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Friday, October 31, 2003

The Gods Smile

My story here begins in the middle. I am walking through Northern Liberties, late at night, going home. I get to a fork in my path. Should I take the train, and do my walking in West Philly? Should I continue walking, and get the bus? I decide to flip my token. I have to figure out which side is heads and which is tails. I flip poorly, it flies out of catching range. I pick it up, it's tails. Then I have to remember which option tails is. Tails is continue walking to the bus. So I do. The token has a plan.

I walk past a cop car, with its brake lights on, parked on the sidewalk. As I pass, I look in the window. There is a jacket there, giving the outline of a police officer, but no officer in sight. Same as last time. At a red light, I walk by a car with two girls in it, making eye contact briefly. I wonder what I would do if they opened their window and talked to me. Never happen, of course. Just idle thoughts.

I get to Walnut, and see the bus turn off of Chestnut to get ready to go around. Fantastic, I think. Another 5 minute wait. I turn the corner to head to a perch to wait for the bus. As I do, I notice people across the street, who also notice me. Two females. One calls out "Hey, sweet-boy, come over here." I ponder briefly. Why not? So I cross the street. There I meet Donna and Kirstie. Donna is the person who called to me. She has her leg on a parking meter. Stretching her hamstring, I am told by an amused Kirstie. Donna immediately puts my arm around her and starts talking at me. She is medium height. She has light brown hair with natural-looking blonde highlights. She also has gorgeous green-blue eyes. She is American. Kirstie is English. She is shorter, pale, and has dyed black hair. She also walks with a slight limp.

We chat. Donna says I should go with them. I ask where they're going. They say they don't know. One of them suggests that she needs a drink, and I say "There should be a Wawa down Walnut." "Isn't he nice!" coos Donna. She also calls me adorable. Often. We get into Kirstie's car. It is an SUV. It has a back seat, but I am invited to sit in the front, largely, it appears, so that Donna can sit next to me/in my lap. Which she does, also resting her hand on mine. We come across a 7-11 before the Wawa, so into it we go. Donna is apologizing, calling me a "poor boy," and asking me if I'm okay. Over and over. It is quite apparent that she is "This CD fucking rocks!" level of drunk. My bus passes. I don't mind. This is far more entertaining than being home a little while earlier. Still, the "are you okay?" questions just keep coming. Donna asks "What's your first name?" For the third time. She also offers to give me a ride. I decline. I don't have health insurance, and riding with someone who can't remember my name after the fourth time in 10 minutes seems a bit much of a risk.

The conversation outside the 7-11 is an attempt to figure out what is going to happen next. Donna keeps calling me a "poor boy" to Kirstie. Every time she does it, I tilt my head slightly, pout, and repeat "poor boy." I am drunk-baiting. It is painfully obvious that Donna wants to take me home. I am easy. But even I have basic "coherent enough to remember my name" standards that she has fallen short of. She is disappointed that I do not take her up on her ride-home offer. Being a nice boy - "he's so nice!" - I figure out a compromise. I could use some company at the bus stop. If she wants to be around me, she can wait with me.

The conversation that ensues is bizarre. Donna and I are both talking to Kirstie. She is drunk enough to comprehend Donna, but sober enough to comprehend me. Meaning she can remember my name - "Rowan, it's a strong name!" Donna is clever enough to realize that I'm drunk-baiting, and starts calling me mean, and swatting me lightly with her purse, then alternating and calling me "adorable." She eventually asks "Are you one of those nerd boys?"

How to answer? I pause, and say "kind of, but I self-identify as geek." She's too drunk to even notice. She has decided that I am too "adorable" to be a nerd, I think, but I'm not quite following her thought patterns. After about 10 minutes, she says to Kirstie "We should get a cab!" It should be noted that Kirstie has parked half a block down Walnut Street. Yet, the cab is called. Some argument ensues. First, Donna must convince Kirstie to get into the cab. This accomplished, she turns to me. I am confused. "You're just wasting your money. You don't need a cab. I don't need a cab," I say. So, she closes the door. As she does, she shouts "You're adorable! I love you!" With a smiling shrug, I shout back "I'll never see you again."

The cab drives half a block down Walnut, and stops next to Kirstie's SUV. Kirstie gets out, sees me, shrugs at me, and gets in her car. Donna gets out a bit later, pays the cabbie (what? $.30?) and gets in the SUV as well. It drives away.

I have to wait an extra half-hour or so to get by bus. But for a story like that? Worth it. Thank you, token.
- Rowan Kaiser, 4:30 AM
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