Queen of the Incidental Reigns
2005-10-27 @ 5:52 p.m.
So, I have been out and about quite a bit this past week (so far) in spite of falling off my tuffet (which isn’t what happened exactly, but so.what.)Out and about seems to always mean that in this very small town, wherever you go that might be hip, you start to see people you’ve known for years. Or knew years ago..Whatever.
So when I went to the coffee shop down the block from me, which I only sometimes visit, I sort of checked out the brusque fella behind the counter, because –well because I’m alive, and as my friends and I sat at the counter jabbering on, I continued to look at the man behind the counter. It wasn’t until he started to talk to someone I was with that I got a glimmer of recognition. I’m really good with faces, but years go by, and some faces change. And I figured if it was an old friend that he might’ve also already recognized me, so maybe I was mistaken.
I started mouthing “is that hisname?” to Amy and then I realized she probably didn’t know who that person was. I was left all bathed in mystery for about 5 minutes before the man behind the counter in fact asked me a question only two people could.
“Didn’t I take acid with you once...?” Duh! Not only was he who I thought - he was no less awkward than he was when we used to hang out! “It IS you!” was said, and also “was that 17 years ago?” and it WAS, since 17 years ago I was 20. 17 years ago I was 20. (This whole narrative is starting to remind me of the Vonnegut novel, Jailbird. Except I was not in the Nixon administration, nor am I burning tiny holes in my pants from the ashes falling from cigarettes)
The guy behind the counter used to be a sort of a quiet poet boy whose band I really liked, and because we were the same age, (and the age we were was less than the drinking age) we had similar problems getting into shows. On Saturday, in the present, just as I was about to invite him to the burlesque show in the neighborhood that evening, he told me he had a CD release party that night, and I flashed on the whole scene it would be and how I fit into that scene so well, and part of my brain was 20 years old again (although thankfully not tripping on acid-which was not my favorite, and a whole ‘nother story) and though I could have saw more old friends by going to the guybehindthecounter’s CD release thing, I was locked into the burlesque show and so didn’t even give myself that option.
It was all just bemusement and see you later from that point on. When my friends and I went back to the house (right up the street) to get my car to jaunt to the grocery store, I grabbed the single (a vinyl 7inch record, thatis) of his old band, which I just happened to have sitting there, on the table by the entryway since summer (not given away to Smitty after all and now will never be) - and on the way I bopped back into the Matchbox and gave it to him in honor of his CD release. And this guy- he’s not very expressive, in spite of being a brooding poetic singer-songwriter, he’s not expressive in the face, he’s kind of a stoic-faced boy, but he said thank you and of course he didn’t even have a copy of his own first band’s 45 rpm record, and on my way out (playing it ever so cool) I heard him turn to the folks at the counter saying “This is the first record I ever made”… and it made me feel as though my instincts remain true, and are good for some trivial matters after all of everything.
All Hail the Queen of Incidental.