“Find out what you can about that guy with the blue eyes,” I said to Don. He was the teacher of the Improvisational Comedy class I was taking. In addition, he was my contract employee, since I had hired him to teach the class for the adult learning network I ran in the mid 1990s.
One of the perks of my job was that I got to interview all the teachers and observe a 15 minute teaching demonstration of their classes. I also got to attend any class in our 64-page catalog, published 8 times a year. My areas of expertise became broad as the Great Plains and deep as its topsoil during the Great Depression.
I’d been spending my Saturday nights in the lower level of a bar where Don’s improv troupe performed. A team of 15 players rotated 5 in and out each week, and several times I’d caught this very cute 20-something guy with piercing blue eyes. A guy who didn’t always resort to the easy laughs one gets with crotch humor.
In fact, this guy proffered very literate humor. As a business major, I recognized but didn’t get all his references to Dante and Melville, to Cervantes and Scorsese. I just knew he was smart and funny. And had gorgeous eyes.
Hence my request to Don.
“What, exactly, would you like me to find out for you?” asked Don the Monday after a show.
“Just the important things,” I replied. “Find out if he’s single, if he’s straight, and if he’d like to meet me.”
On Thursday, Don called with three answers: yes, yes and yes. And that the troupe was to perform at a street festival Saturday afternoon.
That day we had a brief hailstorm during which I subjected my sister, Tami, to witnessing a trying-on of my entire closet. I hadn’t told her why I cared so much about my appearance.
The clouds finally cleared and we headed to the festival. We found the stage (really just a blocked-off intersection) and watched the street performance, where Blue Eyes ended up playing Clint Eastwood as a kid. On his bare knees in the middle of the street. With a lit cigarette hanging out his mouth.
Don had told Blue Eyes about me. In fact, while offstage, Don pointed our way and said to him, “Remember I told you about the girl who wanted to meet you?”
“Yeah,” said my prey.
“See that girl over there?” Don said. “Oh, yeaaaaah,” Blue Eyes said, appreciatively.
Don was pointing at my sister. My very BUXOM sister.
“It’s the tall woman behind her,” Don finished. “Hmmmmm,” was the response, with perhaps an equally approving head nod (I’ll never know, will I?).
We angled to meet each other after the show. After some misses, we ended up at the same burrito booth at the same time.
Extending a hand that bore a wrapped burrito, he said “Hi, Lori. Don has told me about you. I’m Roger.”
With that, our fate was sealed. 14 years ago this week.