He turned to look at me and I looked at him. His answer was ….
“Chill..we’ll get to that. If I told you; you’d think I was just another whack-job and head home for that pee.” He winked and grinned.
I don’t know about you but I’ve learned when someone tells me that they are not a whack-job? I figure that’s the first option on a multiple choice. That he knew I had to pee was not something I hooked onto at that moment. It took a few seconds and even then, my suburban white bread upbringing wouldn’t allow me to discuss my urinary needs with a stranger.
“Life has been pretty good to you, hasn’t it? I see you’re healthy, except for that whole smoking thing. You really should cut that out. You obviously have enough to eat…”
Whoa!! Line crossed! “Hey!! Look here, I’m in my 50’s. I’ve had kids. I come from a long line of …. Robust women.” Old guy or not, he was heading toward a good smack territory. “Maybe you should get to the point now. What is it you want to talk about? My waistline is off the table as a topic, okay?”
“I find that easing into the conversation with small talk has a better chance of success.” He didn’t look, the least bit, contrite over his social faux pas.
“Dude, discussing a woman’s weight is not small talk. It’s just rude. I don’t do small talk. I suck at it so let’s just get the point of why you wanted to talk to me.” No way was I raising the pee question now. Guy had no boundaries, obviously. Older folks are like that; it can be charming but in this case, not so much.
“Yeah. I figured you’d be a little hard to reach. No big deal, I’ve dealt with far tougher.” He shifted his position and raised his legs up on the bench in the lotus.
I had to admire that. At his age. Pfff, if I tried it? They’d have to call the paramedics. Along with the disappearance of my, once, staggeringly thin waistline, my flexibility; like socks in a dryer; they were sucked into another dimension. Nature hates a vacuum. They were replaced with crow’s feet and a bad back. I am not happy with the exchange.
“Stay with me here, there is a point to all of this. I’m trying to lay down some foundation. You love that analogy. You’ve used it enough. Talking about that whole Pagan thing. You have to have a foundation…you can’t just walk in on the second story, the whole building collapses.”
He chuckled and ticked me off even more. I was kind of proud of that bit. The way he said it made it sound…childish. Offensive line was benched; time for the defense to take over.
“I liked the comparison. It was a good visual. Worked for some people, you know. What pearls of wisdom would you have liked?” I wanted to add “Smartass” but the white bread thing can be a powerful force to overcome and I took a higher road.
“But it was all bullshit, wasn’t it? You were trying to paint a turd.”
Ah…so this was going to be a religious discussion; okay – fine. I opened my mental armory and loaded up.
“I needed something to believe in, at the time. Paganism was about as egalitarian as I could find. I was raised Christian and I thought THAT was bullshit.” I surmised that if this guy was a fundie, that statement would smoke him out or at least, that has been my experience.
“Oh…it’s all bullshit, my dear. All of it. Created by man to explain thunder and earthquakes, famine and flood. It even came in handy to justify wars and all kinds of horrible human behaviour. They invented the original white knight and black knight scenario. Inventive but still bullshit. As if the universe is as simple as god and the devil. A friend of mine finds the whole thing an insult to intelligence. He’s always looking at that bible book and getting his nose out of joint. He did like that piece you put together on who, actually, won the war, which one was really which. You see, nothing is that simple. Man is supposed to be so all-fired intelligent. Top of the food chain, inventors of fire, the lightbulb and Spanx. How could this ultimate good and ultimate evil thing go on for so damn long?!”
He shook his head and looked out at the river. Seemed a bit tense at this point. The conversation was getting too deep for my current state of bladder and I was getting antsy. Not just because I was immersed in trying to figure out if there was a public bathroom on my way home because, I didn’t think I was going to make it…but this kind of discussion, with a virtual stranger had no definitive timeline for termination. I needed to hit the road. I pulled out my years of manners by rote…
“I love this discussion and I would enjoy going into it further with you but I really have to head home. I have a lot to do. I’ll give you my phone number or you can give me yours; we’ll get together for coffee or you can come by the house but I seriously have to leave.” Polite enough. Mom would have been proud that her efforts weren’t totally in vain. I had retained some social graces.
A grunt of frustration from the other side of the bench; “Jesus!! Okay, look – I’m trying to talk to you about something important and all you can think about is the bathroom?!”
He reached over and grabbed my arm. I guess, for point emphasis. I was not impressed. Space invaded!
“There?! Feel better now?”