Honest Conversation Is Overrated
Actual Human Interactions Witnessed Or Overheard
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
There are several signs of becoming an adult. The physical signs: body hair, properly sized genitalia, relatively normal height, were very evident on every part of Tommy’s body. But there’s also the mental/emotional signs: having a full-time job, ability to form five or six consecutive sentences without using the word like, and emancipating yourself from your parents’ house. These were things Tommy was not up for yet. Shit, these were things that I, like, wasn’t ready for yet, and I was twenty-one to Tommy’s seventeen. And here I was, living in my mother’s condo (granted, she was living with her boyfriend), working part time at an Australian themed steakhouse called Kookaburra Canyon, and totally, like, not doing anything with my life.
My solution to the non-grownuppedness problem was to resume taking college classes. I enrolled at UMass Cranberry Lake, and began taking classes that would surely help me get a degree in No Good Job Can Come Of This. I signed up for UMCL’s infamous Psychology course, where every morning, a mumued, former psychiatrist would greet every class member by name, and compliment them on their hair/their clothes/their smile/their posture/whatever she could think of. Every morning I heard “Good morning, Adam, I like your shirt.” I was eleven shirt days in when I dropped the class.
The only other class I could take that didn’t interfere with my Australian steak delivering was acting. A class that was so educational, I took it three consecutive semesters. The first semester, my classmates were mostly British Au Pairs. I had recently cut out all of my friends who knew Ryan. Elvis was gone. I was pretty much down to my fuckbuddy Tommy, Saint (a guy I’d gone to middle school with), and the people at Kookaburra Canyon. After our third class, I was sitting in my car,debating whether or not I should try and get closer to the British Au Pairs, when I backed it into a car being driven by one of the Au Pairs.
“If you really wanted my phone number, all you had to do was ask.” Buffy said.
“Yes, but this way I can get your phone number and your insurance information, without seeming too needy.”
And for the next four months, I was tight with all the foreign child caretakers on Cape Cod. Even hosting terrible parties with entirely too much noise and alcohol to fit into my tiny condo.
“How come you never invite me to any of these parties?” Tommy asked during a particularly pensive afterglow.
“Uh…because I don’t want to go to jail?”
“For fucking a seventeen year old?”
“No. It’s perfectly legal for me to fuck you, I just can’t give you beer.”
Nevermind that he’d been smoking pot in my condo since the first day we met.
The subject was dropped, and our relationship shortly followed.
The last weekend before Buffy was being exiled back to her life in Suffex, I held a huge party and invited every non-Tommy that I knew. All the au pairs, all my fellow waitstaff, everyone in my acting class, everyone I worked at Camp Davis with during the summer, the guys at the CD store I most often frequented, Saint. Buffy had invited a group of Irish guys she’d met that day. They all showed up in a cab, and de-clown carred in front of my house. Seventeen. Seventeen Irish guys in one cab. One for every year Tommy’d been alive.
One of the Au Pairs was a somewhat obese, bald, twenty-three year old guy named Scott. I hate Scotts. This particular Scott had been making the moves on Buffy since he’d arrived in the states, a month earlier. He dressed all in black, and liked to play with Tarot Cards and Ouija boards in his alarmingly spare time. On the night of the party, he’d shown up with Buffy, wearing black jeans, an X-Files t-shirt, and a beret.
“D’yave a tarrow dek?” he asked in his overly British accent.
“I’ve got, like, playing cards.”
“Eksillent. Cood I haff thim pulees?”
He shuffled them around a few times, and began “giving readings” to anyone at the party who accidentally made eye contact with him. When it was Buffy’s turn, he began making a lot of faces at the deck, emitting the occasional “hmmmm” and “that’s intresteenk.”
“Wot?” Buffy asked. Her accent always accentuating when Scott was around.
“Ewe’ve alreddy met yore troo luv.”
He poked a couple of the cards with his fingers.
“Izzit Adam?” She asked.
I rolled my eyes.
“No. Itz someone ohldir. Someone cloas to ewe, but not, leyk, totallee cloas. ‘eez pretty big, dark ‘air, and”
“And he’s wearing an X-Files t-shirt.” I said, rerolling my eyes. And then I walked away to another part of the party.
Buffy and Scott were married a year later.
I was still single. In fact, I spent most of 1999 focusing on performing poetry. I didn’t meet anyone online. I didn’t call or see Tommy. I did, however stop doing my summer job at Camp Davis, and picked up a new part time job to help supplement my income.