saturday night conviviality, august 20, 2011

August 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

Cups ringing on the table, forks scraping plates bare, waiters floating in brightly colored drinks with that enviable way they have, of turning their bodies thoughtlessly and avoiding all collisions without effort. We are served blocky glasses topped with straws and spoons for stirring, the rims overfull with ice. Each arrival is exclaimed over. People stand to say hi. Other people come in at regular intervals, spot B. presiding over the table, and immediately make a beeline for him, arms generously spread, all ashout with pleasure. Their faces when they see their friend is something that I envy.

But isn’t it nice? The evening. Earlier I vowed to drop by, wave hello, and go. But now I keep staying. It is 10:30, then 12:00, then it is 1:30. Someone who I have just met stands to order his sixth drink from the bar but is diverted by the arrival of his friend, a pale boy wearing chunky black glasses of the sort popular with either the very hip or the liver-spotted dying, and a distinctive yellow hat whose width is encircled by a broad white ribbon. The hat he retrieves from the head of his friend; in doing so he tenderly brings his palm up to hold the guy’s cheek, probably telling him in crude terms what he thinks of poseurs who wears hats in public. Meanwhile, B. accuses me of being a recluse, then pleads with me to come out and, in his words, “do shit with this underemployed motherfucker”, that is, himself. I am so struck numb with gratitude that I mumble the first thing that comes to my mouth, and of course it ends up sounding pedantic, although I don’t mean for it to be. “Oh man,” I say. “I’m underemployed too.”

“Well maybe I’m not using the word right,” he says, immediately uneasy, knowing that I work fulltime. No, no, you are, I want to assure him, but the moment for it has passed.

People are like that around me; I think of changing this by smoking more, to mellow me.

The easy banter, the hours quickening by, the reflective table top on which we clasp hands, drawing figures in the condensation with our pinkies. Isn’t this so enriching? Don’t you miss it?

What is this clarity,
in the shingled
music of bright mouthed finches —


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