Sunday, October 28, 2012

It turns out I'm actually Steve Buscemi in "Ghost World"

"Oh my God! He just ordered a giant glass of milk!"

Well, that didn't turn out as planned.

"Tai chi, chai tea."
If you read my last post, you know that I was expecting to meet up with a young lady I'd met while in a behavioral health center. We'd exchanged several phone calls over the past two days, and she suggested meeting at a local Starbucks at 5:00 tonight. Long story short: I showed, she didn't. I got to the agreed-upon rendezvous about twenty minutes early and waited outside in the cold for her to appear. At the appointed time, I went into the establishment (side note: this was literally my first time ever in a Starbucks) and ordered a tall chai tea latte, largely because Lisa had recommended it in an episode of The Simpsons once. She was right, by the way. It was delicious. I sat at the counter and nursed that chai tea for about twenty-five minutes before heading for the door and beginning the long walk back to my car. Being a homebody, I'm not too familiar with the layout of my own city's downtown, so I parked rather ridiculously far from the coffee shop.

All the while, I could not help but think of a scene from the movie Ghost World. If you haven't seen it, the film concerns two young women (Enid and Rebecca) who have just graduated from high school and generally realize over the course of a summer that their lives are going in different directions. Before their friendship slowly dissolves, however, they do spend a lot of time hanging out together and snarking on the rest of the world. Just to amuse themselves, they pretend to answer the personal ad placed by a rather hapless nerd, Seymour (portrayed by Steve Buscemi), so that they can stalk him and see how he reacts when he realizes he's been stood up. Surprisingly, this prank proves to be a major catalyst in the plot, and the lives of Enid, Rebecca, and Seymour all change because of it. I do not know Helen's reasons for skipping our meeting. Maybe she has a perfectly good excuse. When I got back home, there were no new voicemail messages. I have decided not to call her but to wait for her to call me if and when she is interested in doing so. If that turns out to be never, then so be it.

I'm surprisingly chill about all of this. Hey, at least I got out there and made an attempt. That's more than I might have done six months ago. I can't call this a victory, but I'll say it was a tie. In the meantime, here's a relevant clip from Ghost World.

EPILOGUE: I just got a call from Helen. (It's so weird to keep calling her "Helen," but I want to protect her privacy and anonymity.)  I asked her what happened and she said she'd just had a really bad day and couldn't talk about it right at the moment, but she wished me luck in my return to work tomorrow and told me to let her know how it went. She was glad I hadn't taken it too badly. ("Good! You're still alive!" were her words.) So I guess we'll leave the narrative there for now. It's a long, strange trip, readers.


  1. 1. I am impressed that you have avoided Starbucks this long.

    2. Chai latte is delicious. (Tai chi, chai tea, aka I heart Lisa as well).

    3. Glad things are somewhat resolved there.

    4. You've made me want to revisit Ghost World. I still feel that Buscemi's best work.

  2. 1. Not a coffee drinker, so it was easy.
    2. It was indeed delicous. And Lisa is definitely one of my favorite characters of all time.
    3. I guess so. We'll see.
    4. I think it is, but there's a lot to choose from in his filmography. He's awfully good in Trees Lounge, too. But his Seymour character is very similar to my own life.

  3. 1. You ventured into the line of fire and survived.

    2. Emily's earlier comment about OK Cupid is spot on. Your writing skills would toss you to the front of the line as potential date material.

    3. Although Helen and you share some commonality of circumstance, there's no telling the level of discordance she's personally navigating at the moment.

    4. I haven't seen Boardwalk Empire yet, and I think you two are pushing me towards it.

  4. Hi, Damocles.

    I don't know when I'll be ready for the OK Cupid route. Maybe having some degree of self-esteem will be a prerequisite. I've met so many awesome people through online activities, but I've not had the good fortune to run into these kinds of people in my daily life, not at school, not at work, not in college. It's something I need to work on.

    I've decided to let Helen contact me if and when she feels she is able. If that's never, then it's never. I worry about her, though, and wish her the best. Underneath it all, she's a great young woman.

    And, yes, it's all about survival. Day by day. It's like a job.