Sometimes talking just won’t do it.

At the table next to mine, there is a guy explaining something to his companion. She’s not buyin’. She has rocked back in her chair, her arms folded beneath her breasts, her long hair flowing and framing her pretty face. Her skeptical face. She’s nodding in apparent agreement, but the only one who believes that is the sap digging his way deeper and deeper. The dude’s a steam shovel.

I don’t know what they’re talking about and it doesn’t matter. She’s pissed off. He knows it and is trying to fix things. Not a syllable comes out of his mouth that doesn’t make things worse. She’s beyond pissed off, but she sits there, nodding. “Yes, yes, I see,” she is saying. “Just how big a jerkwad are you?” It’s a rhetorical question; at this point she is interested in him only for the stories he’s providing. She’ll have some good times sharing his excuses with her girlfriends.

So she sits, listening intently only for the ammunition, while he does a spectacular job making a jackass of himself. I know what I’m talking about. Jackass is my middle name.

They just left, she steaming ahead while he trailed uncertainly behind. “I can do better,” her posture said, and she was right.

Up until that moment I was in her camp. The dude was a schmoe. A spineless kiss-up buttercup. [Remind me to copyright that phrase.] But she knew she could find another boyfriend. I prefer people who aren’t so certain certain about things. My kind of folks are the ones crashing over the waterfall with no boat and certainly no life vest, the ones who wake up each morning with an intoxicating combination of anticipation and dread. Parents, I think, must feel this way. Artists do as well, I imagine. There are forces beyond your ken, beyond your control, that will, when you least expect it, sweep you over Niagra.

She cared not for the life flowing around her. The world is hers to control, and she will control it. When I saw that I didn’t like her any more, no matter how worthless her current companion is.

Maybe it’s not fair to expect someone to show their doubt and dread in a mall bar. Maybe she wakes up every morning and wants to roll over and sleep but there’s just so much. Maybe she has a fire that burns so hot it frightens her. I don’t think so, though. She walked out cold.

12 thoughts on “Sometimes talking just won’t do it.

  1. “My kind of folks are the ones crashing over the waterfall with no boat and certainly no life vest, the ones who wake up each morning with an intoxicating combination of anticipation and dread. Parents, I think, must feel this way. Artists do.”

    Coming up June 21: National Quit Your Job Day. It was invented last year by Dale Dauten, aka the Corporate Curmudgeon, one of the very few self-help-motivational columnists I can stand reading. The reason he chose June 21: It’s the longest day of the year. As he puts it, “If your every workday has come to seem to be the longest day of your life, if your every vu is deja, if you can’t watch the movie ‘Groundhog Day’ because it’s just too slap-upside-the-head real, then it’s time to quit waiting to get fired, to put down the crappy Bic office pen and just back away.”

    While for Jer, April 2th marked the beginning of the journey, June 21 makes a nice alternate for the rest of us.

    BTW, the counter looks fine now. Probably a temporary glitch.

  2. Damn! Another anniversary to remember? Well I don’t remember the exact date, but it will have been two years ago early next month that I stopped waiting to get fired and bid adieu to cubeville.

    Boy am I glad Janice has a job…

  3. No need to remember anything when you have the muddled calendar online. If you have an appropriate calendar application, you can even syndicate it and have it notify you when something changes.

    Quit Your Job day is now an official part of the Muddled Year.

  4. The fire I liked. While she was sitting and allowing himself to dig deeper and deeper, I was loving it. I’ve held that shovel myself many times. It was the certainty that annoyed me.

    You can read more about that certainty in tomorrow’s Piker Press. (I think the Editor meant tomorrrow, anyway.) Cover story.

  5. The hag editor of the Press said gloatingly that you had a gooder for the Press this week, and wouldn’t let me read it ahead of time. Looks like one more week where you make us look like just a batch of filthy pikers.

  6. Thanks. I was pretty happy with the way that one came out. Writing a short is on my to-do list today. I haven’t been writing nearly enough lately.

  7. /tongue-in-cheek


    I was enjoying the piker piece until I got to the Earl Grey. Pah! why do tea drinkers go on about that overly named bit of compost? I love to walk into a room where it’s being brewed – the air warmed by bergamot. But please, leave it in the pot. I relish that I like the smell, because those that don’t like coffee (coffee, (kau’ fe) n. drink of the gods, ambrosia. The only thing to drink in the morning. All other beverages pale by comparison.), and I believe Jerry is one, often like to complain, “It smells so good, I just can’t stand the taste.” Turnabout is fair play. Suffice to say, I don’t like Earl Grey and I don’t care who knows it.

    Oh, I enjoy a nice cupa Irish breakfast, or a good Darjeeling, now and then. I just hope it was Earl Grey those Bostonians dumped in the bay.

    As I side note – as I was looking up bergamot to be sure I was spelling it right, I came across belomancy; it means to fortune-tell by analyzing the random order that arrows are drawn from a quiver. Dictionaries are fun, and you don’t get that experience from the web.

  8. Hi Jes,

    Good luck with your flame war. I can’t wait until the Chai faction enters the fray.

    However, I do have to take exception to your statement that coffee is “The only thing to drink in the morning”.

    What about 8 o’clock (AM) bar specials?!?

    Beer … its not just for lunch, dinner, happy hours and nightcaps anymore.


    Beer … its whats for breakfast.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *