I was driving with Sophia today down the streets of LA when I noticed a couple, both in their late-sixties, on a street corner. They were waving flags. They seemed as comfortable with each other as any long-married couple. The woman, her hair still as blonde as in her Beach Boys California youth, was draped in an American flag.
“You should take a photo of them for Instagram,” she suggested. Ever since she found out about Instagram, she has been both amused and annoyed at my habit of taking photos in public.
“I’m driving,” I said. “I can’t take a photo.”
“Sure you can. Go slow,” she announced as she grabbed the steering wheel. “I got the wheel.”
“Are you crazy?” I uttered, as the car weaved. “I can get a ticket for this!”
The streetlight turned red, and I pressed on the brake to stop the car. I reached in my pocket for my iPhone. The case got caught on my belt, so I removed the phone from the case. The car windows were grimy with beach dust, so I pressed the button to open the driver’s window. It whirled down.
Sophia waved to the couple at the corner.
“Hey, over here!” she yelled.
“Don’t call them.” I said. “They might not want their photo taken.”
“They are standing on the corner dressed in American flags and waving flags, and you are worried that they don’t want their photo taken?”
The couple responded to Sophia’s plea, and they waved. The woman’s wave was reminiscent of a beauty pageant, as if she was still Miss West Covina riding a float in the 1969 Rose Bowl Parade.
I politely took their photo.
“Thank you!” I said.
“Who are they?” asked Sophia.
“I have no idea.”
The streetlight went green, and I turned left. As I rounded the corner, I was able to read a handwritten sign previously hidden from view.
Save America. Join the TEA PARTY!
“Oh my God. I just said “thank you” to members of the TEA PARTY!” I said, speeding away.
If you aren’t familiar with the Tea Party movement in America, you should read —
It is now 9PM. I lost interest in whatever political point I was trying to make.
Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. A day to think about love.
And as much as I hate to admit it, what could be more romantic than an older couple standing on a street corner together, misusing the American flag for some insane political cause?
How many years have you been together, Tea Party couple? Forty years?
In a year, my divorce with Sophia will be finalized. We didn’t make it to forty years. I’m alright with that, but I still envy the staying power of your love for each other.
More power to you, Crazy Tea Party couple. Continue loving each other. May that love soon grow a hundred-fold, even a thousand-fold, changing you from within, until you dream of draping that red, white, and blue blanket of compassion over us all.
Happy Valentine’s Day.