Will sexy seniors stroke fires of economic rebirth?Feb 21st, 2013 | By Chris Bateman | Category: Bateman's Blog
This year it came early.
Tuolumne County enjoyed its annual 15 minutes of fame on Feb. 12, when a woman, 72, and a man, 62, were caught by the cops naked and having sex in the back seat of a Ford Taurus. They were cited for indecent exposure.
That the couple was nabbed in broad daylight (1:45 p.m.) in the very visible, very public parking lot of a popular Sonora barbecue joint, gave this story legs – which coincidentally were among many body parts visible through the car windows.
Within 24 hours, the “news” was all over the Internet and in papers up and down the state. Sacramento TV stations carried the story and even the Huffington Post, with more than 43 million monthly readers, picked it up. The tale, one county resident heard from a Midwestern friend, even made a tiny North Dakota radio station with maybe 43 monthly listeners.
Website comments piled up faster than flies on fresh manure. “Go Granny go!!” cheered one. “The officer should have cited them for being awesome at their age,” second-guessed another. “Stop! In the name of love!” reprised a Supremes fan. “You never know when the little blue pill is gonna kick in,” opined an amateur pharmacist.
“Maybe the AARP will send a pro-bono lawyer in their defense,” guessed a legal scholar. And, observed one self-appointed wildlife biologist, “There are several cougars and a few snow leopards on the prowl in Sonora, although daylight encounters are rare.”
“We’ve gotten calls from Sacramento, San Diego and everywhere in between,” said Sonora Police Chief Mark Stinson, who had enough news sense to put the incident on the department’s Facebook page. The frisky couple, he added, has “drawn more attention than we’ve had since the flying Burrito Supreme.”
That loaded tortilla flew in 2010, plastering a patrolman with lettuce, tomatoes and refried beans. The hurler, an impatient women that the officer had been questioning at Sonora’s Wal-Mart, was arrested for assault. The incident not only went national, but was named “Taco Bell Crime of the Week.”
Which seems to be the way it is in our neck of the Mother Lode.
We never make the national news by winning Pulitzer or Nobel prizes. We don’t cure cancer, broker peace, discover cheap, clean energy sources, invent labor-saving devices that change the world or write books that give millions of Americans a new outlook on life.
Instead, we sue each other over the paternity of puppies, get arrested for snorting toad slime, repeatedly report seeing Big Foot, won’t let a high school kid play basketball because his hair is too long, and – Holy Harper Valley PTA! – gang up on a local mom because the skirts she made for the grade-school cheerleading squad are way too short. All this, of course, makes the Big City news.
When a local cop shot himself in the foot while showing a reporter the department’s new sidearms, the late, legendary Paul Harvey made sure we yokels made his radio show. When blackbirds snatched the wig off a shopper’s head at the Sonora Safeway, the wire services snatched up the story just as quickly. And when Russian cyber-raiders commandeered the local Farm Advisor’s Web site and offered “Porn Tryouts” and “Orgy Machine” instead of “Begonias for Beginners,” all of California found out.
Since this trend is unlikely to change, we should probably make the best of it.
Consider this: The two seniors caught in flagrante delicto have already been lionized by at least half the online commentators. “If they were my grandparents, I would be PROUD,” wrote one. “This is what family legends are made of,” echoed another. “I have just found my two new idols,” gushed a third.
That the backseat lovers, according to those at the restaurant, carried on for nearly 30 minutes and looked much younger than their actual years only enhances the story. (And doubles the county’s annual quota of fame).
So is there something in our foothill air or in the Tuolumne Utilities District ditch water we drink that enhances libido? If so, let’s get the Visitors Bureau and Economic Development Authority on it.
Touting Tuolumne County as the headwaters of a fountain of sexual youth could, pardon the expression, pump millions of dollars into our economy.
But maybe it was just the chicken.
“Some people are saying it has magical properties,” laughed Rachael Shevlin, owner of Doc’s Barbecue and Burgers on Sonora’s Stockton Street. Doc’s, of course, is where the soon-to-be-passionate couple met.
“They both ordered chicken,” said Shevlin, who wasn’t at all bothered that the sweethearts were hitting it off. Until, that is, they paid up, retreated to the woman’s Taurus, and didn’t have the time, inclination or discretion to drive five minutes to an even slightly more secluded venue.
“I called the police,” Shevlin confessed. “I mean, they were parked right out front and people were looking out from the restaurant and going, ‘WHHAAT?’ With customers coming in and going, I had no choice.”
Since then, the incident has been a nonstop topic of conversation at Doc’s and, Shevlin says, has brought in more than a few new customers. One driver heading south from Oroville detoured miles out of his way to see the restaurant – and eat the chicken.
Which just might drive would-be diners, lovers, and strangers in the night (or day) to other local restaurants. And a few of them just might – as the couple in question did not – take advantage of one of our many comfortable, cozy and private motels. They might then stay another day to browse and spend in our charming shops.
Given the potential economic stimulus the parking-lot lovers may bring to our community, I urge the district attorney to drop all charges.
Instead we should offer them a token of our appreciation. Like, perhaps, a gift certificate for a night – or an afternoon – at the local Best Western.
Chris Bateman, 66, is a journalist based in Sonora, California, where over the past 40 years he has covered everything under the Central Sierra sun.
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