Dating is a funny thing. You want to help each other…but how much and when? All those boundaries have to be worked out.
Twenty five or twenty six years ago when Alex and I first started dating, I was trying to get my little magazine, The Spring, up and running and I worked as a waitress at Rocky’s Corner, a legendary Hot Springs Pizzeria.
I’d left my first husband in Key West and was struggling to make things work. Jack and Mary were three and four and we all lived on pizza toast and spaghetti noodles. I met Alex and the first thing he did, was start making “real dinners” for us. The kids were so excited to have three things on their plate, at the same time!!
Alex and I had been dating about a month when he realized how bad the brakes were on my car. He was so concerned he asked several times if I would let him get me some new brakes, and then I could pay him back. But I refused. I didn’t need his help and I wasn’t going to take him money. We’d only been dating a month.
So, Alex came up with a solution on his own. One afternoon, while I was working lunch, unbeknownst to me, Alex snuck into the office at Rocky’s to talk to the owner Joey Diorio. Joey was the PERFECT Chicago style pizza place owner. He had the look, the accent and the attitude. He was a Chicago style pizza pie come to life, thick and cheesy, loud, abrasive, loving and funny. Alex explained the situation to Joey who immediately understood. He summoned an older waitress from Romania or Czechoslovakia, with a heavy accent, to his office. A few minutes latter she stole my car keys out of my purse while I was taking a drink order and delivered them to Alex and Joey.
Alex then snuck out, stole my car and got my breaks fixed. Two hours latter he returned, put the car in the same spot, then took my keys back to Joey, who found the old Romanian or Czechoslovakian waitress, who returned my keys to my purse. She’d been winking at me all day, but I didn’t suspect anything.
Two hours later I got off, sat at the bar counting my tips and drinking a draft beer. I said goodbye to everyone and Joey was acting super odd. Smiling too much and telling me to have a safe ride home.
Going home, everything was great. I had the windows down and the radio turned up loud. I was probably listening to Color Me Bad singing “I Wanna Sex You Up.” It was all just great till I came to the first stop sign…..and almost went through the windshield.
I’ve been married to that car thief for a long time now. But sometimes that’s what loves does. Puts you right through the windshield.