We're down to just the barflies tonight. One of them is overwhelmingly proud of proclaiming, at the top of her lungs, of how much she hates television that makes her think. Another pair listen, nod, and argue over who gets the next round. I'm sitting in the adjoining room, drinking my oversized beer, listening, and wondering. The loud woman has just proclaimed, for all to hear, that Suze Ortman's financial advice is "right, but fuckin' boring."
What can I add?
The music adds a slightly psychotic counterpoint to the overheard conversations. In the last few songs, we've moved from Public Enemy, to Jerry Lee Lewis, to Smashing Pumpkins, swirling between classic, merely slightly old, and closer to new. None of it brings up any real associations.
I don't know what it means.
I'm nursing my Chicago-brewed beer, thinking of the parenting class we attended tonight. The nurse running the session sprung upon us a collage of fresh-from-the-womb newborn horror photos. Soon came (in her words) a "rainbow of poo shots." Later, we watched a very "after school special" dvd telling us we, it seems, should not shake our baby. I can only assume she misplaced the "don't dry your infant in the microwave" shot.
I wonder where the sense and sanity might lie.
During today's "don't be late" class lecture, three people walked in late. Two came to me after class, desperately pleading for my assistance. We scheduled appointments into the non-existent holes in my fully packed schedule. Later on, I found myself surprised that I was surprised when they didn't show up.
Is the surprise a good or bad sign?
Some newcomers camp out at the pool table in the back. One of them is setting up the rack while extolling the virtues of fried food. Fried broccoli, it seems, particularly "rocks."
I sip and wonder.
I'm full of war stories tonight. If my friend, who works out of town, actually stops by as planned, some of them might be bartered across the table over alcohol. We'll look at each other, take sips, and exchange the glances exclusive to those of us who finally know, finally understand. Maybe our knowledge will drown out the Michael Jackson playing out of the back table's cell phone speaker.
I stop and ponder hope.
The couples at the pool table are talking slurs. My eyes limber up for the obligatory roll when they bring up "retarded," and I tune in. It's not what I expect. One tells another "just be proud you're young and smart and still care enough to call them what they want to be called.'
I pause. I reconsider. My hand cramps, so I put down my pen and contemplate the next drink.
This is beautiful.
It was a strange yet wonderful night. The weirdest thing is the people playing pool. I was sitting at the back table writing in my little notebook, and when the pool players left, one of them, on the way out, wished me a good night.
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