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The boy with the red cap...

This story still warms my heart!

Some of you have mentioned that you wanted to hear stories from my single days. I have many. Very many. So many, in fact I could write an entire book about them! I was single for all of my 20s. I got engaged when I was 29 and married at 30. So needless to say, I had a lot of fun in my 20s.

Here's the story about the boy with the red cap.


Plain Summer Baseball Cap Hat- Red

I was living in Darien, a tony Connecticut suburb, just about an hour outside of New York City. I lived in a small white cape with my friends Jean and Shaun. People used to confuse Shaun and me. We were both blond, the same height and both drove red Jettas. She was on of my very best friends from college. (I had a few college besties though.) In truth Shaun was cuter and thinner... but I was always flattered by the comparison. Her name will come up often in the stories about my 20s.

I was on my way back to Connecticut after visiting my parents in Newport. I believe it was Labor Day weekend. And there was a terrible accident on 195. Terrible. The highway was closed. I had no cell phone. My parents disapproved of them. This was about 16 years ago and they were still the size and weight of bricks. I knew my parents would be worried if they didn't hear from me by a certain hour and I knew I would never make it home by that hour.

I was driving my new black Jetta. It rocked with the sunroof my other car did not have and was a total babe magnet. I no longer had the red Jetta. It had been totalled. Long story short a thief stole my stereo (this happened all the time in the 80s and early 90s) and when I lived in Boston I must have had no less than a half a dozen stolen.) You would think I had learned my lesson. But I'm not a fast learner. I had a stereo that I could pull out and was supposed to bring with me everywhere I went. "Supposed" is the operative word in that sentence.

It was a beautiful Spring day and I went to work at Williams-Sonoma in the Stamford mall. (I was looking for a "real" job, but still needed to support myself.) When I left work I saw that someone had broken into my car, taken my stereo (fuckfuckfuck) and left a couple of wires dangling there. I thought nothing of the wires and was more concerned with how long it would take me to earn money to replace my stereo.

Later that night I was heading to my boyfriend's house. (I broke up with him shortly thereafter.) I turned the car on and the wires started smoking, the car started shorting -- lights on and off like a car possessed -- and then one huge puff of smoke blew into the front of the car. I grabbed my keys and ran into the house to use the phone to call 911.

Shaun was on the phone with her boyfriend. I stood there screaming at her to get off the phone as she lazily reclined on her bed talking to her boyfriend. She waved me off like I was an annoying mosquito. "Shaun, Goddammit!" I screamed at her. "Get the fuck off the phone. My car is on fire." More waving the mosquito away. Finally Jean barged in and said "Shaun, get off the phone and move your car!" Shaun's red Jetta was parked behind my red Jetta. She looked out her window, hung up and ran.

I got the phone and called 911. Within minutes, perhaps even seconds the Noroton Heights Fire Department was there. They disconnected the ignition and battery in order to prevent an explosion. Meanwhile, I, apparently was screaming like a lunatic. "My trunk! My Trunk! My tennis rackets are in the trunk!" So the fire men removed the rackets from the trunk. And everything else I had back there. It must have appeared to these men that I was living out of the car.

The firemen remained there. They watched as the smoke turned to flames. Big, huge, red, hot flames. And they just let it burn. They did not turn on their hoses. They did not pour buckets of water onto it. Until much later. When the car was significantly totalled they doused it.

I asked one of the fire fighters why they had done so. I was told that many insurance companies would try to repair a car that that was irreparable. Cars that have had any electrical issues are never safe to drive. Great. I was now out of a car. I knew my father was going to be irate. This was entirely my fault. I should have learned the first time.

I worried about never having a car, or a Dodge Gremlin -- an ugly, hideous really, small car from the seventies.

My father was mad alright but my insurance was fabulous. I was given almost the full value of the car and was able to get a newer car that was a demo at the dealership. My new black Jetta that was even better! (Score!)

About a month after that the black Jetta and I had a small run-in on the Merritt Parkway with a Jersey barrier. Police deemed it not my fault and I got no ticket. Insurance paid the extensive damage and dropped me like a hot potato.

So you can understand why I knew my parents would be worried.

It was late after noon and the sun was just beginning to go down behind the tress beyond. It was still light out but the sun was no longer in my eyes. I really wished I had had a cell phone. And a bathroom. There was no where to go. And no where to turn. I blared the radio and bee-bopped along happily to the music. I watched the cars all around me. We were all stopped. This was a scene out of a movie, not real life! Kids got out and put on their roller-blades. People got out and started walking their dogs. Teenagers in the pick up truck next to me were tossing cans of Coca-Cola out to everyone. It was more like a party scene and no one seemed terribly annoyed or frustrated. I hopped out of my car and went to the trunk to grab a windbreaker.

I happened to see this really cute guy in the car behind me. I smiled at him and went back into my car.
I kept checking him out in my rear-view window. He was really cute in his red baseball cap, driving his silver Honda Prelude which was a really cute sporty car.

I kept bee-bopping to the music and watching him. He was that cute!

Eventually he got out of his car and came over to talk to me. To me! We started chit-chatting about everything. He was as cute in person and super nice. We happened to look up and saw that break lights were now on. Cars were starting to move. He bid me farewell and headed back to his car. Dammit!

We rolled forward about 100 feet before our cars came to a standstill again. The boy with the red cap got out again. And started to talk to me again. I found out his name, where he went to college and grad school. He was cute in the old prep school way and very smart. With a great job to boot.

Eventually traffic picked up and started to roll and the boy with the red cap said good-bye once more. He was headed into the city and I was headed to Darien. We'd never see each other again. This was truly tragic!

I noticed, as I was driving, that the cute boy in the red cap, whom I knick-named Red Cap, had started to follow me. If I switched lanes, he would. I would smile and wave to him. He made me happy.

Eventually I had get off. As I neared Exit 11, I began to pull over, switching lanes so that I could get off at my Exit. Imagine to my surprise and delight to see Red Cap following me! I got off the Exit and so did Red Cap! When he could, he pulled over and motioned me to roll down my window. I did as I was instructed to do.

"What are you doing on Wednesday night?" He shouted from his car. I had no plans. Eagerly, perhaps a little too eagerly, I shouted "Nothing!" Then he asked if I wanted to join him at the US Open. He had two tickets! We pulled over where it was safe to talk and exchanged information.

Yippeeeee!!! I couldn't contain my excitement! I was positively giddy. I ran into the house and Shaun and Jean were there. I told them all about what had just happened. They were amused but not surprised. I do lots of crazy things!

Red Cap and I had a blast at the Open. I took the train in to the City and met him and his driver (company car -- it was the early 90s, everyone was frivolous then!) and together we drove out to Long Island. We had a few more dates and had I had a wonderful time. But his work and travel schedule made it hard for us to see each other after that.

I just love this story and wish it could have gone on a little longer.

Red Cap remains anonymous because not too long ago I was telling this story to my cousin's husband and I mentioned Red Cap by name. His ears perked and his eyes lit up. He knew Red Cap! He had worked with Red Cap! (They had worked for the same company, different offices.) He did tell Red Cap, when he next spoke with him, that he was now related to me, the girl he picked up on the highway!

This is one of my best dating stories. I'm not sure I would randomly accept a date with some random guy on the highway today. But I am so very glad I did back then!

J'adore Paris au Printemps!

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