Saturday, January 30, 2010

you've got alot of nerve (pt 6)

I walk out into the frantic world of sirens and people moving up and down the street. For some reason I feel safer out here than in the bar. I light a cigarette and look up at the sky. It's become something I do when I leave the inside. There are no clouds. It occurs to me, Rex never came to the bar, and I begin to worry that the mess I left him in the midst of, may not have turned out well.

I walk over to the pay phone outside of the convenience store next to the bar. I don't like cell phones and I refuse to get one. I figure I'll call Pete to see if he's heard from Rex. If not, I'll tell Pete to apologize to Rex for me. I'd try Rex myself, but I don't have his number and I don't want to get into anything.

There's a guy on the phone already. His head and shoulders are deep in the phone box. I stand behind him, as still as I can, but I'm drunk. Not so drunk that I'm drawing attention to myself, but drunk enough that standing still isn't the easiest of tasks. I try not to pry, but I can't help myself, so I listen to his end of the conversation. In a voice wobbly from nerves and anticipation he says, “Hello, yes, Mariela, my name is Dick, your profile seems perfect. We seem to both be in the same place. I would like to take you to dinner some time. Again my name is Dick. Give me a call. My number is 879-0973.

It can't be, I thought to myself. No way that this guy is calling . . . impossible. He notices my presence as if my thoughts were so loud he could hear them. He steps away from the phone and turns. Still a little hunched over, he looks at me, makes eye contact and straightens up. My eyes move around, taking in his facial features. I realize the man standing in front of me might be Dick Cheney. I'm pretty drunk and it could very well be Richard Dreyfus, but I'm pretty sure it's the real deal. He gives me a smug half-grin as he shakes his head in total disgust at my very existence.

“You've got a lot of nerve standing so close to someone while their on the phone. It would make someone think you're up to something or that something is seriously wrong with you. You're not a foreigner are you? You're legally in this country, right?”

“I'm as American as McCarthy, apple pie, and baseball,” I reply.

“That's good to hear. You just need to learn to respect people's space . . . their privacy.”

“Yes Dick. I'm very sorry. I'll try and do a better job of keeping to myself.”

“Good to hear. The phone is all yours.”


Dick straightens himself, upright, proud, and everything in its proper place. He is full of hope in the possibilities that personal ads offer and walks across the parking lot and down the street.

I pick up the phone, listen for the dial tone, then drop a pair of quarters into the slot. I punch in the series of numbers that will connect me to Pete. As the phone rings, I think about how we're defined by numbers, height, weight, age, social security, phone number. Our whole lives are marked by numbers. Time itself, just numbers that ultimately define our existence in the flesh, the day we're born, the day we die. Six rings, voice mail. I want to leave a long message about numbers and time, instead I say nothing and hang up. My thoughts feet obvious and irrelevant. Why bother?

Why bother with any of this? These connections that lead to so many wasted nights and dead ends. Disconnect. The line of communication simply goes dead. Sometimes quick and virtually unnoticed. Other times it's a slow and painful estrangement. The chaos of life can be so loud and overwhelming that it causes an anger to swell inside of me and so I must grow a beard and go into hiding. The speed of these modern times has lead to the dead eyes of addiction, the blindness of insecurity, the rise of the shaman of the prescription pad.

Then there's love. It's own noise and confusion, a symphony of brass and bottle-neck blues, it's own seductive language that leads us along like the Pied Piper's song, to a fairy tale promised land. At first it's always magic, and romantic notions, and then it turns deep and profound, commitments need to be made. Simply put, that's the fucking beauty of it, but it's that very thing that terrifies me, and is the cause of why I force myself to live trapped in the corner.

And I see all these people hustling, driving tense and aggressively, heading for somewhere, nowhere, lost and found. What are they all searching for? What do they want? Why do they live with so many secrets and lies? Going so far as to even bury their desires deeply underneath all of these secrets and lies we hold so dear.

No comments:

Post a Comment