t ask much of the world, then complain about almost everything – where they put the switch on my new printer, or how road crews are mucking up the nearby boulevard.
“Nothing needs to change,” I wail. “WHY CAN’T THEY LEAVE GOOD STUFF ALONE?!”
I’m like a sit-com character (Jerry Stiller comes to mind). I have far too many notions and not enough sense. I dance like a beekeeper who forgot to zip. All my shoes are more than four years old. Half my t-shirts were promotional giveaways.
Like a small child, I’ll watch the same movie over and over and over. “Good stuff gets better with time,” is the excuse I use. “Good houses, good stories, good movies, good friends….”
That’s just one of my screeds. I have so many screeds. You could stage a German opera of my screeds.
“If you have kids you have everything,” I screed all the time. “Well, not necessarily my kids…”
Into this world, welcome Suzanne, a woman of uncommon virtue and surprising patience. She has cover girl cheekbones but that’s certainly not the main attraction. She has hair – flappy and full, almost too much of it. But really I’ve hardly noticed the amazing hair, the cheekbones, the cut of her jib….
“She’s a really, really good-looking woman,” my buddy Verge reminded me the other day.
I guess she’s rather attractive. Like a character out of “Bridgerton,” of lace and hair worn up.
For me, the main attraction is her lack of fuss. I’m at the age where I don’t need drama or neuroses or any of the standard-issue relationship-busters. I don’t need needy people or childish diva behavior.
At my age, I need to stand in the kitchen with someone funny, shoulder to shoulder, cutting carrots.
“And she’s age appropriate,” I told my pal Trueblood one day at the gym.
“Twenty-six?” he asked.
“No, really,” I said.
And she makes cookies — lord, does she ever. And she sails a bit and reads a ton and claims not to like people in general but has a social ease, almost a kind of statesmanship. She wobbles a little when she walks, which I like very much. Drinks beer fast. Waters her coffee.
She has her own house. There’s an ocean.
Me, I’m no one’s prince charming. Nice house, no ocean. I’m a widower who drives a Honda. In LA – an Autobaun of expensive German steel — I pull up in a Honda CRV.
I enter social occasions like a SWAT team searching for a sniper. I’m jumpy. I want to get in fast, get out faster, go to dinner, maybe bowl a few frames.
I rejoice way too much over my kids – worry, rejoice, worry some more.
Suzanne does too — she also has rejoicy kids.
“If you have kids…” I remind her.
“You have everything?” she says.
She happens to be demure, in the way I like. Not shy. Not at all. Reticent. Discerning. Kind of classy. Prefers cheeseburgers to steak … Bud Light to Scotch rocks.
Not much into sports, she somehow won the NCAA pool ahead of 30 of my demented friends, all of whom have watched way too much basketball.
What the huh?
Generally, she seems not to demand very much of men; hence, she wound up with me.
The other night I told her: “Suzanne, I want you to meet a friend. This is Bill Evans.”
Bill Evans is a little-known musical legend. He plays jazz piano the way Paul Newman played Hud. He holds the notes a fraction too long. His style is languid, unhurried, diffident — the greatest cool there is.
Thing is, who dates a dude who goes on and on about a dead piano player? Who dates a dude who knows exactly how many stitches there are in a baseball (108), or how many stars make up Canis Major (10)…or that a starfish has no brain?
In short, who dates a starfish like me?
Well, she does, fortunately.
What the huh?
For weeks, we’ve had a glitch in the service that sends out email notifications when a new post goes up. The service we use calls its customer service techs “Happiness Engineers,” so naturally this loads my heart with hope. Fingers crossed that the notifications, which allow you to click an email to get the column, have been restored. If not, please know that the Happiness Engineers are working day and night to make us all happy. That’s what Happiness Engineers do. In the meantime, as you know, you can find the new posts at ChrisErskineLA.com, or on Facebook. Thank you for your patience, your continued friendship, and the way you let other drivers cut into traffic, even though they seldom bother to wave thanks. We’re all Happiness Engineers in some sense, right? Have a great weekend. Cheers.