Flirtatious Jaunts 

 

By P.S. Gifford

 

One of the most popular questions I get asked is has a passenger ever hit on me. Often the follow up question is whether I ever responded- which just answered that first question. Now, I have a firm rule that I will never engage in any romance when I am on the clock. I get invited in for a late night cocktail quite frequently and by both genres. Gay males are the most aggressive and the most touchy- I have a couple of stories about those that I will share at a later date.

They are normally lonely, recently divorced women heading home alone on a weekend night.  That offer for a nightcap has at time, I confess, been compelling- particularly if I was intent on heading home. But none have succeeded. The reason should be blatantly obvious- they have been drinking and are making poor decisions.

 

However, if you ask me if I have ever dated anybody I met by driving- that has happened just four times in over two years.

 

One of my favorites was about nine months ago. I get a call and arrive at a home near UCI to find an attractive blonde in an evening gown with a shawl wrapped over her shoulders. It was after one in the morning and I had been driving for ten hours at this point. She climbed in and the conversation started flowing. It turned out it was to be a fairly long drive- as she was heading to Long Beach.

 

She informed me she just attended an event for UCI professors and as she was recently divorced had no-one to go with.

 

I commiserated, probably with a cheesy response. I forget my precise words. But I managed to get her to giggle. Yeah- not laugh- but a giggle which I find greatly appealing.

 

“Look at that moon,” she suddenly blurted. I naturally looked.

 

“It looks like an orange slice. Forget taking me home let us grab a bottle of wine and head to the beach- do you have a blanket?”

 

Not sure if she was completely serious or merely being wistful I responded. “That would be a sheer delight, but I need to work.”

 

The conversation flowed with the ease of a well lubricated wrought iron gate- swinging gracefully- even playfully- back and forth- back and forth. I found myself smiling.

 

The forty-five-minute drive seemed far too short. It turned out her house was literally right on the ocean and as she climbed out I could hear the waves crashing on the rocks. I turned to look at her, shoulder length gently curled blonde hair, ruby red lips framing a flirtatious smile.

 

“Can I tempt you with a nightcap?” she said in just a little more than a whisper.

 

“Almost,” I replied almost cursing myself as I spoke.

 

“Toodleloo then,” she said- and with that she was gone.

 

It was approaching two now. I am not overly fond of driving in Long Beach so decide to call it a night. I switched the app off, turned the music up, and set on my way.

 

I would be lying if the thought of her was not a lingering one. And, I may have weaknesses but lying is not one of them.

 

Finally, I am home.

 

I pour myself a nightcap-and toast to her- then call it a night.

 

It was the next morning it happened. I receive a text from Uber. Apparently one of my passengers from the night before had left a shawl. They were requesting my contact number. If there was a Guinness book of records time in responding to a text, I am sure I shattered it.

 

We texted back and forth, which led to a phone call, which led to a coffee date.

 

I pulled out my Sunday shirt and pressed it. I remember being nervous as I drove over to the coffee shop.

 

I arrived to find her in jeans, t-shirt and her locks tied up behind her head.

 

She treated me to coffee. We talked, it was pleasant, but the sparkle and magic was no longer there. In the light of days’ things- and people- oft seem different to the bewitching moonlight.

 

She confessed to leaving the shawl behind by design. I felt flattered. I also discovered that her divorce had been brutal. I saw sadness in those eyes now. We finally hugged goodbye.

 

We texted for a few more days with promises of a dinner out being bandied about. But her schedule was hectic and my self-imposed driving regime rigid. So, finally the texting stopped.

 

But I shall always remember her. Not as the woman in the coffee shop succumbing to bitter cold reality- but to the giggling, flirtatious lady the night before believing in magic, romance and whimsy.

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