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Wren


The too too intense eye contact. The bull ring in the nose, yes, probably that. Plus she was left-handed – I have been known to be annoyed by less.

In many ways, easily counted, I must rank Barnaby’s Restaurant on Fairview among the few enemies of mine. Or, if not Barnaby’s, then its odious customers, definitely, who insist upon moving, prior to pickup, my trash cans, for parking nearly every Monday morning. And it’s all the same, to me, in the end – the restaurant, its customers – for how could it be that a single restaurant should attract so many thoughtless customers? It’s a coincidence too large to be swallowed, I say.

Enemy or not, though enemy it most surely is, I found myself at Barnaby’s – I know, I know – on a cold January night for one reason and the reason was this: It’s very near my house and I could get drunk there.

The laugh. That laugh would get old quickly, I’d wager. And the choice of St. Arnold’s Christmas ale. And the tattoo, I believed it was a tattoo, not a birthmark, peeking out from a t-shirt sleeve, the design looked cliché.

I was on beer number two or three or perhaps it was seven and I was people-watching, which is yet another bad habit of mine and not easily beaten. And this girl, over there, you can’t see her of course but she was there, I was listing all the many, many reasons I would not have been interested in her. Something learned from my mother. Like driving through a fancy neighborhood, my mother will say, “These houses are too big. I wouldn’t want one. What would you do with all that space?”

The girl, social etiquette be damned, came and sat down and said, “Dude, what’s wrong with your jaw?”

Too honest. That’s a biggie. Filters are required on people.

I said, “Oh. This? It’s a symptom of a condition I have.” For some things, some questions, you see, I have readymade answers, and she said, “Oh yeah? What’s this condition called?” and I said, “I’m ugly.”

The girl was Wren. You met her already in another post but when she came and sat down with me, I’d never met her.

O, how she stared at me, saying, “Ugly? Is that what ugly looks like?”

“Yes,” I said. “This is how it looks. So now, next time you see someone with it, you won’t have to ask them about it!”

We didn’t keep on talking about my jaw, however, and we soon found ourselves talking about books and movies and music instead. Wren was not familiar with every person I mentioned and each time I got to one of these, she pulled out a pencil and a slip of paper and she wrote it down.

T H O M A S  P Y N C H O N

C A P T A I N  B E E F H E A R T

M I C H A E L  C I S C O

There always comes a time when you have to leave. Like someone will come up to you and say, “Hey buddy, we’re closing. You have to leave.” This is what happened to me and Wren and when we got outside, it was snowing. In Houston, it was snowing.

When I gave her my phone number, she took out her pencil and her wadded slip of paper and wrote it down. It seemed wrong, weird, only I was not sure why, at first.

“These days, some people put numbers in their phones…” I said.

“Sorry, Ugly,” she said. “I don’t carry a phone. My neighbors always try and watch me over mine.”

Of course they watched her, and I should have guessed!

So that was it, I thought as I stumbled in the general direction of my house. You can always find something wrong with anybody, if only you are possessed of sufficient patience and determination to keep looking.

Comments

  1. OK, I don't know about Michael Cisco. But I did meet Cisco, the (former, he's dead now) president of the Oakland chapter of the Hell's Angels twice. Well, I *met* him once, and saw him again once when we were hired to spray Malathion on his Juniper trees. Malathion is bad stuff, but he had red spiders, and they are the worst.
    My bass player in the band I was in after High School told me that Captain Beefheart lived near Trinidad, which is about 20 miles north of where we lived, but I never found out whether that was true or not.
    You can often find what you're looking for if you look long and hard enough, so I try to be careful what I look for. And what you get good at. Be really careful about what you get good at, because you might end up doing a lot of it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think Malathion is the stuff my grandfather used to dole out. Apparently, they changed the rules during the Seventies that limited how potent it could be, and he had some of the older, more dangerous stuff that he used to grace acquaintances and family with when they had particularly bad bug problems.

      It's probably the reason that I have these weird nerve issues.

      I'm kidding but one should never joke about nerve issues.

      Delete
    2. Yeah, it's bad. The way I understand it, it works the same way as VX and Sarin nerve agents work; by interfering with acetylcholinesterase and causing muscles to seize up. All I know is that it knocked the shit out of those red spiders...

      Delete
  2. It's always good to have pen and paper though - and access to beer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Considering my relationship with technology, I ought to write everything down.

      Of course, maybe my relationship with technology is so bad BECAUSE of my relationship with beer...

      Delete
  3. A new romance in the offing? Don't let a little paranoia scare you off.

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    Replies
    1. I doubt that it's that. I've only been recovering from the last bad relationship for 6 years - I still need more time.

