I take lunch breaks at Starbucks Coffee Shop where I can relax for forty-five minutes with the newspaper or magazine before returning to another four-hour grind at the Computer Store.
Today, I saw my favorite barista behind the counter. I don’t know her name, but I feel like I know her. I ordered a cinnamon scone and coffee; smiling eye to eye. She has no idea what a major star she’s been my nighttime fantasies.
In addition to the San Francisco Chronicle, I had a book that Cynthia gave me. Having to handle the coffee the scone, and the Chronicle made the trip to the table a balancing act.
Cynthia and I had slept together, so we were ‘going together,’ and the gift book represented some sort of girlfriend status, I presumed.
It happened after our second date, which was not really a date/date but a coffee shop date right here, about a week ago. I’m not sure if I was her first, but Cynthia is very (how shall I say it?) “Innocent?” and I’m sure she thinks she’s in love: All women think like that. You’ve slept together, so you’re “going together.” If “going together” is what it takes to keep the sexual sleaze factor out of the female mind, I won’t argue, but I don’t want to feel smothered, either. I left her place very early because I can imagine how awkward a girl like her would feel waking up with an almost strange man in her bed on a Saturday morning.
She works at Bank of America, only one block from here, so I see her all the time. It’s not like I can just disappear – not that I’d want to – not right away, anyway. With a girl like her, you want to be lovable, pretending that you plan to get to know each other more. If it takes a little pretense to solve the sex-on-regular-basis problem, so be it, if you get my drift, so we were “going together.”
I didn’t want to hurt this naïve, inexperienced girl’s feelings, or have her remember her first time as a crushing, humiliating interlude when I hit the road, so I sent flowers to the bank and bought her a not too expensive, but nice necklace just so she’d have something sweet to remember me by when our relationship crashes and burns.
The book she gave me turned out to be a Leonard Cohen love song illustrated with pictures by Matisse – so romantic. I took a quick look and set it aside and turned to the Chronicle sports page to read up on the Giants and the 49ers. I‘d barely read a line when two babes took seats at one of the tables next to mine.
They modulated their voices so I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but their devious smiles told me it was something juicy. That’s where being a techie at the Computer Store comes in handy. I took out a set of earbuds and connected them to my iPhone, as though I was listening to music, but in reality, I was eavesdropping with a special app that makes the iPhone into a directional microphone. The one nearest had her back to me, so I couldn’t see her, except that she had long, blonde hair. The one across the table, facing in my direction, had short brown hair and blue eyes. She was wearing a business suit and a bright and multi-colored scarf. They talked and I listened in while pretending to be enjoying the music along with my newspaper and coffee. The brunette spoke as I clicked on the mic.
“Cindy has some fragile guy hanging all over her, and she’s stringing him along until she can let him down easy, ‘cause she’s afraid she’ll hurt his feelings.”
The blonde answered,” Whoa, I know the feeling. These guys think just because you spread your legs a couple of times you’re going together, or worse yet, they fall madly in love, with the jealousy, the pouting, and the sweet talk bullshit, that goes along with that, when all you really want is to get your ashes hauled.”
“Yeah. Cyndi says that’s where it is with this asshole. He sent flowers to the bank… which will probably get her a negative notation in her Employee Evaluation File. Then he remembered their ‘anniversary’ with some piece of shit bling. Fucking typical. Ha, ha.”
“How’d Cyndi get mixed up with such a loser?
“I don’t know. It’s really strange. She told me this babe in the woods might even be a virgin, or, that is; have been a virgin. When she finally got him up to her place, it took her forever to get him going, and then they did it on the couch – once. He left right afterward, giving her a favorite niece wet smooch on the forehead. She was so horny she found an electric shaver somebody left there, and she used the handle for a vibrator just so she could get off and get some sleep.
“She says he has a good body though, and there were some encouraging signs, so she hopes she can get a few good times out of him before they crash and burn. She gave him that Leonard Cohen book with the hint, hint lyrics, and she hopes to hell he takes the hint without getting frightened off.”
I looked up and saw a familiar face approaching, so I yanked out the earbuds and said, “Oh, hi Cynthia.”
She said, “Oh, hi, Ray! I didn’t expect to see you. Do you know my friends, Allie and Sharon?”
I say, “You mean these two very attractive ladies? No, we’ve never met.
Sharon says, “Oh, you must be Ray. Cyndi’s been all-gaga telling us about you, haven't you Cyndi.”
Allie said, “Hi Ray. Cyndi showed us the necklace. Very nice.”
"It was the least I could do," I say,, "And oh, by the way, Cindi. I’m never going out with you again.”