Gerald was LC jr.’s best friend, dating back to their high school days. They went to the same college and spent most of their weekends living the good, bachelor life.
LC jr. had the looks but Gerald had the personality, the ego, and the confidence to start a conversation with anyone. He parlayed those qualities into a successful career which allowed him to live a luxurious lifestyle. He was always stylish, wearing Italian suits with expensive, matching shoes to work. His casual look of a t-shirt under an Armani sport coat with linen pants was just like the detectives wore in the popular television show, Miami Vice. He had the five o’clock shadow, Ray Ban sunglasses, and hair styled exactly like Don Johnson.
LC jr. visited Gerald shortly after leaving his wife, hoping to discuss his business idea and avoid the conversation of deserting his family. He pulled up to Gerald’s 4,000 square foot home, fascinated by the perfectly landscaped yard. LC jr. exited his car and noticed Gerald in the garage. The garage had carpet.
In a surprised but excited tone Gerald welcomed LC jr.
Hey, Pal! Get over here.
The two men shook hands and patted each others backs, agreeing it had been too long since they had caught up on each other’s lives.
Listen, man. I’ve left Victoria and the kids. It’s not something I really want to spend a lot of time discussing but I just had to get out, had to try to make something of myself.
Oh. Well pal, I. Gosh, what are you going to do? How did Victoria take it?
It’s pretty surreal, to be honest. It’s like she expected it or something. She didn’t even argue, didn’t shed a tear. Nothing. I guess she figures the kids are old enough that I’m not really needed much anymore.
How old are your kids now?
LC is 11, [name] is eight. Like I said though, if it’s not any different to you, I’d rather not talk about it.
Sure pal, no problem. Hey, check this out.
Gerald picked up a large black block that resembled a brick, only lighter. He pushed a button and what sounded like a heater kicking on, huffing and puffing to generate warmth, began to clammer.
This remote control will heat my driveway. Isn’t that amazing? I will never have to shovel snow again. Or, pay someone to shovel snow.
Gerald beamed with pride over his new contraption and LC jr. was happy for him. Deep down, LC jr. enjoyed shoveling snow from the driveway and sidewalks. He loved the workout and the fact that he could go outside with a sweatshirt, hat and gloves and in minutes be warm enough to not notice he wasn’t wearing a coat. But he couldn’t deny that a heated driveway was pretty impressive.
So, what else is new buddy?
Well, I’m planning my next move and since I haven’t had a corporate job, I know it’s too late to get into a traditional job.
It’s never too late.
Well, it may not be too late. Let’s just say, I’d rather start my own business. My plan is to start a car service.
A car service? Like, a taxi cab?
Well, sort of. Except I’ll drive luxury cars and not those yellow vehicles. My thought is to cater more to the professional, someone who wants a little more comfort than a yellow cab offers — without having to rent a limo.
LC jr. was hoping Gerald would forget some of their adventures from high school and college; back before MADD and SADD influenced – rightly so – the enforcement of drunk driving laws. The two would take their dates to the drive-in movie theater with a 12 pack of beer and their dates may have had one beer each. In two hours, Gerald and LC jr. were pretty well hammered, often times too drunk to even make a pass at the ladies. Whoever was driving was given an assist by the other, signaling when to slow down, when big curves were coming up, when the car was drifting across the yellow line. They luckily always made it home safely and didn’t cause anyone else to have an accident.
One time after finals, which happened to end at 11 a.m., the two packed a cooler and headed out to White Oak park. They spent several beers reflecting on the semester, their final exams and what they were going to do over the weekend. They mingled with the hippies, which led to more beers and more contemplation, thinking beyond the weekend and more about life – their goals and expectations.
Gerald considered going into the restaurant business his family owned but only out of obligation and guilt. He didn’t want to work every weekend and holiday, but he didn’t want his family’s business to end when his father was ready to retire. And he certainly didn’t want his father to work until he died.
He hoped that majoring in electrical engineering would have indicated to the family what direction he was going with his future but he was certain his family was going to force him to have the “I’m not doing this” conversation. Gerald always was sure of himself, but after having that conversation what he gained in confidence he lost in sensitivity. His parents were disappointed that he wanted more out of his life and that disappointment didn’t sit well with him. If he wasn’t going to care what his parents thought, he wasn’t going to care what anyone else thought either.
LC jr. wanted to be an entrepreneur, something no one in the late 70’s, early 80’s did. He lacked everything that was needed to make that a career – he was scared of failure, he was introverted, he was at times, lazy.
Huh, so will you sit outside hotels and take business from the yellow taxis? How will you get your passengers?