Honest Conversation Is Overrated
Actual Human Interactions Witnessed Or Overheard
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
Some silences are beautiful. Holding your lover, as the sun comes up over the ocean. The middle of the night when you realize that you are laying next to the most important person in the entire world. The seconds after orgasm when words become as useful as copyright warnings on Kazaa. The silence between Scott and I while my mother drove us to the airport was entirely unlike any of those silences. This was the silence of two men walking to the electric chair. One of them was going to be pulling the switch. The other...wasn't.
"Have a good trip." My mother said, knowing full well that we weren't going to.
I presented my tickets at the counter, submitted to the newly created security measures, and handed my bags to someone I hoped was an employee. I handed Scott's bags to someone I hoped wasn't an employee. Unfortunately, both worked for Cape Air.
"The reason we have to take all your bags." The cheerless woman behind the counter explained, "is because weight distribution on planes of this size is very important. We ask that you don't take anything on the plane with you besides yourself, your tickets, and maybe a book or newspaper. We also may ask you to move seats depending on the physical properties of our otherpassengers."
So if someone "of size" came on to the plane, I wouldn't be able to sit next to the borderlineanorexic guy I was taking with me? How would I push him out of the plane if he wasn't within reach?
"The view is beautiful, isn't it?" Scott asked. That's right, keep looking out the window. If I kick you hard enough your skinny ass will go right through the glass and into the ocean. Just think, you'll be sharing your deathbed with a Kennedy.
We both survived the flight. Sadly.
Once on the island, we caught a cab to the hotel. "Do you want me to pay for this?' He asked. Let's see, I was supplying the hotel, the airfare, the dinner. Yes, I think I did want him to pay the ten dollar cab fare. This made him snippy. I had clearly picked the wrong guy to spend the weekend with.
Between when he'd picked me up at the bus station, and when we'd dropped his car off at my mother's, we had spent a half hour at his house listening to David Bowie and talking about how he used to be fat. The conversation bored me. I didn't care if he used to be fat. I would have cared if he used to be interesting, but that wasn't the case. He hadn't purged away the interesting part of his personality. He'd never had one. Hence we'd grown up in the same town, been only a year apart in school, yet I had never registered his existence.
"This hotel is great."
"Yea. The canopy bed is a nice touch."
"Do you want to watch TV?"
"Sure" Anything not to have to make small talk with you, Scott.
Every station in the country was still on 24 hour apocalypse watch. Even MTV was just playing Live's "Overcome" and U2's "Stuck in a Moment" over and over and over and over and over again.
"Oh, look, there's a minifridge in here. I'm going to go to the grocery store and buy a few things. Want to come?" I asked.
"I hope you don't think I'm going to put out this weekend."
The part of my brain that tried to connect my question with his answer, popped out of my ear and ran screaming for the ocean, where it gave itself a proper Viking Funeral. "I'll take that as a no then."
"I'm just saying you don't need to buy condoms."
"I liked you better when you were fat," I said, "and I didn't know who you were."
When I came back from the grocery store, Scott was in his boxers in the bathroom, admiring his body in the bathroom mirror. "You know I was kidding before about the whole not putting out, and the condom thing, right?"
Sure, Mister Mind Game. I've spent a month living with a spoiled narcissistic schizophrenic compulsive liar with a cute accent but no ass, your kung fu is weak. "Oh yea. Obviously. I would never seriously insult you for your old body size. I'm not an asshole." Luckily, he was in the other room, and I didn't have to make eye contact.
"So what do you want to do today?"
"I just want to walk around the island and check out the beaches, and the touristy little places." And if you're going to continue to be an asshole, I want you to cover your dick in snails and stick it in a lobster trap.
Our walk was mostly tolerable. It was Indian Summer (or Native American Warm Season When Most Schools Are Out, if you're going to be all P.C.), and the beaches were barren, but beautiful. We talked about our respective arts. Me, being a writer, he, a photographer. He was not very knowledgeable. I had studied photography in junior high, and I appeared to know more about it than he did.
When the sun went down, and the shops closed up for the night, we decided to stop at the restaurant attached to the hotel, The Tap Room. I ordered a Caesar salad, and a Coke. He had a Lobster Pot Pie, and a couple of beers.
"Hey, do you mind grabbing the bill for this meal?" He asked. "I didn't bring my money with me."
"How about I wait here, while you go up to the room and get your money? It'll only take about two minutes."
And we dived head first back into uncomfortable silence.