#63 In Roads-Man candy
Wandering around downtown I walk into a liquor store where an older woman is chatting up the clerk. He’s polite and professional. She seems to be flirting. Heavily. She finally leaves and he lets go a great sigh of relief.
“Man, I just don’t get it. Those little old ladies love to flirt with me. It’s crazy. I even have to sing Happy Birthday to them sometimes. They just love me,” the friendly young man shakes his head as he clutches his heart and says he was born in the wrong decade. “It’s really weird,” he says. “I’m like, just a kid compared to her.” I tell him it’s because he’s so sweet. He giggles.
“I think it’s because I have a deep voice. They tell me they really like that.” I tell him it’s because he’s cute. Suddenly he’s suspicious. He cocks his head and squints at me, then looks at me sideways as I ask if I can take his picture. I tell him I’ve come to flirt with him, too, as I snap a few frames. He freaks.
“Aw no. Wow, really? You too? And I thought you were, like, safe,” he declares as he takes three steps back. I tell him nope, I’m not safe. His boyish charm has won me over and I am also under his spell. He busts up. Reaching over the counter, I shake his hand, introduce myself and tell him about the blog. This excites Antoine. He reacts as if I just told him he was on Candid Camera and he starts telling me all about his travels.
I discover we’re fellow Texans, him coming less than 50-miles from my birthplace, which he calls “Funky town.” The 27-year old middle child who has a brother and a sister shares that he likes living by the water and says he’s a highway child. Since leaving Texas about 10 years ago he’s also lived in Colorado, Wyoming, and now Oregon for the last five years. He wants to go back to school and finish his degree, though he already has a degree in theater from Wyoming. “There’s so much oil money out there they just let me have free schooling. It was great. I’ll be taking classes here in the fall.” He asks for my business card so he can look me up before telling about his friend who handed out her business cards as a means of getting dates. A practice he thought was pretty weird.
“Hey wait, so, does that mean you’re flirting with me now?” I ask as I bat my eyes at him. He laughs but I notice he backs away from me again. I giggle as he takes my card. He wants to check out Thunder Press to see what I write about him.