The young man rolled his bicycle through the aisles of the hardware store. He seemed to be looking for some of the same items that my wife and I were. Not like we were following one another, but rather he was moving in one direction while we went in the other. This allowed us to cross paths a few times before we reached the back, where the nuts and bolts are kept. While my wife went to ask a helpful hardware man in a red vest to match up our hardware, I waited in the aisle as Mister Bike passed by one more time, and stopped.
He looked at the shelves next to him, and then at the young woman who stood in front of him. "Can you help me?"
For a moment, the woman stammered, looked left, then right, and made a gesture as if to say, "I don't have a red vest."
Mister Bike asked again, more politely, "I was wondering if you could help me out?"
Now Pretty Lady spoke, more explicitly, "I don't work here."
"I was wondering if you could help me out with your phone number?"
And there it was: Pickup in the nuts and bolts aisle of the hardware store. There was a moment or two of indecision, which I was acutely aware of but tried not to pay direct attention to because my wife was still working on our issue, but Pretty Lady took an embarrassed breath and then acceded to Mister Bike's request. It was beautiful. It was tacky. It was beautifully tacky.
I had no idea that such things really occurred outside of TV and movies. Well, to be fair, I did witness a few instances of a similar behavior from my best friend and college roommate, but it always seemed to me that these exploits were better suited for TV and movies. Had I taken the time to write them down in some sort of clever order, I might be working for some cable channel, cranking out meet-cute scripts that would amaze and amuse anyone who happened to land on that moment I had bothered to catalog.
Or maybe everyone has a moment like that and I just happened along at the precise moment when Mister Bike and Pretty Lady began their journey into happily ever after. Silly me. I thought all those moments now took place on Al Gore's Internet. Or maybe this kind of thing happens all the time, on street corners and shopping malls all across the globe. Mabye it even happened between my wife and I, once upon a time. I just negelected to write it down.