My car was in the shop and I couldn’t afford to reclaim it until I cashed my paycheck at the end of the week. I was riding a bike to work that Al Silverstein had lent to me. It belonged to his daughter but she didn’t use it much anymore.
I came out to the bike rack at five – this was at Warners – and Anna was standing there, staring at a flat front tire. Silverstein’s daughter’s bike had a pouch behind the seat. I unsnapped the cover on it. Inside was a patch kit and bike tools. A pump was clipped to the frame.
“I’ll fix it for you,” I said.
I had seen her around visual effects but had never met her. Didn’t know her name yet, or anything about her. She looked at me as if she had heard of me – as if, for a second, she was debating whether it was worth it to say yes. But she nodded.
I fixed the flat, caused by a copper tack, pumped up the tire, turned the bike over to her. We left the lot together and both headed for Riverside Drive. She was in better shape than I was and riding a better bike and in no time, without a word, she was out of sight. I pedelled on and had made it to Mariposa when I saw her coming back. She crossed over to me and rode alongside.
“That was rude of me,” she said. “Thank you again for fixing my tire. I’ve got to get up to Glendale. I’m just in a hurry.”
I thanked her for being thoughtful and told her to go on, and she did.
The next day I walked through her department and saw her working on a storyboard at a computer. She didn’t look up as I passed. That evening, her tire was flat again. Another copper tack.
“Is someone building in your neighborhood?” I said. “Are you riding over by carpentry here on the lot?”
She shook her head.
“Somebody angry at you?”
She didn’t say no.
“From now on, you might park it in your office.”
“The hiring manager doesn’t allow it. He’s a jerk about it. I’m on a contract and if I make a fuss, he won’t call me again.”
“I can fix that for you.”
“You have quite a reputation around here.”
“Then park it my office,” I said.
Once again, we left Warners together.
“Can I buy you a drink on the way home?” I said.
“I don’t drink and drive, even on my bike.”
“Can I buy you a drink after you get home? Assuming that you live within walking distance of a bar or pub.”
“Let me ask you something,” she said, while we waited at a light. “Do you have a bottle in your bedroom?”
“Well, have a drink on me. I do have to hurry again.”
The light changed.
“At least give me a smile,” I said. “I haven’t seen one yet.”
“Give me a reason,” she said.
And in a blink I was pedeling alone again.
That was our meet cute.