It’s not that I’m a bad catch. I’m kind and sometimes funny and I posses useful kitchen utensils and running water and other trappings of success. I own a business and a vehicle and access to the internet.
It doesn’t generally bother me that I’m the sort of person who will sit at a bar and eat an entire pint of ice cream with a plastic knife in under nineteen minutes, letting it drip stickily on my twin social barriers of iPod and crossword puzzle.
I must admit that I have a devastatingly peripheral, meaningless obsession with a man with more important things on his mind than my presence at the bar. I can’t overlook the fact that he purposefully turns away from me when he stands next to me to order a beer. It doesn’t hurt me; he is equal parts stunningly memorable and instantly recognizable from behind thanks to his haircut, or lack thereof. He looks like Serpico and in my Fantasy-World, I’d barge into his personal space and present him with a leather vest and a bucket hat and a cotton-fringed poncho and parade him around town only stopping our crime solving to leap into the air, grainy fist raised in self-adulation, frame freezing with inches of air under our feet. My minimal efforts to communicate with him have both been met with a supreme display of disinterest that would rival any crooked cop’s attendance at an ethics seminar.
What happens when artists and dreamers collide? I pay very close attention to the goings-on of the house around the corner from me. It is inhabited by Jack and Ruby, two quiet, local hipsters with a shared penchant for domesticity. On a daily basis, I am afforded seven blissful seconds when I pass them on my way to and from various jobs. I was there when Jack and Ruby donned t-shirts and jeans and painted their house a brilliant turquoise. I was privy to their tomato planting last April, my drive-by occurring at the very moment they were erecting a large hand-fashioned trellis that matched the cream-colored trim on their newly painted home. When they brought a picnic basket onto their front lawn, I was there even though, at that moment, they weren’t even aware that they lived on a busy through-street. My favorite glimpse, however, was the time I turned the corner and Jack was sitting on a stool on the front porch dressed in a smock with Ruby giving him a haircut. A boombox was playing.
The world is an amazing place. I like to watch it unfold around me, sitting at a bar with my headphones on and my crossword puzzle going and my ice cream and my plastic knives. I’m actually quite infamous for my behavior at bars. Last night a man approached me at Bowbarr and said these words, “I’m, like, totally married and shit but remember you got stumped on your puzzle like a month ago? The answer to ‘Dickens humble Yes-Man’ is Uriah Heep.” That’s right. He totally did that.
There is a staggering difference between being alone and being lonely. But no matter how alone you feel, there’s always someone paying attention, whether it’s someone dressing you up in movie costumes in their mind or someone looking up the answer to 24-Down and keeping it in the back of theirs until they see you again.
Alone together with You,