I’m sitting on a park bench reading Shopgirl. The story differs from your typical chick lit novella in that it is written by a man, Steve Martin to be exact. It is written in a refreshing 2nd person style. I’m enjoying it. Engrossed in my reading, semi-sickly relating to the protagonist and wondering what the comments on my own life would be were they reported in this way, suddenly I’m approached.
“Can I talk to you about something?”
Having just been questioned by a father and daughter as to where one can find boats, (my answer: nooo idea, but I felt sillily cool that I must look like someone who would know) I look up expecting a tourist- “Where’s the MET?” A bum- “Gimmie a quarter.” Or a creeper- “Buy a Roladex from the side of my trench coat.”
None of the above.
He’s a guy in his 20s, cute, slim but not scrawny, scruffy brown hair, with a small pimple near his nose which for some reason I am able to find strangely endearing.
“If you’re trying to sell me something, I’m not going to buy it.” I say.
Retorted with an appropriate chuckle, “No I’m not going to sell you anything, I’m not even going to try to force a Bible on you. Can I just talk to you for a couple minutes?”
Well, he promised no selling, no Bibles…I can run away to work if/when necessary. “You can try.”
He sits down next to me on the bench, introduces himself, then, “You know those guys who get a dog out of the hope the animal will help them pick up girls?”
“What do you think about that?”
This turns into a 10 minute conversation that stays pretty close to the subject, bouncing around from I’m a proven non-dog person to You can’t assume the theoretical guy got the theoretical dog for this reason to What is honesty.
So what? So where is this going? “So are you on a deadline for an article or something?” Are you writing a blog? Cause that’s where I know this story’s going for me.
“No,” he replies, “I’m just sick of “the game” and people trying to get together by fooling each other. I just want to talk to people and be real and I was hoping I could get your phone number.“
This motive had crossed my mind, but just barely as I am notoriously oblivious in such matters. Well, I know what at least 2 of you are thinking: yes I felt like this was straight out of Sex and the City (in theaters in less than 24 hours!) too.
My inner Miranda burbled up, “So how many times have you tried this tactic” -it carried on way too long to be a line- “before?”
When his reply was an innocent, “What?” I decided not to repeat myself. Let’s not be mean for once. He’s cute, seemingly smart, perhaps a little awkward, and with signs that hint to me he may prove obnoxious. But I really don’t know. Let’s try benefit of the doubt. Why not? People who have just left the large majority of their friends in other states may want to cast pickiness to the winds. Momentarily? At least give it a try?
I gave him my number. Yep. I got picked up on a Central Park bench my first full day in Manhattan. I’m off to a great start.