Sometimes I date myself

Ben Aronson, Coffee Break, 1997

I'm sitting at a bar right now listening to these two really hot girls talk about how nice they are with an overly attentive, gay bartender. There are about fifteen different sized television sets playing various late night shows and sports. "I cain't help myself, I luh you and nobody else" blasts all around me. There's a general sense of merriment in the whole establishment; I'm alone and happy. I just went and saw a movie by myself. I've never done that before. I have never seen a movie. Just kidding. But yeah, I've never been to a movie by myself. I didn't have any plans for the evening and I was really itching to see Divergent, so I just did it. I've read the books and really enjoyed the first one. It's chock full of young adulty-cliches and tropes, and sometimes I just eat that shit up. The film was really long but I was kind of happy about that. When you're looking for something to fill your evening, sometimes there's nothing better than a nice, long young-adult dystopian future-society flick. It was nice sitting there by myself in the dark. No one there to judge me as I ate an entire bag of popcorn before the previews had finished. There were times when I was so invested in the film that I forgot where I was and that I was alone. A slightly paranoid fear crippled me at the beginning of the movie when a young Caucasian male came and sat down in the row in front of me, just to my right. His uni-bomber appearance startled me and it took me a while to stop freaking out over what might be in his black backpack. Admittedly, those movie shootings still scare the shit out of me.

After finishing up at the bar, I noticed how I liked walking around alone late at night when everyone else is with their friends or loved ones on the Promenade. I like listening to what people talk about. Especially when they're a few drinks in and potentially looking for that special someone to spend the night with. The appetite for companionship and/or pleasure is palpable at this time of night. I meandered down 3rd street soaking in the chilly evening--the present moment. Drinking in the air--scents of perfume, dirt, and plastic. A mannequin, brightly lit and poorly dressed, stared out at me as I walked slowly toward my car. An old man sat with an overturned bucket, spewing some nonsense about the state of the government today; his back toward me, American flag to his right. The cafes had their doors rolled up as overworked and underpaid sales associates restocked and folded their merchandise in harsh, unforgiving light. As I walked to my car I felt as though I were in a movie. A wave of nervousness overcame me and I felt on edge. Walking into large parking structures late at night tends to have this effect on me. A fat man approached me, wearing a baseball cap and reeking of weed. We rode the elevator up and down, unable to find our cars. He asked what kind of car I drove. I had to decide in a split second--do I trust this fat man? "A Ford escape," I offered. Small chit-chat followed and we rode the elevator once again. Nothing came of our interaction, but I'll fondly remember how he was truly kind and how much trouble he had pushing the buttons in the elevator. As I drove home that evening I listened to a Top 40 song. I don't remember the name, but it summed up everything I felt.


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