Angelina, a friend after my own heart, has turned 40, and unfortunately the knight in shining armor has been scared witless and has probably choked on a spear (of asparagus). The boys are there, yes, but no boyfriend. One failed marriage under her belt, she’s rightfully skeptical of everything the spells men, boys, and grandpapas. As much as she puts forth a brave face in front of family and friends and declares she cares ‘two hoots’ for the institution of marriage, she does feel a strange sense of melancholy every time she spends time with her friends who seem content with their respective families, even though Angelina’s heart cringes when she sees Katie, her wild best friend Katie, flipping pancakes and throwing birthday parties for her kids, baking the cakes from scratch. Shudder! If only she could find a husband who’d be there in the cold wintery nights to cuddle with, cook food, one who would indulge her unquenched travel obsessions to exotic countries, and the one who might engage in deep romantic conversations that involve Theory of Relativity. Did I mention she has a doctorate and moonlights as a professor, apart from serving in committes that control the fate of Pittsburgh?
Living in Pittsburgh, there are only two kinds of people she encounters, the Pittsburgh native who can’t fathom leaving Pittsbugh or the people in transit who in their right mind wouldn’t want to live in Pittsburgh after their degree from CMU is complete. An average Pittsburgh man has two sets of clothes and both are the black and gold Steelers jerseys. The nicer one he wears during the super bowl game and the other one is worn proudly everyday. If all the people in Pittsburgh were to line up their Steelers Jerseys around the earth, I think it will go around the earth twice. But the only problem with proving such a fact is once the line of jerseys inches closer to the Western Pensylvania border, I doubt anyone from Pittsburgh would want to move further along the globe even if it is to make some well deserved world headlines. People here do not like to travel away from their comfort zone which includes two houses from their own home in that block. Moving zip codes is almost unheard of unless two people get divorced and everyone in the suburb knows the cause of the divorce. Pittsburgh people might leave the lovely city in search of jobs or whatever insanity, but invariably they come back to their hometown. Being so engrossed with their sports teams; it becomes exceedingly hard for Pittsburgers to devote time for any other activity other than lying on the couch and regarding the television with fondness.
So it is a miracle that our worldly wise Angelina even found a boyfriend in the vicinity. In some weak moment she would get attracted to some dude’s looks or bank balance, only to realize after a week that she needs someone who would take the Steelers less seriously and her feelings more.
Softly cooing into his ear, she wanted to know what was the last book he read.
‘In high school, I guess. Why do you ask?’
She dumped him.
The next one didn’t want to travel to Bolivia with her.
‘Why go to Bolivia when you can be in Pittsburgh? If you really want to go to a foreign country, how about Canada?’
She dumped him.
Being a hardcore liberal and vegetarian to boot, the last boyfriend tested the limits.
‘What are your hobbies?’ she asked casually trying to get to know him after some great sex.
‘Well, watching football and hunting.’
Worrisome indeed. But she attested that everyone is entitled to their own hobbies and like every woman she knew she could change him. She figured that the hunting rules are much simpler to comprehend. You shoot and, boom, your target should cease any activity it was performing by dying. That is much more than she knew about football.
‘Hmm.. Hunting? You have a er.. gun?’
‘Yes, three in fact. You should see my babies. Do you shoot?’
‘Yes, with a camera. I have three lenses. You should see my babies. Heheh. I just got back from Botswana and the camera really helped in capturing some of the animals.’
‘Yes yes. It’s in the Caribbean, right? You took pictures of dolphins?’
She decided to be polite and move on to some topic that involved Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. He seems to show some excitement by asking if they play in some bar on East Carson Street. So she tried to change the topic back to his original love.
‘So where do you practice, ermm…this hunting?’
‘On Montour Run trail. I hunt deer there.’
She dressed up quickly. A month later she left Moon Township (where she ran everyday in the Montour Run trail) and moved into the city where there are no woods. Needless to say she dumped him that night itself.
After many such car wrecks, her family decided to show some concern to her lonely state and decided to hook her up with people they thought would definitely work considering her desperate state. Till now her family didn't interfere. Her aunt took her aside and said, ‘I’ll introduce you to Roger. He’s been divorced thrice with 8 kids and is probably paying more alimony than what Bill Gates earns. He lives with parents, but the good news is that he has driven them insane, so they might end up in an asylum soon. You may meet him next week when he is released on bail.’
Now I’m wondering if I should introduce Angie to Karthik.