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.