Lauran_ordering_seafoam_margarita_at_Baazar

It all began one night at an Irish pub called the Irish Pub.  Clever Irish. I ended up holding a pint of Snake Bite given to me by a bartender with an accent he’d been using to get himself laid since ’82.  Robby was leaning on a high table eating pretzels like they were dinner, which was lucky for me.  That meant I had her full attention.  ”Rob, I’ve decided.  Maybe it’s the season or something, but I want to get into something, you know, big.”

“What?  Get the fuck outta here. Are you kiddin’ or what?”

“No.  I can do it.”

“Well maybe, but it’ll be hard for you.  You’re so, you know.”

“No.  What?”

“You’re a pain in the ass, kind of, ya know?”

“Yeah.”  I say.  I do know what Robby means.  I always know what she means.  It’s like I’m her interpreter.

Maybe I need to talk to someone else about this.  Someone with a different take on me, someone like Parker.  Parker is a girl, but the boys name was is part of her charm.

“Parker” Says I.

“Parker,” Says Parker.  She calls me Parker too.  Again, part of her

charm.

“Have you plundered any villages lately?”  She asks.

“Just your ex girlfriends,”  I say.

Parker is notorious for saying she is a ninety-year old Jewish man living in the body of a 36 year old woman.  And sometimes, you believe.

“Parker, I’m thinking of getting into something deep.”  I said to her testing the waters.

“Yeah right, and I’m Pat Nixon.”  Then she laughs this diabolical kind of laugh, like Pat Nixon used to do.

“I mean it.  I want a girl to go out with, a girl to come home to, a girl who I’m in love with, and one who loves me.”

“Yeah, but why fuck all that up, trying to make that be one person.”

“You could be right.”  I say, pondering.

“Of course I’m right.  Hoffman, you are a loner, a rebel, you’re fucking Shane riding off into the sunset.  Did Shane settle down? James Dean? John Wayne?  James Cagny?  Humphry Bogart?”

“Okay stop, you’re grossing me out.”  I said.

“Well, they got kind of gamy down the road, but that’s the price you pay to be cool.”  She said resolutely.

“I don’t want to be cool.  I want to be in love.”  I answered.

“Luckily this bar is dead and no one heard you.  Now you’re still solids, are you gonna shoot or do we have to have more of this conversation?”

And so I beat her at pool.  She’s still young and jaded.  When she gets older, she’ll soften, I thought.

 

I moved on to Sophia who was playing darts.  ”When I was younger,” I say to Sophia, hoping that she stays with this conversation, as she often scans the room while I speak.  Maybe for a girl, more likely she’s looking for where the story might end.  I continue anyway, “I used to have dozens of three month relationships.  Lately I can’t get past a week.”

“Yeah, I know what you mean.  It gets harder to even find girls you like.”

“But Soph,” I say, thinking we’re really having a conversation this time she’s locked in, “You always have some girl draped over your shoulder.”

“Yeah, but I didn’t put them there.  They drape themselves.  I don’t think I’ve been with one girl that I’ve gone after myself.”

“Who’s story is this?”  I say.

“Yeah, of course, sorry, I got carried away, you know, when you asked me a question.  Anyway, we’re all looking for the perfect girl, but maybe she doesn’t exist.  Maybe she’s in New York.”  Sophia sees someone else in the room, or a shiny object.  She walks away without seeming impolite.  She’s good at that.

 

Lee called the following night.  ”Tiny, pick up the phone.”  Lee calls me tiny because I’m so not.  Lee wants me to settle down.  I’m pretty sure of that.  That has to be why she talked me into sending the sous chef a drink at Campanile.  ”I like her for you,” was all that Lee had to say and suddenly I was coming on to a chef, or a D.J. in a booth twenty feet above a crowd, strangers in cars, women in groups at the beach, and once, a flight attendant.  I guess I was so used to Lee saying one sentence that could kill my crush-buzz instantaneously, that when she liked someone for me it was like the word of God.  She used to say, “thin lips, too young, too blond. What’s with her voice?  You like her, really?”  But now it’s, “I like her for you.”  Recently she said it about a girl I was seeing who she hadn’t even met yet.  And Lee never got to meet her because I stopped dating her on the third date.

Over dinner I said to the girl, “I’m sorry, I’m always a difficult on the third date.”

“What happens on the forth date?”  She asked.

I froze.

“Oh, I get it.”  She said.  ”No forth date.”

 

I was at home the other night for a minute, but the phone didn’t ring.  No ex girlfriends calling to hang up on me.  No Verizon trying to sell me FIOS.  I can hear Robby saying, “You have to get FIOS!”  So past the end of her rope.  So I call her.

“Hello?”

“Robrielle.”

“Si.”

¿Cómo estás?

“Bien.”

And then we laugh, because we don’t know Spanish so we’ve gone as far as we can.

“What are you doing?”  I ask.  It’s a garbage pail statement.  No one really cares.

“Oh my God, come over.  Sophia’s cooking.  A bunch of girls are here.”

So I cruise over to Robby’s.  Sophia isn’t even there yet.  The statement, “Sophia’s cooking,” is never meant to be in the present tense.  Sophia comes over after everyone is filled up on Brie, pate and crackers.  Dinner will happen at ten.  What are we French?

Rachel knocks into me and jokes, “I’m not Brazilian, Lauran.”  She often corrects me because I like to tell people she is Brazilian.  She isn’t, she’s from Spain.

Rachel asks me,  ”So Lauran have you found anyone to settle with?”  I love that she’s foreign.

“It’s difficult because I already know everyone I meet.  It’s a closed set.”

“Yeah.  You should travel,”  She say’s.  ”Why don’t you go to Moonshadows in The Burbank.”  She laughs.

I laugh too, but on the inside it aches a little.

Love can be illusive.  You have to be open to loves arrival without continually looking for it’s entrance.  You have to stand poised like a Zen gun-slinger in a squint-y calm.  Love prefers to spring on you when you’re not paying attention like a baby pit-bull, it laps at your face and slices through your lip unintentionally with it’s razor sharp puppy teeth and it might require stitches.

A week later I did manage to walk into something “Big.”

It always starts innocuously with a hand shake or even the high school head nod of acknowledgement from across a crowded bar, but if you could run this sequence back slowly like a football study film, you’d see a flicker of energy that ignites the room in light.  And you’ll always remember the first meeting this way, from an areal view as your mind hovers over the visual like a retarded vulture, picking apart every morsel of that first moment as if it were still alive.

 

“You’re in love this time.”  My friend, Gretch said to me recently.

“How can you tell that?”  I asked, genuinely dumbfounded by her keen intuition.

“You have that stupid look on your face.”  She laughed.

I got it immediately.  I have to be sort of dumb to fall into such an obvious trap.  Love is just a trick to make us work on ourselves when we’d otherwise be obliviously content living a life of promiscuous avoidance.

L’amour, l’amour.