Monday, June 19, 2006

pity and envy

Someone taps my shoulder, and I start. More specifically, I choke on the sip of iced tea I'd just taken. The tip of the straw scratches the roof of my mouth.

I turn to see a strange man's grinning face, somewhere between a smile and a leer. He stares at me for a second too long, holding my gaze.

"I'm sorry?" I half-ask, half-apologize. Women do this. Apologize when there's nothing to apologize for. Once I apologized to a closet door when I bumped into it.

He's not unattractive, this man. In fact, he's pretty good-looking. Perhaps a bit north of my current age ceiling (31), but he has an intriguing grin and fierce eye contact. I'm a sucker for men who aren't afraid to meet my eyes.

"Will you join me?" he asks.

"Join you?"

"Join me."

It's a cafe at 4 PM on a Sunday. I wonder to myself, "join me for what?"

"Join me for a drink." The man actually answers the question I haven't voiced. Still kneeling on the floor behind the sofa, at my shoulder, he gestures to the bar behind us. "I saw you reading and you looked fascinated. Would you tell me what you are so interested by?"

I gesture to my book and say "I'm sorry, but I have to finish this for class tomorrow. Thank you anyways."

A total lie. If I were in fact reading The Black Atlantic, as I should be, then it would be true. Instead I'm reading The Man of My Dreams, the newest book by Curtis Sittenfeld, and have been having a three-hour-long panic attack because it is essentially the novelized account of my entire romantic history. He smiles ruefully and pats me on the shoulder. "Next time." Five minutes later he's bought some other girl a very fruity looking drink in a martini glass.

If I had a fairy godmother, this is the point at which she would flit into Tryst and smack me around a little. "EJ," she would say, "is not this this reason you tried on, like, five different shirts before you came here? Do you not want exactly this to happen-- a cute, slightly dangerous stranger showing interest in you?" She'd gesture to my top, which admittedly is both new and makes my boobs look really excellent and my hair, which I actually did in preparation for the unknown but possible. She's be spot-on, that nonexistent fairy godmother of mine. Not that I'd ever give her the satisfaction of ever telling her so.

I'm not sure why I felt the need to lie to him.
I'm not sure why I didn't join him for a drink.
I'm not sure why I'm thinking about this so much.

I pass up opportunities like this more than I should admit. If the moment isn't right, if I don't feel a tug of something new, provacative, I just can't muster the energy. I'm too busy treading the fine line between idealistic and all dead inside.

It's Sunday and it's hot and I can't stop listening to my "room chill" playlist, a playlist that includes songs like "Evaporated" by Ben Folds and "Gorecki" by Lamb and "Nobody Knows Me Like My Baby" by Lyle effing Lovett.

And I'm caught between pity and envy for those people who have it all figured out.


bettyjoan said...

Wow, great post! And who are these alleged "people who have it all figured out"? I have never met such a person. ;-)

Marci (aka Baby Banana) said...

I find that most of the people who I think have it all figured out, are just better than the rest of us at hiding the fact that they don't.

Lillian said...

No worries. Nobody actually has it all figured out--we make educated guesses at best! And as much as I'm going to hate myself for quoting John Mayer and acting like a pop start is full of deep insights, there's a grain of truth in the line "don't believe me when I say I've got it down..."

Lillian said...

And by "pop start," I meant "pop star." Although my typo could be the hybrid of a pop star and a pop tart, which would be pretty interesting.

sparkles anonymous! said...

Yeah, I don't think anybody ever has it all figured out either. Because what the hell would be the point of living, once you know all there is to know?

ejtakeslife said...

Wise people read this blog.

And Lillian-- "pop start" = "pre-tragic Britney?" Just a thought.

Marci (aka Baby Banana) said...

Wise, clueless people

Anonymous said...

Where did you get sweet tea? I've been looking since I moved.

Anonymous said...

Where did you get sweet tea? I've been looking since I moved here, I thought this whole city was devoid of the knowledge of sugar, water, tea and ICE.

ejtakeslife said...

Anon-- Tryst in Adams Morgan, natch. Personally I'm more of a straight iced tea gal myself, but it'll do.

HomeImprovementNinja said...

Don't even try to figure it out, just roll with it. A normal adult rying to figure out life is like a retarded kid trying to figure out the plot to a David Lynch movie.

Hey Pretty said...

Dude, you know this made Wonkette, right?

ejtakeslife said...

HP- I saw! And, um, I totally didn't yelp or anything like that. Who would be so uncool as to call their little sister and brag about it? Yeah... not me... right.

lin said...