It started in Ohio while visiting my sister for a week. I was enroute from my home in Pennsylvania to Colorado where I would spend three months at my summer home before returning to my teaching job. My stockbroker and good friend from Dallas, John Brown, thought that I'd been single way too long and that I didnt get laid nearly enough. I'll have to agree with the latter part. He also felt guilty about the fact that my stock portfolio, which he manages, had lost about half of its value over the past three years.
To ease his guilt he often searched the personal ads on Yahoo, and when he found one that he thought I might be interested in, he would send it to me. And so it was that on the evening of May 24th, while checking e-mail on my Macintosh iBook, that I received his e-mail saying, "Check this one out. She's as strange as you are."
Past personal ads that John has sent me were all unacceptable for various reasons, and I never had contacted any of these women. However, being a curious person, I had to take a look. It's a lot like when someone says, "Hey, look at that road kill." You know you are not going to like what you see, but you look anyway.
For me, chasing women is a lot like chasing rainbows. The chase is everything, there is never a pot of gold, and eventually I end up in a crappy situation. This time the rainbow was a photo of a woman wearing a clown nose (she says it was a dog nose). She was sitting between two dogs wearing party hats. There was no name except for her screen name. The ad's written portion was as unusual as the photo. She stressed that she was NOT looking for a boyfriend, and the last thing she wanted was a relationship or a man in her life. I thought this a bit odd considering it was a personal ad. She said she wanted a companion to go out and play with after work. Hmmm... I like being played with.
I replied to the ad with the following: "A friend from Texas sent me the URL to your personal with the comment that you would be a perfect companion for me. I always wince when I'm told that. Considering that he is married and cruises the personals while I am single and do not, is an indication of something amiss. I hope it's with him and not me. Anyway, I dutifully read your personal and it made me laugh. So did your photo. You can do the same at: www.tcnj.edu~hofmann (that's a tilde, not a dash) :-)"
The response I got back was most interesting. Without saying her name she expressed much amusement at my web site, admitted to being a bisexual psychic who loves animals, said she had a black belt in karate, and greatly appreciated my not using any words such as babe, hon, or cute or broad. I was amazed that guys actually use such expressions when answering ads, but then that's probably why they have to resort to answering ads. Of course I was answering an ad, but then I didn't have to do so. I was only doing it out of curiosity.
Thus began a daily e-mail exchange that continued for approximately two weeks until my arrival in Colorado. During that time I learned that she was a strict vegetarian, had been married twice, smokes (I never date anyone who smokes), was 43, very hyper, brutally honest, and had a tattoo and a pierced clit. She had been addicted to cocaine for many years as well as having been an excessive drinker. Now she was neither, and was in the process of quitting smoking. She was also extremely bright, having gotten her doctorate in veterinary medicine at Cornell along with degrees in nutrition and in Egyptology. She speaks Arabic and was raised and educated in the US and in London.
She was renting a house in Denver where she lived with her three rescued and somewhat neurotic 'kids' (dogs). She established a "unique" business in Denver and had been doing it for about fifteen years. She is involved with psychic healing, animal rescue, and occasionally assisting other vets in the area. She was also at her sexual peak. I was older than she, and my sexual peak was on a Tuesday afternoon in 1958,
Being a conservative guy from the Midwest, meeting her was equivalent to when Christopher Columbus landed in North America and met his first Native American. At least she and I could communicate. In fact that is all we had done. Actually meeting her was an exercise in miscommunication.
"Get off I-70 at 6th Avenue and call me on my cell phone as to where we can meet," was her instructions. It was Saturday and I was driving the two hours from my house in the mountains to Denver trailering my sick horse, BJ, to Ralph's ranch. Ralph was a horse chiropractor friend of hers and he was going to spend a few weeks treating BJ. With her help we had hopes of healing BJ.
I got off at 6th avenue, pulled over to the shoulder and called her. She was already waiting in a parking lot somewhere and told me to, "Continue on 6th avenue until you get to the first light. I'm on the right in the County Coroner's parking lot." She told me the name of the street, and I started driving. There were no traffic lights on 6th Avenue only overpasses with exits. None of the streets were the one she had mentioned. After about three exits I got off 6th avenue and reversed direction on the service road, finally parking in a big empty parking lot. I called her. No answer. Then I saw I had a voice mail. "Where are you? It should have only taken you five minutes. Call me."
