I had a pretty good week of sightings in early June 2012, and this masterpiece I scored driving home from work was one of a couple sightings from the week that made this blog. I had just scored a decent traffic sighting moments earlier in the final mile of my drive home and was feeling pretty good as I pulled into my apartment cluster’s parking lot when from out of nowhere this silver minivan pulled in behind me.
I was looking in my rearview mirror and noticed two young and pretty female faces occupying the minivan but didn’t have much time to observe. I pulled my car in front of my building and they pulled into the lot of the next building over, no more than 25 yards away and definitely within my vantage point. I was getting out of my car craning my neck for a better look but was quickly spotted, meaning I had to get creative and look at them through the reflection of the glass door entering my building. What I saw was some random college-age dude climbing out of the backseat and two young gals in their 20s emerging from the front. The passenger was a very pretty and wholesome brunette in jeans and a yellow top…and the driver looked slightly older (perhaps mid-20s) and was a dark blond wearing a summer dress. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a good look at any of them but they both looked as wholesome as two young gals can be.
So I went up to my apartment, dawdled a couple of moments, changed clothes, and got ready for my afternoon walk. I headed outside and saw this familiar silver minivan in front of me and in front of the entrance of the building next door. The minivan had a bumper sticker reading “3;16″ which I think is some crazy biblical passage, and also had Story County plates, which is the county just north of where I live. The driver’s side window was cracked…and I was breathless with the anticipation that either of those girls could possibly be smokers given their pedigree. The minivan was VERY slowly pulling forward and I was stepping up my pace so as not to miss it. Apparently fate was determined to cross our paths that today as I caught a whiff of fresh cigarette smoke a split second before I was able to see that the driver had a long, skinny, freshly lit all-white between her fingers. Whoa!
I pressed forward and got another stinky whiff of fresh smoke and was parallel with the driver as she reached the end of the lot and making a left hand turn. It was the older girl (the dark blond in the dress) behind the wheel. I was looking straight at her….and she was looking straight at me. And she gave me the sweetest and warmest smile from her wholesome-as-all-hell face imaginable with a backdrop of a rising stream of smoke from her all-white 120 cigarette between her fingers. Holy shit! I think it was either a Virginia Slim 120 or a Misty 120…the kind of brand you hardly see anyone smoking anymore and especially adorable college-age girls driving around in vans with Jesus bumper stickers. After the smile, I tried to look past her at the brunette passenger, but she appeared to be texting and I did not see a cigarette. This connection felt so real with this smoker girl driver that I had a huge thrill from that limited encounter.
There was just one problem now….she was making a left-hand turn and I was going right. But considering there’s no good reason for her to make a left-hand turn because all that’s there is several more blocks of apartment buildings, I was wondering if they were going to another building either because they lived in another building (and were just dropping off the guy for whatever reason) or were some religious zealots going door to door (and thus explaining that biblical bumper sticker). With this in mind, I soon doubled back and headed the direction they went. Their minivan was out of sight so I had no idea where they went but for the next 20 minutes I wandered from parking lot to parking lot of other apartment complexes in the area.
Coming up empty after about 20 minutes of search I was about to give up but not before checking out the lot for the building where I lived from 2006-2008 which is a block and a half away from my current location. I wandered into the lot right in front of my old building….and there it was. The silver minivan with the biblical bumper sticker and Story County plates. Crazy to think these girls might have been stinking up my old apartment at that very moment. Whatever the case, I was kind of exposed here…walking through this lot next to their minivan when they just saw me coming out of a different building and knew I didn’t live there…..so I hightailed it home and then drove over to that building to sit in the parking lot for as long as I had to until they came out (and you know I’m just crazy enough to do that!). Unfortunately, I was too late…the van was already gone.
I went back many times in the weeks ahead and the van never did make an appearance. It appears the group’s business in my neighborhood was only temporary and was over shortly after my first observation of them. Even so, after nearly seven years of living in this neighborhood and coming across scores of smoker girls, I had a more satisfying one-second interaction with this most unlikely smoker girl than any before her.