I was watching the kids’ annual outdoor costume parade in the town center. A stranger, an older, grey-haired man, approached me and stood by my side.
HIM (pleasantly): “What’s happening here?”
ME (pleasantly): “It’s the children’s Halloween costume parade.”
HIM (very sarcastically): “I’d have never guessed.”
ME (half-joking, half-not): “Then why did you ask?!”
A briefest of moments passed.
HIM (pointing out a costumed pet): “There’s Wonder Dog.”
Man goes away.
I liked talking to him when I ran into him but, although I’d never met his wife, I knew he was married. He told me he was looking for friends, someone to do things with, such as go to museums. He thought I was a good candidate.
ME: Would you tell your wife?
HIM: Maybe. Or I’d just say I was going with someone from the office.
ME: How’s that going to work? She’ll say “Have a nice time and here’s some money for popcorn??”
I never did go anywhere with him.
It was a new relationship and we were discussing intimacy.
HIM: “You can touch whenever it’s appropriate.”
[He thinks a moment]
HIM: “And even if it’s not as long as you don’t get caught.”
ME: “In some ways I trust you a lot, in other ways not at all.”
HIM: “That’s because you’re smart.”
The recent term “alternative facts” regarding how many people attended the inauguration reminded me of something said to me long ago.
He was a new friend. I knew he got high but that’s not my thing. He was visiting one afternoon and we were having a discussion – I forget about what – and he said something questionable that I then challenged. He became somewhat indignant and offered a swift rejoinder.
HIM: “It’s a factual fact.”
That’s when I realized he was stoned.
We didn’t stay friends but to this day I trot out his words when I think my words need that little extra emphasis.
This was long time ago when I had recently learned about the nutritional differences between lettuces, how Romaine and Leaf Lettuces were good choices over Iceberg. I was at his house when I saw he had bought a head of Iceberg lettuce. I wanted to share my new knowledge.
ME: You have to eat the whole thing to get any nutritional value.
HIM: I am going to eat the whole thing.
Uncharacteristically I had nothing say to that. As far as comebacks go, I have to admit it was pretty good.
I didn’t know him but I’d seen him around. He’d looked at me in a friendly way a couple times but I really hadn’t thought much about it. He was younger and I was pretty sure he was married. He struck up a conversation with me while he was working and no one else was around. After brief chit-chat he looked at me more pointedly and asked if he could say something to me.
ME (somewhat warily): “What’s the subject about?”
HIM: “It’s about attraction.”
ME: “Aren’t you married with a couple little kids?”
HIM: “Yes. It’s only talking.”
ME (joking it off): “Uh huh. Get back to work!”
After that he was very cool, more or less snubbing me. He was likely embarrassed and wanted to act as if the encounter hadn’t happened but ironically the way he behaved toward me served to remind me of the incident rather than letting me forget it. The whole thing was puzzling. Later, as in years later, I pieced together that there’d been trouble in his marriage but I think they worked it out.