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Quick and Easy

I met Ann at a speed-dating night at McDonald’s that was advertised as “Dinner and a Date in 5 Minutes or Less.” I knew I’d want to see her again when I peeked up from checking my text-messages before our date, just as she peeked up from checking hers. After our bell rang, there was no looking back.

We had a whirlwind courtship; both of us already had very busy lives, so finding time to see each other proved difficult. When we plugged each of our previous commitments into a computerized scheduler, we found that the first time we could spend a whole evening together wasn’t for another three months. But we quickly realized that neither of us liked to spend an entire evening with anyone. Instead, we scheduled a bunch more five minute dates.

The next day I met Ann for lunch at the hot dog cart at the corner of 57th and Broadway, and the following morning we stood in line together at Starbucks for coffee. Soon we were e-mailing, texting, and even leaving voice mail on each other’s cell phones. We were both surprised at how quickly we became intimate. Soon there was furtive groping in elevators between appointments, and more passionate trysts in laundry rooms, stairwells, parking garages, and even once in the mattress department at Macy’s. The more risky the location, the more exciting the encounter was for us, and we were always much too quick to be caught.

We seemed to be made for each other. Neither of us had ever had a long-term relationship, because everyone we had been with before had wanted much more of a commitment than we were capable of making. But with Ann, everything was quick and easy. We had so much in common. We both never bought more than 12 items at the grocery store, so we could always use the express check-out lane. We liked the same brand of microwave dinners, and flavor of Power bars. We shared a favorite taco stand, and used the same Quik-Printer.

After we’d been dating for a few months, we realized we were both scheduled to have a layover at the Las Vegas airport on the same day. We rendezvoused at the Chapel of Love, made our vows to have and to hold, listened to the Elvis impersonator who performed the ceremony sing “Love Me Tender,” and then consummated our marriage in the back of the cab on the way back to the airport to catch our continuing flights. When we returned to the city we moved in together, which saves us a lot of rent money, and really doesn’t impinge on our lifestyle in any meaningful way, since we’re almost never in the apartment at the same time.

I make a living by writing stock recommendations for day traders. The most conservative of my clients might buy a stock in the morning and sell it before the closing bell, but most of my customers don’t hold on to any stock for longer than a few minutes. I feed them a constant stream of business and news abstracts, that help them decide the exact right second to buy and sell a company. They’re too busy trading to be able to fully keep track of what’s going on in the world, so they rely on me to send them just the most important details of the news. I’m one of the leading analysts at my company IN (Instant News). We have hundreds of abstracters who read all the news stories of the day as they’re coming over the wire, and distill the most important items down to one paragraph. Then a few dozen abstracters will distill those paragraphs down to a headline. Then a few senior analysts like me distill that headline down to one word that our clients can use to make their investment decisions. For some clients, even one word has become too cumbersome to deal with, so we’ve instituted a pilot program where they’re wired to a circuit that periodically gives them a positive or negative electric shock. If this product tests well, we’ll develop a way to send those shocks wirelessly.

Ann jets around the globe giving business seminars. She is renowned for her “One Minute Sales Seminar,” which teaches salespeople how to close a sale in one minute or less. She’s also written a series of best-sellers including, Sixty Second Stress Management, Be a Hero in Five Minutes or Less, and Solving World Hunger on Your Lunch Break.

Ann has taught me so much about life. She’s sent me links to some of the most wonderful YouTube videos. She’s shown me how to make my hair look perfect with gel when I don’t have time to shampoo. She’s taught me that I can get by without a belt, which saves me several minutes a day when I’m dressing, and is especially useful in getting through the security line at the airport. But most of all, she’s taught me to live in the moment, because every moment counts. Especially when I’m with Ann, who uses a special timer to keep track of every moment of her day, for billing purposes. So goodnight Ann, my love. I’ll meet you next Thursday on the platform for the 5:04 p.m. Lexington Avenue uptown express. We can be together – very, very, tightly packed together – until I have to get off to catch the 42nd St. cross-town local.

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