Honestly, how can normal people fall for scams?
I received an email from a woman we’ll call Valerie who wanted to meet me.
Why? Because I run the support group New Directions, which attracts loads of people. I was to meet her at a fancy restaurant downtown. She would donate $100 to our support group and pick up the tab.
I changed my clothes a few times so I would look attractive, finally deciding on a matching pants set with a black and white herringbone pattern. This looks a bit like birds taking off.
Carefully, I studied the map on how to get to downtown Philadelphia, and then drove my car to the SEPTA parking lot and listened for the ping of change as I deposited it.
Aboard the speeding train, I watched out the window.
I love to see the backs of houses with clothes swinging on the line. It is like a tour of Philadelphia neighborhoods, many poor, but wealthier as we neared Center City, as we call downtown in these parts.
Rarely did I get out of my “comfort zone,” so it was a challenge and I do love a good challenge.
Where was the Deming residence? My son and his family lived there. But I was too busy talking to myself, so I missed it.
Keswick Avenue came around. Often, I would attend concerts there, either alone or with Scott.
Bela Fleck with Taj Mahal. “I must take naps every day,” said Taj, whose real name is Henry St. Claire, Jr.
I would always doze off during concerts.
Now we could drink booze from our seats.
Nah. I stopped drinking when I started taking lithium for my bipolar disorder.
“Wayne Junction coming up,” announced the conductor.
Jefferson Station would be next.
I straightened my outfit.
One of the conductors took my arm and helped me off the train.
I checked to make sure I was headed in the right direction and swung through the gate.
Only one way to go.
My heels clicked on the sidewalk as I watched for the restaurant.
“I have black hair and brown eyes,” she had told me.
And there she was, Valerie, sitting outside “Portabella House.”
She was picking at a salad and stood up and shook my hand.
“Any trouble getting here?” she asked, kindly.
“None,” I said, smiling.
She thrust a menu in front of me, a large, colorful one, that offered venison.
“Venison?” I inquired. “Ever had it?”
“Never. Not that I’m a vegetarian, but the idea disgusts me. Those cute animals… ”
A male waiter with a black suit and white apron smiled at us.
“How’s the venison?” I asked.
“People tell us it’s very good,” he said.
“Well, as they say, this is the first day of the rest of my life, so….”
The dinner was delicious. A picture of key lime pie glistened from a picture in the middle of the table. Something I never ever eat.
I pointed at it and nodded.
“Oh, no.” said Valerie. “I left my credit card at home!”
“That’s okay,” I said. “I’ll pay with mine.
You pay me back when you get home. And don’t forget the $100 for New Directions.”
Scam. Took me a week to realize what had happened. What an awful word. Did I learn anything?
I believe so, but now I was in bed with a big bellyache from that key lime pie.