And I Feel Like the Ghost of a Complete Stranger
-from the Rules of Attraction

I've been up since 5, which isn't so bad because yesterday I slept for 19 hours altogether. I woke briefly at 1230 and was back to sleep at 6. I was supposed to have cable installed, but alas they need access to a balcony on the sixth floor. They will return in two weeks.


I really need that cable. More importantly I really need that internet connection.

I'll be honest with you. I don't even know what to write. But I know that I should. So I'll post here what I wrote on a few bar napkins recently.

I listen to two guys playing pool thinking that men playing pool should have some sort of profundity.

"So what's your book about?"

"It's a love story. By two writers. I mean the writers who write the story are falling in love as they write it."

Do writers really fall in love? Or do they just fake it so they can write books? Petrarch locked away writing all those poems to a woman some scholars think didn't exist? Do we pick poorly, the dying, the insane, the married, just to give us a reason for avoiding other people by staying inside and writing?

Must even pool players talk about love? Aren't there other things? Christ what I wouldn't give for a conversation about the game or exit polls.

My bar napkin asks me "Who gets your inside jokes?"

"You want the list?" I think. It seems that I only talk to people in inside jokes. As if I have developed a very narrow limited language specifically for each person. It would be harder for me to identify who is my general audience.

I start by ordering a martini. The bar is fairly empty. "Tonight," I warn the bartender, "is not amateur night at the Apollo. Tonight we are Seriously Drinking." He smiles at me. "Well then let's do a shot. You call it."

Normally I would call a vodka shot to go with the martini. But not tonight.


The tequila is warm and buttery.

I never used to love all alcohol in general. I not only had preferences, but a long list of Liquor to Avoid At All Costs. Jagermeister, for example, was in the Never, Ever category. But now I've come to the point of near christian love for alcohol. The fool's gold of corona, the sweet last kiss of sherry, the smoky taste of Johnny Walker, the comfortable weight of Guinness, even the medicinal good of Jagermeister.

I look at the martini glass. Half done without really tasting it. Not drinking it for the taste. Walking down the sidewalk tonight on my way here, the rain coming down. Not even bothering with an umbrella. Why bother? I'm expecting him to stop me. To call my name. To run after.

Only me alone in the rain.

When did I become such a cliche?

I finish the martini. It's time for another shot. Tequila, of course.

I'm writing this on bar napkins. Brought a pen and left my notebook at home. Of course, the history of my life written on bar napkins. How appropriate.

This time I order a vodka tonic. I look around-men playing darts, men playing pool, men playing the video golf.

I'm the only chick in here.

I should be getting more attention.

Half way through the second drink everything hits. I feel woozy. Upstairs neighbor who has been playing video golf offers to walk me home. I tell him I can handle it, and of course I can. I've made it home in far worse conditions.

I throw off my clothes and slink under the covers. He's warmed the bed. Has his back to the place where I should have been, where I am now. Curl up close against him. That smell of his-sweet. Even his sweat has sweatness to it. And it hits me now like the first taste of an anticipated treat-better than I remembered. I feel glad to be home-to be warm and in bed. I curl around him and fall asleep soundly.

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