After several more attempts in which I left her messages, I finally got through and explained what I had done. "Which way are you going on 6th Avenue?" she asked me. I was heading east, the same direction I had been going when I arrived in Denver. I-70 had no exit to go west on 6th Avenue. She then informed me that I should have been going west.
"See you in five minutes," I said, and got back on 6th Avenue heading west. The first traffic light on 6th Avenue after passing I-70 was not the street she had said it would be. Neither was the street at the second traffic light. I don't much like driving around in a congested city with a 3/4 ton Dodge extended cab, long-bed truck, pulling a three-horse, gooseneck horse trailer containing a sick horse. I was getting perturbed. I turned, found a parking spot and once again called. No answer. After about 10 minutes of calling her I gave up. I had to do something. I went back onto 6th Avenue and continued west, which was heading back into the mountains. After another mile or so I came to a third traffic light, and it was the street I was looking for. I turned there and found my rainbow parked by the county morgue.
I wanted to get out and beat the crap out of her, but she bounded up and we hugged. (Besides, she does have a black belt.) I asked her why I could not reach her phone, and she said "Because I turned it off." Then, before I could kick her in the groin, she said to follow her, jumped back into her car and roared off like she was in the Indy 500, weaving in and out of traffic and quickly disappearing from sight.
"Fuck," I yelled loudly, scaring my dog Nina who was being patient in the back seat. Traffic was heavy, and just changing lanes was next to impossible with a horse trailer. I continued straight hoping she had pulled over to wait for me. At the next light there was a car like hers in the left turn lane. We were still on 6th Avenue and it turned left here, so it made sense to be turning left. I thanked fate for the red light and managed to maneuver across three lanes into the left turn lane, about 9 cars behind where I wanted to be. The light changed to green and the car that was supposed to be hers turned the corner. There were two people in it. "Fuck," I yelled again. Nina cringed.
Getting back into the rush of traffic that was going straight was a nightmare, but finally I crossed the intersection and, after rounding the next corner, saw that she had pulled over to wait. Relieve, I now wanted to kiss her before beating the crap out of her. She roared off again but this time turned right before disappearing. By the time I got to the intersection and turned right I had lost sight of where she had gone. "Fuck," I yelled a third time. Then I saw her turning left. A second left put us in a gas station where it was highly questionable as to whether I could turn around. She got out and hopped into my truck. "I'd better ride with you," she said.
She had been to Ralph's quite a few times, but for some reason she got lost this time. She pointed to the direction I was to drive and called Ralph on her cell phone. Ralph wasn't home, but his girlfriend was there. She wasn't sure where we were, and since neither of us had any idea, getting directions was difficult. By the time we had gotten directions to where we were suppose to turn we had passed it. More directions came over the phone and we eventually found ourselves in downtown Golden. I don't think a horse trailer had been in downtown Golden since they invented traffic lights. Now Ralph's girlfriend knew where we were and could direct us to Ralph's, which was no where near downtown Golden.
As we headed out of Golden and toward Ralph's I saw the same gas station a half block away. I had not seen it in about 20 minutes, but it was good to see something familiar. I was beginning to think Ralph's girlfriend was a blonde. We finally made it to Ralph's after another 20 minutes of driving up narrow mountain roads. I was never so glad to be somewhere I'd never been before.
After getting BJ settled and socializing for a while with Ralph and his blonde girlfriend, my new friend announced that she needed to get home to feed her kids (dogs). We got back in my truck, sans BJ, and headed down the mountain. About five miles later we both smelled something burning. I pulled over and smoke started pouring from both front wheels. I had not disengaged the emergency brake. They were red hot and about to set my tires on fire. I grabbed Nina's dog water and my water bottle and proceeded sprinkle water on the front and rear brakes to cool them off. A local guy in a pickup truck stopped and wondered why I was watering my brakes.
With the water gone and the brakes still extremely hot I hopped back in the truck and started driving, hoping that the wind would keep everything from burning up. Using engine braking and trailer braking, we made it down the mountain and to where she had parked her car. We said a quick good-bye and I drove over to a car wash where I thoroughly sprayed all four tires. I still had two hours of mountain driving to do, and I had no clue as to the status of my brakes except that they were functioning at that moment.
