In fact, there are things about me and where I've been, things I've done, that I don't want to hear about.
She's not happy with my answer but, well, she accepts it. Me being the Man of Fucking Mystery, and all that.
She's standing in my living room, staring at my very lovely, very intentionally crooked abstract expressionist piece.
I painted it years ago, after I'd gone clean, one particularly bad night on the beaches of California's Central Coast, overlooking the village of Cayucos.
"It's about nothing. Sorta about Jackson Pollock. But a lot about Lee Krasner and my perceptions of their marriage..."
I can tell she knows nothing about either artist, about California beyond Disneyland and television, doesn't get my whole Well, see, I don't smoke weed because, like, I'll have to check myself into rehab bit, either.
Apparently, if you add in some White Russians and a joint, I'd make a perfect Ohio version of The Dude, given my lifestyle and the way my brain works. Sadly, I really don't see any similarities...
But she says she gets the nothing part. About the painting. My crooked, three-foot-long
She totally ignored the abstract form on the same wall, the one I'd, well, sorta painted using a woman's breasts. No sense in bringing that up.
"You know, you're the most interesting guy I've met in college," she says. "EVER. I can see why girls think you're a mystery."
She turns as I hand her a cup of tea. She was hoping for something harder, but, well, after last call on a Saturday night my apartment goes drier than an AA meeting in Utah.
The Dude may abide, but I hate hangovers just as much as he hates the fucking Eagles, man.
* * * *
She'd been drinking Crown Royal and Cokes at one of Oxford's lesser watering holes, a veritable swap meet of flesh. I could smell the blended Canadian whiskey on her breath as she talked, even a few feet away.
I'd offered her a ride home - it was her idea to come back to my place, just to talk. Her new roommate was wasted and probably going home with some guy from the bar where they'd been drinking away the start of the new academic year.
And she sorta knew me, or had seen me before, so...
She'd always wondered, she says, where the librarians around these parts disappear to at night. Or where the faculty go (they commute), or support staff (again, commute), or even the custodians go when the sun goes down...
In particular, she's always wondered where certain librarian bloggers go when they're not at work, or writing about Oxford Fucking Ohio, or...
* * * *
A knock at the door. She doesn't look away from the painting. She's been staring at it for a good fifteen minutes.
I open the door to find a guy in a print-pattern shirt, designer jeans, and flip-flops staring at me, wondering what the hell he's doing at this random stranger's apartment at well past four in the morning.
"Lose your girlfriend?"
"Um, I think so. Sorry. Are you Jason?"
"Yup. C'mon in..."
He's sober as a priest in rehab. He probably drove all the way over, wondering why the girl he's been seeing for a few months called him from another guy's apartment.
An older guy's apartment.
He's nervous. Not yet visibly upset, but obviously embarrassed and probably angry, too. I'd be all of those things, if I were in his shoes.
He walks the short corridor; the living room opens before him. And there she stands, beneath a strange crooked painting. He finds his girlfriend fully clothed, tipsy but not shitfaced drunk, staring at a wall.
And he seems relieved. I'd be too if I were in his shoes.
We're talking a seriously hot young woman here.
* * * *"Chica, your ride's here."
That snaps her out of it.
Whatever contemplation of those funny-sounding abstract expressionist names and colors she's been experiencing ends, that nothingness she's been pondering dissipates like a wet fart.
"Oh hey, baby. This is THAT Jason. You know, that guy from the-"
His eyes light up. He's recognized me. And it's not because he's always running into me at the library, either.
I guess I've made it as a cult-status writer.
Heh. Too funny.
* * * *"You're the Zenfo Pro Jason, right?" He shoves a hand my direction. "Holy SHIT! I love your shit, dude! Cracks me up."
"Yeah, _____ here seems to dig it, too. Cool chick you've got."
"Ha, she's your biggest fan or something. But I just read, fuck, when I'm bored. But she's like all over your shit."
I take his hand just as she turns her head. She gives both of us that annoyed look tipsy women often give when they're trying to concentrate on something important, like the meaning behind a painting.
Or, well, when two douchebag guys are talking about her in the third fucking p
"Cool shit, thanks. Glad I keep students entertained with my fuck-ups."
He makes a face. For a moment, I think I've offended him.
"Oh, fuck that! Dude! You fucking keep me awake in class..."
The boyfriend and I are soon balls' deep in a very man-centric discussion about being a single, smart guy in Oxford Fucking Ohio, the mystery of Cult of the Snake Brother harmony in such a small town, about Joe Nuxhall and Cincinnati baseball, Woodie Guthrie and Bob Dylan and bands like NOFX, the Pixies, and Nirvana ...
Yeah. My bad. Homeboy's girlfriend. Standing right there.
Not the best conversation to have, given the company. How rude of me.
* * * *
But she's fascinated, for some odd reason. She starts moving towards us, closer to him, leaning on him, listening.
The painting no longer interests her as much as the eloquent thoughts her beau's espousing, his knowledge of all these wondrous things. It's clear by the faces she's making and the way she's staring at him that this is the first time she's heard him in such an impassioned conversation.
And he's so enthralled in the subject matter that he's oblivious to the fact that he's become a much more intriguing work of art than any old painting.
Art, after all, is sometimes nothing more than a purple and pretty and squiggly thing, a manifestation of thought, sifted through a creative medium. It's the information contained, the thoughts inspired and the knowledge formulated in its manufacture and study that means something, something more than the aboutness of nothing.
I figure that's my queue to wrap up the conversation. Conveniently, I announce that, well, I'm kinda tired and kinda need to hit the sack.
The way she almost dragged that poor guy out of my apartment...
Heh. Too fucking funny.
* * * *Hell, I'm sure information can leave you waking up with some serious lower back pain, too. Maybe even a torn ligament.
Not sure if that's how the night ended for the Biggest Fan (trust me, I'm cracking up at how silly that sounds) and her rather cool boyfriend.
Not that I've ever experienced such a thing, mind you. I'd never, ever stoop so low as to let my brain and its infinite capacity for thought get me laid.
And no self-respecting
Or maybe it was the nothingness of the painting.
You'd be surprised what sorts of things some of those hot Local U. undergrads find fascinating at four in the morning on a Saturday.
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