My Days Spent Safe Cougaring

 She felt like she was riding with James Bond — smooth shifts, minor breaks, great conversation.

by Luellen Smiley • More.com Member { View Profile }

I nodded my head and bowed.     

“Geronimo’s been slow, no A-list celebrity types, no mothers and daughters; cause the daughters don’t want to come here anymore,” he said.  

“Neither does single me, I interrupted. And if they do, they’re from Los Alamos. Can you see me with a scientist or an engineer? I’d make them crazy.”

“Listen. Someone asks you out for an Ecco latte, don’t be a bitch. Just do it! You reverse sweat it. If he’s a jerk; deebo him.”  

Deebo is the guy who shows up late and should have been on time. His quip is unabashed, and he handles himself like Sean Penn — smoking and all smiles while he reverses blame.      

“Can we change the subject?” I said.

“No! I want to know why you’re not even trying to hook-up?”

“Because I’m convinced the man I want isn’t in Santa Fe. The ones I’ve met are looking for a caretaker, a fly-fishing partner, or a biker. Look, there are two types of men: one loves a woman because she’s not a man, and the other one seeks a mother who he can bash around.”

“I want to rat those guys out — like the ones that pinch and don’t tip. Give a name to that.”  

“Listen to this; the newly coined slogan for New Mexico is Truth,” I said.

“Truth. About what?” 

“Exactly! What truth are they referring to? How ‘bout the naked truth? Picture a Native American woman out in the arroyo in a leather crop top, her black hair elevated in strands by the wind, dust on her cheekbones. New Mexico is naked, isn’t it?” I asked.

“It’s isolated. If you can afford to come to Santa Fe and not blow your brains out, or go broke, you deserve to be here. Right?”  

He is smiling. Even the painful truths are reformed as tests of endurance rather than complaints. He developed his own poetic rap dialogue that I suppose comes from growing up in two cultures: one in the hood, and the other in the wealthiest homes in Santa Fe. 

“Then it’s a good place for you. Like your friend who takes her poodle to hospice. I really respect her for that. That’s what she’s doing with Santa Fe,” he said.

“What do you do with Santa Fe?” I asked.

“I’m the union organizer for luxury limo drivers. Like, iron your shirt and shine your shoes, have CD’s in the car, and water. You know — like this is New Mexico, but we can spell Burberry. On the weekends I’m the ladies traffic controller!”

“ What is that?” I asked.

“At the clubs. Some of the guys are okay, all suited up, hoping for a dance, but some are like, ‘I’ll buy you a cocktail if I can follow you home.’ Someone has to protect them. Ladies can’t drive home cause they’ve cocktailed all night, or they can’t find their car keys, or they want to impress their friends with the Viking chauffeur. It’s chill; they’re good girls during the day.”

The morning turned into afternoon, and now I was cleaning dishes, and watching the birds from the kitchen window. Every hour or so I stop responding to Loren, and let him talk. I can feel the rush of his life; how he sprints from limo driver, to Geronimo valet, then to Albuquerque, the gym, and his family. People who live intensely engaged in a variety of relationships; stir their surroundings like a human wind. Every time Loren leaves, I’m bouncing through the living room and dancing.  

When I tuned into the conversation, he was recounting his day in ardent animation. His laughter echoes; almost like he’s singing a song and it last a long time.

“I don’t mind giving back to our greedy city tax roll. I feed the meters; that quarter made a difference. Huh?”... more laughter and he repeats, “We’re down to quarters.”

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