Yesterday was the annual singles’ club party/picnic at one guy’s lush estate in Hayward. I picked up my girlfriend, and we let the GPS woman’s voice direct us down Five Canyons Road to a bunch of turns until we finally found the place. I’d been there many times before but always as a passenger, never a driver.
The crowd was a third the size of past years when 100 people would be milling around the huge shady yard that looked out onto a canyon of green trees. The singles’ club was dying out. People were finally pairing off, getting married, and staying home.
For the thirty-five of us who did show up, there was a waterfall, a pool, a volleyball net, and a game called Corn Hole. When Tony came around signing people up for the tournament I ponied up my dollar and took a slot against David. The tourney was designed for sixteen competitors. Normally I would just sit, eat, and chat with the other non-athletes, but how hard could a beanbag toss game be?
The potluck table was heavy on salads and light on desserts, so I was glad I’d brought my famous fruit, almond and butter cake. It was expensive to make, took an hour to bake, and was heavy to carry, but I always went home with an empty dish and people asking for the recipe.
My ex bf asked me to dance, so we got up to do some swing when my turn came up for Corn Hole. I was the only participent not standing and watching the other 15 competitors. Nikki came to get me, and I did my duty throwing four beanbags toward the wooden ramp with the hole at the top. Mine kept sliding off until Ken told me to use more lift and Marc told me to have more arc. I guess that’s the same thing.
I still lost to David when he reached 11 points. I went back to my girlfriends and a glass of wine. Before I could get all the juicy details of Lisa’s four men she is dating simultaneously on Match, I was called back to play in the losers’ round. Now I was up against Ken.
“I’ll bet you’re sorry now that you told me how to throw it,” I said.
“Not at all,” Ken said.
I did better but still lost to Ken, 11 to 7. I went back to the girl chat and found out Rand and Lorraine are engaged. Then I danced a little more with Jeff until he got called over for his turn at the game.
I got razzed about being from Iowa where Corn Hole must, of course, be the state pastime. The woman who was doing the razzing has a vendetta against my home state after she fell on the first day of RAGBRAI when a ten year old kid weaving through the crowd of bicyclists hit her broadside, causing her to fall and break her collar bone, some ribs, and have a compression fracture in her back. She didn’t have one good thing to say about Iowa, plus the news of the college girl killed by the immigrant farm worker had just hit the papers.
“It’s an evil place,” she said.
Iowa is not an evil place, but I guess it looks that way from where the woman sits, five weeks later, with her left arm still in a brace.
I collected my girl friend and headed back home with the aid of the GPS lady who got us out of the five canyons and back onto Crow Canyon road, the back way that avoided the freeways. As I drove us in the dark down the winding road known for its head-on collisions, I came up on a deer munching weeds just inches from the side of the road.
“A deer!” I shouted.
Then we came around another curve when my headlights revealed a young woman in a dress with her cell phone up to her ear, again just inches from the side of the road.
“Whoa!” my girlfriend said. “That was spooky!”
“She needs to get off the road before someone hits her,” I said.
Then we looked at each other and said the same thing.
When we got to the end of the winding part, I went a few more blocks and hopped on the freeway to take my girlfriend home. We unloaded her stuff, and then it was five more minutes back to my place. A tiny animal was running ahead of me on Greenbrook Drive, and I realized it was a rabbit. Lots of critters out tonight.
Once in my front door, the dogs were happy to see me, and I was happy to take off my shoes and put on my pj’s.
It was a good day.
Couldda Wouldda Shouldda
I should’ve asked more people about their worst first dates, but I was too busy listening to Lisa’s first best dates, all four of them, and all in one week.