My first job out of law school was as a Legal Aid attorney in rural Ohio. My girlfriend Melissa (now wife) and I had bought a house in Columbus after she first got a job with a big fancy pants law firm. But my proletarian union job had a residency requirement, which meant that I had to get an apartment in Hillsboro. So I rented out the upstairs of an old home across the street from the Legal Aid office. It was beautifully redone, with a big fireplace and giant windows. But all I had to furnish it with was a futon, a dresser, and a folding table and chairs.
There wasn’t much to do in the evenings. There was a movie theater that I would frequent on hot nights as an escape from my air-conditionless apartment. Sometimes I would rent videos. And by rent videos I mean, walk down the street to the video rental store, peruse the racks, and pick out a VHS tape that I would watch, rewind, and return. Or, I could watch the teenagers cruise the downtown square every night around 7 p.m. And by cruise I mean, pile into pickup trucks and drive around and around and around the same block while hooting and hollering at each other and tossing beer cans out the tailgate. If Melissa came to visit, we would make a big night of it and go get surf and turf at the sole steakhouse. It was Melissa’s favorite place because, somehow, they had scored the last stash of Teem in the country, which Pepsi-Co had stopped making more than a decade earlier in 1984.
I needed a hobby if I was going to survive my two years of a long-distance relationship. One afternoon I saw Paulette, the office manager, knitting over the lunch hour. “Would you teach me?” I asked. “Sure,” she said.Read More