Not that I really give a shit. Hell, it's my life and, well, I'll do with it what I please. I'm not much for doing things the proper way, anyway.
It's much more entertaining, actually, to be a complete and utter fuck-up.
* * * *
I fall in and out of love six or seven times a day, 365 days a year, seven days a week.
I can pass a woman on the sidewalk and fall madly for her in under 10 seconds, breaking myself free in under five. I can make eye contact, debate asking someone out, plan a seduction in my head, and then call the whole thing off without ever saying a single friggin' word.
There's that cashier at the Wally World, the one with the nice smile. She's probably no older than 22, probably a completely shallow girl with a mean-ass boyfriend, a closet full of skeletons and assault weapons under the bed.
But, well, she has this enchanting smile, this slightly asymmetrical way of acknowledging a man - her subtlety could melt the Devil's pitchfork.
I'll think about her as I drive home, wonder what's behind that smile, what's really underneath that blue department store apron, and... completely forget about her by the time I'm putting the frozen veggie burritos and the sugar-free cranberry juice cocktail into the fridge.
And then there's that skinny little thing I seem to always pass on the sidewalk as I stroll home after work.
It's the green eyes and the way her eyeshadow glistens in the sunlight, the way her bangs just cover that left eye slightly. She looks down every time I make eye contact, and, instantly, I begin wondering what her bedroom smells like, what kinds of things we may have in common, whether or not she could tolerate my obscure musical tastes.
And then I pass her, get to the door of my apartment, and forget the whole thing, only to be reminded of it the following workday.
And those are just the ones I remember.
I'm one of those guys.
And it's not pretty.
* * * *
A server down at one of the ol' local watering holes grinned this impish grin as I closed out my tab.
She'd been observing my behavior as I sat at this table, surrounded by a group of unemployed aspiring high school teachers, all heavily intoxicated women, in Oxford Fucking Ohio for a statewide job fair at the Local U.
Every time she'd pass by, the server would shoot me the most curious looks as I tried to be polite to this one woman, a short brunette from Akron, who'd asked me to join the post-interview party.
At one point, the server even came over, bumped my shoulder with her hip, and made some reference to the fact that I'm often seen around Oxford in a cowboy hat. The intoxicated brunette then proceeded to ask me if this was true, if I was an actual cowboy, if I owned a horse, or if I'd ever been to a rodeo.
Annoying to no fucking end.
After the group left, I sat back down at the bar, went back to watching Jeopardy! and chatting away with some of the other regulars. When I got up to pay, my Cuervo - to - blood ratio thoroughly satisfied for the evening, I asked the server why she'd been shooting me the bizarre looks all night.
"I just dig your style. Very smooth."
"I have a style?"
"C'mon. Every guy has a style. Yours is just more entertaining. And that chick was totally into you."
I remember wandering down the alley, towards High Street, smiling probably the dumbest smile imaginable, my mind full of such strange, stupid thoughts.
"I have a style! And it's smooth! Holy fucking shit, dude!"
It's amazing how one remembers such things, even after several shots and about a half-dozen mixed drinks. And it hadn't even occurred to me to get that aspiring teacher's phone number, much less ask her name.
Yup. One of those guys.
Dense as a brick on the surface of Jupiter, as clueless and mysterious as the Bermuda Fucking Triangle.
* * * *
The Italian backpacker and I were sitting upright, naked and cross-legged, in the middle of the bed.
As she flipped through old copies of Esquire, asking me questions about George Clooney's personal life, about my opinion of America's Oxycontin epidemic and the Iraq War, I studied the mechanical and architectural renderings of my library renovation project, scribbling notes about camera placement, smoke detectors, and anticipated shelving problems.
Despite the lust and raw passion, I still had meetings to attend and deadlines to meet that week. My ultimate employer, the Ohio Taxpayer, wouldn't accept well, gee, I was in the middle of a damned tryst as an excuse for further delays, and my immediate supervisors probably wouldn't, either.
I was trying to balance way too many things at one time, on very little sleep. I had no desire to quit my job or give up on playing that Ugly American fling. Every afternoon I brought my work home with me, had sex with a wonderful woman, studied blueprints, and then fell asleep in between Southern European flesh and rolls of cold, heartless paper. My work - play - work routine apparently annoyed my free-spirited house guest.
Rather than just say something, she stretched out across the blueprints, back arched and yawning, and sprawled her nude body across my paperwork like some spoiled house cat.
In six hours, I was to attend an important meeting, to use those same blueprints, to pitch a security plan, one to help insure that my institution's patrons and collections would have some level of systematic protection.
And there was a naked body crinkling the broadsheets, covering the new private research rooms with breasts, scrunching up the main corridors with elbows and ribs.
She was, in the end, just being a 19-year-old on holiday, in some strange guy's house in some strange country, looking for attention. And I was just being, well, a guy.
At first, I protested. And then she did that swirling finger thing on my cheek. I tried to resist, to be serious, to be professional and responsible...
Quite embarrassing. And even then, well, I was too old for that shit.
Oh, for fuck's sake.
Who am I kidding?
You know, I still don't care that there's some guy in Europe, some race car jockey, who may read this one day, put a "nice librarian I met in Ohio" story together with a relationship's ending a few months later, and want to blow my damned head off.
Hell, if he'd known how to read blueprints, had suffered through grad school, and had really neat old black-and-white movies in his villa, they may very well have stayed together...
* * * *
I'm one of those guys.
And from what I've been told, only an idiot would ever expect me to grow out of it.
Any idiot, of course, includes myself.
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