Most of my young man experience with fiction writing consisted of dating a writer.
Hanna (named changed to protect the guilty) proudly introduced herself at the apartment pool as a writer, a writer of fiction. This intrigued me. Most of the writers I knew were like me: technical geeks posing as hack writers toiling away under the florescent glare of mediocrity.
Okay, so I had a nice office in a lovely building situated in a wooded glade, but still. There were florescent lights, of that I recall.
But I digress.
Anyway, both Hanna and I were dead-tired, each of us having worked odd hours. Our flirting was lame and circular, but, happily mutual, until, that is, in a young man flash of hormone fueled brilliance (BRILLIANCE, I SAY) I suggested we could hit an early dinner at the newly rebuilt I-HOP a couple of blocks away.
(The older I-HOP burnt down the day I arrived in town. This was a portent of things to come.)
"They re-opened the 'HOP?" she asked.
"Yesterday, I think."
Hanna gets this gleam in her eye. A gleam I would recognize years later as a signal to BACK AWAY SLOWLY from the dangerous and possibly rabid animal.
"Oh my God! We must go and I must have a waffle! With slices of banana!"
Now, I may have been a naïve young man, but still, I knew the Universal Waffle Rule of Dating, which was feed a woman waffles and you were pretty much half-way into her pants. Yes, my day at the pool was looking up.
Especially since Hanna the Writer was at the pool for the same reason I was: to take a nap in the sun while people who worked normal hours labored the afternoon away.
So essentially, I was napping with Hanna and feeding her waffles. It didn’t matter that my brain was shutting down with lack of sleep; the Fates conspired to deliver me a boon. Plus, there was a bookstore and a movie theater by the waffles. Plenty of opportunity to extend the date into something fun.
A boon, that is, until we walked to I-HOP.
I guess Hanna was new to the neighborhood, because, when we woke up from our mutual napping-by-the-pool and embarked on our pleasant stroll for aphrodisiac waffles of young love, she stopped right in her tracks and stared at a store tucked away in the strip mall surrounded by old trees like some fairy glade. Lo, this store was SUPER YARN MART.
"Oh my God, that sign says SUPER YARN MART."
I did not know what to say. I suddenly had a bad feeling about the rest of the evening.
She turned to me. "Can we go in? That's like the biggest yarn store, um, ever."
"Sure!" I said.
Kill me now, I thought. Then I thought that wasn't very nice. Then we were in the store.
There was yarn all right. And, by some yarn store measuring stick, this wasn't just any yarn mart but a yarn mart that sold wool yarn. Lots and lots of wool yarn. There was so much freak'n yarn in this store, it was like, I don't know, SUPER.
Hanna, young, articulate, pretty thing that she was, went crazy. We're talking not one but two bags of yarn. Not small bags either. Two! Two bags of yarn, ah-ah-ah!
Hanna the Writer unloaded. She spent more on fancy string than I got paid that week.
We went to I-HOP. She talked of nothing except yarn and knitting, the two bags sitting next to her like some disembodied dyed sheep chaperone. I did drag out she was a fan of serious literature, so much so she actually wrinkled her nose at my professed love of reading science fiction and fantasy.
She practically jogged back to her apartment with the two bags of yarn.
I got a thank you, but no smooch. Hanna, it seemed, wanted to knit that evening.
Several months later, I ran into Hanna and a young, handsome preppy man, one who looked like he read everything but science fiction and fantasy.
He was wearing a nice scarf and mittens.
A year later, SUPER YARN MART went out of business, slowly followed by the movie theater and the bookstore.
I never dated a writer again.