I had talked to her on the phone a half a dozen times. She was the dispatcher at a courier service our office uses. ~ WC here! ~ She was funny and smart and had a wicked sense of humor:

One of our drivers will be there when, not if, he can injure pedestrians, OK? It's in his contract, we appreciate you NOT clearing the sidewalk in front of your office.

There was also something sly about her. She seemed to know a lot about our business (we shipped and supplied office equipment in/around the Loop). WC also had the kind of laughter that reminded you of honey on warm bread, soft and sweet and not a little suggestive.

My friends thought I was crazy, but after a particularly fun phone exchange I sought her out. I took the el to the street and found my way into her business- part Taxi service/bicycle shop-part cube farm. As I wandered in between the honking, yelling and spandex I found myself in a back office where a number of pierced&tatooed folks sat at desks, screaming into their headsets while tapping on keyboards. I knew her as soon as I saw her:

sitting behind a desk in the corner-spiked auburn hair, neon yellow tank top and bright orange nail polish. She was discussing the Dow Jones with a customer while juggling racquet balls.

I didn't notice her wheelchair until I moved around the corner. I'm sure I stopped short and just sorta stared. That's when she dropped the balls and turned her shoulders my way, a quick appraisal of my suit and a squint of her eyes...she knew

Why are you here Brad? What did you think you would find here, bohemian slumming isn't your style is it?

I just stood there, staring over her head as if she were doing surgery or something private in front of me, and I tried to talk, "I just thought, I don't know, maybe you would want to do lunch or ...."

She cut me off, above the shins, Well, did you want to sit on my lap as I wheel you down the block? Does that sound fun? Does your Beemer fit this kind of prom dress and scooter?

I decided to just deal, so I looked at her, AT HER. "No, I don't have a car, I live in the city, so I do the el, mostly. I think we could walk somewhere, or whatever, I think it could be fun if you would decide to stop pissing all over me for coming here."

She stopped, a little surprised, and laughed. The crip thing blows you away, huh? She was leaning back in the chair now, more relaxed, squeezing one of the rubber balls with her right hand-contemplating.

"Yeh, but I'm fine now, does the nerdy geek thing bother you?" I tried to match her gaze with mine, her eyes were intense and green, electric.

Naw, it's how I pictured you. Sort of low budget Brooks Brothers. Where do suits eat these days, what's trendy enough? This was a yes, and she smiled, cause she knew I had caught that.

"We eat the poor mostly, but occasionally greasy Greek food as well. Can we get a Gyro close by?"

Oh, I think I can find one, I haven't been there in a while but I love blocking their public restroom....

Now this was the woman on the phone, easily worth the challenge...

The slightly tongue-in-cheek term for the addition of salt and lime to a shot of tequila.

Tequila is tasty, but harsh - the slow burn associated with downing an ounce of the stuff is enough to make one's eyes water and stomach churn, particularly if the tequila isn't the first thing you've decided to drink in an evening (and it never is). The salt and lime bookend the liquor, making it more palatable - the salt makes the tequila sweeter before you drink it and the lime removes some of the punch afterwards. Calling the condiments 'training wheels' is a simultaneous recognition that a. you're not the perfect drinker yet and that b. you're not insane.

Unlike the little wheels that kids put on their bikes, driving this particular one and a half-wheeled mexican monstrosity without help is easier served by taking one wheel off at a time - ditch the salt first, get used to that and then forgo the lime. You'll discover that tequila has a totally different flavor that might be more palatable to you over time.

The one advantage to the wheels apart from the help is that it disguises the flavor of truly awful tequila the way cranberry disguises the taste of well vodka at an open bar - start drinking the stuff for real and you'll suddenly realize that Cuervo just ain't doing it anymore and that your wallet is taking a severe beating. Whether that's worth it or not is up to you.

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