And so went our first meeting. We continued to e-mail that next week in spite of her negative reaction to my comments about her sense of direction. I got my brakes looked at and $350 repaired them except for the leaking rear axle seals. That was going to be another $200+.
The following Friday I drove back down the mountain to Ralph's to resupply BJ's hay and grain. The Rainbow met me at Ralph's and she went into Golden with me to show me where the feed store was located. Her directions had me go to the Ford Dealership and turn right. We discovered later, after asking around, that we were suppose to go to Ford Avenue and turn left. By the time we got BJ supplied with hay it was getting late, and "The Rainbow" decided that it would be a good idea if I slept on the futon at her house and go home the next day. I could follow her to her house on the opposite side of Denver. The hair on the back of my neck stood up. I asked for detailed directions to her house in case I lost her. I copied them down carefully and we departed. Two of the streets that were in my written directions we never saw, and several streets we did turn on were not mentioned. One turn, where my directions said we should turn left, we turned right, and another we turned left where the directions said to turn right. Thank goodness I was willing to exceed all speed limits to keep up. We arrived safely.
Now I was at her house with three dogs whose personalities were about as hyper as hers. The four of them were a perfect match. After a dinner at the Macaroni Grill we returned to home for a somewhat awkward settling-in for the night. She set up the futon for me and her three dogs quickly settled on it. I took a shower and walked around wondering what to do next. I ended up sleeping in her king-sized bed with her and her three dogs. The futon was vacant. I'm not sure how that came about. We slept naked but did not have sex. I'm use to sleeping alone, but rarely next to a naked woman that I'd just met, and never with dogs. I didn't sleep well, if at all. By morning I was tired and covered with dog hair, but I was becoming more and more interested in the Rainbow. The Rainbow was only interested in having a friend to do things with, and in healing my horse.
Being a psychic, she supposedly could communicate with animals. She needed to see where BJ and I lived in order to best proceed with BJ's healing, so the plan was that I would go home that morning and do what I needed to do, which was nothing, and she would follow that evening and bring her three dogs. She would spend the night at my house, returning to Denver the next day. If she were a really good psychic, she would have stayed home.
I gave her the simplest directions I could. It's over a two-hour drive but involved only one turn. Take I-70 to the exit for US 40 and proceed west until she passed through Byer's Canyon, an impressively deep canyon with rock walls going straight up on one side and down on the other side to the Colorado River. Speed limit is 35 mph due to the sharp curves. About two miles after that is a small town. There is only one sign there and it says Parshall Inn. I was to meet her there at 6:30 PM. At 6:40 I was sitting in my truck in front of the Parshall Inn when I saw her roar past at about 75 mph. She was looking straight ahead. The speed limit there was 50. I had to go 90 in order to catch up with her. She said she never saw Byers Canyon, but she had just experienced the trip from hell. Her three dogs were hyper, peeing and pooping and barfing. She had made four stops already and just wanted to get the hell up to my house.
At my house her three dogs ran helter-skelter exploring all the rooms. One dog peed in the kitchen and two others peed on my deck. "This isn't going to work," she announced. "I've got to take these dogs home." She can't see well enough at night to drive so I volunteered to drive back down to Denver with her and get her dogs settled. Then we would come back to my house. I don't know why we decided this. It must have been the pheromones. It was already 8 PM and we had six hours of driving to do. She started out driving since it was still light out, but her driving scared the crap out of me so I took over the driving. On the way back I drove once we got into the mountains. We arrived back at my house at 2 AM -- both of us dead tired.
By 2:30 we were both naked and sound asleep in my double bed. No hanky panky. The last thing I remember was being snuggled up to her back with a boob in each hand. We awoke that way at 7:30. I don't think either of us moved all night.
"I feel like shit," she announced. "Do you have any coffee?" I don't drink coffee. In fact I've never even tasted coffee. I did have some tea. I don't know why I had tea since I don't drink tea either. We went down stairs, me in my bathrobe and she in a sleeping shirt that she didn't wear to sleep in. She went outside and walked about 100 feet up the hill to smoke. From there you have a 280 degree panoramic view of the mountains and the few houses and cabins that are my neighbors. I fixed her some tea, took off my bathrobe and, totally naked and barefoot, walked up the hill to bring her the tea. I don't know why I did that. She was having strange effects on my behavior. But she was still a rainbow, so what the hell.
