Friday, November 2, 2007

Don't Talk To Strangers (Just Listen In On Them Instead)

I have never met either of you before but I came to know you both very well this afternoon without having even exchanged a single word.

I am a voyeur (auditeur?) of sorts ... in a purely non-dysfunctional way, of course; eavesdropping is sometimes just forced upon us by indeliberate means and uncontrollable environments.

Our ears are natural receptors and translators for audio of all kinds. Human language, English language, my language just makes it harder to not absorb try as you may. If only the rest of us had voice scramblers to protect ourselves from the other unintended listeners' personally referenced, personally calibrated, personally tuned-to-their-own-current-radio-me ears and, therefore, entirely unfair!, speech transmission decoders.

Listening by accident does sometimes make for a good story, however.

My "meeting" begins while I am sitting at a favorite Hyde Park cafe outside in the patio area during lunch time. You and you're companion, rather oddly, are sitting at separate tables. But you certainly are engaged in a very animated conversation with one another, and you certainly do seem to be enjoying one another's company. I gather you know each other from before today's lunch date.

I think he likes you.


He adores you.

But I know your type. Although, he might not yet in his experience.

Everyone likes you.


You are quirky and smart, you are attractive, you are energetic, you are of a certain highly sought after pedigree, and as a result the world is yours to do with whatever you please. You are very lucky. You, much to everyone else's disadvantage, know this, too. Assuredly, you do, because you're playing a certain game so very well today.

When you're counterpart asks you how you'll be spending your holiday vacation time you indulge his curiosity by offering your plans in painful detail.

"Well, I met this guy in one of my study groups. He has this place that you can't even get to unless you are flown in. It's on an island somewhere. I forget where but his family owns a resort there."

Your companion is silent. Perhaps a single engine of his own ego-plane just sputtered after receiving this information. But playing his next cat-and-mouse move ever so slyly he rejoinders,"Really? Sounds like he's got a lot of personality. So, he's your new Sugar Daddy?" Touche! Avec l'esprit!

"Ohhh, you know. I'm not so sure."

"What? Confused about whether you like him or not?"

"I dunno. Not really." You giggle your uncertainty, "I'm never sure about these things."

He's hooked again; chances suddenly renewed!

You have him.

Right where you want him.

Because you have been here so many times before, you artful dodger, you! This is your home field and you already have the play book memorized. You needn't cheat at the rules nor steal the opponent's game-plan. You don't need to; it's always been the same old strategy of jockeying yourself into position using that well-worn catalog of stock routines. Then simply: let the contest begin!

'People. They're just so predictable!'

Indeed, we are.

Your cellphone rings. You answer it very chipper because Caller ID says its OK to answer very chipper.


"What?? Who is this?" Oh, come on, you know who it is, "You're sooo funny! (pause) You've been trying to call me for the last six hours every way you can, haven't you? (pause) Well, I wasn't at my house. (pause) Maybe I didn't want to talk with you for twenty minutes..."

Forward march.

The conversation ends with a definite, "Maybe."

Back to the quarry at hand, though, "Oh, just some guy I met last weekend."

"THE guy? Island resort guy?"

"Nooo! Someone else. Hey, are you going to be here for another thirty minutes? I gotta run out and do something real quick! Will you watch my stuff? I promise I'll only be gone for maybe thirty minutes tops! Pleeeeease. I'll give you a dollar if you watch my stuff for just thirty minutes."

Your rates are the lowest of wages with the highest pay-off at stake.

He agrees. Of course, he does. Everyone agrees with you in your familiar Commedia dell'Arte. The same imaginary promise lies in wait for every single interested male or female who agrees to tread water for you: 'I will somehow, somewhere, some day get my due. Just be patient. Persevere!'

Maybe they will, too. Most likely, though...?

Now at this point, I must admit, I am curious. Not about the girl; I know her already. I've held her company for many years beginning back in my more puerile days when I played that game, too. No need to peek; I already know exactly what she looks like, shy of perhaps hair and eye color.

Nope. I want to see the Host.

Ah. Just as I suspected. You're good looking but not Good Looking. You've got decent floppy sandy colored hair. You're probably in a band. Or, in film school. Or, write poetry. You're arty. This makes you interesting. I'm being serious. You and I could be friends, I'm sure. But right now you're your own foil.

She is not sure what circle she wants to play in, ultimately, because she is new to her version of Planet Austin - you can pretty much bet on that. Her aura strongly suggests privilege. You can hear it in every finishing school intonation of hers. While she's busy discovering the different class-types, colors, creeds and breeds of humanity in her brave new world of youth and freedom you are the perfect categorizable and, therefore, representative muse for her.

Hello, "Sensitive Art Boy". Welcome to Princess's shadow box.

There's more. You're kind and gentle. You look like you can get broody and dark. That's NEAT! You're tolerant ... but also suspect. And you should be. I can tell you know better. But Mr. Lizard Brain is only hearing one word right now, "Tits!", and you've been nothing but Holy Sacrifice ever since.

This is a good thing.

No, I am not being sarcastic nor cynical.

Really. It's a good thing.

I loved playing this game, in fact, because it allowed me to finally home in on that precious concept of non-unrequited Love (in my mind's eye different than just requited Love...).

You, too, will eventually bore of this game if not become outright abhorrent of it, Art. The darling faces become reptilian and vague, a soup of pretty colors running into a puddle of nondescript grays.

Flirting is one thing, abuse is something entirely different...

Yes, I have been a Dollar-An-Hour Waiter myself (my rates are adjusted slightly lower to reflect the market at the time ;^).

It was fun, in truth, because soon after, when I finally learned the power of feigned indifference, suddenly that sad-sap's mantra of "Out Of Your League, Dude." became completely irrelevant and one, instead, of "Total Possibility." You see, beauty is its own beast when ignored, wanting in undivided attention it becomes turncoat against its wielder in their desperation.

The art of manipulation (induced by male or female!) works both ways regardless of looks, stature or anything else the TV Shows and "Culture" Magazines (or your very own brainwashed best friends!) school you to believe. It takes a long while to make a craft of it, truth be told, so one cannot expect miracles their first few test-runs out. Albeit, with a little patience... but I digress.

The Austin Chronicle was a good read today so I was able to watch the rest of the drama unfold much to my mild entertainment. Predictably, the half hour turned into forty minutes, then into fifty and then slightly over an hour went by.

She eventually returned, and he had dutifully not moved an inch.

(I believe the contract allowed him a full two dollars and change now!)

"Oh! Soooorrry! Were you waiting a long time?"

(Honey, you tell him! Try this syntax on for size next time: "Oh! You were waiting a long time! Soooorrry!" )

No love lost, though, naturally. Faithful servant to the bittersweet end.

After I finished my last drop of Americano (a Triple shot with just a splash of skim milk and brown sugar) I began the retreat back to my office. As I got up to leave the pretty creature caught my eye and smiled.

'Hi, Princess. Yes, I know you're there. We all do.'

But it was floppy haired, Art, that I turned to and winked at.

'Have fun, man; these are some of the best years of your life!'

No comments: