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Denice’s version

My friend Pamela encouraged me to put myself in some social situations centered in common interests. I was feeling social to a point but motivation for extroversion was limited. At the time, I was content with my days and night being filled with my pets, my home, working, watching movies and reading, and visiting friends. I was enjoying peace and liberation in my life. So I thought about what I liked to do but I didn’t think much about doing those things in a group or organized setting. I usually avoid those.

After learning what Pamela suggested my friend Laurel sent me a link to a web-based common interest community called www.MeetUp.com. I wasn’t interested in groups but the concept was new to me and I was curious to learn what in the world all these people around the world were doing. So I poked through the site. Not that I’d be pursuing anything, but one should have an understanding of what’s happening around them you know.

Only my photography interest had an organized group. A bunch of people interested in cameras and photography called Seattle Flickrites. I looked at the member pictures and profiles and they seemed diverse in race, gender, age, and profession. Their next MeetUp was in two days, Thursday night April 27th. I emailed Pamela the link and she replied, “You better register and get yourself to that MeetUp on Thursday night, girlfriend. Life is short!” I showed up at the designated place at the appropriate hour figuring I’d give it an hour.

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It was a warm Thursday night in April, the 27th to be precise. The trees were wonderfully green and I was going to be extremely social this evening. When I got home from work I knew I was late, and I knew I would have more than one drink. Checking whether I would be able to get a bus down to Belltown I realized that that would just take too long and involve way too much walking. I might actually walk all the way. That would probably be quicker, too. In the end I decided to take my bicycle.

For those of you who don’t know what meetup.com is, it’s a website that helps people with similar interests to meet up in meatspace (real world.) Anyway, this evening I was going to two of these meetups. The first one was for “New People in Town” in a Mexican restaurant in Belltown. I went there and after two Margaritas I went on to the second one. A meetup for flickr users being held in Typhoon! on Western Avenue by Pike Place Market.

As I walked in there were not very many flickr people there. Brenda, the organizer that evening, and two or three people I had never met. Fortunately even a lone flickr meetup person is easy to spot. Look for cameras on the table.

Right after I had managed to order a drink somebody walked in and said “You must be Brenda” and Brenda responded “You must be Denice.” I looked at Denice and thought “wow!” But I was on the wrong side of the table to strike up a conversation. I thought I might try a bit later. In the meantime lots of other flickrites dropped in and we started to fill up our table, and the one next to us. I did my best in interesting two young ladies in the fantastic world of photography, but I failed miserably. As the evening went on I finally changed to the other side of the table and got myself involved in a conversation with Denice and a few other people. Although I was quite drunk at the time I do remember that I found Denice very attractive, and I brought up all the Swedish Chef stunts I could think of to make her laugh (thanks, Ras, for forcing me to be extra Swedish.) And then Typhoon! closed. As I got on my bike to cycle home I took a slight detour to get a chance to say goodnight to Denice, something I questioned later trying to bike up Madison. But as I struggled there I thought to myself that I should wait a few days, and then send her an email through the meetup site.

That turned out to be unnecessary. The following day I got an email from Denice where she asked me if I did remember her, and she added some extra information to make sure that I would know who she was, not that that was necessary, mind you, but anyway. Then she asked me if I would be interested in going biking with her because there was, strangely enough, no bicycle meetup in Seattle and her friends could no longer handle the 30, 40 or 50 mile trips (although she added that she didn’t train a lot and never had owned a pair of bicycle shorts). I thought it sounded like a nice, albeit slightly scary, idea, so we managed to agree to the Sunday after next.

Finally the 7th of May was here, and I was going to get to know a new person. We had had a bit of email contact since the initial one, and I was convinced that Denice only wanted a bicycle buddy, and to be perfectly honest, I was feeling the same way. When she turned up I asked where we should go, she suggested either a bit north of Seattle (Mount Vernon) or south (Orting.) I had checked the weather forecast and north seemed like a better option so we headed up to Mount Vernon. Once there we started out on a trail that could be either 20 miles, or you could go longer and do 48 miles. We decided that we should start with the 20 miles and then see how we felt when we got there.

Well, when we got there, after being rained on and blown at, we both felt that we could go on a little bit farther. Denice jokingly said that it would be nice to have a glass of wine, rather than the energy drinks and snack bars we had brought. Within 10 minutes after that we came across a house in the middle of nowhere that had two signs on it. One said “wine tasting” and the other said “open.” If you believe in faith, that is what put that little house in our way. It turned out to belong to a couple that owned a vineyard farther up in the Skagit River Valley, but we got ourselves some wine.

After this unexpected pit stop we rode straight into the wind. Denice let me in on the secret that there were two aspects of cycling she was not very fond of and as a result not very good at. Those are uphill and head wind, and here we were in a headwind of big proportions. I used all of my leg strenth to propel not only me, but also to give Denice a boost. After what felt like an eternity we got to a bend in the road and got a more side wind heading along the water.

Then we stopped for lunch. We picked up our lunches. Denice had a chocolate bar (or something like that.) I had two sandwiches, some fruit and trail mix. I gave her one of my sandwiches, and we split fruit and trail mix. Somehow we ended up very close and in a spur of the moment I kissed her very slightly on her cheek. Denice did not pull back, so I tried again, and soon it was as in the song. “How lucky can one man be? I kissed her and she kissed me.”

After our little lunch we continued, and the trail offered both uphill and head wind, and I can honestly say that if you haven’t trained a lot, don’t cycle 50 miles on your first outing. And if you do, don’t do it on a mountain bike. It hurts. But, what the heck, it was more than worth it in the end.