I found the phone after the fourth ring.
"What are you doing?"
"Nothing...reading a magazine...not really reading...actually, I'm looking at the cartoons in the 'New Yorker'."
"Get dressed. I 'll pick you up at 8:30."
"Where are we going?"
"I don't care. I have to get out of the house. We'll know when we get there."
I looked at my reflection in the mirror...Great. The humidity had wreaked frizzy havoc on hair I carefully smoothed with the blow-dryer early this morning. There was just enough time to spritz my head with a little water, hoping the frizz would revert back to its naturally curly/lumpiness, before I heard Susan's horn beckoning from outside my window.
"What direction? " Her eyes looked up and down the street as she backed out of the driveway.
I thought for a second.
In a couple of minutes we were sitting at a cafe table on the sidewalk in front of Gusto's in Cleveland's Little Italy, sipping martinis and enjoying the Saturday night sidewalk show that parades up and down Mayfield Hill on warm summer weekends.
"There's your boyfriend."
"No, that's your boyfriend...I got the last one, remember?
The comb-over with the red plaid slacks."
"Oh that's right...I'm kinda diggin' the no-neck look anyway."
"Now there's an odd looking couple."
"They're holding hands...must be a date."
"She's cute, (except for the flowered pants). He looks like a gorilla."
"I wonder if they met on the internet?"
A mini-van/taxicab rolled slowly by, looking for a fare. A pile of stuffed animals decorated the dashboard and hip-hop from the speakers filled the street, overpowering the various strains of Italian folk music, opera, and Frank Sinatra, provided by the restaurants. The driver smiled and waved.
A few tables down, in front of Nido's, an argument was erupting. The scene could have been taken out of the HBO series "The Sopranos".
A handsome middle aged man dressed in an expensive dark suit had been sitting alone at the table. A couple of burly men in golf shirts eventually joined him. The conversation was low and we paid no attention until...
"I'm not putting up with no fucking disrespect!"
The big man stood up.
"Fuck you. Sit down." His partner responded.
In a moment the "F-word" accompanied by a few "mother"s were flying fast and furious and several people from inside the restaurant came outside to join the discussion.
All the while the elegant man in the dark suit remained calmly in his seat.
The excitement died down, the group split up and our waitress asked if we would like another cosmo.
Pity, there are only a few more weeks we can enjoy this kind of street entertainment before the cold Cleveland weather confines us to the indoors.