Friday, February 15, 2008

The Talk

I hope everyone had a swell Valentine's Day. I know I did. I want to change directions a little and do something different. Believe it or not, this story is predicated upon real events. I had to recreate some of the particulars, but the conversation was remarkably similar to what I recorded. Believe it or not.


I was waiting for a bus one day on a busy morning; at least it was busy for me. This fact seemed to be oblivious to the rest of the world, for not one person saw that I was desperately trying to polish an urgent letter that would decide my future. As fate had it, a young man sat down and began conversing with me. At first, I politely nodded, hoping he would interpret my silence as lack of interest. However, this young man rambled on. He was no Forrest Gump, but I put away my letter and began to record his verbiage on my laptop. Now mind you, I was totally unresponsive while he rambled on seemingly without breath.

“…have you ever flirted with some one? I mean, not that I am flirting with you, because I'm not. You’re a guy, just like me, and I don’t like men. Well, I like them, but I don’t like like them, ya know what I mean? Gee, I hope you don’t like me in a bad way, ‘cause I was going to ask you about that girl standing over there. She is really cute but she would never like a guy like me. Oh well, it’s better to have lost love than to have loved at all, or something like that, right? I always say that you’ve buttered your bread, now lay in it, and the early worm leaves sleeping dogs lay. Know what I mean?

“Have you ever had a gun pointed at you? ‘Cause I have and it is a weird feeling. In fact, it made me want to say it and then do it. Do you understand? What I did was to hide in a closet and feel how warm those coats were. Gee, that was an experience I will never forget.

“Can you imagine owning a rabbit with pointed ears? Well, I had a rabbit that had pointed ears when I was little. Did you own a rabbit when you were young? I mean, I am not saying that you aren’t young, ‘cause you aren’t, young that is. I mean old. You aren’t old. Well, I mean you are old, ‘cause you are older than me. What are you, thirty? See, I’m twenty and that makes you older than I am, but not real old, even though you are. I just can’t imagine how terrible it must be to be old and not know it. You do understand that I am not calling you old, right? I know that you know that you think you are old, but I know that you are, but you are not so terribly old that you can’t work or nothin’. I think old people are tha bomb!

“Are you a pot licker? Well, don’t look so funny, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. After all, I think we’ve all done it. Well, my mother says it’s not polite to ask someone what they do at home in private. She says it’s like asking someone if they defecate in the restroom, but I’m not sure what that means. I think it’s like telling someone that their epidermis is showing, or saying that you’re a thespian. My momma always asked me why I was slumbering in my bed, but I told her that I really tried not to. She also says that I am a bad speaker as far as English goes. How could she say that? Haven’t you understood everything I am tellin’ you? ‘Cause I know what adverbs and stuff are. They are those things in sentences that show action or possession or ownership, or something like that.

“My momma also says that I can’t talk smart. Well, I know big words. Watch this: Your propensity to philanthropy is prodigious. See? I can use big words, and they sound just as smart from me as they do from you. I am not saying that you aren’t smarter than me, ‘cause you are. Or at least you probably are, ‘cause I wouldn’t have any way of knowing except to postulate that you are smart just from our conversation. I can tell by the way you talk that you are smart. After all, you carry around that typewriter thing and only smart people carry those around.

“Do ya think that the stock market will stay strong even though they are experiencing fluctuations in the Asian markets? After all, the European markets are stable right now, and I suppose that they lean upon the surging growth of Wall Street to provide a catalyst for their own future growth. At least that is what the news guy said this morning. Do you ever listen to the news? I do because I have an inquiring mind. I want to know!

“Ya know what? There is something else I am wondering about, have you ever been to church? Of course you have, I know ‘cause I haven’t heard you cuss or nothing’. Anyway, when I was little and in Sunday school, we used to sing a song about a cross eyed teddy bear named Gladly. Do you remember that song? Here, I will sing it for you, ‘Gladly, the cross-eyed bear…’ that is all I remember. Oh yeah, I also remember that some dude in the Bible named Isaiah had a horse and he went around all the time saying, ‘Woe isme’. I think that Isme is a pretty dumb name for a horse, but I think that those men shouldn’t wear dresses, either. We also sang Amazing Grapes. I liked that song. Can you believe how stupid some people are? My little brother thought that God’s name was Andy just ‘cause of that song that goes, ‘And he walks with me…’ He is so stupid. I always say that when God was passing out brains he thought God said trains, so he got at the back of the line so he could ride the caboose. Hey man, where are you going? The bus hasn’t gotten here yet!”

Those were the last words I heard him speak. Believe it or not, I left strictly for his benefit. After all, the poor fellow had to breath at some point, his face was turning blue.


dave said...

I think I know that guy! Sometimes I think I am that guy!

Although, I think I'm going to have the phrase "pot licker" stuck in my head for a couple of days.

Travis said...

Apparently, a pot licker is a term of enderement in Nevada. I had an Army friend who would call everyone a pot licker. When I finally screwed up the courage to ask him what it meant, he looked shocked. "Well," he said, "It's anyone that licks the pots after you use them to make a cake or something." As if we should have known! The unidentified kid in the story was also an Army friend at the same time, but I don't think he fully grasped the depth of the title.

Alison said...

You are really proficient with your use of "p" words in this post.

You also have me curious about the urgent letter.

Travis said...

An urgent letter is one that requires immediate attention, and don't call me Shirley.

Alison said...

Oh, okay...thanks, Buster! That clears it up. What a helpful start for a good morning.
Of course the letter is none of my business, but you do have to admit that you used curiosity-inducing wording when you mentioned it.

Travis said...

Fine, I'll confess. This happened while I was in the Army on the day I discovered that I'd broken my hips. I was in the process of writing a letter to Sarah to explain what happened and that I would be sitting in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. That's when this fellow, who was also going to see a doctor, sat next to me and began his gab-a-thon. Of course, I took some liberties with his conversation. Some things had to be edited for content and some had to be simplified, and some amplified. Basically, this guy highest skill level in life is to function as a bullet stopper in a war. But, despite his Forrest Gumpish resemblance, he was a nice enough fellow and pretty harmless.

Alison said...

Thanks. I feel a little bad for badgering you, but surely you've survived.

sharilyn said...

I LOVED IT!! i'm surprised you were able to make it through the "conversation" without yelling "STOP! TAKE A BREATH!!! BREATHE, MAN; BREATHE!" i think i would have been sitting there staring at him in amazement with my jaw hanging open! in, can you really be for real?!?! : )

thanks for the entertainment break, travis! : ) and, ps. i am a long-time beater licker and have been known to lick a plate a time or two...when no one's looking, of course!