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the seat next to me

February 3, 2012

the thing that sucks most about not having depth perception is that i have significantly sizable personal space issues. this is largely due to the fact that, once you've come within what is two feet or so of me (because i just measured it so that i could tell you definitively that it is, in fact, two feet), there is this part of me that begins to freak out because, in my mind, you're so big! holy cow! you're a giant! an ogre! and it intimidates me and irritates me, and i just want you to back the hell away so that i can see your feet again and know, definitively, that i can't touch you, and you can't touch me.

because if i don't know you, i don't want you touching me.

i don't even like it when my parents get into my bubble, okay? my parents who made me and raised me and have had my back and bailed me out and helped me up.

part of this could also because my third-grade teacher put my desk, and thereby me, in a cardboard box. the sort that held a large kitchen appliance. so maybe the bubble bit is compounded by residual trauma from segregation -- the lady didn't want me in her classroom, but i had to be there. maybe that's got something to do with it. who knows?

i'm not a hugger. unless the wonder twins are involved. then, i'm all about the hugs. probably because they won't be giants for another two decades or so. then, when that day comes, you can bet your butt that i'd prefer they stay out of my bubble. i will make an effort to please those who matter most. my father wants a kiss goodnight or to run a hand over my arm, because he's an affectionate guy, i take one for the team. my younger brother has a habit of slinging an arm over my shoulder and hanging on that we're walking in step, toe to toe, i suck it up. but genearlly i don't want you patting me on the back or putting an arm over my shoulder. i want you to stand where i can see you. all of you.

the world is flat to me. the only way i know how to handle that is when i can see all of a body without having to move my head or shift my sight.

when it comes to writing, i generally do my best work while copping a squat in a bar in the midst of the dinner rush. this is when the muses are the most cooperative. this is when i can, amazingly enough, even with all the distractions of the guests and the staff conversing with each other and the clink of empty bottles as they're being tossed in the garbage and the bustle of the servers as they rush in and out of the kitchen ... even with all this chaos, this is when i can focus.

i get really pissed off when one person throws me out of that focus.

i get really irritated when people are sitting on both sides of me. i can handle someone sitting to my immediate right or left well enough. but not to my right AND left.


there's a reason i usually sit at the end of the bar (see down there where the dude is in the orange vest? that's about where i sit), near the to-go and service stations for that bar. the last two stools are meant to be used by those placing to-go orders. i am, more often than not, situated behind the taps, the third stool from the end.

i get there early enough, usually before six p.m. so that i can have that spot. it's at one of the busiest areas of the restaurant, and yet it's out of most of the way of the guests who are copping squats at that bar.

on this particular evening, two women came to sit before the shuckers' station. one stool divided us. they were having a good time bantering with the shuckers. i was plotting a chapter or two or three. every now and then, i'd tune in to their conversation. every now and then i'd participate.

two hours of this. my friday night was pleasant.

my friday morning hadn't been. in fact, today had been pretty ugly. ugly enough that i was frustrated and miserable and crying.

i've been pretty moody lately. that whole bit about the things that don't kill you make you stronger? i couldn't buy that today. i felt horribly weak and inadequate.

i spent most of my afternoon in bed or playing on the computer or vegging in my father's recliner watching really old episodes of v or what not to wear or say yes to the dress.

(i caught a bit of one of the twilight films today. i think it was the third one. i'm astounded really. i knew they were bad, but really? edward? that's the penultimate guy? please. i'd rather live the rest of my life as a single, embittered hag than be with a guy like that.)

i came home tonight feeling like that, actually.

sometimes it's kind of humiliating to be a single woman sitting alone at a bar with a notebook writing a stupid love story at seven p.m on a friday night.

and, of course, the bit of the story i'm writing at the moment isn't a happy one.

i look young for my age. still. people still treat me as though they are so much wiser, as though their lives have more significance because they've lived, as far as they can tell, longer. that, and they've got a spouse with them. or a good friend. they're out to have a good time.

i'm almost forty. my history, my life? it's been quite educational. but whatever.

so. the stools to my immediate right and left have been vacant for two hours.

but it's half-past seven. business has peaked.

the stool to my left is occupied by the bag belonging to the woman who's occupied the stool to its left. this woman, who's come with a friend, is friendly. happy. she doesn't have that air of entitlement about her. she's easy-going. patient. funny. she's a little overweight. her hair is that orangy-blonde of a store-bought bottle job, cut short. a little spunky. she's dressed comfortably. navy top (a sweater, i think) and blue jeans. the stool to my right has just been occupied by a woman who's hair is that streaky, pale blonde with dark, dark roots from a bad highlight job (or she's seriously overdo for a hair treatment). she's got gold hoops. too much make-up. a mint green, paisley-type printed, poet-styled blouse. i think she was wearing dark, dark denim or black slacks. i couldn't really tell. she was with her date, an older gentleman. this woman had already bitched at one of the bartenders about how she wanted her drink made. she is not friendly. she is not easy-going. she has a grand sense of self-entitlement, as does her date.

she notices that the stool to my left is vacant. she asks if someone is sitting there or if it's just the lady's bag.

i tell her no, that it's the bag. and the other half of my notebook. because i've already scooted to my left a bit to accomodate her presence and my need for space.

she doesn't seem too pleased with my answer. says something like, so no one's sitting there, then?

and all the sudden, the small bit of pleasure i'd managed to find for myself in this day (because i'd finally managed to motivate myself to get off my ass and do something good and nice for others -- i sent a small bit of money to my alma mater to help its english department with expenses and, if you claimed in a dvd in last month's giveaway, i got it in the mail to you -- and then something good and nice for myself) was obliterated.

my eyes get really flashy when i'm pissed. almost black. and glinty. my grandma's were black. i kind of like that mine can get that way. i wish they wouldn't do it when i want to maim people, though. i stand up, to the left of my stool. scoot it over slightly to the right. slam my notebook, then my spiral closed.

one of the shuckers has noticed that i am no longer happy. he wants to know why. the other shucker has tuned in, now. a few weeks back, he had asked me if i would mind scooting down one spot.

yes, i do mind. i'd like to not feel boxed in by giants. that's what i want to say. but that wouldn't make any sense to anyone.

i'd packed my stuff up fairly quickly that night, too.

they know better than to ask me to move now. :]

they know someone's asked me. as i'm digging out my wallet for some cash to tip the barstaff, i jerk a thumb toward the woman on my right.

and her date says, thank you.

oh, but of course.

the way i see it, the seat your selfish ass is occupying had belonged to someone else five seconds ago. but don't mind me. i'm nobody. which is how i'd felt earlier today. so, thank you.

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