What happened next is not a part of this story. Perhaps some of my neighbors were up early, and they can spread the rumors. Let's just say that we bonded. We went into town later and had breakfast at the Lone Moose and then spent the day playing pool at the PI and getting to know each other better. (You get to know someone better by playing pool with them than you do by sleeping with them.) At 3 PM John Brown, my stockbroker who started my pursuit of this rainbow, arrived from Texas for a long planned two-day visit. He met us at the PI, totally unaware that she was there. It was only appropriate that they met.
Between our e-mails and our totally unconventional first date, we bonded to the point that she was pissed. She didn't want any emotional involvements with men, and I just wanted my horse to get better. We had little in common neither our interests, backgrounds, nor our behaviors. In retrospect, we had nothing in common. What we did have was a growing appreciation of those differences and the realization that in two months our lives were going separate ways and we would be 2000 miles apart. There was a period of a few hours, perhaps even an entire day, when we considered just having a summer fling. Then, being the two sensible, educated people that we were, we realized that we didn't know what the hell we were doing. But hey, that's what makes chasing rainbows exciting. So we decided that for the next two months we would spend weekends together and see what happened. Like Christopher Columbus, we were probably headed somewhere we didnt intend to go.
And it didnt take long to get there, because the very next weekend we got engaged at Wal*Mart. It wasnt a planned engagement, but then how much engagement planning does one normally do between the first and second dates? Had we actually done any planning, I dont think we would have gotten engaged, and we certainly would not have picked Wal*Mart. We had gone to Wal*Mart because she had been trying to find an engagement ring so that she could pretend to be engaged when her ex-boyfriend came around. She had been unable to borrow one, so I suggested that Wal*Mart might have cheap rings.
They definitely had cheap rings, and she tried a few of them. Then I got a strong whiff of the pheromones and made the suggestion that we could get legitimately engaged for the summer so she wouldnt have to lie. She hated lying so she liked the idea. Then I said something like, Would you possibly, someday, consider marrying me? She was caught up in the moment and said, Yes, and the deal was done. Well, not quite. We still hadnt found a ring we liked.
I suggested we try Sams Club. Arriving there we discovered that they did indeed have a better selection, but they were also more expensive. With the assistance of a nice jewelry clerk who probably didnt know a diamond from a salt crystal, and the support of two elderly lady customers, we selected a $130 ring that didnt fit. I put it on her finger and the two old ladies were very excited and happy for us. We split the cost, but she paid a jeweler to have it resized. Im still not certain if it is a diamond, but it looks like a diamond. I know its not a cubic zirconia because its too small.
Engagement rings are symbols of commitment, and the commitment doesnt get stronger the more you pay for a ring. Back in 1959 an impulsive friend of mine made a very expensive commitment, and he was still making engagement ring payments after his divorce. At least we didnt have that to worry about. Later that summer she bought us both turquoise inlaid wedding rings that she ordered on line. I wore mine as an engagement ring.
And so began a relationship that can only be described as fun, bizarre, idiotic, stupid, and hopeless. Serious considerations of having a wedding faded quickly into the sunset, like all rainbows. And all too soon I was once again searching for another rainbow. I moved my "wedding ring" to my right hand, where I am still wearing it. I really like it.
Do I have any regrets? Not really. Just because two people are totally mismatched doesn't mean that they can't have a good time together for a while. It's just like drinking. You have to know what your limits are, because if you carry it too far, you can do something really stupid. We both had a drink or to over our limit, but were finally able to recognize that the rainbow was gone. It just took a couple of storms and a few lightning strikes.
There is a tendancy to continue good times past their point of being fun. We are all guilty of that. Unfortunately it is often hard to tell when that point is. After much rainbow chasing I think I finally have it figured out -- but I'm not going to tell you.
A couple of years after this all happened I was in Arizona and stopped at a Navajo roadside jewlery stand. They were selling the exact same ring that I was wearing for $5 each. Hmmm.... I bought two more. You never know when you will find the perfect rainbow.