Thursday, July 22, 2010

Letter to Someone Who Will Never Read It

I don't like most people.

One day, I saw you.  You had what I would call "classic American beauty and style" -- the kind not seen so much these days.  The name "Bettie Page" sprang to mind.  Your hair was in a short bob style, with thick bangs in the front -- something most people can't pull off.  I liked it.  And that was interesting.

I heard you call in your order.  Distinct accent.  I liked that, too.  And that was interesting.

I had to get to know you.  But you were working, and you seemed to take your work seriously.  Not someone to want to be sidetracked by a random dude.  (And that was interesting.)

On another day, I saw you again -- I don't know if you would remember -- I was walking down the hall, you were standing at the end.  You smiled at me.  I hadn't seen you smile at anyone before.  I smiled back, but kept walking -- you were on the job again (and I am kind of dumb).  But still... a smile.  And that was interesting.

Eventually, I saw you at a party.  You were dressed head to toe in black.  And that was interesting.  You came up to the bar to order a drink.  I'm never good at breaking the ice with people, but there's a time and a place for everything, and this was my time.  So I went over and we had the following conversation:
Me: "Can I buy you a drink?"
You: "No."
Me: "Oh-kay."

And then I went back and sat back down with my friends and pretended that the last 15 seconds had occurred in some alternate universe that nobody ever need know about.

Later, we were all finishing our drinks, paying our tabs and getting ready to leave. I stood up to leave and turned around.  You were standing right there.

You: "Are you leaving?"
Me: "Yes."
You: "You can stay and have a drink with me."

The tone of this statement suggested that it was a command. I would stay and have a drink with you.

Me: "Oh-kay."

I have long since suspected that my answer of "Oh-kay" to your original "no" was, in fact, the correct response. During the remainder of the evening I learned that your life consists of someone hitting on you roughly every 15 minutes and not taking "no" for an answer. I have never before seen someone get down on one knee just to ask a girl out. It must get annoying after a while.

So we hung out.  You told me about how you didn't understand American fashion.  You were at a store, looking at clothes, and two other girls were there, staring at you and whispering to each other, and you felt like an outsider.  And that was interesting --

Let us detour a moment and discuss "strong" versus "tough".  Tough people simply do not feel the barbs and stings of day to day life.  Maybe they are oblivious.  Maybe they just don't care.  Whatever the reason, they don't deal with social pressure because the thorns of life don't reach them.  Tough people are hard for me to relate to.

Strong people feel all the thorns, but power through them through force of internal will.  From your story, I gleaned that you were not tough; you were strong.  Things bother you, but you are strong and can get through them.  And that was interesting.

Everything I learned about you made me like you that much more.

Anyway, we hung out and chatted a bit and arranged another day to hang out some more.

At the beginning of that day, you told me that you were not interested in a relationship. You were here on a temporary work visa and the status of an extension was in question and you just didn't need to get involved in a relationship. You said there was no real option for staying in America, and that there was no way an American would ever marry you, and you quickly changed the subject.  I was too baffled at the time to respond.  Later, of course, I thought of a number of very good and thoughtful and sincere responses to this.  Why wouldn't an American marry you?  I'm pretty sure you were wrong about that.  Alas, I did not think of these things to say right there on the spot (did I mention I am dumb?). At any rate, I had a very good time and a great conversation.

There are a number of things I would have said if I was a clever person and had thought of them on the spot, and not weeks later.

I wish I was a clever person.