I know it doesn’t make sense to say that once you’ve seen something enough times you’ve seen all of it, but that’s really how it feels. Like men wearing Sperrys at coffee shops. I have noted this occurrence at least dozens of times, thick hairy calves sprouting like tree trunks from boat shoes and no boats around. I thought I saw a pair that I knew the other day, on the second-level balcony of this little coffee place four towns away from home. When you’ve seen enough of those, you don’t think, “Hey that’s weird, so-and-so’s dumb legs used to look just like that” or get reflective or sad because you’re reminded of somebody somewhere you used to know. It’s actually kindof reassuring- that everywhere you go the world is filled with characters whose ankles are the same and who wear the same kind of shoes and who hang out in the same kind of places. The fact that so-and-so isn’t around doesn’t matter so much because there are more where he came from, and it’s nice that you’re getting so good at picking them out. There’s no more useful way of controlling things.
So when I asked him a whole bunch of questions like a bored cat batting around a beetle I almost got up and left because some snitch had already fed him the answers and I didn’t think that was very interesting. I stayed because he ordered a beer at four o’clock in the afternoon, a really disgusting sort of beer, and at least he had that to his credit. He thought that I was playing a game or something with him because I kept saying “I already knew that” to everything he told me. I was playing a game but not that kind, nothing that should’ve made him smile like he knew what I was doing because he didn’t. When the waitress came to tell us about the dessert special I told her no thank you for both of us because he doesn’t like peaches, after which he just stared at me and asked how I knew that. I said that it was his shoes and I started to cry.
That part isn’t true, I didn’t really cry but it would’ve been much more interesting than what happened after that, which was entirely not worth mentioning.