Honest Conversation Is Overrated
Actual Human Interactions Witnessed Or Overheard
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
The most boring date in the world would have to take place in a museum. It's a Saturday afternoon, and a singer and an author, each with a penchant for witty one liners, are too tired to come up with anything funnier than a yawn. Due to a diabolical scheme by the MBTA to throw off their chemistry, they both arrive late. Author arrives first, sits on the steps of the Museum of Fine Arts, and writes fanmail to a person he doesn't respect. When Singer shows up, full of sunshine and apologies, Author smiles, and the two head into the lobby.
There are more Greek Gods and heroes on the ceiling than Author could fall in love with in a week. Singer knows them all by name, and what errands they've run. He mentions he's an art snob, and when Author mentions something about not remembering which face goes with which psychological disorder, Singer says only "Tragic."
Tragic is the word of the day. The haircut of a passing off-white trash boy is tragic, as is his outfit. Author's inability to tell Picasso from...someone who clearly isn't Picasso is tragic. The lack of one liners during the date is tragic, as are certain works by William Shakespeare. When enough hours pass, that the only thing either guy can say of an entire hallway of paintings is "flowers," the date has turned tragic, and it's time to go home. First, they spend some quality time on one of the hard benches trying to be catty about the passing tourists, but only managing to sound like Lemurs: docile, vegetarian, and endangered.
The day grows more tragic by the moment.
On his way to the date, Author is accosted by a solatic, a crazy person who's affected by the sun. This is the first day of sun in over and a week, and this particular crazy lady has decided to take some public transportation, armed with some red, white, and blue flowers, and her mole. Author is sitting innocently on a bench, one of the few things he can manage to do innocently. He has his headphones on, and is writing a love note to someone he doesn't even like. As his pen spits out the phrase "penguin lust", solatic places a blue carnation on Author's book. He looks up at her.
"This is for you." She says.
He smiles, and says thank you.
"I just ask for a small donation to The Memorial Day Fund."
While this pisses Author off, he pulls his small wad of cash out of his pocket, and separates two ones from the pile to give her. She seizes his ten dollar bill, and says "This will do."
He does not let go of the ten. Yanks it out of her hand, and stuffs it deep down in his pocket.
"Please sir. Think of the children. This is the time of year when they need remembrance, and gifts, and some of these kids don't get presents or stuffing or turkey. Orphans, sir. Ten dollars will get them meals for a week, and aren't the children worth just ten dollars?"
Author wants to smack the mole off her face. Memorial day is about remembering soldiers, and while most of them are too young to be fighting battles for the Republican Chickenhawks with yellow ribbons where their brains should be, none of them are actually children. And gifts, stuffing, and turkey, are from an entirely different holiday. If there's a food associated with Memorial Day, it's grilled hot dogs, or hamburgers. Author would tell this all to her, if he weren't afraid it would encourage her to keep pestering him.
"What's wrong with your face?" Solatic asks. "It's so ugly."
Here he is, on his way to the first date in three years that didn't call for lube, condoms, and pseudonyms, and some crazy bitch has Author worried that his face is covered in zits, shaving cream, blood, or postage stamps. With no impending mirrors between bench and date, he decides to interpret her comment as "You look mad now, and I want to fuck with you because I'm insane." This satisfies him. Almost.
He sees her again on his way home. He thinks of some things to say to her, and some things to throw at her, should she reapproach. She, wisely, does not.
He spends the next day trying to get out of third person. Author is such a pretentious name. I make plans to go to a poetry slam, which can only be nearly as boring as a museum. It is. The highlight of the night is a talented, drunk girl who has written a poem in response to my poem about bad poems. Eventually, all poetry will be about poems about other poems. The art form is on life support, and someone keeps kicking at the plug. After I've won the slam, the world's hottest slam singer gives his hottest performance in a couple of years. I'm starting to get drunk because Already Drunk Girl is buying me whiskey drinks. I'm not going to catch up with her, though. She's won $50 in Sacajawea coins, and has already spent most of that on whiskey and beer. She writes a love note, folds it into a paper airplane, and floats it to the stage. It hits a bewildered spectator who opens it up, reads it, and then gapes at me, as though I were hitting on him. He doesn't believe me when I point to Drunk Girl, and during the break starts a conversation about the guys he'd fuck. "I'd fuck Axel." He says. "But only for the story. It's like Justin Timberlake. Fucking him would lead to me getting to fuck girls. Of course, I'd have to wear gloves, and a raincoat, cause that poet is a grimy little fucker."
I wouldn't fuck Axel with a dildo and a radiation suit.
"You, I'd fuck." He says. "But I know you're a top, and I'm not into that."
Of course he's not. The only people into me are drunk girls and underage boys.
I duck out of the reading before the hack who is currently going by "His Holiness, The Righteous and Powerful Van Tyll of Boston" can maim the mic. I am greeted by another passive aggressive note on my door. I'm $1.50 behind on the rent. One dollar and fifty cents. A buck and a half. I leave a stack of pennies, dimes, and nickels in front of Landlord's door.
There are three messages in my voice mail. One Mom, one female, and one male asking for a favor that doesn't include the prefix "sexual". Tragic.