This town is now officially too small.
I was putting up more event posters around town when I ran into Ray in, of all places, Japantown. I haven’t seem him since… July, I think. For no real legitimate reason, really, except that time-honored tradition of different schedules, and separate lives. I still text him and talk to him on Facebook, but we’re not hot and heavy like we used to be. Oh, I’m sorry: I totally did not mean that homosexually. Or maybe I did. Anyway, going into 2012, we hung out nearly every weekend, if not nearly every day. Also, I briefly thought I was in love with him — wait, I’ve written about that, right? It happened in Vegas. (Of course.) Things were predictably weird after that but soon enough we hung out like usual; that is, until I moved in with Clara, and got this new job.
If I had been a few years younger, say, in my mid-twenties, I might have swerved to avoid him. (No wonder so many women, and gay men, prefer the May-December thing.) Instead, I listened to my first impulse, which was to call out to him in happy reunion. “Hey,” I cried.
“Well hello sir,” he said, as in old times.
We shot the shit about this and that. He’s gunning for a promotion. How I’m loving my lower-paying but soul-gratifying job. There was no mention of previous drunken confessions.
From Japantown I ended up in the Tenderloin. The hell? Well, in Japantown, I was targeting cafes for posters about an event we’re having that concerns San Francisco history following World War II. Japantown is part of a larger neighborhood known as the Fillmore, or Western Addition, and the shared Japanese and African American history intersected primarily at World War II. Ah, see! The mind of an events coordinator.
Don’t ask me what I was doing in the Tenderloin. I was not selling my body or otherwise trying to get fucked up. Go to my store’s online calendar of events for this week and try to guess why in the world I would think that I could do outreach in the Tenderloin of all places. Bet you can’t. That’s why I got this job, bro. I got this.
It was nice seeing Ray again but I don’t know when we’ll hang out next. Maybe he’ll call me up one of these days to invite me to his wedding. Who knows. It seems like no matter what I do to grow up, someone else is buying a house. Getting married. Having babies. It’s as if God were playing a cruel joke: Joe, when you are small, I will imbue you with the mannerisms of an adult. When you grow up, I will leave you only with the memories.
Now, I am rewarding myself for a full day of work by partaking in a Spam-based dish from a Hawaiian restaurant that I have come across in my events coordination travels. Don’t judge me for gravitating toward Spam. I’m Filipino, dammit, and so is half of you.
Guess who should walk in? A regular from the store! How on earth that guy has managed to wander from that downtown bookstore to this hole-in-the-wall on the outskirts of my comfort zone is astonishing to me. There is an old saying about how coincidences happen because we make them too easy, but I wasn’t laboring to make this happen. Luckily, this regular customer isn’t one of the crazies, like the woman who always farts without seeming to know it, or the guy in the fedora who has been reading the same page of Jurassic Park ever since I started working there. This guy’s only crime is that he hangs out at the store every night; lingers to such length that we are always having to think to ourselves that please, please, please leave man because it’s time to go home! and then never buys anything.