      Delete
  4. You can overlook a lot of things if there is enough beer. Sometimes enough needs to be 'quite a lot'.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I suppose that when you care about someone, the things that are probably flaws or quirks tend to be tolerated a little better. At least for a while.

      But alcohol probably helps, too.

      Delete
  5. That was actually kind of cute, aside from the fact that espionage paranoia seems to follow you as closely as the espionage itself does. People and their fears.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I don't know whether it is fair to hold people's irrational fears against them. Maybe!

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  6. And yet you still became friends. That despite all the beer!

    As to finding flaws, I've found them even in five star restaurants and top of the line hotels. There's always something.

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    1. That's true. I sound like a bit of jerk in this post. I don't normally look for flaws in people and things. or I'd like to think I don't. Maybe I do. But I shouldn't because heaven knows it wouldn't be hard for people to find huge flaws in me, and immediately, too.

      Delete
    2. Same here. I don't like to think I'm the kind of person who looks for flaws. I'm not the kind to complain.

      It all started in a five star hotel in Hong Kong. Our tour guide made a big point of telling us we were lucky to be there. I looked around my room to soak up the specialness. The beds were a little bigger. There was a bit more floor space. The view out the window... the slums across the street shouldn't really count. I lay on the bed. Quite comfortable, but it put me into position to stare at a crack in the wall. It was such a surprise to me that I started wondering about other such places. Temples, mosques, fancy restaurants, any chance I got to look in on something someone had labeled as luxurious.... Every single one had some obvious flaw or another. It makes me think there simply is no escape from entropy.

      Delete
    3. I heard a story on the radio a few weeks back about how Notre-Dame in Paris is falling apart. Apparently huge chunks fall off, but so far it's happened mostly at night so no one has been injured.

      Delete
    4. Exactly my point. No one can resist entropy.

      Delete
  7. I thought you'd given up the alcohols.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Diong better with that right now. It's been a trying few months, and some weeks go better than others. I can't write while drunk, but somehow, my writing is better when I am not on a dry kick.

      Delete
  8. I am an old Beefheart fan. Thanks for letting me dredge up some memories.

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    Replies
    1. Cool. I love Beefheart. He's the perfect mix of jazz, blues, and surrealism.

      Delete
  9. Romance? Friendship?? It's all good! Flaws, quirks? We all have and I don't think they're bad. That's what makes us all unique!

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    Replies
    1. True! I am so full of flaws that I have no right to focus on those of others. I messed up at work a while back and told everyone, "I'm just wanring you - this isn't the biggest mistake I'm ever going to make!"

      I still try and talk myself out of things sometimes by finding problems with people.

      Delete
  10. The logic/thinking of your mother reminded me of my mother-in-law. We were in FL once and suggested going to check out Sanibel island. Her response was why would you want to go there, the traffic is terrible. I got a good laugh from your response to that rude question about your face.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. People come up with the oddest things to convince themselves they don't want something.

      Delete
  11. Since am having trouble believing that SELF remains alive -
    why should i believe in your fantasticals??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some of my fantasticals are true. The ones about time travel and David Bowie, maybe not so much.

      Delete
  12. Um, dunno whether you are ofay with politics down under ... but we've had some chortles
    about the real life sexual shenanigans of the Politician "Barnaby" ... heh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A quick google search reveals your Barnaby makes some great faces and apparently likes women.

      Delete
  13. Wren definitely sounds like a character and someone worth getting to know better. I enjoyed the recap. You have a way with words and it agrees with me. Best of luck and keep us updated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Mr. Shife! I try to keep it entertaining and sometimes I almost manage it.

      Delete
  14. Replies
    1. Thanks. Only a couple people in my flesh and blood world know about my blog. I think Wren wouldn’t be embarrassed if she read this one about herself.

      Delete
  15. Your header is so del toro ! Xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It kinda is, isn't it? i know what I like.

      Delete
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    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As someone who has worked for nonprofits assisting people with HIV/AIDS for years, it is beyond me why anyone would go around pposting this kind of insane bullshit completely unsolicited on a stranger's blog - let alone multiple times as you have.

      I'm not sure what's wrong with you, but I encourage you to restrain yourself from doing so again.

      I'm deleting the other posts. Again, pull your head out of your spammy ass.

      Delete
    2. This person posted this comment a whole bunch of times but I deleted the rest. I suppose I shouldn't complain about traffic to my site, seeing as how no one reads blogs anymore, but c'mon...

      Delete
  17. I love that weird image craze.wren seems like a great persona.come out of ur closet and socialise with people craze.you told u stopped alcohol but it's OK once in a while.ha ha I love the way u replied .

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    Replies
    1. I liked the picture, too. It's been a long time since I went searching for new images - I'm basically just using old ones I've saved on my computer at this point.

      Delete

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