Because I’ve always been lucky, a guy sat next to me in a pretty empty bar. He started right up prattling on about how many cars he has, how well traveled he is, how he could go to the Ritz Carlton to drink but likes the realness of the people here in what could be considered one of the worst bars still standing in the Continental Untied States. Trust me on this. I’ve been in a bar with Linda Kasabian and it was nicer.
He rattled off his vast collegiate career which included both stints at both ‘The Heidelberg’ and Harvard. Through his naming it ‘The Heidelberg’ I had to assume he wasn’t talking about the one in Ohio. Then he started naming famous people he knew. When he was talking about cars he brought up noted car buff and one time local boy, Jay Leno.
“I’ve known him since 1960.”
Something about that gave me pause. If he, in fact, has known Leno since 1960 (that’s what he said, not ‘the sixties’) the only vehicle a ten year old Leno would have been collecting was bicycles.
But I let it slide because I didn’t want to break his stride. Besides, I really didn’t want to turn it into a conversation. That’s much more work than ignoring someone. After he winded himself with his platitudes he got around to asking me what I do.
“Writer.” My voice crackled slightly because I hadn’t spoken in a while.
“Writer, huh?” He looked at me the way pretentious people do when someone says they’re a writer. As if now they really have to put on the ‘This is My Life: The Spectacular Version’ show.
I stare at him because I feel it’s a useless question due to the fact I must assume Mr. Heidelberg and Harvard could remember something said three seconds ago. I assumed he was using that as a stall tactic while his superior brain considered what discipline I wallowed in.
“So, you write poetry?”
“Yes,” I said staring directly at the only tooth in his head. “I’m from the eighteenth century, live in a hovel and have a bad case of consumption.”