Quite a few people I know are either vacationing in Europe right now or are planning on it soon. I gotta say, when I think of interesting places to vacation, Europe is not really one of the first places I think of. Not many of my years were marked with the longing proclamation, “I want to see Paris someday.” It wasn’t until I read The Historian some years ago that I really wanted to go to Europe. It took a novel, a story of fiction, for me to generate the interest that my friends and acquaintances have always seemed to possess. If I want to be especially nerdy, I can also say that I wish I could time travel to Europe like the scientists in The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis.
July 10 is an especially active day this year. Tomorrow is Ma’s birthday. It is also the day of this year’s All-Star Game. And it is the day that I leave for Comic Con. I already have it in my mind to check out when I leave tomorrow. I am going to immerse myself fully into the mode not only of vacation, but of the happy geek. For several days, I will enter a world where my notions of storytelling are not voided by real life. For a little while, I just want to forget, Linc — and maybe “forget” is too unsympathetic a word, because I don’t want to disregard my life and the wonderful people I’ve met and the experiences that have shaped me. But I want something different. That’s not so bad, is it? That I want to try something else that isn’t rushing to work, paying for a bill or some other struggle of the day that one must endure until sleep, just to endure the process all over again?
You will notice that I have now gone two paragraphs without mentioning yesterday’s game. I found out the ugly news only at the end of the day, and the box score told me all that I needed to know. I don’t know what you’ve said to the press. All I know is the numbers and who is listed as LP.
After work, I reunited with some old chums from that literary magazine I used to intern for back during World Series year. We now have plans to reconvene regularly to exchange our writings, and though the emphasis is on poetry, I am by no means a poet. I appreciate the form and all their poets, but whenever I try to write in that form, all I end up with are my own giggles. I have enough trouble writing prose. Anyway, the reason why I am in a poetry group is mainly for the friends, the colleagues who I now enjoy seeing outside of the magazine. And guess what? I took a never-to-be-sent and reworked it into a creative nonfiction essay. Maybe “reimagined” is a good word, too, because the basic structure and many of the same ideas are in the new essay, but the essential foundation is the meandering line of thought that I had directed at you.
But I also presented the group with a poem. I thought, What the hell? I may as well. They’re my friends anyway, so they won’t judge too harshly. The funny thing is that we never got around to evaluating my essay. We spent time on each of our poems, and of course, on my poem I sat mostly red-faced with my head down on the table while my friends just grinned at me and offered little in the way of constructive criticism, just appreciation that I had braved to even offer something in the shape of a poem, and amusement over the circumstances.
I wrote the poem after I slept with Adae. Isn’t that so typical, Linc? I write a poem after sex. Had this happened in high school, maybe it would not be such a hilariously big deal. Instead, I was a 29-year old who had just lost his virginity. And here is what I was thinking the morning after. Here goes:
Believe in pheromones
after all, what do you see in me?
Yet here we are and you smell like the man I knew.
the blinds surf on ghostly wind and
Shadows of this night are what I’ll remember best.
Your body, a phantom of fantasy
that I always dreamed would lie next to me
Yet it was never you, exactly.
I could have never imagined you.
Something about me was right.
That thing I do
when something is so funny, a snort is the only reaction
at least for me.
How did I end up here.
It’s not a question.
All right. Go on, crack up. Come at me, bro. Come at me.
So yesterday at work, I took a phone order from a guy who gave his name that sounded familiar. I thought to myself but did not tell the customer, Ha ha, that’s the name of…
And then the customer showed up later to pick up his order, and he didn’t just have the same name as the famous person who had come to mind. It was really him.
I was star struck but my coworkers were not, either because they did not recognize him as immediately as I had, or perhaps they were all used to this sort of thing happening. Either way, I took after them and played it cool, even though my mind was racing with multiple variants of OMG, OMFG! Also racing through my mind was the assertion, even the admonishment, of how this famous person might only want to be treated like any other customer, so I let him be. He was very friendly when he paid for his book, and then afterward, he went to browse some more. He likes to read about history, which I guess shouldn’t surprise me considering what he is famous for, and after I finished being sticken, what was truly marvelous and pleasing was how he stood the history section for a little while carefully reading his new book, turning the pages only gradually, taking his time. It made me wonder how I would feel if you casually strolled into the store the way he did. I would like to think that I’d also leave you be. It’s good customer service. It’s polite and proper, and besides, I’ve written these never-to-be-sents for so long that I could probably go on for many more years writing about the one time we met.