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8.17.2005

I Always Feel Like Somebody's Watching Me

My dearest, Betsey, is a single gal in New York. Thusly, she always has such fascinating tales to share about the men who pass through her social life. For instance, there was the guy who couldn't stand the sound of metal on plates and brought plastic utensils for her to eat with when they went to dinner. There was the gentlemen who thought that because Betsey bought a popsicle, she was secretly signaling to him that she wanted to have sex with him. And, who could forget the young man we referred to as The Undergrad?

Betsey had a conversation with The Undergrad one day in which she referred to the phenomenon from the early 80's called "New Coke."

While telling her story, Betsey noticed the young scholar looked a bit puzzled when she referred to the time when Coca-Cola reformulated the recipe of its signature soda in an attempt to broaden the beverage's repertoire.

Betsey said, "You do know what I'm talking about, right?"

Undergrad, "Of course." Pause. "I mean, I was too young to remember that happening, but we discussed New Coke in my Economics class once," he added.

In my mind's eye, I picture him saying this to Betsey with the endearingly wide eyes of an unsullied young man.

"God," Betsey replied, "How much do I feel like Mrs. Robinson right now?" She laughed.

Silence.

Undergrad, "Who's Mrs. Robinson?"

Naturally, Miss Betsey immediately brought the boy to her home to watch The Graduate.

Being out of the dating scene for so long, I appreciate her lively tales. Often, I feel the slightest pang of jealousy for her daily excitements. When I first moved to New York, years ago, I dated. And, I had a fair share of weird encounters with the opposite sex. But, five years into a relationship, my stories of yore are distant and old.

That's why, last Tuesday morning when I got home from work at 8 a.m. and took my boyfriend to breakfast, I felt excited to tell him the following story. I felt I finally had something odd and funny to add to my repertoire of freaky experiences with men. But, judging from his reaction, I guess I should have been more frightened than amused by this bizarre anecdote.


Last Monday night, at midnight, my shift started at little Flo-town. It wasn't a busy night, but the transition from Dinnertime to Late Night Time at the restaurant is always a bit unwieldy. It's like changing dance partners in the middle of the Lambada.

On this particular eve, I had a lot of little things to get done all at once and I was running from the back to the front of the restaurant: answering the phone, making change, running food, bussing a table. A middle-aged man with an awkard mini-fro and a scruffy beard sat at the counter with a piece of paper in his hand.

Same counter, different guy.

He looked familiar. If he is who I think he is, he is a homeless man that used to come into the restaurant about a year ago. In Manhattan, there is an group that prints a newspaper filled with stories and poems by and about New York's homeless. In an effort to help the city's displaced population have a chance to earn some money; they give stacks of this paper to them to sell on subways and street corners in return for any amount of donation.

The man I am remembering used to come to the restaurant and I would buy a paper from him and give him a cup of water. He was always polite and unthreatening, so it didn't bother me to do this for him. I think this is the same man that came in to chat with me last Monday night.

I didn't have time to stop and talk to him for long because I had several small tasks to accomplish. However, finally, he stopped me and asked for just a moment of my time.

He showed me the papers that he was holding and explained to me that he was just released from a local correctional facility a week ago. He showed me a small white plastic identification card and said, "This is my parole identification card. I got parole for life."

"Wow," I replied unsurely. "That's...ummmm...nice?"

"See, look here," he pointed excitedly at the information on the top of the paper, "I spent one year in jail for burglary. Now, see, I didn't steal nothin' from your house or anybody's house that you know. Do you know, I got arrested for stealing something from my own house?"

I looked blankly at him unsure of how to properly respond to this.

"Well. Yeah. That's a. . .a bum deal."

He nodded solemnly. "But look, that's not what I came here to tell you. I came here to tell you that I always remembered that you were so nice to me."

"Oh, well, yeah, you're welcome."

"Yeah, and I been thinkin' 'bout you every day for the past year I been in jail."

At this time, the restaurant security guard entered the restaurant. We call him Six Six because he is a little over 6 feet 6 inches tall with forearms as big as my calves. I smiled at him and looked over at my recently jailbird friend with eyes that I hoped conveyed that this dude was a wee bit wacky.

Naturally, my parolee friend mumbled a good-bye as my building-size doorman saddled up to the bar next to him.

"I seen that dude around here before," he told me as I relayed what just happened.

Hmmmmm.

Don't fret Miss Hag. readers. I'm sure he's harmless. I prefer to think of it my very own fun story to share with my embattled single gal pals. Or, you know, here's hoping!

link * Miss Marisol posted at 12:21 PM * posted by Miss Marisol @ 12:21 PM   |